October 17, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.255: Christ The King Church, Kodaikanal.

Ancient Gothic Church.

There are many churches in Kodaikanal built during the colonial era. Christ the King Church, built in the year 1895 by the American Madurai Mission, is one of the most beautiful. It is located at the junction of Noice Road and Club Road, very close to the entrances of Coaker’s Walk and Bryant Park.

There is a very nice image of Lord Jesus at the altar of the church. The church is open from 6.30 am to 12 noon and then again in the evening from 3 pm to 8.30 pm. The service is usually in Tamil for the local people. There are wooden benches for seating.

We got a sense of peace and serenity in the church.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 14, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.254: Pastry Corner, Kodaikanal.

They Sell Like Hot Cakes.

The pastry and cakes at Pastry Corner really sell like Hot Cakes! There is always a crowd hanging out besides this small shop in the Kodaikanal Bazaar, just next to Astoria Restaurant. Though there is no place to sit inside the shop, they have placed some chairs outside. It is basically a take-away eatery.

We managed to buy some of their chutney and egg sandwiches which were very tasty and priced very reasonably at Rs.15 each. The pizza slices were also very good, and the filter coffee better than anywhere else in the bazaar.
    • Value
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 13, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.253: Silver Cascade Falls, Kodaikanal, Dindigul.

Enchanting Waterfall as you enter Kodaikanal.

Silver Cascade is a medium sized waterfall on the way to Kodaikanal, right on the side of the main road going to the hill station. It is like an appetiser to the main attraction, Kodaikanal town, during the rainy season. There are many more waterfalls and lakes inside Kodaikanal, and Silver Cascade whets your appetite for more.

We stopped here for a while to admire the silvery water cascading down the rocks. There were a lot of cars and buses parked at the roadside, and a whole load of tourists taking snaps and selfies. There were some refreshment stalls and a small park nearby. Overall it is a beautiful spot, but marred by the noisy crowds.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 12, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.252: Moir Point, Kodaikanal.

Good View Point on a Clear Day.

Moir Point is about 10 km from Kodaikanal Bus Stand, on the route to Berijam Lake. It is about 3 km after the Pillar Rocks. The entrance gate to the forest areas and Berijam Lake is near Moir Point, but entry to these places is restricted beyond Moir Point. One has to pay a nominal entry fee to visit the point.

There is a lookout tower and a memorial pillar at the point, as well as a small park where we sat and relaxed for a while. It was cloudy and foggy on the day we visited, but we did get a very captivating view of the peaks and valleys when the fog cleared intermittently. There are also some snack and refreshment stalls nearby.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 10, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.251: Guna Caves, Kodaikanal.

The Caves are no longer Accessible.

These caves, earlier known as the ‘Devil’s Kitchen’, have now been fenced off due to the tragic deaths of some youngsters who went down into the cave chambers below, but never returned. They are now called Guna Caves, because a Tamil movie ‘Gunaa’ was filmed here. These caves are the chambers formed by the giant boulders of the Pillar Rocks.

We had to take a short walk of about half a km to reach the fenced off area. Due to the fog and mist we had to peer into the gaps formed by the boulders and forest trees, and the sight was indeed scary and spooky. As we were standing there we heard the alarm call of some langur monkeys, which scared us even more. Leopards are known to have been sighted in these forests. We were thankful that there was a crowd of about 20 tourists standing nearby so we did not panic and run.

It was a good experience of a walk in a pristine jungle, though with lots of other tourists around.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 9, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.250: Lake View Point, Kodaikanal.

Beautiful View of Kodaikanal Lake from a Height.

This view point is also called the Upper Lake View Point by the tour operators of Kodaikanal. It is at a height on a hill, and all the cabbies and tour buses stop here for a few minutes so that the tourists can get a beautiful panoramic view of the Kodai Lake.

There are a few benches and snack stalls nearby and it is good place to take a photograph or a selfie. One can see the famous Hotel Carlton at the other end of the lake.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 8, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.249: Pine Forest, Kodaikanal.

Walk Deeper Into the Forest for the Real Feel.

Actually this is more like a plantation of Pine Trees, and the tall trees are lined in neat rows as far as eye can see. It is one of the favourite halts for the tourist cabs and buses, and so the serenity and solitude of the forest is ruined by the hordes of people alighting here for a break and a snack. There are horses available for a ride. The trees are full of monkeys, and the ground is littered with garbage.

But if you walk a little deeper into the forest, and away from the crowds, you will get the true feel of the forest. Let the silence of the surroundings engulf you and you are transported into nature’s paradise. We did just that, and enjoyed the experience.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 7, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.248: Kurinji Andavar Temple, Kodaikanal.

Calm and Serene Temple on a Hilltop.

The Kurinji Andavar Temple is located on a hilltop about 3 km away from the Kodaikanal Lake, just beyond the Chettiar Park. It is a small and clean temple situated in peaceful and serene surroundings. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan (Karthik), son of Lord Shiva. You will also find an idol of Lord Ganesha (Murugan’s brother) in this temple. 

Kurinji is a small flower found in these hills which blooms once in 12 years, and Andavar means God in the local language, hence the name Kurinji Andavar. The view from the hill surrounding the temple is very beautiful. On one side you can see the Palani Hills in the distance and the other side overlooks the town of Kodaikanal. There are many shops nearby where you can buy local handicrafts and artifacts, mainly crafted in wood and metal.

This place is worth a visit, not only for the temple, but also for the sight-seeing and shopping experience.

October 6, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.247: Kodaikanal Lake.

Centre of Attraction in Kodaikanal.

The lake of Kodaikanal is the most beautiful attraction of this hill town. It is right in the centre of the town, very close to the Bazaar, Bus Stand, main hotels and restaurants.

The lake is star shaped with a road running around its periphery. Many stalls line the road which sell snacks, ice-cream, home-made chocolates, trinkets and memorabilia to the tourists. There is a boat club from where one can hire pedal and row boats for a pleasurable ride around the lake. Bicycles can also be hired near the lake. The circumference of the lake is about 5 km and one can easily walk around it in an hour.

During the monsoons and winters the lake can become shrouded in mist. The climate is very cool and pleasant at all times. Its best to visit the lake in the mornings for a walk or boat ride as it gets quite crowded in the evenings.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 5, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.246: Coaker's Walk, Kodaikanal.

Paved Walkway Along the Hillside.

Coaker’s Walk is a well developed paved walkway along the hillside with a great view of the valley below. Its length is less than a km, and you can enter from one side and come out from the other. The walkway is lined with hawkers selling touristy items and trinkets. 

We had to pay an entry charge of Rs.10 per head, and Rs.20 for camera charges, which is ridiculous. It is best not to declare that you have a camera in your cell phone and walk right in. If it is a cloudy day then there’s no point in clicking any photos, and if the day is clear then the view is the same as we were getting from our resort nearby.

The entry gate opens at 7.30 am and closes around 7 pm. So it’s only worth going here if you are in the mood for a walk, early morning or late evening. And take at least 4 or 5 rounds up and down to get the best bang for your buck!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 4, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.245: Club Mahindra Coaker's Villa, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.

Cozy Rooms with Amazing Views.

We spent a blissful week at Club Mahindra’s Coaker’s Villa Resort in Kodaikanal in September. It was like living in a dream country cottage on the hillside. Every day we would wake up to watch a beautiful sunrise from the balcony with our cup of tea. The resort is beautifully landscaped, with cottages having sloping roofs covered with Mangalore tiles. The view from each room is very beautiful as it overlooks the valley, with the clouds rising up to caress you. We could sit in the balcony for hours on end just watching the clouds ascend from the valley and soon cover the town with a grey blanket.

The resort is located less than a km from the Kodi Bus Stand and Bazaar, right next to ‘Coaker’s Walk’ and opposite the entrance to ‘Bryant Park’. It is 400 metres down a steep slope from the junction, which makes it easy to walk to, but very difficult when you want to go out from the resort. The Lake is about 1.5 km from the resort, and makes for a good long walk of about an hour to circle the lake and back.

This is a small boutique resort with only 11 rooms, of which two are log cabins. All the rooms have wooden flooring, columns and beams, giving the rooms a very heritage look. There is a closet for keeping the bags and clothes, as well as a digital safe. Bathrooms are quite large with an enclosed shower space. The flat screen TV is supported by Airtel dth, with all the SD channels. However there is no microwave oven, though there is an electric kettle for making your own tea/coffee. Free wi-fi is available in the lobby and restaurant.

The reception and staff are very helpful. Sasi would always help us with our transport requirements. Prakash would come around every evening to take orders for evening tea or snacks. Intimation for buffet dinner had to be given in advance, as not everyone opted for it. We preferred ala-carte, which would be served within half an hour. Chef Anbu would tweak the dishes to suit our palate. Rani was in-charge of Svaastha spa.

We had a very pleasant and relaxed stay at the resort, enjoying nature’s beauty and bounty. Would definitely visit again.
Room Tip: Try for the log cabins, if available.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 2, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.244: Shree Krishna Veg Court, Viman Nagar, Pune.

Most Popular Vegetarian Eatery in Viman Nagar, Pune.

This restaurant is very popular in the Viman Nagar suburb of Pune, and you will always find it crowded during meal times, particularly during the weekends, when you may have to wait your turn if you haven’t made advance reservations. Sufficient parking is available nearby for your vehicle. The premises are neat and clean, and there are excellent paintings on the walls depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.

The ground floor is the non a/c section where you can have a quick bite. The a/c section is on the first floor and suitable for families, parties and celebrations. Service is polite and courteous. The restaurant serves only vegetarian food, but there is a very good variety in the menu. They serve North and South Indian, as well as Chinese dishes. We tried out their Chinese style dishes, many of which included paneer (cottage cheese), and the ‘Triple Schezwan Rice’ served with Manchurian gravy which was very good. Their veg. Spring rolls served with a Schezwan dip was also very nice.

Prices are moderate, and the ambience is soothing in the a/c section. We enjoyed our dining experience and would like to visit again.
    • Value
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

October 1, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.243: Hotel Vijay, Madurai.

Centrally Located, Value for Money Hotel.

This place is centrally located in Madurai, just 1km from Madurai Railway Station and 1 km from the Meenakshi Temple, and adjacent to the Periyar Bus Stand. We reached Madurai Junction at 9.30 pm and got an auto to take us to the hotel for Rs.50. As we had pre booked the check in was quick.

The room was neat and clean and had an efficient Blue Star air-conditioner. There was a flat-screen TV but all the channels were in the local language. There was no restaurant attached to the hotel, but there were plenty of options for eating out. They did have room service though, and you could order from out.

Next day we walked to the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple and had a good darshan. The Koodal Alazhgar is just a 5 minute walk from the hotel. Auto-rickshaws, taxis and local buses are easily available just outside the hotel. Buses for Kodaikanal are available at Arapalayam Bus Stand which is about 5 km from the hotel.

Another plus point of this hotel is that they take only about 20% of the charges if you book in advance online. Rest is payable at the time of check-in. They also have a 24 hour check-out policy. I would say that we had a good value for money stay at Hotel Vijay.
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

September 29, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.242: Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Mega Temple Complex.

The Meenakshi Temple is one of the biggest temple complexes in India, and is the most iconic temple of Madurai. Madurai itself is known as the holy city of temples, and is a 2500 year old ancient city of Tamil Nadu, in South India. The temple is also quite ancient but had to be rebuilt in the 17th century after being destroyed and plundered by Muslim invaders from Delhi.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareshwar, or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi). Two of the ‘gopurams’ are gold plated. These are the sanctums of the two main deities. Only Hindus are allowed to enter these two sanctums.

The temple has 14 ‘gopurams’, built in the Dravidian style. These are tall towers, covered with thousands of figurines of gods, demons and animals painted in bright colours. There are four main gopurams in the North, South, East and West directions which serve as entry points to the temple complex. You have to remember which side you enter from because you have to leave your footwear and valuables (cameras, bags) outside and collect them when you exit.

We visited the temple on a Sunday and there were very long queues for darshan. Even though we paid for special darshan donation ticket, we still had to wait about an hour to have a darshan of Meenaskhi Amman and Lord Sundershwara. After that we bought some prasadam of laddus, wadas, chaklis and pongal and sat down on the steps of the temple tank and savoured our holy experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

September 8, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.241: Blossoms at the Destination, Kandaghat, Himachal.

“Best Buffet Dining Restaurant on the way to Shimla.”
Reviewed yesterday
This restaurant should now be called ‘Blossoms at Club Mahindra Kandaghat’. The management has actually changed hands after ‘The Destination’ was taken over by Club Mahindra. It is located on the Chandigarh Shimla Highway and is about 30 km before you reach Shimla. The restaurant is open to all travellers, but the resident members of Club Mahindra get a discount on the list prices.

Since we were staying here we had the occasion to dine here quite often. We selected the ala-carte option because the buffet meals were priced on the higher side, though the spread looked quite good, with many dishes for vegetarians as well as non-veg, and a good variety of desserts too.

We tried their Chinese dishes, starting with Thukpa soup, Sweet Corn Soup, veg fried rice, veg hakka noodles, American Chop Suey, and a ‘Mumbai veg masala sandwich. There was a limited variety of local Himachali cuisine but we did order their ‘Gourmet Express’ where the meal is delivered to your room in a box.

The ambience of the restaurant is very good with open air seating overlooking the valley, with an excellent view. Service is courteous, though a tad slow for the ala-carte dishes.
  • Visited June 2017
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

September 6, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.240: Apple Cart Inn Restaurant, Kiarighat, Himachal.

“Motel with a Great View.”
Reviewed yesterday
Kiarighat is just about 5 km ahead of Kandaghat, and 20 km short of Shimla, on the Kalka Shimla Highway. We were staying at Kandaghat so we hopped on to a local bus and got off at Apple Cart Inn for lunch.

The property is managed by the state run HPTDC. There is ample parking space near the property.It is located at the edge of the Kiarighat hill and overlooks a beautiful valley. It is a quaint old resort with a fast food restaurant facing the highway, and the regular restaurant attached to the main block, which also houses the guest rooms. The view of the mountains around was just fantastic. We sat for a while outside on the benches in the children’s playground just admiring the beautiful scenery.

The indoor restaurant was also well furnished. We ordered a local dish called ‘Gobi Palada’ with green salad, curd, and phulkas (fluffed out chapattis). The food was hot and tasty, and the service was courteous. Prices were reasonable.

We would definitely stop and spend a night or two at the hotel to enjoy a serene stay, rather than in overcrowded Shimla, if we had a choice.
  • Visited June 2017
    • Value
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

September 5, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.239: Cafe Mantra, Kasauli, Himachal.

“Nice Cafe in the Heritage Market.”
Reviewed yesterday
Mantra Cafe is located in the center of the Heritage Market in Kasauli. It is better furnished and decorated than most of the other tiny restaurants in the market, and is quite neat and colourful too. They have some extra tables on the mezzanine floor too.

They have a good range of Continental, Italian and Chinese food on their menu. We tried out their Veg Cheese and Tomato Pizza and a plate of Veg Spring Rolls. Both were quite nice. Service was friendly and quick and the background music was not too loud. There was a small balcony to relax with a cup of tea or coffee. Prices were reasonable.
  • Visited July 2017
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC