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Sunday, 1 September 2013

COAKER KODAI




In July 2013, we visited Kodaikanal's Fairy Falls, illustrated above in a 1909 photograph, but we saw a very different sight:



The Fairy Falls were devoid of water. Despite the luxuriance of the vegetation in Kodaikanal, it is currently suffering from a lack of rainfall .  The Bear Shola Falls, which we reached by a short footpath that was hemmed in by overgrown plants - many with beautiful flowers, was almost dry, but not quite:



The same was the case for Silver Cascades (illustrated in my earlier blog: CLICK HERE ). However from a distance, the artificial lake for which  Kodaikanal is famous looks the same today:



as it did in 1909:



The 8 Km convoluted edge lake is bounded by a roadway.. This pleasant scenic pathway around the lake is lined with villas from different eras; stalls selling a variety of goods to visitors; and boat-houses. One group of stalls sells Tibetan goods:



There are numerous tea-stalls:



The biggest boat-house rents out anything from pedalos :


To fancy looking shikaras:


We hired a boat with an oarsman and spent about 45 minutes being rowed around a part of the lake:



There was a café in what looked like a very old Victorian dwelling:



This was closed as was the ferry station when we passed it:



We strolled around the lake on foot, but many rode on horses accompanied by grooms on bicycles:



There is a variety of trees around the water's edge, all labelled with interesting  information :



At one point along the lake there was a park dedicated to the memory of an Indian patriot:



Maharaja Ripudaman Singh (4 March 1883 – 12 December 1942) was  maharajah of Nabha, a Princely State in the Punjab , until 1923, when the British suspected him of nefarious deeds, and exiled him to Kodaikanal.  Further around the lake, there is a monument to Sir Vere Henry Levinge(1819-1885), who created it:



Its celtic motifs make reference to his Irish origins. His portrait adorns a wall of one of the boathouses: 



Within a few feet of this mnument to a British colonialist there stands a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The lake is undoubtedly one of Kodaikanal's greatest features. Another one of these is only a few minute's walk awasy from the lake. It is Coaker's Walk, one of whose entrances lies close to the Van Allen Hospital , which was founded by Dr Van Allen in 1915. Coaker's Walk is named after Lieutenant Colonel Coaker who was on duty in Kodaikanal in 1872 when the path that runs around Mount Nebo was constructed in 1872. The views from Coaker's Walk are spectacular:





All along the path, there were stalls  to amuse or distract those who hadd had enough of the  panoramic splendour:



The other end of Coaker's walk is  near the Doordarshan Television Tower, which may be reached after a steep climb up a forested slope. Here it is, partially enveloped by a passing cloud:



So much for outdoor attractions. Just outside the town in Shembaganur, there is a natural history museum that is in itself a museum piece:



It was founded in the 1920s by the Jesuit Philosophical Seminary  of Sacred Heart, which is adjacent to it. The exhibits that have been collected by the students and professors of this institution include some curiosities including  coins from the 'Saarland':



The obligatory animal skulls:




And a python spinal cord:



Even if you are not a nature lover, this antiquated museum is worth a visit. Now, you must be exhausted after all of this sight-seeing. I will reveal more about the attractions of Kodaikanal in another article




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