>> Kodaikanal - History
Kodaikanal is the only Hill
Station in India developed by the Americans.
During 1821, Lieutenant B. S. Ward, a British surveyor was,
the first European to visit Kodaikanal, who was on the lookout
for a healthy place to live, for the foreign missionaries
working in Madurai and the surrounding areas to escape from
the summer heat and epidemics.
The early visitors to Kodaikanal, had to
travel by horse, bullock cart or palanquin. The forest were
infested by robbers and wild animals, and yet it became very
popular with the elite families, because of the wonderful
climate and clean air.
In 1834, the Collector of Madurai climbed
up from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at Kodaikanal.
By the second half of the 19th century, churches and other
colonial structures started popping up in and around Kodaikanal.
Examples of some beautiful structures are the Union Church
built in 1895, and a large number of private bungalows.
In 1863, Sir Vere Hendry Levinge, the Collector
of Madurai, created the 60 acres Kodai Lake by damming three
streams flowing through. He stocked the lake with fish. He
also brought the first boat from Tuticorin. A boat club was
formed in Kodaikanal in 1890. Since May 1929, the club has
permitted tourists to join the club as temporary members and
avail of boating facilities.
Missionaries established church properties.
Many of the ruling princes built summer holiday-homes. Clubs,
school and hotels came up. Civic amenities were introduced.
Kodaikanal developed slowly, but steadily. They also established
the famous Kodaikanal International School.
The extension of the railway line from
Chennai to Tirunelveli (598 kilometres) made Kodaikanal really
popular. A station was built at Ammainayakkanur - 80 kilometresfrom
Kodaikanal. (This was later renamed Kodai Road.) The first
steam engine arrived in 1875 and made the journey to Kodaikanal
far easier. Though construction of the road was completed
in 1914, it was opened to the public only two years later
- in 1916. And suddenly, Kodaikanal was thrown open to the
general public and tourists started flocking the area in large