BENGALURU: While it’s blazing summer everywhere, the hills of Kodaikanal are covered in fog and rain-bearing clouds. Mild to heavy showers have drenched the town over the past couple of weeks, drawing tourists from all over.
If you do manage to get tickets and accommodation in the seasonal rush, here are 10 fun things you can do at the hill station.
1Most times of the day, it is cold enough to wear a sweatshirt, especially when it rains. Stay indoors and curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, or perhaps, a glass of wine (if you haven’t carried a bottle with you from the city, you could try the government liquor store on Old Convent Road). Converse, read a book, watch some TV, write something.
2Sunrise is always a breathtaking sight from atop the hills. Make the most of the dew covered grass and leaves, step out at the crack of dawn, maybe click a few photographs or take an early morning walk.
3If you’re looking for a longish trail, head to the Kodaikanal Lake. The six-kilometre walk around the manmade water body is every bit enjoyable. If you tire midway, you can go on horseback or rent a bicycle. You could either choose to pedal alongside your friends or pick one that carries two or three.
4Don’t miss out on the variety of shorteats – boiled masala peanuts, creatively served raw mango, bread ‘omlate’, cotton candy or a cup of very sweet chai or coffee – served from humble pushcarts along the lake. When your face is flushed from the walk, you could stop by one of the ice cream trucks for a cold one.
5Brave the long queue to catch a boat ride. If you’re lucky, you could watch the fog flow into the waters, bringing along a bout of rain. So go armed with a raincoat or an umbrella.
6Coaker’s Walk is a shorter (1 km) stretch you can take to admire the spectacular view of the valley and plains below. Located 500 metres from the town, the paved pathway is along the southern slopes of the hill. Silver Cascade, Bear Shola Falls, Pillar Rock and Bryant Park Botanical Garden are among other common tourist spots you can check out. However, be prepared to deal with something of a rush.
7The town has branches of popular eatouts like Dominos, Papa John’s and Subway. There’s even a Cafe Coffee Day to remind you of home. But we suggest you take your chances with the local eateries. Indulge in a sumptuous yet inexpensive breakfast at the roadside joints around the bus stand (There is a ‘Hotel Best’, a stone’s throw from a ‘Best Hotel’).
8Most people here make an effort to speak English or Hindi to make you feel at home. And fret not about feeling lost amidst Tamil-only sign boards.
9Comically error-ridden signs greet you at every turn in Kodaikanal. A bakery sells chocolate ‘mouse’, while a textile shop advertises ‘swatters’ and ‘shalls’. You could even make a fun list of the numerous ways people spell omelet (We stumbled into an ‘ambilet’ cart).
10 When it’s time to leave, stop by at one of the many shops that sell spices, homemade chocolates and oils. Pick up a box of assorted white or milk chocolates, some cinnamon for your tea or perhaps a bottle of eucalyptus oil for a rainy day.
The Cheese Shop near the BSNL office sells many locally made varieties – mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, gouda, feta.