A Break from the Madurai Heat

Last weekend Sindhu, Christina and I decided we needed a break from the work week and the intense heat of the city. Thus we decided to take a last-minute bus to Kodaikanal, a 3.5 hour-away hill station on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. After catching the last bus to the hill station, we arrived past midnight at the hostel yet felt satisfied with every deep breath of the cool air – a welcome respite from Madurai’s continuously dusty-stale air.

Kodaikanal in Tamil means “Gift of the Forest” and it certainly didn’t disappoint. After a relaxing breakfast consisting of masala omelets with french toast and stocking up on fresh fruit from the local farmers market we set out on our “leisure hike.” Well, lets just let the pictures speak for themselves since it was anything but pure leisure. The first hour and half felt like we were aimlessly strolling bushwhacking our way through the forest. Our guide wouldn’t tell us where we’re going, the aim of the hike and would only respond with curt answers. Numerous times we even lost sight of him, but after frequent falls, good-humored taunts and laughs, we made it to “Rat Tail Falls” where we snacked on chocolates, fresh pears and oranges.

Next up we trekked to a cliff affording a stunning view of the valleys and rolling hills surrounding Kodaikanal. It was one of the most tranquil and awe inspiring views I’ve ever witness and made the 6 hour hike worth it. Afterwards we munched on the homemade chocolate Kodaikanal is famous for – just another reason why you should visit!

Next time you find yourself on a 6-hour bushwhacking hike where you lose sight of your guide and he seems to be aimlessly leading you through a forest-lined mountain, think of us! Things might just work out and you may be left with stunning memories and photos. Perhaps Aravind could send all their employees here for team bonding hikes? Sign me up.






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About Sam Ware

I graduated from Penn in 2013, majoring in Health and Societies. I worked at Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai during the summer of 2012. I'm currently serving as a Global Health Fellow in rural Haiti where I manage community health programs for 75,000. I'll be returning to the US at the end of June 2013 where I'm very excited to eat tons of dairy products and green things!