“Coaker’s walk, Bryant Park, Kodai lake…” a taxi driver shouted to seek our attention as we alighted from the bus at the Kodaikanal bus depot. We were back from Mannavanur, baffled about our next destination.
Like a kidnapper grabbing the opportunity to abduct the lost child by luring him with a candy, the driver approached us with a pamphlet listing the best places to visit in Kodaikanal. “We are not interested in sightseeing. How much is the fare to Villapati village?” I retorted, using some knowledge acquired from Google, pretending as a regular visitor. “600 Rs. But I suggest you visit Vattakanal first. Both same distance… same fare.” he paused as if hypnotizing us with his words. “Besttt..a place in Kodaikanal!”, he continued, gesturing by bending the thumb and index finger in a circle. “Only foreigners come there. You will enjoy… 100%. Think and tell me.” and walked down the road at the nearby tea stall. The decision was made almost immediately but not without formally consenting to each other.
Before the deal could be summarized as a win or a loss, we had already passed the check post and entered Vattakanal. As we reached closer, the view opened up to the valley covered in a blanket of mist with the conical top of the peaks visible in distant as though precariously hanging in the air.
Vattakanal was still getting used to the new day. The few shops by the roadside were closed. To our right were the cottages perched on the hill slope that were visible for few seconds and then would disappear in the shroud of mist.
On the left, Altaf café had just been opened for the visitors. One of the staff was cleaning the main desk while a foreigner sitting in the café was gazing at the peak with a hint of a smile on her face. Our interruption did not disturb her much and she continued to remain in the meditative-like state. My friends approached the staff to inquire about the cottages/homestays, whereas I took out my camera and started clicking another miraculous drama. Gratitude poured out thanking the driver for his honest suggestion, as I remembered his words. Vattakanal indeed is a place one should definitely visit in Kodaikanal!
How to reach?
Vattakanal is 7kms from the Kodaikanal bus depot. A cab for 5 people costed us INR 600 and it is negotiable. Also, the local buses ply up to Vattkanal which is comparatively very cheap but the frequency is less.
Where to stay?
The price for the cottages starts from INR 400/person. We stayed in the ‘Mountain View Resort’ (beside the Altaf café) costing Rs. 1500 for 5 people. It was the cheapest cottage we could find in Vattakanal.
Where to eat?
Altaf café for the Israeli and Italian cuisine. There is a small shop run by a couple beside the taxi stand that serves South Indian dishes.
Places to visit?
Hike up to Dolphin’s Nose Point which is approx. 500 mt from the Vattakanal taxi stand. 10 mins down the same trail lies the Echo Point. The trail further leads to Vellagavi village, which is a bit strenuous trek of approx. 8kms. Confirm the additional details before trekking here.