Jessica and I had been planning to go to Kodaikanal for quite a few months. Recently, while scrolling Instagram I saw the pictures of new Zostel in Kodaikanal. The place looked beautiful so I sent it to Jessica and she immediately booked the Zostel for the weekend. That’s how we finally succeeded in going to Kodaikanal.
Day 1 – 10th November 2018
We left for Kodaikanal on 9th Nov 2018 (Friday) by sleeper bus and reached Kodaikanal early morning. When we got down from the bus our internet was not working, so we found the Zostel’s help center number from the screenshot of the booking. They told us how to reach the place. There was only one cab near the bus stop, so we shared the cab with another family. The cab took ₹125/- from both the groups.
We reached the hostel and got ready in the common bathroom. Jessica had brought sandwiches for dinner. Since we had dinner at a restaurant the previous night, we ate the sandwiches for breakfast. After getting ready, we rested for a while in the common area. We played Cards Against Humanity with one of the girl and got a few funny answers.
We had an awesome conversations with Manisha who worked in Zostel. She was an MBA graduate and used to work in Mumbai. She left her job in 2016 and went to Latin America for a year. She currently takes up freelancing assignments. Since she had been living in Kodaikanal for a long time, she suggested us things to do in 2 days. She even booked a cab for us.
Our first stop was Coaker’s Walk. It was constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872. It is a 1km paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. The entry fee was ₹20/- and ₹15/- for phone camera. It was a foggy day, so we could not see too far.
Next we went to La Saleth Church. It was the first Catholic church in Kodaikanal and was funded by a generous donation of a Belgian woman who wanted to thank Our Lady of La Salette for the cure of her daughter. It has history of over 150 years and constructed in Tamil-French style of architecture. It is situated in the uphills of Kodaikanal with great view of the surroundings.
On the way to Vattakanal, we stopped at Vattakanal Falls. It is a small waterfall with scenic view. The water was not too deep, so I dipped my feet in the water and clicked some pictures. Jessica did not want to get her feet wet, so she did not enter the water.
We reached Vattakanal at around 1pm. We had to trek down to visit all the points. We decided to have lunch before trekking since we would need a lot of energy while returning. So we had paratha and lemon tea for lunch at Altaf’s Cafe. After lunch we started our trek downwards.
The first point was Mountain View Point. The weather was too foggy so we could not see any view from there.
The second point was quite far from the 1st one. The second point was Dolphin’s Nose. The place was very crowded so we decided to take photos at this spot while returning.
After a short trek we reached Echo Rock. We sat and rested for quite some time there. After resting and clicking photos, we decided to go back.
When we went back to the Dolphin’s Nose, it was still very crowded. Lots of guys were sitting there occupying the area where we wanted to take photos. Initially we decided to wait, but soon realised they were not going to move if we don’t do anything. So we slowly started going towards the point. Some of them finally moved and we took pictures. I was very scared at the point. My legs were shaking with fear. I still do not know how I got the pictures clicked. After this we climbed back to the starting point. We took so many breaks while walking back and even finished a 1ltr water bottle.
On our way back, our driver took us to Mt Zion Lutheran Church which is a German church. The church was closed, so we took pictures from outside.
Lastly, our driver dropped us at Kodai Lake. We did not have the energy to explore the shops in the area and decided to walk back to the Hostel. Manisha had told us the way was downhill. So we walked back to the hotel. Later we realized we had walked 4km and it took us almost 1hr to walk. After this little adventure, we did not have energy to do anything.
When we reached the hostel, we met Dev and Sumit outside. Leo, the Labrador was outside and I got really scared. But I also found out that Dev was also scared of dogs. After a little chat, we asked Manisha for our rooms to freshen up. After changing, we went to sit in the common area. Dev, Sumit, Dinesh, Manisha and a few others were sitting there chatting. Dinesh is Delhi girl who is driving for 100 days to prove that India is Safe like the other countries for travelling. Sumit works at his father’s courier company. Dev is a travel vlogger and run his Youtube channel Discover With Dev. Zostel is a perfect place to meet interesting people with fascinating stories. Dinesh, Dev and Sumit were planning to visit Vattakanal and Pillar Rock the next day. Since we had already gone to Vattakanal, we decided to join them for Pillar Rock.
Jessica’s school classmate and her colleagues were also staying in Zostel. So we spent some time with them. We then had dinner and went to bed since we were very tired. We woke up after almost after an hour when we heard songs playing downstairs. After confirming our next day’s plan with others, we came back to the common area and played scrabble for a while before going back to sleep.
Day 2- 11th November 2018
It was the 1st day of Chathh Puja. So I woke up, took a bath, got ready and video called home while Jessica was still asleep. I explored the Zostel property and took a few pictures. I finally settled down in a hammock. When Jessica finally got ready and came outside, we clicked pictures with the swings and park benches. I also got a little stabbed in the stomach by the circular swing’s protruding nuts while taking pictures. The cut was not too deep, so I washed it with cold water and put antiseptic ointment on the wound.
We then called for the driver bhaiya who dropped us at La Salette Church since Jessica wanted to attend Sunday Mass there. While she was inside, I video called home and talked to Badi Mausi & Mausaji who had arrived by that time. At around 11:30am, Dev came to the church to pick us up. Dinesh’s car had some problem and was getting fixed in the garage. We reached the garage and found out that Dinesh was planning on going to the pillar rocks in the evening. Since we had bus in the evening, we could not do that. We told the others and they decided to come with us. So we called our cab bhaiya to pick us up and take up to the remaining places.
Our first stop was Moir Point. The site was named after Sir Thomas Moir, an engineer who constructed the Goschen Road in 1929. This point joins the Berijam Lake road with Kodaikanal. There is a monument remembering Thomas Moir at the viewpoint. People were climbing on the monument. We took pictures of the view which was breathtaking even with fog. Sumit bought a bubble bottle and made bubble using the wind in the area.
On our way to Pine forest, we stopped on the roadside and driver bhaiya told us that it was Silent Valley View. There was too much fog so we could not see much. There were monkeys in the area, so we did not take many pictures. While writing this blog, I realised that we didn’t really see the Silent Valley View Point. It was just a random roadside view of a valley.
Next we went to Pine Forest. The Pine Forest was cultivated by Mr Bryant in Kodaikanal in 1906 with the idea of having a timber forest for valuable wood. As of now, it is lovely destination with loads of pine trees, some of which are more than 100 years old and covers an area of about 600 acres. It is a beautiful place to roam around and click pictures. Jessica & I went on a mission to collect pretty looking pine cones for decoration. Since the place was pretty and not too crowded, Dev decided to shoot the ending of his vlog here. He asked us to say Like, Comment, Share & Subscribe for his video which was a new & fun experience.
Our next stop was Guna Caves or Devil’s Kitchen. The Guna Caves get their name from the Kamal Hassan’s popular Tamil movie Guna, which was shot here in 1992. They are originally known as the Devil’s Kitchen. As per Hindu mythology, these caves are where the Pandavas cooked their meals and hence the word ‘kitchen’. Whereas, no one has yet been able to say, where the word ‘Devil’ comes from. According to some travellers, the word Devil comes from the bats that reside in the cave. The entry fee was ₹10/- per person. We walked on the wooden bridge for fun and Jessica was very scared. Dev tried to scare us with the monkeys as a prank. The caves are no longer open to public since it is very risky and is said to have been the cause of several deaths. They are closed and rest behind metal bars. There are hundreds of roots of trees intertwined to give a somewhat fairy tale appearance. We clicked pictures on the bridge and near the roots.
We then went to Pillar Rocks Viewpoint. The place is named so as it has three vertically positioned boulders reaching up to a height of 400 feet. The pillar rocks are so beautiful to watch and the clouds make it even more exquisite. The entry fee was ₹10/- per person. There was a slide installed for children, so I obviously had to go there.
By this time, we were really hungry. Driver Bhaiya dropped us off near a restaurant called Tava Vegetatian Restaurant. We ordered chapati along with bhindi, paneer & daal makahani.
After lunch, Sumit decided to go back to Zostel while the rest of us walked back to Kodai Lake. The star-shaped lake is centrally located in Kodaikanal and is surrounded by the rich green Palani Hills Range the main watershed for the lake. Vera Levinge was the man responsible for the creativity and resources of this lake amidst Kodaikanal town. We took a 30min 4-seater pedal boat. The boat ride was enjoyable and relaxing.
Finally, we returned back to Zostel and changed our clothes for the bus journey & packed our bags. Since we had time, we relaxed in the Common room, clicked pictures with Manisha & played UNO with Dev. We had Rose flavoured Green Tea which Dev had bought from Coorg.
Finally, it was time to go. We kept our luggage in the cab and went to the bus stop near Dominos. We met Manisha at the bus stop. While waiting, Jessica and I did a little perfume shopping from a small shop. When we were almost done, the bus driver called our bus name. So Manisha & Dev took our luggage to the bus while we finished our payments at the shop. We said our final goodbyes and boarded the bus back to Bangalore!