"At Kodai Resorts"
Comprising of Usha's family [her husband Gopal, in-law's,1-1/2yr old child Aishwarya (Aish)], and from my side my sister (Srividya), brother (Anand), college friend (Suni) & myself boarding the Summer special Nagercoil express. We started off for our destination Kodaikanal from Egmore with Aish all smiles on her first long trip and maintaining the same thruout the trip. The train journey was a bit bad with the rail tiers screeching making a hel lot of noise each time it stopped or tried slowing down.
13th April 2003 - So after somewhat good sleep we reached Kodai-Road at about 6.15am. So now we were ready to start our upward tour. After bargaining and with a known office colleague who were at the Kodai Road station joining in the upward journey, we succeeded in hiring a van [Mahindra type big one with a 12 seater facility at the same rate of Tata Sumo Rs.1300/-]. Well, before the travel uphill we had a nice breakfast at a self-service restaurant on the way before the climb. The travel uphill was good slowly with the climate changing to a bit of coolness. Of course the drive was a bit scary at some junctures when the opposite side drivers did not give a sound horn. Otherwise it was good, on the way we had a view of a Rat Tail Waterfall [exactly fitting its name as one could see water dripping, if the rains are good or after the showers the falls would at its best] and on reaching the ever-filled with water Silver Cascade Falls, one knows you are about to reach your destination, so about an hours drive from here [cause of the traffic jam as its tourist peak time] we reached our Kodai Resorts Hotel at 11am with the exterior looks and the flowers around giving the commendable look.
By the time we checked-in it was 12pm, and after we took a nice cold shower [the resort mentions 24-hr hot water availability but....] had a nice lunch [the service was very good with the items ordered served faster]. So by the time we started off to the lake was 3pm with a walk along the long route on the way enquiring at the travels for arrangements for the next day, we took the tickets for a boat ride at the TTDC counter. The boat ride was tiresome, obviously for the one's who pedaled as the boats were very badly maintained, with Usha and her hubby returning back within half an hour instead of the earlier planned one hour ride, the other cause being the slight sunshine. [would suggest taking a boat ride some time towards the dusk so the sun would not be problem]
After the wearisome boat ride, we had nice juicy chilly pineapples, masala puffed rice with raw mango, groundnut, etc., and refreshing ice cream/tea after the spicy bite. Hot fresh made chips were sold at the shops at the entrance of the Byrant Park which we bought and went to the park, which is just opposite the lake. The park was not maintained that glowing as expected to the entrance fee paid. We found a clean and cool place and rested off for a while munching the chips, with Aish and Srividya playing with a balloon, with the others taking a small nap. This time we had checked out the shortest route back to walk to the resorts thru the park. So Suni and myself started off a bit early after climbing some steps to rest in the sun to get some warmth and waiting for others to join us. It was by then 5.30pm, and planned to go to Coaker's walk which was just next to the resorts, but cause of the long walk our legs lead us to our rooms for some rest and we had a short nap to wake up at 7.30pm.
It was cold outside, so the few warm clothes packed along was very useful. We watched few programs on the various channels to pass away the time. There was a bon-fire at 8.30, but when we reached it had not yet started within that thought of finishing our dinner at the resort's restaurant [with only about 25% of the items mentioned in the menu available that we had almost memorized all the available items]. After that we joined the bon fire which was going with all silent seater's enjoying the hot fire and hindi songs [Taal] and went to bed by 10pm to start a refreshing day next.
14th April 2003, started of with a hot cup of coffee at the balcony, and after a hot bath Suni and myself relaxed some time in the gardens of the resorts while waiting for others to join and had a nice heavy breakfast. By the time, the vehicle arrived we decided to go for a short visit to the church near by. The small church was very peaceful and was a nice way to start the day. Aish enjoyed it very much and was walking from one end to the other.
At 10am we started to the Green Valley View, the pathway with full of shops loaded with home made chocolates, fancy ornaments, evergreen flowers leading to a view bound by fence and a bunch of monkeys awaiting your arrival. If it were not for the crowd, you can enjoy the deep valley view but you have no way of having a souvenir of the view along with your picture cause of the barricade. After viewing the valley, as we descended down to the vehicle we did some shopping of choclates and fancy orna.. The Golf ground is just opposite to this view entrance, and one can have a glance of the lush green area with permission restricted to only members.
After a 15minutes struggle in the traffic jam [think it will be peaceful other than the peak vacations] thanks to the dreadful parking arrangements we started off towards the Pillar Rocks. The parking facility was good here, but the crowd was here too convincing on the point that the world has become too small.
After a quick view we requested the driver to take us to places less crowded, so that we can enjoy the nature in peace. We set towards the pine forest, famous for cine shooting. The way through out is full of pine trees crossing the guna caves [we decided to ignore as it was crowded and now-a-days you are not allowed to go in]. We walked down a bit, was slippery if your footwear did not support, to an area in the middle of the trees. It was very nice, with cold and warm air with sunlight peeping in between the trees. After spending some time and taking few snaps of each of us in different poses, started off towards another viewpoint. At this place after a walk of about 10 minutes, we came across a valley view and one can descend down the steep rocks to the end, but a slip would take us to heaven, so we sat down besides some bushes to enjoy the scenery.
Then we were taken to Moir Point, where walking into the rocky path we stopped for some hot tea and fresh snacks packets [Dip-dip tea and all kinds of peppy's, biscuits -the only 2 shops put up here]. On checking out with some people walking upwards who had gone further into, decided that the path was tedious and never-ending so after watching the feeding to some monkeys we decided to go for lunch. On the way downtown to the main city, we stopped to see the upper lake view, which was very beautiful.
We reached downtown to one of the busy restaurants finding it very difficult to get tables to have a short quick lunch having each a plate of variety rice. It was 3pm by then, and we set of to Kurinji Andavar Temple, which has the plant of Kurinji flower blossoming once in 12 years [next 12th year being 2006] which also gives you a view of the Palani hills too. After giving way to temptation, each of us had our favorite bite of ice cream and set off to Chettiar Park. Aish had by then learnt to sing a bit and spell out 'Apple'. This was a private park, clean, very well maintained and was open until 5pm only, so we had only about half an hour to spend. We had a leisurely walk and had some rest before we were to start off to the lake.
We requested the driver to take us for a ride round the lake, the houses round the lake were very beautiful belonging to the Chairman of Kodai and other big shots, so we decided to go for a cycle ride and may be at least tryp out a pose on the pony's rather than a ride. We were thrust with the bi-cycle with no payment amount discussed, and started off with a struggle in starting [starting problem my friend and myself, its been years having last rode a cycle so after 2 tries were successful]. At the start, we were doubtful if we could finish the 31/2 km ride, paused twice for some quick mango bite, snaps, and for a short rest. Enjoying again the beauty of the gorgeous houses, hoping to buy one of them in our lifetime, we completed in about an hour without any thoughts of exhaustion [and the cost we had been imagining was surprising to be Rs.10/- for an hour for each cycle]. This was the best part of our day.
After a quick energy bite of plain pineapple and masala puffed rice, decided to take the long walk doing some shopping near the 7Roads Junction at the Tibetans bazaar for some bags and wooden articles and check out with the travel agents for the next days arrangements and reached our rooms by 7pm. After some refreshing short rest as we were not that tired, the day ended with nice dinner at the resort's restaurant, song-less bonfire and a good sleep. We planned to visit the missed out Coaker's walk the next day morning before we start off for our next destination - Munnar.
In the morning, after a good breakfast we started off to the nearby Coaker's walk, which had entrance fees and charges for camera (for the n cameras you carry so just carry visibly 1) and for the handycam. The view was breath-taking, with mist covering the place as we walked the 1Km long path way. We enjoyed again icecreams near the Telescope house now with mists covering all the view.
It was a very enjoyable trip far from the heat of Chennai and with nature plenty to offer on this charming hill resort.