Exploring the Kodai Hills / Kodai Hills SUP Exploration
The night before the big day we stayed at Megamalai near the Highwavys dam. As the sun light slowly streamed into the valley we were already packed and ready to hit the road for our SUP Exploration in the Kodaikanal hills.
Highwavys dam in the background
As we started gaining altitude driving along the mountain road we could see the Manjalar dam below and Thalayar waterfall in the distance.
Continuing on the road we quickly reached Kodaikanal and saw the Kodaikanal lake in the middle of the town. The lake had a dark shade to it due to the surrounding hills and lack of sunlight. This was my first time in Kodaikanal and I was taken by surprise to see the scale of development. Like most developments, this didn’t look good. We could see plastics dumped near the roads and sewage running on the roads from the ‘developed’ areas.
Once we crossed Kodaikanal, the chillness in the air returned as the forest started getting thick again. We were headed towards Poomparai, Asia’s biggest valley. In an hour’s time, we reached Poomparai and we were blessed with a beautiful view of the valley. We could see lots of vegetation on the step slopes of the valley, which we later came to know as vegetables like carrot, turnips etc
We were picked up by the camping company’s offroading vehicle to go uphill to reach our camping spot. The offroad ride was so exciting since I was sitting on the top, which became my favourite seat to ride on!
Once we reached the camping spot, we quickly pitched our tents as our lunch was being prepared. Our camping spot had a beautiful view of the nearby hills and we saw many cows grazing happily on the hills.
After our lunch, we packed to go paddling in a nearby lake. Our trusty offroader took us to the lake, which was a little different compared to the other lakes I have seen. The water was quite murky with the presence of algae and runoff soil due to the rains. Because of the water condition, we couldn’t go swimming and were careful not to fall into the water. The lake is at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level.
After inflating our paddleboards, we took them in for testing the waters. The lake was the same as other lakes except for the murky waters. We even found many lilies on the sides.
Exploring the lake
The locals in that area were very curious about what was going on in their lake. The only interaction they have had so far with the lake was to pump out water to irrigate their land. We invited the few of them to try out paddleboarding. Being very reluctant at first, they finally gave in to their curiosity and got on the paddleboards. They learned very quickly as we taught them the basics and were paddling confidently in less than 10 minutes. It is always a nice feeling to see the excitement of first-timers paddling and exploring the water.
Locals learning to SUP
After paddling for about 2 hours we decided to pack up and go back to our camp since it was quickly getting dark. On our way back we got to see a herd of Indian Gaur chomping on the grass near our campsite.
Indian Gaurs near the campsite
After reaching the camp, a bonfire was setup which was followed by barbeque grill and stargazing. We even set up our cameras to take some beautiful shots of the constellations. It was a memorable night, a night close to nature and in the wild.
Bonfire and Dinner
This brings us to the end of the Kodai SUP Exploration. We successfully paddleboarded in a high altitude in the hills.