Kodaikanal is known to grow shrooms or ‘magic mushrooms’. These mushrooms contain psilocybin, a substance that leads to a state of euphoria and altered thinking. Increased consumption can also lead to hallucinations. The strange fact is that these mushrooms have not yet been declared illegal and so, they are available for sale and use. However, the government bodies are constantly working to curb its use. Previously, these mushrooms were used by tribal people for medical purposes but have now started being used for recreational purposes, as well. However, locals warn amateurs against venturing out into the wild to pluck these mushrooms as some of these mushrooms might also be poisonous.
Kodaikanal, the beautiful hill station is located in Tamil Nadu has been a hot favourite among travellers and newlyweds for its lakes, waterfalls, valleys and green hills. Vattakanal, quite close from Kodaikanal, is frequent during the monsoon season by people who are in search of the ‘magic mushrooms’. There are a lot of things one could do there, and I’ve jotted a few things one must definitely do when they’re in Kodaikanal
Things to do in Kodaikanal:
1) Lounge around by the Kodai Lake
As already mentioned earlier, Kodaikanal is home to some of the most beautiful lakes and waterfalls. Kodai lake is just 200 metres away from Coakers Road and you can walk it down to the lake if you’re staying at Coakers. The lake stretches over to 5 kilometres and is surrounded by a beautiful road that you can take long strolls on, with your family or friends. Grab an ice-cream or some chaat while you’re lounging around by the lake. You’ll also see some shops selling handicrafts, homemade chocolates, woollen clothes and spices, you can start your shopping spree right from here. Activities such as boating and cycling are also available at the lake.
2) Douse in the beauty of Bryant Park Botanical Garden
After you’re done relaxing at the lake, head to the Botanical Garden that’s close to the lake. You’ll reach the entrance to the Bryant Park Botanical Garden from on one of the ends of the Kodai lake. If you love greenery and flower-watching, this botanical garden is your paradise. The park was built by H.D.Bryant (hence, the name), the Collector of Madurai in 1908 and is spread over 20 acres. Almost green throughout the whole year, the garden is laden with beds of myriad flowers. They also have an in-house nursery from where you can pick up different varieties of plants at great prices.
3) Enjoy the views from Pillars Rock, Guna Caves and Dolphin’s nose
Pillars rock is a pair of sleek rocks that stand tall and are well-balanced. You can view the rock from across a ridge in the hills. After you’re done admiring the view of the pillars rock, head to Guna caves. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter the caves in an attempt to avoid any mishaps and accidents but the walk from the road to the cave is one to remember. Your next spot is the Dolphin’s nose. The view from this spot will be the most surreal view you’ll see as it gives you a bird’s-eye view of the landscape surrounding the entire area.
4) Relax by the Bear Shola Falls
Located just about 2 kilometres from the Kodai lake, the Bear Shola Falls are seasonal waterfalls and are also known as Silver Cascade. The waterfall gets its name from the bears that would frequent the spot to quench their thirst. Due to a large influx of visitors, neither the bears nor are any other animals seen around the area, anymore. The waterfall makes for the best spot to get some time off and just relax amidst the beauty of nature.
5) Tree-watch at Pine Forest
We’ve all heard of people-watching but have you heard of tree-watching? That’s exactly what you’ve to do at the Pine Forest in Kodaikanal. Long parallel lines of pine trees make for the most beautiful sight when you’re holidaying away from the concrete jungle and the urban life.
6) Trek to Elephant valley view
If you’re fond of trekking, trek to the Elephant Valley and witness some of the most breath-taking views. The trek is appropriate for beginners as it is relatively easy. As you go to higher altitudes, the view just gets better and you’ll be able to smell the freshness in the air. After you reach the top, the best feeling is looking down at the landscape and breathing in the best air you’ll get!
7) Visit the strawberry farms
It is a delight to watch tiny green shrubs with blossoming red strawberries at the strawberry farms in Kodaikanal. Great Trails Kodaikanal by GRT Hotels, owns the strawberry farm in Kodaikanal but you’ll have to seek permission and pay to visit the strawberry farm.
This photo of Great Trails Kodaikanal By GRT Hotels is courtesy of TripAdvisor
8) Visit the Sacred Heart Natural Science Museum
If you have an interest in nature and ancient artifacts, the Sacred Heart Natural Science Museum is a must visit place for you when you’re in Kodaikanal. The museum displays about 500 birds, animals, insects and also has an exotic collection of over 300 variants of orchids. The museum also houses ancient artifacts of the Palaiyar tribals who were early residents of Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal is definitely a treat for those who want to relax amidst nature’s captivating beauty and is an experience that must be felt at least once in a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your backs and head there right away.
If you’re not sure how to reach Kodaikanal, look no further! The best way to reach Kodaikanal is to travel via road from either Bangalore or Chennai. Your road trip will be filled with picturesque views of the landscape. Try and leave early in the morning to avoid traffic, about 6am would be good, so that you can reach Kodaikanal by afternoon.
The best location to stay at, in Kodaikanal is Coakers walk. Coakers walk is central to most of the tourist attractions in Kodaikanal and so, you would spend lesser time and money on travelling to these spots. Picking a hotel or resort near/ at Coakers walk is a good idea if you want to explore Kodaikanal but have a tight schedule. The nearest airport to Kodaikanal is Madurai and is about 120 kilometres away. You can fly to Madurai and then travel by road to reach Kodaikanal.
If you have any questions regarding Kodaikanal, feel free to comment or reach me on Instagram.