Category Archives: Kodaikanal

Mannavanur , the hidden treasure

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A desperate need to find something new in Kodaikanal landed us with the info about Mannavanur Lake. Situated around 30-40 Km from the main city among the lush green valley, this place is a must visit place for all travelers interested in traveling to places off the beaten path. It is also known as the Bison-Valley, a beautiful virgin stretch of nature at an altitude of 7000 ft above the sea level

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We booked our cab from the city’s taxi stand near the petrol pump. A little bit of bargaining with the driver landed us with a decent deal of Rs 1200 for the trip. There were 6 other locations included in the itenary but most of them dint have much to mention about them. The view point offering the top view of the lake was quite a site. After spending some time frolicking around and posing in various hilarious poses we decided to move on towards the lake.

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Mannavanur is a small village whose sole mode if income comes from farming. On the way towards the lake we could see fields filled with carrots. Various vegetables are cultivated here including broccoli, French and butter beans, and the village also provides home made dish to those approach them, even rabbit meat is cooked if requested.

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The lake is situated inside a sheep farm. The lush green valley is scattered with flocks of sheep grazing all over the place. It was awesomely scenic, quiet and to our surprise we were the only people out there. A little walk from the gate took us to the lake. I am at a loss of words when I try to describe this beautiful place. Surrounded by green hills on all sides, the silence was being broken only by the chirping of some unknown bird at a distance. We could have spent almost the entire day by the sides of the lake watching the reflections of the mountains in the crystal clear water had it not been for the dimming lights and the threatening clouds. There are quite a few benches near the lake that you could occupy. A small creek had formed from the water that overflowed from the lake due to the rains. We were quite pleasantly surprised to find few fishes in this creek. So if you are interested in angling, you can carry your gears along and try your luck.

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Not many shops nearby, though a small tea stall offers the basic tea and biscuits. Be prepared and carry all your essentials along. Also be ready for the surprise visit by the rains. Options for accommodations are not many. The Camper’s club is said to be the only option for staying nearby which offers basic accommodation. Contact No: +91- 9444477358.

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Tingling taste of tit bits !!!

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My hunger drove me towards this old man selling some tit bits on his van… The discovery was a sweet yet sour flavor of raw mangoes sprinkled with some special salt.. You have to taste it to believe it. It is not the usual flavor of raw mango…. This went down in the countdown of my top things to do when in Kodai … 

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A Quite interesting trip to Kodaikanal

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With everyone talking about how amazing their trip went, I would like to share the story of my not so amazing trip. It all began with me cribbing that my husband does not take me for a trip for a long time. Well to be frank it was totally a lie since he had already taken me for a trip about two months back. But me being me will not miss out on a chance of cribbing. So the irritated husband declared that we were going to Kodaikanal. We planned to leave for Kodaikanal on a weekend and had likewise booked a cab. Since it was not a pre planned trip, I spent the entire previous night packing my bag.  It was nearly 3 at night when I finished packing. Thought of taking a quick nap before the cab driver arrived at 4 in the morning.

Tired and exhausted as we lay on the bed, we drifted off to a deep sleep before we could realize, only to be woken up by the bright sun light coming from the window. A quick check on the watch showed that it was already past 8 in the morning. The mobile phone showed 6 missed calls from the driver. My husband frantically called the driver only to be told that he had come at 4 in the morning but since we didn’t reply to his calls, he would be a little late. He agreed to come about an hour later.

On arrival he announced that he did not have the papers of the car, so he will have to go to BTM to fetch them. We didn’t bother arguing with him and let him do as he pleases. After going all the way to BTM to collect the documents we headed towards Hosur.

We were quite taken aback to see a long queue of waiting cars all waiting for collecting an interstate road permit required for all commercial vehicles. After waiting in the long queue for more than 3 hours when our driver finally arrived at the head of the line he was bluntly told that he would not be given a permit since he was not carrying the originals of the documents. But our Mr. Smarty decided to go ahead without a permit. We were quite flabbergasted at the driver’s courage and tried to persuade him to think twice. But Mr. Smarty took no heed. So we went ahead trying to have a positive mind. It was mid of summer, and we were travelling through Tamilnadu and that too in a non A/C car. The water that we were carrying soon turned from warm to hot. The wind turned hot and we soon could not bear to keep the car windows down. But keeping the car windows shut was not a solution since the lack of air circulation inside the car became even more unbearable.

We were cursing our decision of coming to Tamil Nadu in summers, but little did we realize that more were to come. After some time in the middle of nowhere our car had a flat tire. We had landed from the frying pan directly into the fire. Mr. Smarty took some time to replace the tire only to stop a little distance ahead to get his tire repaired at local shop. The place being at the middle of nowhere had no shops or even a little shade to offer us some relief. The dusty street and humid weather all added onto our agony. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity we again resumed our journey. To our relief the sun was almost about to set by then. We soon started climbing the meandering roads of Pilani Ghats. Our driver was so inexperienced that he soon went and hit a localite. To our relief, that man did not suffer any injury.  After an eventful day we reached Kodaikanal at about 8 at might. We had not made any hotel reservation thinking that we would easily get a hotel. But the sun had set and the small town was fast falling asleep. All the hotels we tried enquiring seems to be filled. In the meanwhile our Mr. Smarty tried to haggle with the local agents to get a neat cut of commission from them for getting us to their hotels. We were too clever to fall into his trap. We somehow found an accommodation near the market. The hotel was badly run and room was damp and was overpriced too. But since we were out of option we decided to check in for the night. The next morning we were up before the day break. We took a stroll to all nearby the hotels and soon found a decent hotel near the Croker’s Walk. After checking into the hotel and having breakfast at a nearby restaurant we started out for site seeing with our driver cribbing that the hotel owner had refused to pay him any commission for bringing him guest. No sooner had we started we realized that the driver had never ever come Kodaikanal. We took us on a joy ride around the lake for more than two times. I was too infuriated with him to tolerate him any longer. We got off near the taxi stand and booked our self a cab for Rs 600. It was only after that did I get some peace of mind.

The common places that people visit once in Kodaikanal are Suicide point infamous for being a favorite among people for committing suicide. The place is situated at the edge of massive ledge of rock with a deep valley beneath.

Pillar Rocks, three granite boulders each vertically measuring a height of 400 feet stand shoulder to shoulder. It is located 8 Km from the lake tower over the panoramic view. In the shadows of the pillars are shady woods that invite picnickers. The chamber between the two pillars is called Devil’s kitchen.

Dolphin Nose. To reach Dolphins nose at a distance of 8 kms from the bus stand, one has to follow the route specified here. There is an old road after crossing Pambar Bridge near levinge stream. A rough curve rounds the hillside which leads to a point where a flat rock projects over an awful chasm of 6600 feet deep. This is Dolphins nose.

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. Pony rides by children and adults walking around the lake are part of Kodai Holiday.

Croaker’s Walk, 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. One must be aware of a fascinating phenomenon called ‘Brachem Spectra’. 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. 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, bird’s eye view of Periyakulam and even city of Madurai.

 

 

This post is an entry for a contest by CupONation, an online retailer of discount coupons, and The Shooting Star travel blog