They say it exists almost within the city but realms beyond. They say the forests are deep, dark and tall. They say this place is visited by the forest spirits and beasts of the mist. They say the view is for miles and ranges across. They say you can’t see your hand in front of your face. They say the streams have a tendency to commit hara-kiri over the canyon walls. They say the drizzle never stops! They say the sun lights it up! They say the fruits of the wild will make you dance!
And we tell you, all of it is true.
Nature, is what you find here; in all its simplicity and elegance. Long walks and short hikes. A extravagant cliff. A yawning valley that appears to exhale large mountains. They acquire the chameleon’s trademark; they are green, darker green, blue, grey and pink in the distance. A rivulet runs down the steep in dots of waterfalls and dashes of streams punctuating the grassy green.
A jutting outcrop of rock called Dolphin’s Nose is a short distance away. The village of Vellagavi, which one can see from up here in Vatta is a day-long hike. For the committed, Munnar is only a 5-7 day trek away. You can walk along the old Kodaikanal-Munnar “Escape Road” which is now shut to traffic and is used as a walking trail.
The colorful little houses spray painted on the green background are offered up as homestays. They come fitted standard with fireplaces, which in the winters, is a boon. Bring your own music, supplies and join in the party that the travelers bring to this little village. Midnight Party Alley, as we’ve coined the term, was characterized by the constant drumming of boots trampling the trail at all times of the day and night.
The lush green hills of Dindigul district are blessed with fertile soil and plentiful rain. This had made it a haven for organic and exotic crop farming. Passion fruit, Cherimoya and Avocado can be bought from the vegetable stalls. Of course they have local names; for e.g. Cherimoya is called Hanuman Phal.
Street carts in the Kodaikanal-Vattakanal area will offer up a delectable Eggs & Avocado sandwich, which can be done with or without cheese.
The cheese is also made in the Kodaikanal area and you’d be surprised to sample the spread: Cheddar, Black Pepper, Jalapeño, Parmesan, Blue Cheese and many more options.
Milkshakes are the norm of the day, and very deliciously so.
UcL Tip: A revelation is the homemade chocolates sourced from local produce, which can be bought by the kilo at rock bottom prices. Some of the varieties we sampled were Hazelnut, Butter Caramel, Cashew Dark, Milky Pistachio and White chocolate with cornflakes and almonds.
One needs to try out the local transport, the buses here have disco lights and blasting Tamil music. The décor is garishly colorful with plastic flowers and vines bathed alternatively in pink/purple/blue/green lights.
A curiously recurring affair is that of wicker baskets full of mushrooms being propositioned in a surreptitious manner. We hear the technical term for these is Psilocybin Mushrooms, the uses for which we’ll leave you to find out at your own convenience :)