The cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, Madurai, is famous for being the town of temples boasting of the various popular places of worship, such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple amongst many others. Its central location makes it convenient for tourists to take a one day sightseeing tours to Kodaikanal, Rameshwaram, Pollachi etc.

If you are visiting Madurai for a long weekend, you might as well consider visiting Kodaikanal for a day trip. From a religious tour in Madurai to a relaxing day in the quaint hill station Kodaikanal in the Western Ghats, you will be able to explore the best of both worlds in your one day Madurai to Kodaikanal Trip by Car.

Known as the princess of Hills, Kodaikanal, literally meaning the ‘Gift of the forests’ in Tamil, is an ideal destination for a day trip from Madurai. The drive from Madurai to Kodaikanal is pleasant where one can witness the panoramic views of the hills with green picturesque sceneries.

Usually the roads are well maintained and there are hardly any steep bends. The distance between the two cities is approximately 120 km and can be covered in roughly 3 hours. You will also witness various small waterfalls where you can take a pitstop and click a few pictures enroute Kodaikanal.

Despite being surrounded by other commercialised hill stations such as Coorg & Ooty, Kodaikanal is quaint and it retains its rawness, peace and calm environment. This hill station nestled at an altitude of 7200 feet in the Palani Hills is surely going to bring you close to nature, help you relax and make you take a breath of fresh air.

What To Expect

To avoid traffic, we will start our trip from Madurai early in the morning by 7.30 am. Our cabs are equipped with all amenities along with a well-travelled driver will pick you up from your home or hotel in Madurai and will head straight to Kodaikanal. Everybody would want the window seat, so you and your co-travellers can take turns so that no one has to miss out on the scenic views one can experience.

As they say, it’s not just the destination, but the journey that matters. We are expected to reach Kodaikanal by 10:30 to 11:00 am and our first stop would be the Thalaiyar Falls, which is the highest horsetail waterfall in Tamil Nadu. From here we will drive to the Silver Cascade Falls, which is a steep waterfall surrounded by lush green plantation.

From Silver Cascade Falls, we will drive to the Berijam Lake which is also on the outskirts of the town and as a result is rather an unexplored yet a charming tourist destination. Next in your one-day sightseeing tour to Kodaikanal would be the Coaker’s walk, where you can enjoy a walk in a fenced pavement yet be close to nature.

We will then visit the Pillar Rocks which many tourists have compared with the Petunia towers. From here, we drive to the Green Valley viewpoint to see the Vaigai Dam. On our way to the Kodai Lake, we stop at the Upper Lake viewpoint to catch the star-shaped aerial view of the lake. Post which, we can indulge in horse riding or boating at the Kodai Lake.

After Kodai lake, visit the Bryant Park to witness some exotic flowers. Last but not the least, we make our way to the Shenbaganur Museum, which is one of its kind orchidarium that boasts of the rich history of the flora and fauna of the Palani hills. After this, we will depart from Kodadikonal for Madurai by 7.30 pm.

Places to Visit with 1 Day Madurai to Kodaikanal Trip by Car

1. Thalaiyar Falls

Thalaiyar Falls is the sixth highest waterfall in India and has a height of 975 feet. It is also known as the Rat Tail Falls because of its long thin white strip of silently gushing water which can be seen from far. If the weather is clear, one can even witness the falls from Dum Dum Rock View Point which is approximately 3.5 km away.

The Thalaiyar Falls is located on the outskirts of Kodaikanal but is on our way when travelling from Madurai.

One cannot reach the bottom of the waterfall by road since there is no official access to it. However, one can hike their way but only during the dry season. The hike is rather a difficult one and one has to pass through various mango and potato fields. At the bottom, there is also a shrine temple of Goddess Kamakshi.

  • Things to do: Do take out your cameras and capture the cascading waterfall. 
  • Timings: Open On All Days from 10.00 am to 6 pm
  • Fee: No Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Duration: 20 Minutes

2. Silver Cascade Falls

A hill station is nothing without its waterfalls and just seeing one waterfall wouldn’t do justice. We are lucky, as we will also get to see the Silver Cascade Falls on our way to Kodaikanal which is 8 km before the hill station. The waterfall had originated as a result of the overflowing man-made Kodai Lake.

The water gushes from a height of 180 feet which also makes it accessible for tourists. One can also indulge in seasonal fruits being sold by street vendors at a walking distance from the waterfall.

  • Things to do: Carry an extra pair of clothes, so that you can even take a shower here or just splash water on your friends and family. One can also enjoy swimming in its water.
  • Timings: Open All Day from 9.30 am to 3 pm
  • Fee: No Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Duration: 30 Minutes

3. Berijam Lake

Nestled in the dense forests of the upper Palani hills is the Berijam Lake. The lake which is a reservoir came into existence due to the construction of a dam. The water of the lake acts as the primary source of drinking water for, Periyakulam, a small village near Kodaikanal.

The lake is surrounded by pine trees and is rich in its flora and fauna which makes it a rather calm and quaint place for visitors to enjoy nature at its best.

Do Note: To visit the Berijam Lake, one needs to obtain official permission from the forest department of Kodaikanal.

  • Things to do: The surrounding area of the lake is a habitat for various animals such as bison, langur, elephants, deer, etc. who often come near the lake to drink water. During your visit to Berijam Lake, do try and spot these animals. 
  • Timings: Open from October to May, from 9 am to 3 pm
  • Fee: Rs. 100/person
  • Recommended Duration: 1 Hour 

4. Coaker’s walk

The beauty of a hill station lies in walking amongst nature, feeling the cool breeze and spending time in the company of your loved ones. However, since the roads are busy, it is unsafe to do so. Which is why there is Coaker’s walk in the heart of Kodaikanal which is a man-made, one km walking pavement created for tourists to take a morning or an evening walk.

The pavement is also fenced for the safety of the visitors and thus is also kid-friendly. This walk will give you a breathtaking view of the landscapes of Kodaikanal and various viewpoints can also be witnessed from here.

  • Things to do: One can rent binoculars from the counter and get a clearer view of the valley. You could also try raw mango stripes and Bhel Puri being sold outside. 
  • Timings: Open All Day from 7.30 am to 6 pm
  • Fee: Rs.10/person
  • Recommended Duration: 40 Minutes

5. Pillar Rocks

Head to Pillar Rocks, a picnic spot in a mini garden with your full-day packed Madurai to Kodaikanal tour. There are three vertical rock pillars of the height of 400 feet, hence it is named as Pillar Rocks. Because of its mammoth size and its placement amid a dense forest, it is a sight to behold.

There are dark chambers between these pillars, known as the ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ that gives a bird’s view of the various sightseeing points. The spectacular background of the valley along with clouds hanging over the pillars also makes it a great place to take photographs.

  • Things to do: Apart from taking your picnic here, you can also feast on onion and potato fries with a hot cup of tea or coffee. 
  • Timings: Open All Day from 09:30 am – 04:00 pm.
  • Fee: Free
  • Recommended Duration: 40 Minutes

6. Green Valley View

The Green Valley View offers a mesmerising view of the Vaigai Dam. It also offers a scenic view of the valley which is at a depth of 5000ft and is surrounded by lush green plantations. The viewpoint is fenced to ensure safety to its visitors.

During your walk to the green valley viewpoint, you will come across a lot of locals selling handmade ornaments, chocolates, Eucalyptus Oil, Ooty Tea Powder, staring at just Rs.100 which can make for perfect souvenirs for one to take back.

There are also a lot of monkeys around this sightseeing point but do not be scared as they won’t harm you.

  • Things to do: If you are a nature lover, hike up to the point to catch the mesmerising view of the Vaigai Dam.
  • Timings: Open All Day from 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM
  • Fee: Free
  • Recommended Duration: 30 Minutes

7. Upper Lake View

One can visit the Upper Lake View Point either on their way to Green Valley View or while coming back. This viewpoint gives an aerial view of the star-shaped Kodai Lake that was created in 1863 by Sir Vere Henry Levinge. Being surrounded by greenery on all sides further adds to its magnificence.

Not just that, it gives a 360-degree view of the valley and tourists are left spellbound by its marvellous beauty. Tourists often stop here to indulge in the classic hill station delicacies like Maggie, bread omelette, soup, coffee etc.

  • Things to do: Eat a quick bite here with the view of the lake and the hills. 
  • Timings: Open All Day from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Fee: Free
  • Recommended Duration: 30 Minutes

8. Kodai Lake

After taking an aerial view of the Kodai Lake from the Upper Lake View Point, we will then visit it closely. It was built by the Britishers and it is said that it also used to be their swimming ground.

The depth of the lake is 3m and is at a height of approximately 2300m above sea level. A lot of flora can also be found in the catchment area of the lake.  If you are somebody who enjoys cycling, you could even cycle this distance.

  • Things to do: Boating, Cycling, Horse Riding are popular things to do at the Kodai Lake. One can either opt for a Gondola Boat Ride or a Luxury Boat ride as per their preference.
  • Timings: Open All Day from 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Fee: Free
  • Recommended Duration: 1 Hour

9. Bryant Park

Next in your itinerary during your day tour to Kodaikanal is the Bryant Park which is located on the eastern side of the Kodai Lake. It is a haven for somebody who is fond of flowers or gardening.

While one side of the park only grows exotic roses such as green roses, which are one of its kind, the other side has a greenhouse where various other plants and flowers are grown. This 20-acre park is also a demonstration centre for the students of Ornamental Horticulture who are often given practical lessons here.

  • Things to do: Spot a 175-year-old eucalyptus tree and an age-old Bodhi tree. 
  • Timings: Open All Day from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Fee: Rs. 30 for Adults & Rs.15 for Kids
  • Recommended Duration: 30 Minutes

10. Shenbaganur Museum

The last place of interest in our One Day Madurai to Kodaikanal Trip would be the Shenbaganur Museum which will not entice history buffs, rather, the botanical buffs. This is one of its kind orchidarium of the country and has various collections in the departments of Flaura, Fauna, Anthropology & Handicrafts from the Palini range.

With a herbarium of over 2500 kinds of plants & a unique display of butterflies, moths, snakes and mammals, this place is going to spike the interest of a nature lover. Currently, the Shenbaganur Museum is managed and maintained by the Sacred Heart College.

  • Things to do: There are two paper maps which explain the ecological developments of the Kodai range. One can spend time reading the map and understand the natural history of this place. 
  • Timings: Friday to Wednesday, from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM & 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM 
  • Closed On: Thursday
  • Fee: Rs. 30 for Adults & Rs.15 for Kids
  • Recommended Duration: 30 Minutes

What to Eat!

A trip to Kodaikanal would be incomplete without eating Pongal, Payasum, Dosa, Idli, Vada etc. Apart from these, you can always enjoy snacks that are very popular in various hill stations such as Maggie, Omelette, Onion and Potato Fries with Ginger tea or filter coffee. Kodaikanal is also popular for its freshly picked organic fruits which you can find outside various popular sightseeing spots.

What to Shop!

When in Kodaikanal, one must shop for handmade chocolates, organic eatables, jams, filter coffee and other souvenirs. Ladies can also buy handmade jewellery that they can easily find at the local shops.


A fresh change from the plains and away from the crowded streets Madurai, Kodaikanal will surely be a retreat. Relax in the lap of nature and come back rejuvenated. A perfect getaway, Kodaikanal can be visited with kids & family, college friends or even office colleagues. Book our one day trip from Madurai to Kodaikanal and ensure a comfortable yet wonderful experience.

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