Kodaikanal sits at about 2000m above sea level and is centred around a star shaped lake which is surrounded by forests of Pine Trees intermingled with Eucalyptus. It’s a holiday destination popular with Indians looking to escape the heat and gaze over the plains of Tamil Nadu below. It a bit of a hodgepodge of a town with a centre filled with touristy shops and restaurants which then spreads out around the lake and is mostly filled with hotels and streets lined with stalls selling food, chai and a whole host of other things. The most noticeable were the amount of jumpers and jackets for sale as I guess many visitors would have been experiencing the cold for the first time! We both commented to each other that the place had a nice vibe and we immediately felt glad that we had come for a visit.
We set off this morning in search of views over the plains below the Western Ghats and were very quickly walking along Coaker’s Walk gazing out over a magnificent view. The walk was only a couple of hundred metres long lined on one side by hawkers selling all sorts of things from sunglasses to carrots! The other side though was a particularly impressive view. We couldn’t see all the way to the horizon due to a cloudy haze but it was all still breathtaking and the fact that we were up at altitude meant that the heat wasn’t too oppressive.
Ideally we wanted to go on a long hike through the pine forests but we haven’t been very fortunate in organising hikes so far in India so instead we went on a recommended route which took us across and slightly down the mountainside along a variety of roads and pathways. I wouldn’t have described it as ideal hiking but the views were pretty good. There were plenty of others on the hike and a lot were keen to find out where we were from and depending on how good their English was we might have a conversation. It was a very pleasant walk down and back up and some of the viewpoints were spectacular.
We have noticed that in India there seems to be a huge respect for the fellow human as well as animals yet there seems to be no concern whatsoever for the state of nature. By this I mean that there is rubbish everywhere! In fact there were a couple of spots we stopped at where the amount of rubbish on the ground made what should have been a lovely place into a place which was quite unpleasant to be in. I presume it’s a case of education and facilitation of rubbish removal and disposal but there is a long long way to go at the moment.
We were fairly hungry after our 15km “hike” and when we got back into town we stopped at a local restaurant for some Thali. Which is a lunchtime dish which is an all you can eat affair where you are presented with a large silver dish, on which is a collection of smaller dishes containing a variety of different curries. You are given a dollap of rice, a poppadom, some chapati or roti and the rest is up to you. We have seen people eat just one curry or mix them all together but any way you eat it it’s a lovely combination of flavours. It’s also a really fun meal to eat with your hands, a practice I have to admit I am really beginning to enjoy!
The early afternoon was quite hot in the sun so we rewarded ourselves with a bit of relaxation time. Sarah is doing yoga everyday and I am really enjoying learning some meditation.
The weather was still beautiful come late afternoon so we decided to go for a walk around the lake. It was a bit chilly so we had to put jackets on but it was really relaxing walking around the lake. I think it was the peace and quiet that we probably enjoyed the most. There were plenty of stalls along the way and we noticed that the odd one was surrounded by groups of men drinking tea. Well we had to join in. The tea we got first was incredibly milky, sugary and strong. It was only served in a tiny cup so after a couple of sips you were finished. The second variety was Masala tea which was made by adding tea, masala, ginger and a few other spices to milk and then heating before adding sugar and again serving it to us in a small cup. This was simply delicious and we are going to have to find out what the extra spices are so we can enjoy it later.
It was really nice to get back into nature again for the day and also to have a day off from the heat!! T
Some of the breathtaking views we were treated to.
One of the many locals we met along the way.
Eucalyptus found all over the world.
Sarah sat at the edge of Dolphin’s point. (Dolphin?)
We stopped for a Nungu. We were amazed that this man still had all of his fingers!