Berijam Forest Guest House in Kodaikanal is gaining popularity with both international and tourists alike.
This rest house is nestled in the midst of nature out in the woods of the beautiful Berijam forest. It has a great view to the Berijam lake. Altogether, it looks like a famous movie setting!
Berijam Forest Rest House
But before you get all excited about visiting this place, let me tell you first that you need to obtain permission from the forest department to drive through the reserved Berijam forest to reach the guest house.
Forest Rest House Stay
The Berijam forest rest house is usually used as accommodation for the forest officers and researchers.
Sometimes trekkers (general public) are also allowed to stay with prior permission from the forest office. We did not try this as we did not have time.
Also, the accommodation is limited and visitors are responsible for their own provisions.
The Berijam forest guest house seems to have been a safe house to British soldiers once upon a time.
Berijam Forest Office
Berijam is about 25 kms away from the heart of Kodaikanal. The District Forest Office is located near Moonjikal area.
Obtaining permission from this forest office is simple enough. You are asked to fill out the application with your name, address, phone number, car license plate number and your ID details. The fee for the permit was Rs.150 when we visited in February 2013.
You just need to arrive early in the day because the office gives permits only from about 9 AM to 11 AM. Also, the number of permits per day are limited to avoid overcrowding on the road through the reserved forest.
And bear in mind that Tuesdays are holidays for the forest office. So, you cannot drive through the reserved forest on a Tuesday.
Also, it is good to drive the same car for which you obtained permit as sometimes you may be stopped by police officers to verify the permit.
There are plenty of scenic spots along the way like Madikettan Solai, Cap’s valley which are awesome. The drive can take up the whole day if you stop at all places. So, plan accordingly.
As you reach the end of Berijam road, you can see the lake. We spotted a few bisons there. There is a swamp eco-system right at the lake. The road seems to lead to Munnar, but we were not allowed to use the road after the Moire point.
We have to drive back by 3 PM as driving is not allowed in the forest road after that unless you are staying in the Berijam forest rest house. They enforce this so that we do not disturb animals too much with vehicle noise and pollution.
When we took the Berijam road, we waited for almost half an hour at different spots because police was limiting the number of vehicles up the road at certain points.
All in all, it was a great drive and we enjoyed the scenery very much. Have a great visit to Berijam.
Best time to visit: September to June
(October, November and January months are very cold, so prepare accordingly. July & August should be avoided because the roads can get dangerously slippery and tend to landslide due to heavy rainfall. April and May form the peak season.)
How to get there:
Buses ply from all major cities in South India. Kodai Road is the closest railway station (80 Kms from Kodaikanal). Madurai is the nearest international airport.
Things to do:
For more details and travel tips to visit Kodaikanal, please check out my post, Kodaikanal-A secret gem of South India.