As you wind up the road towards Kodaikanal, one of the most popular hill stations in the country, your expectations will soar. This is easily one of the most scenic mountain drives in the country. The Palani Hills roll outwards towards green vistas dotted with lakes. The shola forests in these parts have a quiet and vivid beauty. The foliage is dense and varied, ranging from dappled yellows to intense greens. Wildflowers abound. As mist rolls on and off the hills, you’ll find yourself understanding clichés about journeys being more important than destinations.
Once you enter Kodaikanal town, however, your spirits may sink a bit. The starfish-shaped lake is beautiful but the town centre is overrun with block-like buildings and there is an alarming amount of construction going on. Hotels and restaurants vie for attention. The impressive Kodaikanal International School dominated the main square. And there are more signs advertising homemade chocolates than you can comprehend. Don’t run yet.
The pleasures of slowness are still to be found in Kodai, in nooks and corners, down secluded paths, in unexpected places. Veer off the usual sightseeing tracks, shirk the guides, go solo when you can, and take your time about it. Kodai is a place to let you most adventurous side loose – or your laziest.