Discovery of Kodaikanal :
with Lieutenant Ward, an Englishman, who climbed up from the Kunnavan
village of Vellagavi to Kodaikanal in 1821 for a survey of Mountain
Ranges of Palani. In 1834, J.C Wroughten, the then Sub-Collector of Madras
and C. R. Cotton, Member - Board of Revenue - Madras Presidency
went up the hills from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at the head of
Adukkam pass near Shenbaganur. The visit of Dr.Wite in 1836 and his
observation about the Hill Station attracted Botanists to Kodaikanal. First
two houses named Sunnyside and Shelton, on the South Lake Road, were built between
1844-1845 by American Missionaries. Six more such American families migrated to
Kodaikanal. Exotic location at 7000 feet above the Plains brought them up here.
Stages of development
Travelers going to Kodaikanal began their journey at Ammaianayakkanur
village and had to travel almost 50 kilometers travelling long hours by bullock
cart up to Krishnamma Nayak Thope, then another 18 Km by Foot, Pony or Doli [carried
by the hired coolies]. In 1854, an improved 16 kilometers (9.9 mile)
bridle path was built from Krishnamma Nayak Thope. Sir Vere Hendry Leving created
the Kodaikanal Lake in 1863 and a Boat Club was set up in 1890 and Boating was introduced
to public and tourists only in 1932. Brightly Illuminated 9 Km circular Cycle and
Walkers path around the Lake is an added attraction now.
The economy of Kodaikanal predominantly depends on tourism.
Plans to Develop Kodaikanal started as early as 1875 when the Railway extended the
railway lines from Chennai to Tirunelveli and a train halting station was
built at Ammaianayakkanur village, to facilitate the visit to Kodaikanal. The station
was named as Kodaikanal Road Station.
The meadows, long stretch of forests, Woods slopes, mighty
rocks, bowers, creeks and slopes charms the tourists. Tourism Department
of Tamil Nadu has plans to add 40 boats to the Boat Club and also to lay Good Roads
to different locations within and Multi Storied Parking Lots and so on
Kodaikanal is famous for the kurinji – flowers that blossom once
in twelve years. One can go for cycling, horse riding, boating, trekking
or engage in many other mode of entertainment.