Even in November, with the mists shrouding the hills and afternoon rains coming in like clockwork, the pops of color in Kodaikanal will take your breath away. As I wandered the streets this morning my attention was caught, over and over again. Bright flowers bloom every few steps, making me feel like I was in a tropical paradise at times. Most shocking to me were the poinsettias.
Poinsettias, to me, are a quintessential Christmas staple. Pots of these white and red blooms grace every entryway, holiday festival and church gathering. In my mind, they conjure up images of snow, tinkling bells and evergreens decked out with ornaments and tinsel. Here, they tower overhead, no longer resigned to tiny, cellophane-wrapped bowls.
Side by side with the poinsettias other, less familiar flowers blossomed, decorating the roads. Delicate pink trumpet shaped flowers hung from rich, green ivy. Tiny magenta and yellow clusters brightened my walk home.
But the flowers are not the only vibrant stars in Kodaikanal. I would be remiss not to mention the Shri Bathirakalliamman Temple near Convent Road. Located on the same street as a slew of auto repair shops that clog the road with motorcycles, this small temple packs a big impression. Like a wild birthday cake, statues of deities top the temple, each meticulously painted. Baby blue and cotton candy pink, spring green and splashes of red invite the eye to explore, while the sound of honking scooters and the hubbub of day-to-day life float around.
You’ll also find some of the wildest paint jobs on houses and hotels. In particular, the M. Maruthu Relax Home guest house, with its egg-yolk walls and ocean blue accents is a sight to behold. Whether the rooms inside are as fun as the outside, I Couldn’t tell you, but the innovative decorating makes the place look warm and inviting nonetheless.