Reliving memories with smiles at Kodaikanal

By Shobha Rao Smilemaker

Aug 18: For those who got married in the 1980's, the most popular place to go for their honeymoon was Kodaikanal. The cool weather and natural beauty of this place still attracts many for an ideal break during the scorching summer days.

After 37 years I revisited this 'Princess of Hill Stations'. It started off as a golf trip, and we were amazed at the surreal experience of playing 18 holes of golf with unique company - the mist that kept rolling in an out of the rolling greens!

The drive up the winding roads amidst the thick forests of the Palani hills, offers breathtaking views of the natural landscapes around us. The Silver cascade waterfall is generally the first stop to welcome tourists here.

And then the inevitable commercialization of the place in nearly 40 years suddenly hit me as we drove across the centre of Kodaikanal. Hotels or shops selling souvenirs, chocolates, fruits or clothes were dotted all over the place.

The boarding schools or old bungalows still made a pretty sight, and we just had go for a short horse ride for old times sake.

We drove around the periphery of the vast star shaped lake at the centre, where boating is a popular thing to do, and the place is bustling with activity, especially during the weekends.

The memory of the old world natural charm of Kodai was diluted with the presence of the crowds and vendor shops, especially at scenic view points like the Coakers Walk or Green Valley view.

We were on an adventure to rediscover the places we had visited decades ago and we tried to click pictures in the same spots. The Upper lake view point still had the natural scenery that seems taken for granted now, yet had mesmerized me then.

The pillar rocks are so called because of the three huge granite structures with caves in between, which are visible on clear days only. Here the locals got highly excited to support us in trying to get similar before and after pictures after decades.

We relived memories again at the Byrant park with the colourful flora and fauna. We even went back to visit the same hotel where we had stayed decades ago.

Yes this was a nostalgia trip, with the experience of seeing how a place can change over decades. Yet there is an undefinable spirit of excitement that has thankfully remains the same over the years, about the place, the people and in us too!

Thank you Kodaikanal for making so many people smile over decades with your natural beauty.









Shobha Rao Smilemaker has a vision of living in a world where people use their ability to find and make smiles in any situation. She is a lawyer by qualification, a soft skills trainer by passion, a motivational speaker, a freelance journalist, a bestselling author, an avid traveler and founder of 'Smilemakers Trainings'. She can be contacted at






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