Kilavarai is a small village in the Kodaikanal Block in the Tamil Nadu State District of Dindigul, India. It comes under the Panchayath of Poondi. It is located 87 km west of the Dindigul District headquarters. From Kodaikanal 28 KM. 527 KM from Chennai State Capital,
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The code for Kilavarai Pin is 624103 and Kodaikanal Observatory is the post office.
The villages close to Kilavarai are Kookal (13 KM). Kilavarai is surrounded by Kodaikanal block eastward, Bodinayakkanur block southward, Periyakulam block eastward, Theni block southward.
The nearest cities to Kilavarai are Periyakulam, Theni Allinagaram, Palani, Valparai.
This site is situated on the boundary between the districts of Dindigul and Theni. The Periyakulam District of Theni is east of this location.
In Tamil Nadu, the agricultural eco-village of Kilivarai (or Kilavarai) and the picturesque hill station of Kodaikanal (meaning ‘Gift of the Forest’ in Tamil) lie in a lush, verdant world where travelers can escape for a holiday truly inspired by nature.
For Kodaikanal, which is located about 120 km from Madurai, the rare shola forests provide a stunning backdrop. As the town is affectionately named, the origin of Kodai can be traced back to the Palaiyar tribes that started living in the area in the early 20th century. Modern Kodai came into being when it was founded as a place of refuge and escape from the tropical diseases and high temperatures of the plains by British diplomats and American missionaries.
Consequently, as a premier hill station, Kodai was built. Kodai is built around the beautiful lake of Kodaikanal and is surrounded by forests of rhododendron, myrtle, mahogany, and magnolia tree, making it an incredible south getaway.
A dense forest road leads to the lush, green, picture-perfect agrarian village of Kilavarai, about 45 km west of Kodaikanal. The eco-friendly haven, situated in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu and close to the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, is renowned for its step farming, eucalyptus tree plantations, shola forest patches, and the undulating green grasslands.
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Kodaikanal summers see temperatures between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius and are ideal for adventure sports and trekking activities in the area. Monsoons last from June to September in Kodaikanal, when the region shines in all shades of green. In winter, with its morning mists, Kodai comes alive and evening chills and temperatures do not reach 28 degrees Celsius.
The nearest airport to Kodaikanal is located about 135 km away in Madurai.
Stations of the Train
The nearest railway station to Kodai is Madurai Junction Railway Station, which is about 119 km away and connects it to important cities such as Chennai, Rameshwaram, and Kanyakumari.
Kilivarai > Pollachi
Driving distance Appx: 173 km / 4 hours 45 minutes
Located 130 km northwest of Kodai, the historic town of Pollachi is an important industrial and commercial town in Tamil Nadu. The town was known as ‘Pozhil Vaichi’ (land of prosperity and natural wealth) during ancient times.
The Pollachi Sandhai (‘Pollachi Market’) is today the most popular of its kind in the whole state, selling cattle, agricultural products, old iron, cattle, and even coconuts, earning Pollachi the ‘Coconut City’ moniker. The famous 8th-century Subramanya Temple, dams such as Meenkara, Azhiyar, and Nirar, the Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the Azhiyar Siddashram, and even the National Park of Indira Gandhi are interesting places to visit.
Kilivarai > Thekkady Kilivarai
193 km / 5 hours Appx Driving Distance:
Snuggled in the Cardamom Hills of the Idukki district of Kerala, bordering Periyar National Park, is the sleepy town of Thekkady. A sanctuary for spice gardens, birds, fauna, and jungle trails in the town and the surrounding areas. Through treks and safaris, travelers to Thekkady can explore the Periyar National Park, experience cultural performances at the Mudra Cultural Centre, cruise the Periyar Lake, and visit the spice plantations.
Kilivarai > Palakkad Kilivarai
Driving distance Appx: 219 km / 5 hours 40 minutes
Due to the presence of rice and paddy fields in the city, Palakkad is known as Kerala’s Rice Bowl. The Palakkad Fort, the Malampuzha Dam and Gardens, the Kara viewpoint, the rock garden, the Kalpathy Heritage temple, the Thiruvalathur Moorthy Temple, the National Park of the Silent Valley, the Pothundi dam and reservoir, and the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary are places to visit in Palakkad.
Tiruchirappalli > Kilivarai
Driving distance in Appx: 240 km / 5 hours 40 minutes
Tiruchirappalli, also known as Tiruchi or Trichy, is a 2,200-year-old town in Tamil Nadu that is geographically, historically, and culturally significant. The name of the town is derived from the words ‘Tiru’ (addressing someone with respect) and ‘Chirapalli’ (sleeping on the head), referring to the main god in the town temple of Srirangam.
Before eventually falling to the British, Trichy was governed by some of the most powerful dynasties in Southern India, including the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Pallavas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Nayaka Rulers, and the Carnatic State. It is also home to some of the premier educational institutions in the country including the IIT, IIMT, and NITT. The Rock Fort temple, the Ranganathaswamy temple, and the Kalanai Dam, among others, include places of interest in Trichy.
Kilivarai Kilivarai > Coimbatore
Driving distance Appx: 220 km / 5 hours 45 minutes
Coimbatore is a hustling, busy city known for its good weather and its commerce and trade. The Dhyanlinga and Marudamalai temples, Siruvani and Monkey waterfalls, Amaravathi Dam, and the Gass Forest Museum are places to visit.
Namakkal > Kilivarai
Driving distance Appx: 260 km / 5 hours 30 minutes
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Namagiri, a single rock formation in the town’s center, derives its name from the ancient 7th-century town of Namakkal. The cultural town of Namakkal, once fiercely contested by the powerful Pallava and the Pandya dynasties of the south, also fell to other powerful kingdoms, such as the Hoysalas, the Madurai Nayakas, the Bijapur Muslim Sultans, the Mysore Kings, the Marathas, the Tipu Sultan, and then the British.
There are many temples in Namakkal, with the Anjaneya and Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy temples being the most prominent. Other places to see include, among others, the Rock Fort, Botanical Garden, Selur’s point of view, and the Siddhar Caves.
Kodaikanal has many fascinating places to be visited by travelers. The wonders of Guna Caves / Devil’s Kitchen can be discovered by thrill-seekers. Fans of nature can take a walk up Coaker’s Walk’s beautiful cobblestone thoroughfare, visit Bryant’s Park, Bear Shola Falls or enjoy cruising on the lakes of Kodai and Berijam. The beautiful sights of the Lutheran Church, Christ the King Church, the Shembaganur Museum, and the Kodaikanal Observatory can be enjoyed by cultural travelers.
Since it’s a very small, non-commercial village, Kilivarai mainly has homestays. Since Kodai hill station serves mainly honeymooners and travelers who come to spend on vacations, it has premiere and luxury resorts and hotels complete with all the traveler’s amenities.
This Eco-Farm Hotel in Kodaikanal, spread over 100 acres in the Palani Hills, is nestled in the Western Ghats.
All the bungalows at this Eco-Farm Hotel in Kodaikanal are made of locally sourced materials such as granite and wood, as well as doors, windows, and pillars that have been reclaimed. Elegant art deco and antique colonial furniture feature in the interiors.
Here, there are 20 bungalows. This entails tent houses and a building with a tree. There is also a cottage with two bedrooms, suitable for families.
On a vast property carpeted with velvety green grass overlooking green rolling hills and lakes, the resort is located.
Guest accommodation at the Serene Resort In Kodaikanal is divided into two room groups, namely the Double Room and the Stream Side Room. A variety of dishes that will be a treat for your taste buds are prepared by the chefs at the multi-cuisine restaurant. If you prefer casual dining or a candle-light romantic meal.
Tidbits on Travel
As the Kodaikanal-Munnar road around Kilavarai is called, the Kilavarai Trail is also home to the Gaur Vellaiyan waterfalls, about 2 km before you hit Kilavarai. On the dangerous route, travelers are asked to be alert and recommended to drive carefully.
Kilivarai and Kodaikanal are some of the best places to vacation if one is looking to leave the mundane routine behind and have a relaxed holiday in the midst of nature.
With no respite from either the summer heat or job strain, the children’s holiday will soon be over with no outing whatsoever for them feeling upset.
A work-related visit to Bangalore on Friday meant a small chance of clubbing with family across the Nilgiris for some outing for the weekend. Anything blocked me in Coonoor on Saturday & Sunday. The intention was to return to Chennai on Monday, maybe.
The plan went into a toss early on Thursday morning, the trip to Bangalore had to be postponed, which meant new arrangements, new destinations, and more uncertainty. Finally, instead of Saturday and Monday, she wanted to take off from work on Friday & Saturday.
The only challenge is seeking accommodation in the peak vacation season within 24 hours notice. In any of the hill stations, a fast search through the travel portals only confirmed the worst, nothing good available. Thursday night at 6 PM could fix up with Eco Escape-Home by booking dot com only for Eco Escape’s Navin to call and tell the rates listed in booking.com is old and they have been trying to get their property unlisted from the web.
As quoted by booking.com, the rates are Rs.4,000/- per person instead of Rs.3,000/- per person per night. He also confirmed that, because they were under 12 years old, both of my kids will not be fined extra.
He took down specifics such as the favorite option for the children of cookies, chocolates, soft drinks, etc. after some consideration I verified to Navin that I am going down.
So we’re finalizing our holiday plans at 7 pm and we expect to launch our holiday at 4 am the next morning. What a way for you to take a break. I tell my wife that we’re going to the village of Kilavarai for our holiday if only looks can kill. We were meant to be here to stay. That’s where Kilavarai is. For those who are aware of Kodaikanal’s “Escape Path” to Munnar, this place might be familiar. It is a group that often features in those who have done the “Escape Path” trek. It is a small village along the border of Kerala-Tamil Nadu and a mostly agrarian world.
Kilavarai and villages such as Kavunji, Poomparai, Mannavanur, Poondi, Kovilur (Kerala), Vattavada (Kerala) are likely to supply South India with the majority of carrots/turnips/potatoes. A shot of this place from Google Maps.
We began at around 4:30 in the morning on Friday morning, hoping to reach Kodaikanal at about 1:00 PM. With the road full of traffic, it took about 5 minutes for each toll to delay our progress all the way. At A2B Ulundurpet, the fuel & food break took us almost 50 minutes. This meant that at about 10:00 AM we only entered Trichy. It was sluggish and tiresome to cross the town due to the peak hour traffic.
It was about 11:45 AM when we crossed Dindigul, and we were around 45 minutes late from my original plan.
Our already delayed schedule was further delayed by the frequent diversions on the Dindigul-Theni route. I called Navin when I reached Perumal Malai, who gave me directions to his Convent Road bungalow in Brooklyn.
We entered the Brooklyn Bungalow at about 2:30 pm. In Brooklyn, they offered one cottage as well. Inn Fairway-House. With an old-world feel to it, the cottage looked fabulous. Maybe I will use this venue for my next trip to Kodai. Even though the place is less than a kilometer from the shore, the best thing about it is that the place is quiet and peaceful. It would be fitting for those who like to spend time reading a book on the lawn or may just spend time in peace with themselves.
The kids found the nice garden a perfect place to unwind after a long journey from Chennai, they went around checking out all the flowers while Navin and I were debating how to go to Kilavarai.
All the pics below were taken by my children.
We left for Kilavarai at around 4 in the evening after having lunch at a nearby restaurant. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to reach the place before darkness fell.
Before reaching Kilavarai, you should travel through Poomparai, Mannavanur, Kavunji, Poondi & Nattampatti villages. But for a few patches, the roads were good all the way.
As we went on and on our way through the lane, after almost an hour of reaching Poomparai, my wife began to complain about how far the place is from the city. As we went up and down the hills, crossing one mountain after another, the views were spell-bounding every time a valley appeared as terraced farms were visible everywhere with houses here and there.
You could see the valleys as far as your eyesight could take you. There were no high rises to obstruct your views.
We reached Kilavarai almost two hours later, to find the road ending in the midst of a few shops.
Time for us to call our caretaker, I just pick up the phone to find Airtel not working, luckily my BSNL 3 G SIM Datacard came handy to call Durai, who for the next couple of days will be our Man Friday. He was guiding us to the house.
So we reached “Eco Escape” a good 14 hours after we left Chennai. When we reached there, it was just about getting dark, leaving us no time to find out what the place was all about.
“Appa No TV?” was the first comment the children made. I figured it would be hard for me to spend two days in a position without television for the kids for the first time, now that we’ve come here there’s no other go, let’s hope the kids aren’t at their worst in the next two days.
As we walk out of the cottage, the view.
The house looked rustic, but comfortable and neatly laid out.
We had a simple dinner of Veg Pulav and Subji with nothing much to do, and retired for the day with a plan to wake up early in the morning to explore the place. The night was cold, but all of us snuggled under the covers for a long time, and we soon slept soundly.
My daughter is already up by around six o’clock in the morning, though we would have to wake her up in Chennai with a lot of effort for her tennis lessons, and here she is the one who wakes us all up. We decided to explore the property after a short cup of tea.
There’s a bit of all-around Eco Escape: organic fields, wild streams, waterfalls, forests. When our Man Friday Biju points us to something on the other side of the river, a Nilgiri Thar as per him, we slowly make our way around, though for me it looked more like one from the deer family.
We go around the Pine Forests, the kids enjoying the trip, asking Durai all kinds of questions that he answered patiently. The early morning nip and the fresh air provide the kids with a lot of energy as they explore the world.
We observe the different vegetables that are grown around the place and also peep into a hut where Eucalyptus oil is being distilled.
The kids try their hand and play around with a donkey. These ponies are used from the field to the roads to transport loads of vegetables.
We slowly go around taking a loot of the new wellness resort in the property under construction and also take a look at the property’s biogas plant.
We are now taking a look at the different vegetables that are grown on the farm. The entire product is organic and is totally free of pesticides. We were told that Eco Escape is one of the few strawberries growing farms locally in Kodaikanal.
The location is a “Veg Only” spot, and the food is made from vegetables grown locally. Navin had arranged on Friday night for Kodaikanal pastries with a strawberry topping from his farm. A delightful way to pamper the guests.
Potatoes, Onion, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish, Turnip, Beetroot, Knol Khol, Tomato, and different varieties of Beans are all things that I recall. The farm produces a whole range of vegetables. Also, they also have fruit trees.
The entire area is divided into patches, each of them individually numbered. To maintain a track of harvesting times, the date each patch is sown is retained on a disc. This also ensures that all the vegetables are available at all times by careful preparation of the sowing time table.
Slowly winding up, we soon reached the cottage again for our morning break
It was time to get into the water after a fast break. The property has a stream flowing through it and it allows for some canoeing in a small way in a few locations.
My son decided to enjoy even more water after a while, time for some waterfall action. So the action moved upstream where the kids played in the water for a frolicking time, although I was worried if they would catch a cold or a fever given that the water was pretty cold and the weather was very warm even if the sun was out in full force.
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Here we were having a whale of a time all alone with no other visitors around at the peak vacation time. The whole stream was all ours, and the kids played as if they were playing in our backyard.
We agreed to trek into the nearby forest after a simple lunch that had chappatis and one of the best Subjects I’d made out of Broccoli & Cauli Flower, it would be the first time for the kids to trek into the forest. Although I was certain that there would be no animals of interest that could be seen, we were all very excited about the trek.
It was my wife and children who had their first introduction to the magnificent flora and fauna during this trek. It was a smart decision in retrospect as we arrived at the cottage just in time for heavy rains to hit the place for a good hour or so. If we had wanted to continue our journey, I’m sure we would have been trapped in the rain without hiding anywhere. But the trek gave us the chance to see such a beauty, what a sight it would look like when the rains were in full flow.
Our evening plan was to spend some time at the lake up to Mannavanur and then drive back around dusk so that we could spot some wildlife on the road if we were lucky. But the rain played a spoilsport and we had to make a short ride a few kilometers away from Kilavarai towards Polur. This short visit gave us some magnificent views all the way up to Udumalaipet & Palani from the terraced farms and the valley.
We were in no mood to leave the place after a good night’s sleep. We decided to start early because we had a long day’s drive ahead. With Kadala curry, Uppma, and new mountain bananas, breakfast was Puttu.
We thanked Biju, who over the past couple of days had taken care of all our needs, showing great temper with our kids, a perfect Man Friday.
On the way back, we were caught in a traffic jam at Kodaikanal, which meant that we took almost 3 hours to reach Kodai Kilavarai, thanking Navin John once again for the lovely experience he and his team gave us. At 11:00 in the night, we reached Chennai.
A panorama shot of land taken from the Mannavanur Grass on the way back to Kodaikanal.
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