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Kodaikanal General information

Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the taluk division of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Its name in the Tamil language means "The Gift of the Forest". Kodaikanal is referred to as the "Princess of Hill stations" and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination. It's a lot cooler in temperature than lower elevation cities such as Chennai and Bengaluru.

Kodaikanal was established in 1845 as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. Much of the local economy is based on the hospitality industry serving tourism.

CTYMOLOGY: It is not known who first used this name or what they intended it to mean. However the following explanation makes some sense. By pronouncing with long Tamil 'O' as ko...dai means the summer and kanal means to see, which means a place to see in Summer. Kodaikanal is actually a summer forest.

The other interesting explanations are, the Tamil language, has four versions are defined to the name "Kodaikanal". It is interesting but it is not known who invented this name. The word Kodaikanal is classified into two words as Kodai and Kanal. Here "Kanal" means in Tamil that the dense forest or the closed forest. Then "Kodai" has four different meanings. With its meanings Kodaikanal meant in four ways. By pronouncing with long Tamil 'O' and KO....DI means "the end". So that KO...DI KANAL means "The End of the Forest" in the bygone days, Kodaikanal is situated at the end part of the thick forest. Nowadays it is developed but the beauty is still kept.

By pronouncing with short Tamil 'O' as KODI means "The Creepers". So that Kodaikanal means "The Forest of Creepers". "The Forest of Creepers" is also thought to be the English language meaning given in 1885 during the early western habitation of the place, and is still accepted. They called like this with its beauty.

By pronouncing with long Tamil 'O' as KO....DAI means "The Summer". So KO...DAI KANAL means "The Forest of the Summer". Kodaikanal is actually a summer forest. By pronouncing with short Tamil 'O' as KODAI means that "The Gift". So that "Kodaikanal" means "The Gift of the Forest" Kodaikanal was created by the forest and it surroundings. So it may be called as the gift of forest.

Another Tamil word for creepers is Valli, the honey collecting daughter of the chief of the Veddas mountain tribe. The chief and his wife prayed to the Mountain God for a girl-child and their prayers were answered when the chief found a new-born girl child during a hunting expedition. As she was found among creeper plants, they named the child Valli and she grew up as princess of the tribe in Kurinji and became the consort of lord Murugan. The romantic traditions of Murugan in Sangam literature are thus associated with the name Kodaikanal.

HISTORY: The earliest residents of Kodaikanal were the Palaiyar tribal people.. The earliest specific references to Kodaikanal and the Palani Hills are found in Tamil Sangam literature of the early Common era. Modern Kodaikanal was established by American Christian missionaries and British bureaucrats in 1845, as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. In the 20th century a few elite Indians came to realise the value of this enchanting hill station and started relocating here.

Tourism has been impacted by industrial pollution issues including the closure of a mercury factory owned by Unilever's Indian subsidiary Hindustan Unilever after evidence of widespread mercury pollution. to date no proper clean-up operation has been mounted.

GYOGRAPHY: The town of Kodaikanal sits on a plateau above the southern escarpment of the upper Palni Hills at 2,133 metres (6,998 ft), between the Parappar and Gundar Valleys. These hills form the eastward spur of the Western Ghats on the Western side of South India. It has an irregular basin as its heartland, the centre of which is now Kodaikanal Lake a 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) circumference manmade lake.

Meadows and grasslands cover the hillsides. Gigantic Eucalyptus trees and shola forests flourish in the valleys. Mighty rocks and cascading streams. rise up from the valleys. There are many high waterfalls and ubiquitous gardens and flower beds in bloom.

Kodaikanal is known for its rich flora. Of the big trees, cypress, eucalyptus and acacia are the dominant varieties. Pear trees are numerous and the fruits are of high quality. Competing with the fruit trees are the flowering ones - mainly rhododendron and magnolia. Large dahlias of different hues are the main attraction of Bryant Park, situated close to the Kodai lake. Water lilies in the park's pond are another pleasing sight. The town abounds in a kind of beautiful yellow wild flowers.

North of the town, high hills that slope down into the villages of Pallangi and Vilpatti stand guard. On the east the hill slopes less abruptly into the lower Palnis. A precipitous escarpment facing the Cumbum Valley is on the south. On the west is a plateau leading to Manjampatti Valley, Indira Gandhi National Park, the Anamalai Hills and the main body of the Western Ghats.

SEASON
Peak Season: April - June
Low Season: Feb - march | july - september
Second Season: October - junuary

 
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