Wide green meadows, slopping hills, huge creeks, tall pine trees, land covered with green grass and a pleasant weather; all these and much more make ‘The Gift of the Forest – Kodaikanal’, as the most captivating destination in Tamilnadu. Located at an altitude of around 2,100 meters, the beauty of Kodaikanal is alluring and attracts many people every year. If you happen to visit this destination, during the middle of August (14th – 15th), another additional attraction awaits you. Mother Salette festival, one of the popular regional festivals is celebrated with great joy and splendour during this month. It is a major event spanning for nine days and concludes on August 15th.
Christianity has been one of the major religions in Kodaikanal. Hence the place is home to several ancient churches. Lady of La Salette church is an around 130 year old shrine and is home to this charming festival. It was said that a missionary saint – father Saint Ceer was responsible for building this church, as he got cured of an illness, by praying to Mother Salette. It was believed that the foundation for this church was laid in August, 1865 and the church was completed in the year 1883. Statue of Our Lady of La Salette stands supreme inside this beautiful church, blessing pilgrims with a serene composure.
The event begins with special masses being held in the church and they continue for nine days. People visit and offer their prayers every day. Many visitors flock from far and wide to Kodaikanal during that time. On the last day, the statue of our lady is taken in a huge procession through the streets of Kodaikanal and people actively take part in this procession. It stops at many points where scaffold structures of Mother Mary are constructed by devotees.
Elders offer their children to the priests for blessings and they get seated next to the ‘icon’ (statue of goddess) for some time. Huge bands of western and Indian instruments accompany the procession and several songs are played. Dazzling lights, gala music, cheering crowd and the joy in every attendee’s face makes this carnival absolutely stunning.
The entire town of Kodaikanal has a festive feel this time of the year and all the residents participate in this carnival with excitement. Though it is a Christian festival, the most pleasant aspect is every person irrespective of caste and creed takes part in this celebration.
Local festivals in many tourist places offer a unique flavour and are a joy to participate in. So do not miss this fantastic event if you are in the princess of hill stations – Kodaikanal.
Distance from Kodai – By The Lake: 3.6 km, 8 mins
Distance from Kodai – Valley View: 5.7 km, 11 mins