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Kodaikanal - a small piece of paradise

By: Hridkamal Roy


Imagine life being a romantic Bollywood song of the 90's. All those exotic frames punched into one. Well, Kodaikanal is a magnified combination of all those frames. The woods, the uphill, the cold, the clouds, the drive and the morning light make it beautiful exceedingly.This hill station in Tamil Nadu is a little over 500 kilometers from the city of Chennai and the first change that one could possibly feel as Kodai comes closer is change in the weather. It's as if the air goes inside only to detoxify the city stress.


Now, you have reached Kodai. Where to stay? No, I'm not advertising a guesthouse; I am to admire a place the name of which is Misty Mountains. It is as the name signifies and not a bit different. The drive however is a little rough. It's uphill, so if the car accidentally stops while going up in traffic, don't panic, accelerate just over 2 rpm, should do the trick.



Being at an altitude of around 2000 meters above sea level the Misty Mountains in Kodaikanal portrays an artistic sketch of a typical hill station. You can see the roads by the hills at a distance and some 500 meters down the slope, a small village with red and blue roofs. Take a cup of coffee and stand at the balcony and you will see that all this getting engulfed by the clouds. Take a picture if you want to. The weather will be cold and foggy and might also rain. Depends on which time of the year you are going. If it's the monsoons add a day or two during planning. Sometimes it rains all day. So it's better if you choose summer; Less rain, less tension. If you reach Misty Mountains by afternoon, don't leave for the night, roam around the place just after it stops raining.



Next morning however, you will have to wake early if you're hungry for some mesmerizing live visuals. Leave by 6'o clock for Mannavanur. You are to go to the Ecotourism Park. It's a 40 kilometer uphill drive from Kodaikanal with which the movie for the day starts. You just might stop quite a few times on the way just to bring the environment around at a statue. The curvy roads alongside pine forests with the sun peeking from between the trees. It gives the scene a naturally brown coloring and like this the scenery unfolds itself with proper serendipity as you go along.



The park opens at 9 or 9:30 but I want you to do something else first which will get you completely set for the Eco Park. You should reach the park by 8, so walk towards the woods by the side of the park. It's like a climb inside the forest. It will take 5 minutes for you to walk up there and what you w see there, you shall never forget. Grassland inside a forest with different varieties of flowers and some big old trees trunks colored with age. There will be dew in the flowers and there will be a smell of nature.


Ok, now it's time for the park. I don't remember the entry fee but I'm sure it's affordable. I got in. Alright, now you will enter a small and wonderful portion of paradise. Walk through the grasslands straight and take a left. You will find a wooden bridge over a stream with a wooden gate which leads to the Mannavanur forest. It's a trek through the woods. But it's better if you overlook the bridge for then and take the straight path towards the lake.



As you behold the lake for the first time a feeling of deep visual satisfaction will run through your veins. A view so serene, yet so simple as if mother nature has drawn each and every object with proper perfection and care. Beside the lake by the side of the woods there is a mud way which leads backwards to the Mannavaur trek. Take that path; keep walking by the side of the stream and you can come out of the forest through the wooden bridge.


By the time you come out of the park it will be afternoon and you will be tired. Go back to Kodaikanal city. You can have change in drivers because it's the same way back. Have lunch, try some Hilltop Fried Chicken. You will be "loving" it. Post lunch drive around the city for a while; go to the market at the bus stand after which it will be time for your next experience in adventure.



The woods engulfed by fog of the Bear Shola falls of Kodaikanal could be seen from a distance. As one gets closer a broken wooden gate comes in sight which is the only human intervention in the spot.


The narrow passage through the woods amidst the fog with all the leaves, big and small holding on to the dues will provide you with the romanticism of return to nature. The wet muddy uphill after the rain on both sides, the trunks of gigantic pines browned with age and the stream beside the path through the woods will make you stand and behold Mother Nature. The smell of wet mud will soothe your senses as you walk up through the passage with the pines still accompanying you to the water falls which is divided in two due to natural factors landing in different geographical directions.



The waterfalls which is led by the narrow passage consists two gigantic rocks, from the top of which the water falls on the ground. A narrow uphill passage could be seen just beside the rocks which can lead you to the head of the waterfalls. It is however dangerous to trek to the top of the waterfalls but once you get there the view of the forest takes an elevation.


It will be evening by the time you start thinking of coming back to your hotel. All you have seen the entire day will be recurring every moment that will pass by and there will be just one song to describe it.


"Where do you wanna go?


How much do you wanna risk?


I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts.


Some superhero, some fairy tale bliss


Just something I could turn to, somebody I can kiss


I want something just like this, I want something just like this."

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