The MISTical affair with Kodaikanal

The ‘Mist’cal Affair with Kodaikanal

The word “whimsical” really comes to life in a place like Kodaikanal. Not often do you get to whiff fresh air by the abundance. Not often do you get to take nature walks and appreciate the beauty we are surrounded by and certainly not often do you get to absorb the serenity of a place. But Kodaikanal provides all this and more.

Great Trails Kodaikanal by GRT hotels

Kodaikanal has always been special for us, but this time we received extra warmth from GRT Hotels, as we were hosted for a bloggers meet at GReaT Trails by GRT Hotels at Kodaikanal. GRT has proved time and again that hospitality is their forte and this time was no different. They left no stone unturned to make this trip as memorable as possible. Thank you GRT for the warmth and hospitality.

There is something special about blue sky and green meadows

THE GEOGRAPHY LESSON!

Kodaikanal is a quaint hill station in eastern Tamil Nadu surrounded by Palini hills. Located near Madurai, it provides the ideal weekend getaway for couples and nature lovers alike! It is described as the “princess of hill stations” and is one of the most scenic places in India.

MEMOIRS!

But Kodaikanal for us is something else altogether. Canvassing cliffs, the aroma of tea, freshness in the air and nostalgia best describe this place for us. Most of Vivek’s childhood vacations were spent lollygagging around Kodaikanal so much so that we call him the local guide of Kodai. Our unofficial google maps. Having said that, on this trip we discovered new places, quaint towns, lesser known lakes and forests, and landscapes which looked straight out of Europe. It’s amazing how this quaint little hill station has so much to offer.  It seems to be human nature that we are intrigued by things that are distant, while often overlooking fascinating treasures in our own country. Even after numerous trips to kodaikanal we keep falling in love with “kodai” all over again.

The hills are alive with sound of music

The cold mannequin

HIT THE ROAD!

Winding roads, facading ghats, and lush greenery fill the field of view as you drive from Madurai to Kodaikanal. Occasional breaks for monkeys, the natives to pass by and you hit the road again. Nothing quiet compares to the misty mountains and scent of eucalyptus wafting through the air. This is how we landed up in Kodaikanal.

The charm of embracing a green blanket around you.

Hello Kodaikanal

THE WELCOME and THE STAY!

GReaT Trails is a vast and beautiful property placed right in the lap of nature accenting its beauty and ambiance. Magnificent British style wooden chalets oozing elegance, with flower bedecked balconies greeted us graciously as we set foot in our rooms. Picturesque views of the valley and sumptuous food made the stay even better. I enjoyed my  crisp ‘podi-dosa’ and masala chai while Viv loved his eggs and poha for breakfast.Lunch was a delectable Indian affair and dinner, a perfect mix of international and local flavors.

Our cozy Timber Chalet

The quaint and charming Whistler’s Cafe

As night sets in..

Being nature lovers, we loved waking up early to the sound of chirping birds and sipping tea wrapped in light woolens. The clouds and mist kept playing pee-ka-boo with the mountains, and as the sun came up, the mist cleared and the entire valley unraveled before our eyes.

Misty morning -view from our room

Frolicking in the rain

I never met a sunset i didn’t like

SpecTREKular !

Breakfast overlooking the cliffs at whistler’s cafe including a widespread and delicious menu and a trek consequently, sounds amusing right? Well, the experience was more than amazing!

Elephant valley trek

It is a must try you a nature person. Lined with lush green fields and trees on either side, we crossed small villages, met a few locals, who were on their way to work.  We continued our trek but stopped every five minutes to soak in the view. The trek ends at the view point of the elephant valley; silhouetting cliffs and the vast horizon embrace you with open arms and suck you right into the world of bewilderment. The trek bore fruit, literally, as we munched on some fresh pears at the end of the trek.

Only the wind knows where it will carry our dandelion souls.

The start of the trek

It is not everyday that you are chased by a goat!!

Mandatory trek picture

Already chased by a goat, Viv trying his luck with the lonely horse.

This gorgeous view was worth the trek

You & I

A “fruitful” trek

The warm and friendly locals

THE FAIRYTALE FANTASY!

White picket fence and strawberry fields, straight out of a Victorian poem came to life at Kodaikanal as we were granted entry into GRT’s strawberry fields and had the opportunity to pick fresh strawberries and exotic seasonal vegetables like broccoli and capsicum. The jeep drive to reach the strawberry farm was thrilling as well. Did we mention the view of the mountains and valley from the strawberry farm is spectacular?

Joy ride

At the strawberry farm

 A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles

GOD AND GOOD FOOD!

Not every day do you get to see a 3000 year old temple and certainly not everyday do we get to eat by the lake. The poomparai kuzhandhai vellapar temple, a 3000 year old shrine for Lord Muruga, managed by the same administration as the Pazhani Malai Murugan temple has rich history behind it. It is said that a mystical substance has been buried in this temple which when combined with other rare artifacts can cure any illness in the world. Fascinating stuff!

A quick stop at the village of Mannavanur – an ideal picnic spot with carpets of rolling grasslands and meadows. We happily munched our sandwiches while admiring the beauty of this place.  We also visited Sheep and rabbit farm, where scientists work on sheep and rabbit development programmes.

Berijam lake on the facade of the Berijam forest epitomized scenic beauty and serenity and to have lunch by the lake was a dream come true. What was better was that there were like minded people, the fellow bloggers and friends who made lunch special. Every minute with the bloggers has been a gratifying and enlightening experience which we will cherish for ages.

Lunch scene by the lake

Post lunch we drove to the Kodaikanal forest, which is a restricted area. Prior permission is needed to gain entry to this forest. Driving around the forest gave us a sense of calmness; we spotted flying squirrels, Nilgiris langurs, monkeys and bison on our way! The monkey seemed thirsty and jumped on our car only to walk away with the water bottle. Boss in their own territory!

Placid waters of Berijam Lake

Into the wild

Cheeky Monkey

Sholas of Kodaikanal

The mist covered Sholas

The lonely guy

BONFIRE and MEMORIES!

The drive back makes you fall in love with off-road driving, the slow life and the beauty of nature. The hustle and bustle of the city is tiresome, anybody visiting Kodaikanal from a metropolitan city and a monotonous life will get cozy and comfortable with the slow, leisurely life the people at Kodaikanal enjoy. Yes, we feel you; bonfire and karaoke music would’ve been amazing right? Oh wait, we had that too! The team at GReaT Trails made sure that we experienced live barbecue alongside a bonfire. The karaoke show was more memorable as all of us tried to sing our hearts out and failed miserably which was insanely fun!

Bonfire and endless memories

THE ADRENALINE!

Amidst all this and fun and frolic it was time for  Ziplining. An adventure activity, which will get you pumped up and excited! GReaT Trails offers a plethora of such activities to keep you engaged and on your feet. It is the longest Zip line in South India. They also offer Swinging Bridge, Burma Bridge, Earthquake Walk, Charlie Chaplin, and Valley crossing which is sure to give you an adrenaline rush.

A long day ended with a good night’s sleep, and waking up to the sound of rustling leaves and chirping birds just to enjoy some hot aromatic tea! It was time to head back home but with fond memories of our all time favourite “kodai”.

Tea time is always a good time!

We are grateful to GRT Hotels and Resorts for having hosted us at their property and for giving us first class treatment, your hospitality as always, is unmatched. Also, our fellow blogger friends, the trip wouldn’t have been half as fun if not for you all. Thanks for being a part of this experience.

The Team

 How to reach?

 Nearest airport:

Madurai (120 km)

Trichy  (150 km)

Coimbatore (175 km)

Nearest Railway station:

Kodai Road (80kms)

Madurai (120 km)

Bus Service:

Regular bus services are available from the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Madurai

As of now the property offers 50% off on tariff during weekdays. To know more about the property, check their website https://www.grthotels.com/kodaikanal

We were hosted by Great Trails Kodaikanal By GRT Hotels, but the views are our own based on our experience

5 Comments

  1. Sandy N Vyjay 2 weeks ago

    Wow, Saakshi and Vivek, the post and the pics are so amazing. Loved reading your post and enjoyed looking at those pics. The wild buffalo pic is great!

    • Author
      SEATBACKUPRIGHT 2 weeks ago

      Thanks a lot Sandy and Vijay! You guys always motivate us to put in our best.

  2. Rashmi Gopal Rao 2 weeks ago

    Great post Sakshi and Vivek; bought back many fond memories…am going back to holiday mood now:)

    • Author
      SEATBACKUPRIGHT 2 weeks ago

      Thanks a lot Rashmi! I hope we catch up sometime soon 🙂

  3. Shaunak Marulkar 2 weeks ago

    I loved reading the review, especially the flow of the events described and the photos (“Vivek being your local guide of Kodai” and such other intrinsic aspects). Very nice.

    Cheers from Pune !

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