I can feel the excitement of the school year finale in the air. We’re in the middle of the annual exams. We’re ripping out tattered covers of books knowing they need not be covered again. We’re using up extra notebooks as rough books. I am already dreaming of late mornings and leisurely toilet time. As usual I have a whole lot of things I want to do this summer including vathal making, de-cluttering the house, teaching kids some basic cooking, signing them up for some fun classes, re-arranging some of the furniture, catching up on 6 months’ magazines, finishing all the un-read books in the bookshelf/kindle, maybe going on a short vacation.. I may have planned for the next 5 summers. I am getting all tangled up just thinking about them.
Talking about vacations, we went on a mini weekend vacation to Kodaikanal last month. It was quite a last minute thing. I did not really believe a 2-day vacation would amount to much. I am happy to say I was wrong. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable, relaxing vacations in recent times. We didn’t do any of the regular sightseeing. We skipped all the viewpoints, waterfalls and must-see places. With summer vacation around the corner, I thought it might be useful to share my lazy person’s guide to kodaikanal.
Find a nice spot, sit and simply look at the lake
We checked into Carlton that’s just along the lake and were lucky enough to be staying in a beautiful lake facing room. We’ve been going back to Carlton Kodaikanal for several years now. Mornings, we woke up early, went out to the balcony and quickly ran back in shocked by the ice cold floor outside. We’d head back wearing slippers, sit down hugging ourselves in the nippy air and look across at the misty lake mesmerized. It’s still early, much before the cycling and boating enthusiasts are out. It’s quiet and peaceful. We wonder how life would be for the family that lives in that house across the lake. We order coffee through room service, not wanting to leave the setting.
Snack and walk around the lake
The kodaikanal lake has an almost 5km circumference and is usually crowded with tourists. You can hire a cycle and cycle around the lake. Or you can walk around the lake. When you’re hungry, stop for a snack of bread omelette, maggi or milagai bajji and sharp ginger tea. Oh my! I am a sucker for food-place situations. That’s how I make sense of the world. That chilly evening, eating hot maggi and milagai bajji at the street-side shop across the lake, dodging cyclists and watching tourists was my kind of Michelin star meal.
Eat Hot chocolate everyday
This is the kind of hot chocolate you eat with a spoon – thick, luscious and so sinfully decadent. I am quite certain Jagan plans trips to Kodaikanal just because he can drive around hair-pin bends and eat hot chocolate at the end of it. Here he eats hot chocolate quite lost to the rest of the world and unwilling to share with the kids. There are plenty of shops that sell homemade chocolates in Kodaikanal. This particular place on bazaar road is called Mana’s chocolate factory and is a short walk from the lake. It sells stellar homemade chocolates and this ingenious hot chocolate. If you’re in kodaikanal, you must try this hot chocolate.
Horse riding and Pedal boating
Kids thoroughly enjoyed horse riding around the lake. We figured it might not be too much exercise to pedal around in a pedal boat. So we hired a pedal boat. It was quite a fun thing to do as the kids fought to pedal most of the time; so we sat back and took in the scene.
Shop at Danish Display
Danish Display is one of my favourite haunts whenever I am in Kodaikanal. I have written a post dedicated entirely to the charm of Danish display. This lovely little shop is also on bazaar road at a walkable distance from the lake. It stocks lots of lovely vintage articles – enamelware, brass pots, walking sticks, ceramic ware, terracotta toys, flutes, lanterns and pretty knick knacks. You are sure to find something you like in this store. There is a quaint little cheese shop too if you are looking to buy some fine cheese. So many varieties to choose from. Choose your favourite cheeses and ask them to set these aside. You can pick them up on the way out of kodaikanal.
Visit the Kurinji Andavar temple
The Kurinji Andavar temple is a Murugan temple that sits at the top of a hill overlooking the surrounding mountains and people say that on a clear day you can see Palani Murugar temple from here. It is a small temple, not too crowded with a kurinji tree in the courtyard. It is quiet, pleasant and peaceful here. The crisp mountain air, the chill stone under your feet and the divine atmosphere soothes your mind. Try meditating here for a few minutes.
Drive to Poombarai
If you’re up for a short drive, then drive to this pretty hamlet nestled amidst mountains. Poombarai is a picturesque village a short drive from the lake. There is a little temple and colourful houses all around. Women carry firewood to their homes and little boys and girls run around. The view of this village is quite breathtaking.
Do share your lazy ways to spend the summer vacation. I’d love to hear. Happy Holidays everyone! Where are you travelling this summer? Let me know in the comments.