Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises any visitor. With her wooded slopes, mighty rocks, enhancing waterfalls and a beautiful lake, Kodaikanal is a charming hill station.
Kodai is situated at an altitude of about 2,133-m high and covers an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The pride of Kodaikanal is the 'Kurinji-flower', which blossoms once in 12 years. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste.
In 1845, Kodaikanal was started as hill station in the Palani hills at 7375 ft. The Palani Hills were first surveyed by British Lieutenant Ward in 1821.The first people lived in the hills were dolmen-boulders, who have left here several visible artifacts. But dolmen sites have not been carbon dated. In the Palani hills Tribes are of two kinds, the Paliyans and Pulaiyans.Kukkal Caves, which in 20 kms. away from kodaikanal, show traces of Paliyan occupation. Paliyans are tribes. Next to Paliyans, Pulaiyans were settled as agriculturists at later stage. The survey report of 1821, reveals Pulaiyans were the aborigines of the Palani Hills and followed Tamil Culture.
British Lieutenant Ward had climbed up from the Kunnavan Village of Vellagavi to Kodaikanal first in 1821 to survey the area. In 1834, Madurai collector climbed up from Devadanappatti and built a small bungalow at the head of Adukkam pass near Shenbaganur Dr.Wight visited Kodaikanal in 1836 and recorded his observations which were very useful to botanists later. In 1844, Mr.Fane, an Englishmen built godowns in kodaikanal and familiarized with hill area. In 1845, the first two bungalows "Sunny-side" and "Shelton" were built by American Mission people with the help of Englishmen Mr.Fane. Then, six American families came up and stayed first at Kodaikanal. Following this, British houses also appeared. In 1864, Colonel Halmilton recorded his opinion in his report that Berijam lake area was the best site in the Palani Hills for a Military Cantonment or Sanitarium. The hill station Kodaikanal was created to serve the needs of the British and Europeans in India. In the 20th century the Indian Elite visited Kodaikanal and purchased property and utilized the facilities of British and Americans. Thus Kodaikanal has a complex and varied culture.