There are so many holiday resorts in India that are quite cheap to have. Kodaikanal is one such place. It is situated in South India in the State of Tamil Nadu. The nearest city is Madurai which is around 40 km from Kodaikanal. This is also the nearest airport. When you land in India from your place, you have to land at Chennai airport. There are connecting flights from Chennai to Madurai. Once you are in Madurai, you can straightaway book a tourist car to drive straight to Kodaikanal. The journey may cost you around $50.
Kodaikanal is a hill station. From the foot of the hills, it takes around two and a half hours to climb and reach the top of the hill. All the way you will enjoy the beauty of the nature and the climate is quite cool even during summer. The temperature is around 15° C to 20° C in summer. When every other place in India is suffering from scorching heat in the months of April, May and June, Kodaikanal being a hill state, it is a pleasant experience. There are many hill stations like Nainital, Mussourie etc in India but Kodaikanal is situated in a peaceful State Tamil Nadu and there are no law and order problems. A tourist can walk around the serene lake even late at night and return safely to his/her hotel room without any tension.
It takes only two days to complete the sightseeing of important places around Kodaikanal. On the first day, you can board the tourist bus at the entrance of your hotel room itself and visit local sightseeing places like the Kurunji temple, Boathouse near the famous Kodaikanal Lake etc. If you start your trip around 9.30 am, you will be back in your hotel room at 4 pm. The cost of the sightseeing trip is around $3.30 per person. The next day, you can start at the same time but this time the trip takes you to quite far off places. There are so many valleys like the Silent Valley, Mountain Lake etc. The bus halts at each place for around 20 minutes. At the lake, you get around 45 minutes time to do fishing or feed fishes and to take photographs. This trip costs around $5.55 plus $1 as entrance fee to enter forests. Inside deep forests, you get the taste of mountains, valleys and dense trees through which sun rays just manage to sneak out. Load your camera with as much shots as you like which will be a lifetime treasure for you.
What about the hotel accommodation? Four of your family members (husband, wife and two children possibly) can stay in a comfortable hotel room for a week at around $400 (for the whole week). The hotel room is good even though you cannot expect five star facilities here. Hot water is available throughout the day. Lighting arrangements are nice and each room has a 29” LCD TV which you can watch comfortably lying in your bed.
What about the food served? In Kodaikanal, most of the hotels serve non vegetarian Indian dishes. You can have chicken, mutton, biriyani (a rice preparation) with sumptuous side dishes. Coffee and tea are available throughout the day till night 10 pm. There are no mid night services and one has to go to bed by 10 or 11 pm. Food alone can cost around $300 for a whole week for four people. The charges for alcoholic beverages are not included in this list. That is extra depending on which stuff you want to taste. But here I like to give a caution. Indian made alcoholic beverages do not suit the foreigners as they come to the shelf immediately after preparation whereas in the West, it comes for sale after at least five years of preparation and storage. Moreover Indian made alcoholic beverages are made from molasses, a by product of sugar whereas alcohols from the West are made of sugar beet, barley etc. Because of this reason, Indian alcoholic beverages are not suitable to foreigners. Therefore most of the foreigners visiting India bring their own alcoholic stuff to use while in India.
If you eat traditional Tamil Nadu vegetarian items, it will cost you even less. There are many tasty items like Idly and Dosai (similar to rice pancake), Vadai, Pongal (a rice item with pepper). The side dishes include sambar, chutney and chilli powder. You can of course have your bread, butter and jam after 8.30 am. While ordering dosai, you can order from a variety of them like Masala dosai (dosai served with masala which is a spicy delicacy made of onions and potatoes), onion dosai, special dosai etc. You can taste each item a day so that you have the experience of taste of all the items. Tiffin (breakfast) starts around 7 am and continues till night 10 pm. Meals start at 1 pm and continue till 4 pm. You can enjoy a traditional Tamil Nadu meal which contains the main course rice (served in unlimited quantity), vegetables, sambar, rasam and curd with pickles. There is also pappad served which is very tasty. A sumptuous vegetarian mean can cost you around $2.8 and a non-vegetarian mean a little over that.
In the evenings when you are free, you can walk around the lake for hours together. A gentle breeze blows over you and the cool of the lake and the charm of nature transport your mind to elsewhere. You forget the tensions of the world and enjoy this experience. In the morning, you can start boating in the Kodaikanal lake, which also serves as the drinking water source for the whole Kodaikanal. You can indulge in shopping and buy a variety of goods ranging from handicrafts to hand-woven sweaters. The hospitality of the people is very nice. There are English knowing staffs in the hotels, restaurants and boat clubs and language is not a problem. However, if you are a person who does not know English, then sign language will serve the purpose. What is more, you get a peace of mind, hospitality and rich travel experience at a very cheap price. A one week stay at Kodaikanal will cost a family of four less than $1000.
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