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Kodaikanal is nestled in the hills of Tamil Nadu. Its name means "The Gift of the Forest". Meadows and grasslands cover the hillsides while gigantic eucalyptus trees and shola forests flourish in the valleys. Kodaikanal is referred to as the "Princess of Hill stations" and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination. Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, founded in 1895, is home to an outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum is affiliated with Loyola College in Chennai and exhibits artifacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribe people whose descendants still live in these hills. Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is the highest location near Kodai. The first observations were commenced here in 1901. Using the Kodaikanal terrestrial telescope, guests can view a grand panorama including: Sothupparai Dam, Vaigai Dam, Periyakulam and Varaha river. Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple is famous for its Kurinji flower which blossoms in the area only once every 12 years.



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