About Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
The Kodaikanal Observatory is situated on the tip of Southern India's lovely Palani range hills. Today Indian Institute of Astrophysics operates Kodaikanal Solar Observatory that was earlier Madras observatory. The observatory is currently managed by Indian Institute of Astrophysics, IIAP. Earlier the observatory was known as Solar Physics Observatory that later converted to its current name. The longitudinal setting of this scientific abode makes it one of a kind spot to examine solar behavior.
The observatory houses the most comprehensive compilation of solar data, from as far as the 19th century. Furthermore, the place has an unusual geography that makes it especially the perfect spot to experience proper cosmic observations. At present, it features all the modern imaging apparatus and is the must-visit location to observe the celestial events. Visitors can see a 20 cm refractor here that helps in comet observations and to view relevant occultation event.
The Observatory also boasts a famous Astronomy museum on campus for the tourists. The displays here are chiefly pictorial, backed by a couple of models. Visitors can also see the live solar image and the Fraunhofer spectrum while museum touring. The trip to the epitome of learning ground will present all the visitors with a core knowledge and display of all the astronomical elements researched here by far. Also, the biggest highlight is trying your own hands with the equipment present here to upgrade your aptitudes and enjoy discovering the magical galaxy.
How to Reach Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
From Kodaikanal bus stand: The observatory is just about 4 km away from the charming town of Kodaikanal. You can find regular buses to from Kodaikanal to reach Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. You can also book a seat in private bus, take a taxi, or hire a cab to reach the location.
One can choose either choose from private luxury buses or affordable state government buses running from Kodaikanal bus stand to KSO. You will be dropped at the main entrance and then walk further one km to land at the observatory.
Best Time to Visit Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
The best time to visit Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is mainly in the morning time, i.e., from 10 to 12. At this time, visitors can witness the clear skies along with the visible Sun. Thus, giving an ideal opportunity to admire the wonders of the sky in the most pristine manner.
Also, although one can visit the KSO year-round though the best time to visit here is considered during the celestial events. It is the moment when visitors can seize the spectacle of the wonders occurring in the sky.
What Not to Miss at Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
Things to Do at Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
1. Boating & Pony Ride- Go to nearby Kodaikanal Lake built by Sir Vere Henry Levinge. This serene lake, spreading to 24 hectares, is famous amongst visitors for boating as well as pony rides around it.
2. Trekking- Perumal Peak stands at the height of 8005 ft that is a mesmerizing tourist attraction near the KSO. It is a dreamy spot for trekking and camping. Once you reach the summit, you'll be blessed with divine aura.
3. Nature Trail- Head to Coakers Walk to enjoy the mesmerizing scene of the area surrounded by clouds and mist. The path also has the telescopes installed for bypassers to view the beautiful meadows of Kodaikanal.
4. Pillar Rocks Viewpoint- It is the captivating viewpoint in Kodaikanal that is famous for tranquility and natural beauty all around. You can reach here through local jeeps and get treated by the stunning panorama.
Places to Visit at Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
1. Kodaikanal Hills- A must-visit place for every tourist while in Kodaikanal. Perched at the southern peak of the Palani hills, here you will be treated by wooded slopes, steep rocky outcrops, and lovely waterfalls.
2. Kumbakkarai Falls- Kumbakkarai Falls originates from the bewitching Kodaikanal hills. You can hit this place to enjoy a refreshing dip in its cool water. Also, a lot of on-premise food outlets and changing rooms are available.
3. Flora and Fauna Museum- It is a fantastic place for wildlife explorers situated within the Sacred Heart College. The highlight of the museum is the relics of some extinct animals and rare herbs.
4. Kodaikanal Wax Museum- It is a unique museum that features the wax statues of the world-famous personalities known for their participation in the various fields. You can see statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus and his last supper, Guru Shankaracharya, Veerappan, and some Bollywood celebs. A must-visit place with kids.
Other Essential Information About Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
- Location: The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is found Near Govt Rose Garden at Observatory Rd, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu 624103.
- Timings: Monday - Saturday between 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm (Closed on Sunday and Govt.Holidays)
- Entry fee: Adults & Kids - INR 20 per person, Senior Citizens - Free
- Visitor's Facility: The observatory offers the educational tour and night-time telescopic sky observing facility. It also has an astronomical library and hosts specialized university-level courses, workshops, and seminars.
- Parking Facility: The parking premise is only 1 km away from KSO. One can park the vehicle there and walk further on a well-maintained road to reach the museum.
- Distance from Kodaikanal bus stand: The observatory is 4.4 km distance away from the Kodaikanal bus stand. It means you can cover the distance in about 12 minutes.
History of Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
The developer of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory was John Evershed. The famous Kodaikanal Solar Observatory was first established as a Solar Physics Observatory in the year 1899. This observatory was the ground for the British to commence scientific studies in India. In 1792, it started as East India Company's approach to supporting Astronomy, Geography, and navigation subjects in India. So, since then, it drove the status of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory as a foremost solar physics lab in the nation.
Initially stationed in Chennai, the chief objective of the development of the observatory was to introduce equipment and devices in a tactical environment. These devices allowed for the sight of the moon, stars, and eclipses of Jupiter's satellites. It was also a reference area for the introductory study of the Earth's longitudinal lines. A vital solar marvel recognized as the Evershed effect was discovered here first in January 1909.
Telescopes and Instruments at KSO
1. 20 cm Refractor- The use of a 20 cm refractor found at the Observatory is for cometary and occultation observations. Visitors can occasionally use it to view the beautiful night sky.
2. H-alpha Telescope- This is an objective lens of 20 cm doublet and gives an f/7.9 beam that was installed at KSO in October 2014 . The telescope is capable of making the full-disk image of the Sun and magnified view of the partial disk of the Sun.
3. Full-disk Photoheliograph- Obtained in 1850 and remodeled in 1898 by Grubb, it is in use to obtain 20 cm white light images of the Sun daily.
4. Spectrograph- The back-end instrument at the telescope that makes a high resolution set up for solar spectroscopy. It also forms polarization measurements in sunspot areas.
5. WARM Telescope- WARM or White light Active Region Monitor creates the full-disk observations of the Sun, the photosphere, and chromosphere.
6. Twin Telescope- These are two telescopes mounted on a single equatorial mount. Since February 2008, it started making Sun's observations in white-light and Ca-K wavelength.
Highlights of Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
The feature of this Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is the live sun-oriented image and sun's noticeable vivid spectrum called Fraunhofer range. Further, when you go to the on-grounds space science exhibition hall, you can see sun-based models and pictures kept in plain view.
There is also a library that presents a rich collection of critical documents as well as the galactic report. Besides, visitors will witness vast compositions on Solar and Solar-Terrestrial Physics used for references and studies.
Places to Stay Near Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
1. The Tamara Kodai- The enchanting abode is an ideal location for those who want to stay at luxury. Set amidst the lush background, this hotel offers a myriad of services like free parking, open-air pool, restaurant, spa, and a games room.
2. Cloudwalks Kodaikanal- As the name suggests, this hotel near KSO offers you stunning views of the nearby mountains. You will wake up rewarded by a soothing environment and will receive fabulous hospitality.
3. The Carlton Kodaikanal- The classic ambiance of this hotel is another great choice to stay luxuriously. The hotel offers world-class services and hospitality. The feature of this hotel is one of a kind Shikara ride provided by them.
4. Holiday Home Resort- With beautiful interiors and picturesque outdoor environment, this resort is a great option if you are looking for a peaceful staycation. Also, it is a moderate range resort that has fully furnished rooms, gardens, free wi-fi, and an on-premise restaurant.
5. Hotel Cliffton- It is a perfect choice to book a stay at an affordable range with all the necessary amenities. The hotel is a quiet spot that offers fully furnished rooms, kids’ playground, and parking facilities. Pets are also allowed at this property.
Places to Eat Near Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
1. Cafe Cariappa- Step into the vintage style cafe, which has a rustic-chic decor. It is a foodie's paradise where you will find budget-friendly quick-bites made from Indian spices and popular meals from other parts of the world.
2. Tava- This restaurant is a perfect place for vegetarians to have a family lunch or dinner. The menu at Tava includes a wide range of meals ranging from gobhi paratha, Sev puri, dal makhani to idli sambhar, and much more.
3. Nia's Garden- Good food and great ambiance create a perfect combination, and this venue is all about it! You will sit amidst a lush garden and savor various mouth watering delicacies.
4. Hilltop Inn- Hilltop Inn serves both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian cuisines. The place is well maintained, and every food served here is delicious. A great spot where you can relish good quality food at an affordable price.
Tips Before Visiting Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
1. Cameras are not permitted to use within the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory premises.
2. It's a perfect place for students to discover and understand the astronomy subject by using the equipment installed in the KSO.
3. The astronomical museum opens for public only at particular timing, i.e. from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.
4. One must visit the observatory in the morning from 10:00 to 12:00 to enjoy the best pictures of the sky.
5. The observatory has a futuristic meeting and accommodation facilities. Here workshops and international conferences are conducted for around 40 participants.