One of the main attractions for the tourists of Kodaikanal is the Kodai lake which is at a distance of 3kms from the bus stand. In 1863, Vera Levinge, a former District Collector of Madurai settled in Kodaikanal after his retirement. He was the man of resource and creative ideas for this lake. By spending his own money he converted the marshy land with several streams of lake by constructing a strong bund and brought boats from Tuticorin. It is reported that the foreign resident's even used to swim in the lake.
The lake is situated at 10 deg 14' n latitude and 77 deg 28' longitude at an elevation of 2285m above sea level and it looks magnificent with star shaped glittering water, in the midst of evergreen lush slopes. The hills receive the rainfall during North-East Monsoon months of October, November and December. The lake is spread over 60 acres and surrounded by fine tarred road of 5 kms length, the maximum depth in 1962 was 11.5m but it is now about 9m due to siltation. The average depth is 3.0m. The boat club provides boats for hire. There are luxury boats also. The famous Carlton hotel is facing the lake and the hotel is having their our boats for their customers.
Today lakhs of tourists walk around, sail on, ride on horses & cycles and admire the lake. Fishing can also be done obtaining permission from Inspector of Fisheries. Ponyrides by children and adults walking around the lake are part of Kodai Holiday.
The lake at Kodai is beautifully landscaped and it appears to be de rigueur for Indian families to get out on a boat. Both the Kodaikanal Boat and Rowing Club and Tamil Nadu Tourist Development Corporation hire similar boats for similar prices: Rs. 20 to 40 for a two-seater pedal boat to Rs. 125 (including boatman) for a kasmiri shikara (covered gondola - like boat) for 30 minutes.