If you are in South India and you miss New Zealand, there’s an opportunity for you to experience a real Dunedin without even leaving Tamilnadu.
Yes! You don’t have to fly across the ocean. You just need to take a bus to Kodaikanal. Within a couple of hours, the bus will transfer you from the sun baked plains up into the Sahyadri mountains. There, at 7000 feet above the sea level there’s Kodaikanal – a town where you find it hard to believe that you are still in South India.
There you’ll get all attributes of Dunedin: cold weather, cold rains, fog, moss, mould, the sky totally covered by clouds, English (or Scottish?) style buildings, International students, slow Internet.
There you shiver all the time, you cough and sneeze, you need warm clothes, heavy blankets, sleeping bags, and you impatiently count minutes till your return travel to normal India.
You won’t find a fan or air-conditioner in your hotel room. You don’t really need one. You will want to close the windows at night (which is unbelievable for the rest of South India). In the restaurants you’ll be given hot water.
Your laundry will need several days to dry.
In Kodaikanal, you can comfortably walk in the streets at noon. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to apply sunscreen, because at 7000 feet the UV radiation is quite severe. It burns your skin. Just like in Dunedin.
But there’s one thing for which even I would visit Kodaikanal. Chocolate! All kinds of very good chocolate in nearly every shop. In other cities of Tamilnadu you’ll only find some disgusting, overpriced, packed Nestle with preservatives, and in rural India they might not even know what chocolate is.
But Kodaikanal is a real chocolate capital of India. Well, that also adds to the analogy with Dunedin where there’s Cadbury chocolate factory.
So, if you like chocolate and don’t mind Dunedin’s weather, then welcome to Kodaikanal. Otherwise, by all means avoid it!