Vattakanal is one of the most beautiful yet a lesser known weekend gateway of South India. Kodaikanal is popular travel destination comprising of picture perfect tourist spots, expensive resorts, and always crowded with tourists. Vattakanal on the other hand is more of a hidden beauty of nature, less crowded and always in a tranced zone .
Vattkanal is more of a Hippies Utopia. The moment you enter the city, you cutoff from the entire world. The misty climate, beautiful greenery, chirping of birds, thick floating clouds blurring your vision thats how Vattakanal welcomes you to its dreamy world. This is a place where you can leave the worries of your busy work life behind and be a wonderer even if its for just a few days. This place has an amazing vibe which unleashes the bohemian in you. The place may not have 5 star hotels or posh restaurants serving exotic food. But there is something in the simplicity of Vatta tat makes it so attractive among international travellers. Vattakanal makes you high with life. You can actually smell freshness and peace. Vatta has a lot to be explored in a very small vicinity.
The Little Israel in Vattakanal
True to its name, Vattakanal becomes the temporary home for a lot of Israelis during the months of November to January.It is a popular destination among travellers from Israel who come and stay here for months. It is beautiful to see how people from different geographies come and adopt to our cultures. The ambience these cluster of travellers create in cafes, home-stays or on roadside just beautiful. The thick cloud rolling over the mountains, fragrance of eucalyptus enveloping the atmosphere, small little flowering creepers swaying with the wind and humming bids resonating with the music of nature takes you to a dream world far away from bitterness of reality.
Vattakanal is mostly cool, misty and there is mostly a chill in the air all throught the year. Summers are pleasant but comparatively crowded. If you want to experience the bliss of solitude, September and October is a good time. There is less of tourist, chill in the air, quite foggy, cafes are comparatively empty. On the other hand, if you are an extrovert who loves to go out to party or interact with new people, December is the time for you my friend. It’s that time of the year when many people from Israel come hear to spend there Christmas and New year. This is the ultimate time for exchange of cultures and exploring a totally new world. Vattakanal is quite crowded during New Years and it’s recommended that you book your hotel well in advance if you are coming in the month of December or long weekends.
Things to do in Vattakanal
Vattakanal is a beautiful biodiversity hotspot of southern India which is not very known to people. The 1st impression might not be that impressive keeping in mind that everything would seem to be starting and ending on a narrow small road. But once you will take a walk through the street you will discover the true meaning of nature. It has just the right mix of everything to satisfy the soul of a traveler. Breathtaking view, Foggy weather, Comforting Cafes, Cute Churches, Warm People, Company of lovely furry dogs if you are lucky. Yet some of the “not-to-miss-spots” are
Dolphin’s Nose Vattakanal
I am not a huge trekking fan.Moreover, every hill station has a dolphin nose spot.For me, it was nothing but a hyped up place to attract tourist but a chat with the owner of “Cafe above and beyond” told me the real meaning of Dolphin Nose. Dolphins usually come out of water for oxygen thus the Dolphin Nose is the place where you get the purest air in the area. This chat changed my mind and I decided to walk downhill to check the place out. It was a half an hour trek and I was quite skeptical to walk alone but then I met a huge furry dog, who showed me directions and give me company. He made sure I was not left alone even for a moment. That furry mate whom I met on my way, walked all the way down and come back with me. It was an amaizng feeling that will stay with me for a long long time.
Vattakanal Water Falls
A 20 min walk can take you to this pretty little waterfalls, which is quite a nice place to visit especially if you are visiting Vattakanal after monsoons. There are small shops there for some tasty snacks and refreshments as well as some local fruits.
A 10 min walk from Dolphin’s Nose can take you to Eco-Point for a much better and close few of the mountains and a place where mountains echo back what you say when you shout aloud. A place that revalidated that nature loves you. Also worth mentioning Avocados if in season are an added gift.
Kodaikanal City Tour and Shopping
You can go for a city tour to Kodaikanal and see the Kodai Lake, Pillar Rock, Coakers Walk, Pine forest. Do some quintessential shopping of natural oil, dry fruits, homemade chocolates etc.
Places to hang out
The small cafes at the hillside are to die for. They offer you the best of tea and snacks I was in love with the cafes. The best part is you can be painting, singing, playing music, writing or just enjoying nature. The cafe owners are very nice and helpful. You can also strike a conversation, make new friends and get new company for the rest of your trip. My recommendations are:
- Altaf’s Cafe
- Cafe Above and Beyond
There is ample number of Hotels, Resorts, Homestays in Vattakanal. The cozy wood house will cost you around Rs.3500. A decent hotel can cost you around Rs 1000 to Rs.1500. I prefer staying in budget homestays. Homestay helps me interact with the localities and gives me an opportunity to look into their daily life, enjoying local food and makes me feel home away from home for few days. You can get home-stay at around Rs.400 per person. Some of the options are Edwin’s Cottage Vattakanal Ruban Cottage Kodai Haven Misty Dews Shafa Resorts While walking through the roads of Little Isreal I came across some French travellers. It is through a conversation with them that I got to know about IPC Church near Altaf’s Cafe where they allow you to stay in the church dorm for Rs 200 per day. A unique option if you are on an unplanned trip and you end up with no places to stay. Most of the homestays serve lunch and dinner on request which is charged extra. The simple chicken curry, rasam, and rice are delicious.
How to reach Vattakanal
- By Air-Nearest Airport Madurai (120 km from Vattakanal, You need to rent a cab or luxury bus to reach from there)
- Train-Kodaikanal Road Railway Station ( take a bus from railway station to Kodaikanal City and then local bus or cab to Vattakanal)
- Bus-Kodaikanal is well connected with cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata. It will drop you to Kodai City bus stand. From there a local taxi or local bus will reach you to Vattakanal commonly called Little Isreal.
I guess this is quite a lot of information for you to want to jump out of your bed, pack your backpack and just go out, explore. Hope you like it. I am always waiting to know about experiences.
If you want to explore some more off-beat places of South India here is Varkala for you.
For some amazing experiences come with me to Varanasi.
Lots of love