As I’ve forgotten the order of our visits and on which of the 3 days we went to each, (we returned only two days ago but my memory is like a freaking sieve, I tell you) I shall list the rest in no particular order.
1) Pillar Rock(s). The first day we went it was quite unexceptional, because there was nothing but mist beyond the railings, monkeys who posed patiently for pictures with practically an arm slung across the brave shoulders of tourists, and the ubiquitous stripy ear muffs. We paid a woman 5 rupees to take a picture of us sitting next to her stuffed toy tiger. We didn’t want to stand next to the monkeys, yet found the experience lacking a certain something if we couldn’t have any animals in our photos. The next day we visited again in case the mist had cleared up and was rewarded by an awe inspiring view of rocks jutting up into the sky like pillars. It was magnificent, like the product of special effects in a Spielberg movie, and I almost expected to spot a pterodactyl or two near the misty summit of the rocks.
2) Bear Shola Falls. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Very few people. NO ear muffs. A tranquil walk amongst coniferous trees ended in a prodigious rock with a waterfall spilling down its length. Its solitude made it my favouritest place in Kodaikanal.
3) Green Valley View/Suicide Point. A colleague had told me before I left for Kodai that there were people employed to collect bodies that pile up at the bottom of this place. I have a sneaking feeling this is ENTIRELY why my husband agreed to take a day off from work for the Kodaikanal trip. Unfortunately by the time we located this place (it’s actually not called Suicide Point, hence the confusion) Jeet had fallen quite ill (hills never agree with us, ask my college buddies. I was so notorious for falling sick on trips to the hills that the professor meant to accompany us on one of our college trips to Sikkim showed great reluctance to take me.) and stayed in the car while the rest of us went to investigate.
I guess I was expecting something spooky; or at least a lonely, desolate place where people feel they can die in privacy. “I was on the top of the hill, and the sun was shining down on me. So I figured it was a nice day for a bit of a suicide.” What I didn’t expect was stairs lined with earmuff shops ending in a viewpoint protected with a high spiked fence. Frankly, if one has the energy to climb all those stairs, fight off the earmuff vendors and the teeming multitudes that constituted their clientele, and THEN be limber and tough enough to scale the nasty looking fence – I would enter my name in the Olympics instead of providing employment for the body gatherers of Suicide Point.
4) Pine Forest: We went to a stretch of the Pine Forest that looked quite touristy, and therefore, thick with retired Bengali people taking a stroll in their shawls. Again, my husband and I stayed put in one place, as our friends went for a walk in the pine forest. We watched a particularly foul tempered Pomeranian dog chase monkeys and a cow indiscriminately around the clearing where we waited. The monkeys shinned up the trees in a trice, and the poor cow looked wistfully after them, like she would’ve liked to but was too dignified to make a monkey of herself.
5) And last but certainly not the least…The Kodaikanal Lake. It’s a man-made star-shaped lake at the heart of the hill station. A view of the lake from higher up on the slope is quite something. The day we arrived in town all we could talk about was the boating. “When shall we go boating on the Kodai Lake? Shall we go now? Later on in the day? Tomorrow? The day after?” “I don’t KNOW. STOP asking me!!!” We finally went to the Kodai Lake on the second day around 5 in the afternoon and were told by the first boathouse that they’d closed shop a little while ago. So we resolved to walk to the next boathouse along the lake where we would be sure to get a boat. 5-odd kms, 2 hours, one corn on the cob, one cup of tea, and a few fists of masala muri later we had done a complete circuit of the lake and all three boathouses without any luck.
Once I’d got home and taken off my one-size-too-small-but-pretty Reeboks, I decided the walk had been great fun.
And that’s about all we did before we set out again for Bangalore early on Sunday morning. This time we (I use the term loosely) drove during the day, and like the wind -- towards home.
Aaaah. (Say it with me) There’s no place like HOME.