Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Guna Caves (Devil’s Kitchen), Kodaikanal

Guna Caves (Devil’s Kitchen), Kodaikanal
It is about a unique natural heritage site called the Devil's Kitchen or Guna Caves. It is located at the outskirts of Kodaikanal town and it can be reached from the popular Moir Point. The place, which remained little known and was rarely visited only by the hikers became very popular after a Tamil movie named 'Guna' was shot here in 1992.

The Devil's Kitchen is a group of caverns located between the three gigantic boulders called as the Pillar Rocks. Like many other sites in and around Kodaikanal, it was also discovered by an English Officer. An English Officer named B.S.Ward discovered this unique site in 1821 CE. It is situated at an altitude of 2230 meters. 

As the pillar shaped rocks protrude out of the cliff face, they are called as Pillar Rocks. These cliffs were covered by Shola trees and native grasses. Later, the Europeans and Americans introduced many non-native tree species to this area. Apart from the caverns, the gnarled Shola trees and their roots make this site as an interesting and favorite one. Nevertheless, the place remained unknown till early 1990s. Hardly, few hikers used to visit this site. The numerous caverns enclosed by dense vegetation were in fact a dangerous trip. The highlight of the trip was to descend into the split between the third pillar rock and the main cliff face. It is the deepest cave which is actually called as the Devil's Kitchen. 

These are unusual rock formations resulting from erosion of soil from cliffs. There are deep dark chambers between the rocks which are inhabited by bats; which is assumed to derive the name Devil’s Kitchen. Some wild animals and several bird species can also be spotted here. It is believed that the Pandavas had stayed at this place for a while. Devil’s Kitchen is a good place to click pictures but due to the deep fall and the risk involved, many tourists hesitate to visit the place.

In 1992 CE, the Tamil movie named 'Guna' starring the popular actor Kamal Haasan was shot inside the Devil's Kitchen caves. It is believed that the film unit damaged and spoiled some areas. After the film was released, hundreds of tourists started visiting this place every day. It became a popular tourist spot of Kodaikanal. After this movie, people started calling this place as 'Guna Caves'. 

After commercialization of this place, the people started throwing rubbish in this beautiful forest and vandalized vegetation of the area. Few youngsters lost their lives in this cave. Ultimately, the deep narrow caves are closed to public forever. Now, we could only get a distant aerial view of the cave's entrance behind the iron bars. Whatever little vegetation and gnarled Shola trees that are still left are treat to the eyes.  

Guna caves (Devil’s Kitchen) are deep bat-infested chambers between the three gigantic boulders that are the Pillar Rocks. The deep narrow ravines of the caves are now closed to public due to the tragic deaths of twelve youths there. These dangerous caves are highly protected now, and tourists can see sections of the cave system from afar.  In the late 1970s the inside of the caves was well photographed. Tourists need to walk for about 400 meters 10 minutes from the main entrance to reach the cave and hill top and it is a great location for photography. 

It is located at a distance of 8.5 kms from Kodaikanal Bus Station and 1.5 km from Pillar Rocks, Guna Cave is wonderful tourist spot in Kodaikanal on Moir Point road.

Best time to visit
The best time to visit Devil’s Kitchen and Kodaikanal is from April – June and then August – September. This is when the weather is at its best, unlike the months from October to March which are wet and cold.

According to the Hindu mythology, Devil's Kitchen got its name so because the Pandavas used this place to cook their food during their stay here.

Timings & Fees
The Devil’s Kitchen is open to all from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Entrance Fee: Rs. 5, Rs. 10 for Camera.