I find a cottage in the hills, and choose to layback and do nothing else…. Well, almost.

Kodaikanal – heard so much about the place, I decided it was time to go and experience it for myself. I’ve traveled quite a bit this year – seven destinations – one each month starting with Wayanad in October 2016 to Kodaikanal in April 2017. The idea this year is to do one trip each month – so far so good. Let’s see how things work from here on.

Coming back to Kodai, it’s an 8 hour drive from Bangalore. A fairly pleasant drive in fact. Roads in this part of the country are top notch. I took the route highlighted in the map above – starting early from Bangalore, stopping in Salem for breakfast and then driving all the way to Kodai. The road is mostly flat – and you encounter hills only at the very end of the journey – once you bypass Dindigul.

Once you do start climbing, you climb quickly, and are presented with some gorgeous views of the valley beneath.

The road up to Kodai is fairly busy. Much like the town itself. Kodai is one of the more commercial hill stations in this part of the country. Its not unusual to get stuck in a traffic jam in this town, especially on the weekends.

This wasn’t something I was aware of before I visited the place. If I had known, I probably would’ve chosen to visit on a weekday. Nonetheless, the trip panned out pretty well on the whole. Largely because I found a quaint cottage in the heart of Kodai town that had a spectacular view of the valley. Well, it would’ve had a spectacular view of the valley – if the valley weren’t covered in a sheet of haze.

Villa Retreat, this place is called, and I’m sure it’s one of the best places you can choose to stay at while in Kodai. There are 2 reasons for this. One, this place is in the heart of Kodai, but it isn’t in the most crowded part of the town. That trophy goes to the market area about a 500m walk away. Two, the view from Villa Retreat is absolutely gorgeous – especially at sunrise.

The hotel is blessed with an old-school charm. One that evokes feelings of warmth on a cold summer evening.

One of the highlights of the trip was the cup of tea right after I reached the place. It was cold – oh yes it was! It had stopped raining only about 10 minutes ago. Perfect time for a sippa tea, I’d say!

I was determined to do absolutely nothing on this trip, but curiosity trumped laziness (that doesn’t happen too often), and I decided to take a road trip to Manavanur Lake. The lake is situated about an hour away from Kodaikanal.

I’m kind of pleased that I got out, cuz the drive to Manavanur is absolutely breathtaking. You go through dense forests (amongst the densest I’ve ever seen), but just when you think you’ll never get out of the woods, the road opens up, to something like this:

And onwards to Manavanur. The lake is fairly secluded. If you get there in time, you have the optionof taking a Coracle ride – a fairly pleasant experience. Though not as memorable as the one I had in Coorg.

But that’s not the point of Manavanur. The idea should be to get here mid afternoon and then just soak in the greenery, the silence, and maybe even trek around a bit. The local authorities have done a splendid job of carving out designated trekking routes.

So much so that I actually think this place was the highlight of the trip.

On the whole, Kodai is a good place to visit. I’d probably want to be back here on a weekday, when its not as crowded as it was this time around.