Nestle amid the mountains of Palani Hills, at a range of about 1500m on the Western Ghats; Thandikudi is a pretty small village encompassed by coffee plantations, dense forest and mountain peaks keep it always cool and comfort weather to stay forever. I was so glad exploring this place last summer in June (2013) and the most fascinating thing I find there was bird watching. Though, Thandikudi is famous for Murugan Temple, coffee plantations and archaeological significant site, where Pre-Iron age burials are found. The pleasant weather and quite calm environment (where melodies of birds resonate) was something I never used before and deserves peace at best.
Thandikudi is about 45 km northeast of Vathalagundu in the lower Palani Hills in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. The village is on half the mountains of Kodakanal, hence named as half Kodai, was reached partially driving on the Kodaikanal Ghat Rd and then take right near Ooothu and drive past Pannaikadu. Thandikudi is about 10 km from there. Though there are also alternate routes via Palani and Oddanchatram, apart Pattiveeranpatti which I preferred during my course of travel, since I sought for a change, this road comes as an isolate, fresh and traffic free unlike Kodaikanal Rd. It’s a pleasure on its own driving past dense forest and coffee plantations with few mountain villages making mild voices amid the chirping of birds.
We reached Thandikudi in the evening, since began to climb the hill between 4-5pm driving all the way from Chennai. It started to drizzle slightly as soon we are on the narrow mountain road, and looking down the plains was then a sight of active rainstorms playing on the ground. Past Dindigul, the weather has been stormy making it only more exciting. We made a leisure drive across the winding ghats, just being cautious at the occasional opponents since the road is sufficient only for a vehicle to pass at a moment. The slightly wet condition then made pretty cool as the elevation rises slowly, we stop at the Mangalamkombu, a small village near Thandikudi, to pick a person who booked rooms for us at the Panchayat Kudils (concrete huts) for accommodation.
|Mountains of Palani|
Derived from the belief of people here that during the fight with monster Idumban, Lord Muruga jumped over the hill to reach Palani and thus obtained the name “Thandikudi”, which is a two, conjoined Tamil words meaning “cross-jump”. According to an archaeological survey, there’s one more reason to call it Thandikudi. The Kulasekhara Pandya inscription issued during the 12th regnal year (1280 AD) records this village as Tanrikudi. Where “Tanri” is a variety of tree (termenalia bellarica) famous for its medicinal value and found in abundance in this region and “Kudi” means a clan based settlement. The archaeological survey also suggests that the site lies in a perfect ecological background, which helped to occupy continuously for more than 3,500 years.
|Coffee beans at Thandikudi|
Thandikudi is a coffee hub, where the famous Leo Coffee brought their base there. The central government has also established a Regional Coffee Research Station (the sole kind across the state) there in aim of evolving suitable practices for the cultivation of coffee, since this areas come under the North-East monsoon influence with low rainfall and hence require set of package for cultivation. The Panchayat run cottages or huts (made of concrete) had also built their premises among the coffee plantations and canopy of trees provides quiet environment and enrich with birds sighting. Black pepper, orange and jack-fruits where also among the plantations thrive aside coffee in Thandikudi, the silver oaks too rooted strong base abundantly across the mountains.
Thought Thandikudi is not a tourist destination, it too has places at receiving end. Except for the Balamurugan temple and certain view points (that come along roadsides) which we covered during our sightseeing, most of the places are pedestrian based or hiking. Although we managed to cover the area within a day, I still believe there’s much to experience and enjoy through personal exist. The Thandikudi chapter doesn't end here, but there will be more come into the blog through some other pretty posts.