Thursday, February 28, 2008


Kodaikanal is one of the most popular hill resorts in India. It is a charming hill station, stands amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. With its rocks, woods, lovely lake and bracing air, Kodaikanal is an ideal hill resort for the tourists.
The unique flowering plant 'Kurunji'(Strobilanthus Kunthanus) that last bloomed in 2004, is nature's gift to Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises any visitor and is frequented all through the year.
Kodai is situated at an altitude of about 2,133-m high and covers an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste. Berijam lake, one among the beautiful lakes of South India, spreads over an area of 24 hectares.

Kodai Lake:
One of the main attractions for the tourists of Kodaikanal is the Kodai lake which is at a distance of 3kms from the bus stand. In 1863, Vera Levinge, a former District Collector of Madurai settled in Kodaikanal after his retirement. He was the man of resource and creative ideas for this lake. By spending his own money he converted the marshy land with several streams of lake by constructing a strong bund and brought boats from Tuticorin. It is reported that the foreign resident's even used to swim in the lake.

Today lakhs of tourists walk around, sail on, ride on horses & cycles and admire the lake. Fishing can also be done obtaining permission from Inspector of Fisheries. Ponyrides by children and adults walking around the lake are part of Kodai Holiday.

The lake at Kodai is beautifully landscaped and it appears to be de rigueur for Indian families to get out on a boat. Both the Kodaikanal Boat and Rowing Club and Tamil Nadu Tourist Development Corporation hire similar boats for similar prices: Rs. 20 to 40 for a two-seater pedal boat to Rs. 125 (including boatman) for a kasmiri shikara (covered gondola - like boat) for 30 minutes.

Coaker's Walk:

It is a narrow pedestrian path, constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, a one kilometer mountain road which runs along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai road which is 1/2km away from Kodai. The walk winding around mt. Nebo starts near van Allen hospital and joins the main road above St. Peter's Church provides a wide-angle spectacular view of the plains. On a cloudless, clear day one can have interesting sights, such as.... Dolphin's nose in south, valley of the pambar river in South East, birds eye view of Periyakulam and even city of Madurai.One must be aware of a fascinating phenomenon called 'Brachem Spectre' . A very lucky person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo, when sun is behind and cloud and mist is in his front. The valley views along paved Coaker's Walk (admission Rs 2, Camera Rs. 5, Time: 7 am to 7pm) are superb when the mist clears. There's an observatory (admission Rs. 3) with telescope about halfway along. You can start from either end, near Greenlands Youth Hostel or Villa Retreat, and the stroll takes all of five minutes.The views from Pillar Rocks, a 7km hike (one way beginning near Bryant Park), are also excellent. Greenlands Youth Hostel and Villa Retreat can organise guided walks, and guides can also be arranged through the tourist office (Rs. 50 to 70 per hour).

Bryant Park:

This paradise of flowers is located to the east of the lake.
Solar Physical Laboratory:

This observatory built in 1899 is located at the highest point in Kodai, 3.2 kms from the lake, 850 feet above the lake.
Silver Cascade:

The Silver Cascade falls is located on the ghat road to Madurai 8 kms from Kodai. 5 kms from the town below the observatory is the Fairy Falls, Bearshola Falls and Glane Falls.
Shenbaganur MuseumThis museum is located 5.5 kms from the lake. This museum for flora, fauna and archaeological remains is maintained by the Sacred Heart College. One of the best ochidariums, with around 300 species of orchids (and other plants of the Palani hills) is also located here.
Pillar Rocks:

Three rocks - cliff faces resembling pillars juts into the sky to a height of about 400 ft. Located 7 kms from the lake, it serves as a viewpoint for the plains below.
Green Valley View:

Located 5 kms from the lake, this was originally known as Suicide Point. There is a great view of the plains below & the Vaigai dam from here. There is a golf course nearby, where visitors can use the course as temporary members

How to get There:

Air: Nearest Airport is at Madurai 121 km from Kodaikanal.

Rail: Nearest rail head to catch fast trains is Kodai Road on the Chennai-Madurai broad gauge line, 80 km from Kodaikanal. At Kodai Road, railway-retiring rooms are available. Privately run hotels offer accommodation for a brief stay to catch trains. The Palani railway station is 64 km away.

Road: Kodaikanal is connected by road with all important towns. Regular bus services are available from Kodaikanal to Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dindugul, Triruchchirappalli, Kumuli, Erode, Bangalore and Coimbatore. Taxis and vans are available for local transport. ers.

Kerala Houseboats

Kerala Houseboat Cruise Since ancient times Kerala has used its lake and canals as a water network for transporting men and material. Being aboard a houseboat is a tranquil, stressless adventure where you will see the beautiful Kerala keep passing by. The cruise down the mystical backwaters of Kerala is indisputably an experience of a lifetime.

The Kerala Houseboat Features -

Beside being an cultural heritage, the houseboats of Kerala offer an innovative holiday idea. The country houseboat in Kerala is referred to as 'Kettuvallam'. These eco-friendly houseboats are made from local materials like bamboo poles, coconut fibre, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. Usually houseboats are the giant country crafts that are as long as 60 to 70 feet. While aboard the houseboat in Kerala you may enjoy the facilities of a star categorised hotel. Basically the houseboats are well appointed with an open lounge, one or more bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette. A Kerala houseboats are generally manned by a crew, consisting of a cook, guide and oarsman. Lazing and relaxing on the sun decks is one of the most popular activities on the houseboats in Kerala. Traditional lanterns take up the place of electricity on the houseboats in Kerala. On the houseboats you may enjoy the serene surroundings along with savouring the traditional specialities of Kerala. Fresh seafood adds to the sumptuous meals available on the houseboats.

On the Way You Will See -

A boat ride into the countryside offers a close look at rustic village life- skiff-fishermen launching their cockleshell boats, large flocks of domesticated ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks. Women, neck-deep in water, with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, catching fish with their feet, aimless cattle grazing in lush pastures, white lotuses floating here and there in small, shallow ponds.The tourists on the houseboats may relive the authentic life in the villages of Kerala. These houseboats or the taxis on the backwaters of Kerala pass through several towns and villages of Kerala. The Vembanad Lake forms the largest backwater stretch in Kerala. You may enjoy Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kochi on the houseboat while enjoying backwaters of Kerala. Altogether, Houseboats in Kerala are great options for short breaks and getaways.

Kerala Backwaters

Backwater tour in Kerala is one of the exhilarating ways of spending your holidays in Kerala. The gorgeous greens, the canopies of coconuts, the shimmering waters, composed beaches and the tantalizing backwaters welcome you to the God's Own Country - Kerala. The complete journey along the Kerala backwaters is a moving picture with beauty of nature at its best. Kerala backwaters cruises complete the tour to southern India. Kerala backwaters take you through the winding waterways unveiling the colourful culture and customs of the remote Kerala. The coastline of Kerala is dotted with delightful backwaters destinations.Kerala's palm-lined backwaters are inland lakes linked by a network of canals. With 41 west-flowing rivers, the backwaters stretch to almost 1,900 km. The backwater routes date back over the centuries and have been long used for all transition needs, in particular trade in coconut, rubber, rice and spices. Today, these waterways connect distant villages and islands to the mainland and nerve centers of the coastal area. The palm-fringed, tranquil backwaters of Kerala were once just the state's trade highways. But today, Kerala Backwaters are one of the most captivating tourist destinations in India. Every year millions of domestic and international tourists are beckoned by its charming and enticing surroundings.

Major Backwater Regions -

Kuttanad : The most interesting area in the backwaters is the Kuttanad region, called the rice bowl of Kerala. The area is probably the only place in the continent where farming is done below sea level, using a system of dykes and bunds.

Kollam: The gateway to the Kerala backwaters is the gorgeous cashew town of Kollam. The longest Kerala backwaters cruise begind from Kollam and ends at Alleppey or Alappuzha. Vembanad Lake : This is the largest backwater stretch is the Vembanad Lake, which opens out into the sea at the Kochi port and flows through three districts-Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kochi. The Ashtamudi Lake has eight 'arms' covering a major portion of Kollam district in the south, and is the second largest lake in the state.
Aleppey(Alappuzha):Known as the 'Venice of the East', Alappuzha with its lovely lakes, lagoons and the fresh water rivers will not fail to intoxicate you. The variant village cruises to the coconut plantations and the coir villages of Cochin will absorb you entirely on the Kerala backwaters trip.

Trivandrum: The capital city of Thiruvanthapuram is the main tourist hub for the tourists in Kerala India. Besides, it is also a major center for politics and industries in Kerala. In addition to this, soothing shoreline, beautiful beaches and the backwaters stretches make it a terrific hideout. The Kerala backwaters destination of Thiruvallam makes a great one-day tour from Thiruvanthapuram. At Thiruvallam you may indulge in the canoe rides, participate in the water sports at the lagoon or simply laze in the beach.

Kumarakom : Situated on Lake Vembanad the Kerala backwaters destination of Kumarakom offers unique boating, fishing and sightseeing opportunities.

Kottayam : Close to Kumarakom is the alluring Kerala backwaters of Kottayam with paddy fields, rubber plantations and the highlands. Kottayam is renowned as the land of letters, latex and lakes.

Best Season to Visit : Though you may plan your Kerala backwaters tour anytime of the year, the best time for cruising is from October to March.

Shop in the Nearby Areas -On your way back home from the Kerala backwaters do not forget to pick up the best buys being offered by the region ranging from the carved wooden elephant souvenirs, assorted handicrafts like bell metal products, coir goods, sandalwood, brass and wooden items, conch shells, paintings and masks.


Ooty, also known as Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam, which lies 7,349 ft above sea level in the Nilgiris, is known as the Queen of southern hill resorts of India. Situated in the Nilgiris, this famous hill station is at the junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, three southern states of India.Ooty, as it is popularly known, spreads over an area of 36 sq miles, and the temperature ranges from 25 degree celsius in summers, to near freezing in winters. It offers spectacular scenic beauty and salubrioud climate. The lush vegetation and the lavender-blue sheen of the mountains here offer a promising and peaceful rejuvenating summer.

Sightseeing at Ooty :
Botanical Gardens : Laid out in 1847, the Government Botanical Gardens is the most beautiful jewel on the crown of the "Queen of Hill Stations". There are over 650 species of plants housed in the garden. The fossil of a tree trunk believed to be 20 million years old is preserved here. The garden spread over 22 hectares possess lush green lawns, six sections comprising varieties of tree species, variety of ferns, fashioned beds, an Italian formal garden, flowering plants, house ferns, orchids and nurseries.

Ooty Lake View : The lake is another major attraction and boating is very popular here. The artificial lake, shimmering under the gentle sun is a popular site for the tourists. Pony rides are available along the road skirting of the lake.

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary : Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary offers a leisurely ride on elephant-back through its forest trails, with a view of varied flora and fauna, as well as ever-changing symphonies of birdsong.

Art Gallery : It is situated about 2 km from Ooty on way to Mysore. The Art Gallery has various collections of contemporary paintings, items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamilnadu

Nasiyan Jain Temple : Nasiyan Jain Temple is located on Prithvi Raj Road and devoted to the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhdeoji. The temple is greatly revered by the Digambar sect of Jains. There is a museum alongside the temple. The construction of the temple began in 1864 and opened to the public in 1895.

Rose Garden : Home to 2500 types of roses .. Better said than seen ... Camera ticket mandatory ..But the garden is huge and has many levels

Dodabetta Peak : Its the highest peak of the Nilgiris ( 2637mts) and just 10km from Ooty city .. as viewed from Ooty , its usually covered by Mist or clouds .Best viewed in the morning , when the mist is cleared , and peak is well visible from Ooty ..Buses are available during season , but during off-season a private cab is required ..The ride through the high conifer forest is enchanting and divine .. The peak proper , gives a bird-eye views of Ooty city and nearby towns ..There is a telescope tower , holding a celestron 3 inch SCT , but its badly maintained .. don't waste your precious time seeing through it ..Instead snap Your rolls fast , because , in no matter of time the Peak goes under clouds

Best Season to Visit : Through out the year.

Reaching Ooty
Air : Coimbatore, 105 km from Ooty, is the nearest airport. Indian Airlines has flight to Coimbatore from Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai. The Blue Mountain Express to Ooty is from Mettupalayam (47 km).

Rail : Mettupalayam at a distance of 40 kms is the nearest railhead. Ooty has its own railhead at a distance of 8 kms, which receives only toy trains.

Road : All the important towns of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka are connected to Ooty by road.

Nagarhole National Park

» Location : Karnataka
» Set Up In :1955
» Attractions :Snakes, Four-Horned Antelope, Sloth Bear

Nagarahole (check spelling please) is derived from the combination of two Kannada words-'nagar' meaning snake and 'hole' meaning streams and true to its name a number of streams snake through its rich tropical forests. Once an exclusive hunting preserve of the erstwhile rulers of Mysore, the terrain of this Park is gently undulating with lush green vegetation, swamps and numerous water resources, rendering it an ideal habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Nagarahole is situated in the picturesque districts of Kodagu and Mysore in southern Karnataka. The Nagarahole National Park was first set up in 1955. In 1975 its area was increased to include a greater expanse of forest reserve. The Wild Population of Nagarhole National ParkThe forest is home to animals like the four-horned antelope, sloth bear, jungle cat, civet, spotted deer, elephant, wild dog, flying fox, tiger, panther, gaur (Indian bison), sambhar, wild boar, black-naped hare, bonnet macaque, and pangolin.Cobras, crocodiles, kraits, pythons, vipers, and several species of lizards are also found here. Among the 250 bird species found here, the prominent ones are the common babbler, bee-eater, bulbul, dove, crested serpent, hornbill, Malabar pied, alexandrine, peacock, woodpecker, warbler, great Indian reed, eagle, crested hawk, golden-back parakeet, and the southern tree pie.Nagarhole is worth visiting at the height of the dry season, when wild animals can be spotted in large numbers near sources of water.

Viewing The WildAt Nagarhole
There are excellent facilities for viewing wildlife and large groups of gaur, elephant, sambar, chital and even the occasional tiger or leopard are seen. Vehicles and guides are available to take you around the Nagarhole National Park.If this natural heaven awakens the 'spirit of adventure' in you then consider heading for the Brahmagiri Mountains-an inviting destination for those who wish to go trekking. Prior permission is required from the authorities before embarking on a trekking trail.
How to Get There
Air : Bangalore (220 kms) is the nearesrtnearest airport.
Rail : Mysore 80 kms away is the nearest railhead.

Bandipur National Park

» Location : Karnataka
» Area :874.20 Sq.Km
» Major Variety of Animals found here :Asian Elephants and Gaurs

In Karnataka, the two attractive wildlife parks of Nagarhole and Bandipur, though separate entities, are part of a larger contiguous wildlife reserve that includes the Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and the Wynad Reserve in Kerala. Both the parks are easily accessible from Mysore. A dam on the Kabini and its picturesque reservoir separate the two parks. In the dense moist deciduous forests of this area the upper canopy reaches heights of 30m and valuable hardwoods like teak and rosewood are also to be found here. The 874.20 sq. km. Bandipur National Park, which is also a Tiger Reserve, with its open grassy woodland, lies to the south of the Kabini River while Nagarhole, 643.39 so. km. in area, to the north of the river, has taller and denser forests. Bandipur, lying in the shadow of the Western Ghats, is one of the finest habitats of the Asian elephant. Drained by the Moyar River, its open forest makes it easy for visitors to see the elephant and gaur in natural surroundings.

Best Time to Visit

March - August

Forest Lodges, Cottages, Forest Rest Houses

Nearest Town

Gundulpet (20 km)

How to Get There

Air : Bangalore (190 km)

Rail : Mysore (65 km)

Periyar (Thekkady) Wildlife Sanctuary

» Location : Kerala
» Also Known as :Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary
» Main Species of animals found :Elephants, Tigers, Spotted Deer
» Best Season :October to June

One of the well known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, this place is ideal for watching the animals in their natural habitat. The forest here, slopes into the manmade lake at the bottom of the hill. This lake serves as the waterhole for the animals and they come here to drink or take a dip. Elephants, Gaur, Sambhar and even tigers can be spotted here. There are boat services which takes the visitor around the lake. The best season to visit the park is between October and June. Spread over 777 of the Cardamom Hills of Western Ghats, the Periyar sanctuary is located 137 km from Madurai. Although an excursion on the splendid artificial lake is the standard way to experience the sanctuary, you can also walk around with the local guide in a small group. Wild Elephant herds come to the lake to frolic in the water.Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here, including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets, White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and Fly Catchers.

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

» Location : 40 Kms From Thodupuzha, Kerala
» Main Attractions :Elephants
» Area :77 sq. Kms
» Altitude :450-758m Above Sea Level

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 40 kms from Thodupuzha. This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district spreading over 77sq. kms, at 450 - 748m above sea level.The Idukki reservoir formed by three dams-Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu-extends to 33 sq. km.A picturesque lake, a majestic arch dam across two hills and roaming herds of elephants and gaur are sights that lure you to this enchanting canopy of tropical semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. The fauna also includes Langur, Leopard and Wild Boar.
Wild Population of Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary has a large variety of flora and fauna. Among the mammals, Elephants, Bison, Sambhar, Deer, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, Tiger, Wild Boar etc reptiles such as Cobra, Viper, Krait and a large number of non- poisonous snakes can be seen.Jungle Fowl, Myna, Laughing Thrush, Black Bulbul, Peafowl, Woodpecker, Kingfisher etc also inhabit the place in large numbers.
How to Get There

Air : Kochi is the nearest airport.

Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

» Location : 17 Kms From Munnar, Kerala
» Unique Attractions :Nilgiri Tahr, Atlas Moth
» Area :97 sq. Kms
» Declared Sanctuary in :1978

Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is a sanctuary set up for the preservation of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr.Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq. kms of unblemished natural splendour. Anamudi, the highest peak south of Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride.The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas Moth, largest of its kind in the world, is a unique possession of the park.The sanctuary was declared as a National Park in 1978. The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world.

Wild Population of Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

The main inhabitant of the park is Nilgiri Tahr. Now the park has the largest known population of Tahrs existing in the world.The park also shelters Atlas Moth, Elephants, Sambhars, Gaurs, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Tigers and Leopards.
How to Get There

Air : The Nearest airport is at Kochi, 135 kms.

Rail : Nearest railway station is located at Aluva, 115 kms.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

»Location : Idukki, Kerala
» Main Attractions :Giant Grizzled squirrel, Elephants, Spotted Deer
» Best Time To Visit :Throughout The Year Except In Monsoon Months
» Declared Sanctuary in :1984

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique thorny scrub forest with xerophyte species.Chinnar is the habitat of the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel of India. Located in the rainshadow area of the Western Ghats, unlike other sanctuaries, Chinnar has only 48 rainy days in a year.Dry deciduous forests, high sholas and wet grasslands are also found here. As one travels from Karimuthi to Chinnar Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Hanuman monkey and even Peacocks can be seen on either sides of the road.Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1984, it is spread over an area of 90,422 sq. kms. The undulated terrain with rocky patches adds to the scenic splendour of the sanctuary.
Wild Population of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The main attractions of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary are Elephants, Gaurs, Panthers, Spotted Deer, Sambhars, Grizzled Giant Squirrels, Hanuman Langurs, Peacocks, Star Tortoises and Travancore evening browns. Viewing The Wild - Chinnar Wildlife SanctuaryRecently erected watch towers rise high above the vegetation and permit a fascinating view of the game. Best Time To Visit One can visit the sanctuary almost throughout the year except during the months of October and November. Visiting time: 0700 -1800 hrs.
How to Get There

Air : Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport, about 150 kms from Munnar.

Rail : Nearest railway station is at Ernakulam.