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If you’re on the lookout to get away from the maddening city life or to take a break from the monotonous corporate lifestyle, look no further as we have answered your call. What better place to simply unwind and relax your mind and bodies than at the ‘Princess of Hills’- Kodai. But as always, here at Plan The Unplanned we do things a bit differently and this time it’s no different. We’re taking you to explore a side of Kodai that you barely get to see nowadays, away from the tourist crowds and into untouched and pristine lands.
Located 40 kms from Kodai town, this campsite of ours offers everything that Kodai once was minus the negatives. A place where tourism has yet to leave its mark with fairytale-like landscapes, pristine waterbodies, crisp and virgin mountain air, picturesque sights and landscapes all around. Get transported back in time as you spend a weekend doing nothing and everything, at a place straight out of heaven.
This itinerary is specifically designed for those who simply want a laid back weekend and want to take things slow and at their own pace in the most scenic and enthralling locales along with a dash of adventure.
|TREK DISTANCE||10 kms (One Side)|
|PICK-UP POINTS & TIMINGS||
|THINGS TO CARRY||
We begin our trip from Bangalore as strangers but not for long as our fun and energetic trek leads have some exciting icebreakers up their sleeves to turn you lot into the best of friends overnight! Some call it magic but we simply consider it as another part of the experience here at Plan The Unplanned. Once you’re all familiar with the group, spend the night playing some fun games, engaged in interesting conversations or simply settle in for the night looking forward to an adventurous journey up ahead.
Catch the first rays of light as we enter Kodai and watch the dramatic change of landscapes out the window. Boring highways and concrete structures now make way for thick forests and open meadows along with the crisp and cool mountain air filling your lungs.
Located far away from everything familiar we make our way through winding roads and remote villages to finally reach our destination. Once here we start our adventure with a short hike to our campsite alongside various vegetable and fruit plantations. Keep a lookout for the beautiful Lake that comes into view shortly, on the banks of which one can spot the blue and white tents of our campsite standing out amidst a shroud of crops and vegetation along the natural incline of the adjoining hillock. Make your way up to your tents and enjoy the morning hues. Once you’re all settled in and freshened up, gather together for a hearty breakfast made of the freshest and locally sourced produce which will be an experience in itself.
Today is all about exploring the campsite and some of its hidden gems located close by. Take a walk down to the lake that offers the perfect spot for some contemplation or if you’re the adventurous type, a quick dip in its freezing waters would provide a jolt of adrenaline rush that would last the entire day. A stroll through the picturesque pine-tree forest located on the opposite side of the lake is bound to give you an authentic Kodai experience and one you will cherish for a long time. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more adventurous, a longer hike along a stream leading up to the campsite leads you to a vantage point that offers grand views of the adjoining areas. One can also spot the world famous Neelakurinji flowers on this trail depending on the season of your visit.
We leave it up to you on how you wish to spend the first half of the day, explore the various sights, smells and experiences this place has to offer or simply chill out at the campsite with a hot cup of ‘chai’ taking in the view and the cold breeze; you can’t go wrong either way.
After a sumptuous lunch, we now get ready for an adventurous hike to a nearby hidden waterfall. A highly scenic walk through the nearby plantations gives you an idea about the surrounding landscapes and appreciate the lifestyle of the locals here who still live a simple life and make do with the bare essentials. Once at the main road, we take our bus to the starting point of the hike from where we’re offered a birds-eye view of the waterfalls cascading down in their full glory (Expect the water levels to be less in the winter months as compared to the Monsoons). The trail is a continuous descend amidst thick vegetation leading all the way to the bottom of the falls where one can enjoy a refreshing bath beneath its gushing waters after a tiresome trek.
Once refreshed, we now head back up the trail and back to our campsite by sundown. Give your legs a rest as we await a heartwarming dinner. The temperatures drop rapidly in these parts post sunset. Do make sure you have adequate layers of clothing to keep you warm. And if that doesn’t help, huddle around the campfire and spend the night under the open skies with some good company and interesting conversations. Did we mention this is also a great place for some stargazing and night photography? Let the fun and games while away into the night or settle in for a good nights sleep inside your cosy tents. Either way, as they say, the best nights are the ones spent in tents.
Despite the long night, we highly recommend getting an early rise the next day to witness the first rays of light playing around with the mist-laden surface of the Lake for a spectacle of a display. It’s guaranteed to be a chilly morning so grab your hot cup of chai and head down to the lake as the morning hues here will leave you breathless. Take your own time to take in as much as you can of the splendour around you before packing up your bags and heading down for breakfast.
But fret not, as our day’s adventure is only about to start. Once we bid farewell to our previous night’s abode and the magical views surrounding the place, it’s now time to head back to Kodai and towards Vattakanal.
“Vatta” meaning Circle & “Kanal” meaning Forest, when put together roughly translates into “Forest in Circles”. The locals also refer to it as “Little Israel” since the place literally transforms into an Israeli town from around October when thousands of Israelis flock to this little hamlet.
Our first stop is the famed Vattakanal Falls. This gentle waterfall is actually one of five waterfalls spread across a large area. Surrounded by a canopy of pine trees, one can actually take a short walk along its banks and get transported to another world altogether.
The road leading to the falls is also strewn with fruit vendors selling everything from avocados, water apples, egg fruits and several local delicacies unknown to us city dwellers. However, do keep a look out for the mischievous monkeys in the area who’re constantly on the lookout for a quick snack and won’t hesitate to snatch your own.
From here we make our way to the famous Altaf’s Cafe for lunch. Reminiscent of the cafes in Manali, the walls here are splashed in turquoise blue along with hand-painted illustrations of life here; monkeys, a man lost in a book, a Kathak dancer and so on. The café is airy and offers a peaceful view of the valley down below while you enjoy your hearty meal. Keeping in mind the Israelis who visit the place every year, the menu offers cuisines ranging everything from Mediterranean to Italian to Indian.
Post lunch we begin our trek down to Dolphins Nose. The descend takes close to an hour but the numerous viewpoints en route and the pine trees hovering high above make it a pleasant affair. The place gets its name from a rock protruding out into the valley down below in the shape of a dolphin’s nose. The faint-hearted can choose to look at the valley below from far away or choose to be more adventurous and take a sneak-peek by walking right up to the edge of the rock for a quick adrenaline rush. For the selfie lovers out there, be sure to watch your steps here, literally!
Next up, we proceed further up ahead to Echo Rock and as the name suggests, you can hear your echo quite clearly from this vantage point. It’s a circular rock perched on the edge of a cliff and can be quite scary to climb onto. However, the panoramic views from here make the climb worth it.
Now its time to return back to Kodai where we shall stopover for some quick shopping if time permits before hopping on our buses back to Bangalore with a heart full of fond memories and experiences worth looking back to. We expect to reach Bangalore by 5 am the next morning.
So what’re you waiting for? Take a break from the monotony, unwind and escape to a more simpler way of life with Plan The Unplanned with our perfect weekend getaway at Kodaikanal.
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