Kodaikanal, fondly referred to as the "Princess of Hill stations", is a small hill station situated in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Established in 1845 as a summer retreat by the British, Kodaikanal became one of the most popular tourist destinations of the region. Ideal for a weekend trip, the calm and soothing hilly air of the area makes it a popular honeymoon destination.
The weather of Kodaikanal is mostly monsoon dominated subtropical climate. According to travelers, due to high elevation the temperature remains cool throughout, and one can visit the hill station anytime of the year. However, it is during the summers that the weather is at its best.
Kodaikanal is situated on the plateau above the encampment of the Palani Hills. The Parappar and Gundar Valleys, surround the city, are great places for hiking and trekking in the region. These hills are covered in grasslands and meadows, which showcase the rich flora and fauna of the area. During spring, the view of the grasslands covered in flowerbeds of magnolia and rhododendrons, is simply enchanting. The area is popular for its fruit trees, especially sweet tasting pears. One translation of Kodaikanal in Tamil means "Gift of Nature" due to the beauty and the panoramic view of the region, which never fails to mesmerize the tourists.
The farmers of the area practice terrace farming, apart from animal husbandry. Many are also engaged in hospitality sector, which is an important contributor to the economy. Most of the people are Tamilians, but a minor section of the aboriginal communities of Paliyans and Puliyans can also be found. The culture of the region is the result of a unique combination of colonial traditions and Tamilian heritage.
Kodaikanal is well-known for its home-made chocolates and cheeses available in the local bakeries. Many shops sell essential oils made from the locally sourced products. The bone and walnut craved products of Kodaikanal are also popular.
One can find references to the mist covered hills of Kodaikanal, in the texts belonging to the Sangam Period. The historical records point out - Paliyan tribesmen were the earliest settlers of the region. Archeological evidence indicates that the area was home to human civilization during the early Chera Dynasty. In 14th century, the region came under Madurai Nayak Dynasty.
The modern Kodaikanal was founded by the American missionaries and British bureaucrats in 1845 as a summer retreat and to avoid deadly tropical diseases. After 1947, Kodaikanal was included into the state of Tamil Nadu. The charming weather and scenic beauty of the region influenced many Indians to settle in the region. Currently, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Tamil Nadu.