Coffee and Chocolates, Books and Brownies, Mountains and Muffins, Horizon hills and Hazelnuts, Windy woods and Wine aptly describe Coorg (Scotland Of India)
If you dream of waking up with aroma of fresh coffee amidst undulating lush green hills, breathtaking waterfalls, eye feasting view of the landscape dotted with sprawling estates of coffee plantations, then Coorg is your ideal destination. Coorg is a charming town with perfect blend of adventure, luxury, great food, luxury, and history. A trip to Coorg will satisfy every traveller as one can laze in the resorts or homestays, relax in the spa, get lost in the scenic coffee plantations,soak in the history and culture of the old world, go for adventurous trek or savour spicy curries and handmade chocolates.
Coorg locally also known as Kodagu is rightly called the Scotland of India owing to its striking natural beauty.One can witness huge crowds during Major festivals such as Keil Poldu (worship of weapons), Cauvery Shankaramana (return of the river goddess) and the Puttari (harvest) festival.
Madikeri or Mercara, the capital of Coorg, located 1452 meters above sea level is a heaven in disguise with the enchanting woods,awesome homestays, spectacular waterfalls in addition to mixed plantations of tea, coffee and spices. On reaching Madikeri you can add many stunning places to your bucket list which are in close proximity. Lets explore them in detail !!!!
Bylakuppe – It is the well known Tibetan settlement area located 40kms from Madikeri built on the land donated By Govt Of India to the Tibetan refugees. It is home to a list of monasteries. But the most magnificent and poupular amongst them is the Namdroling Monastery.
Namdroling Monastery – Located in Bylakuppe Namdroling Monastery is also known as the Golden temple. It is the largest teaching centre of Nyingmapa and a hit amongst spiritual seekers. The Golden Temple, which is a popular tourist attraction, has colourful murals, three shining golden statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava and the Buddha Amitayus and a serene temple complex. Here you get a chance to interact and take a sneak peek into the lifestyle and culture of the tibetians. One can relish their local cuisine comprising of Momos and noodles at no.of outlets nearby as well as collect some souvenirs from the handicrafts shop. The entry to the monastery starts from 8 in the morning till late evening.
Sera Monastery – Worth visiting because of its colourful paintings, scenic location and serene environment filled with spirituality.
Mandalpatti Viewpoint – One cannot miss the absolutely pleasant experiene of watching the sunset at Mandalpatti, situated at a height of 1,600 m. This fascinating place gives you an obstacle-free panoramic view of the sky and the hills. An adventurous jeep ride on invisible road taking you to the highest point is worth attempting. The place is perfect for trekking lovers and who like some adventure and seek best of natural settings. In order to go trekking, trekkers are supposed to take entrance tickets from the authorities at the base of Mandalpatti.
Abbey waterfalls – Abbey or Abbi falls, 10kms from Madikeri, a combination of many streams which finally comes down cascading approximately 70 feet from hills of the western ghats and plunge into the river Cauvery. It is a popular picnic spot and shutterbugs delight owing to its scenic grandeur. A short walk, of around 200 steps, through plantations of coffee and spices take you to the Abbi Falls. Monsoon is the best time to visit the falls as they increase by manifolds and the surrounding lush greenery adds to its charm. The brilliant view of the waterfall from the hanging bridge running opposite to the waterfall is a sight to cherish. The contrast combination of cool climate and the hot coffee add an extra element to this spot. Entry fee is Rs. 15.
Omkareshwar Temple – The Omkareshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was built in 1820 by Linga Rajendra II. It is an exceptional temple exhibiting Gothic and Islamic architecture simultaneously. The Shivalingam is installed near the entrance door and the history of the temple has been inscribed on a copper plate and fixed on the entrance door frame. As you enter the temple, you feel blessed and amazed by the intricate design works of the age-old architectural marvel.
Madikeri Fort – Located in the centre of the town it is an important rich, cultural and historical landmark which stood the test of time and has seen waging wars since 17th century. Madikeri Fort is a unique fort with colonial artifacts that also houses Kote Mahaganapathi temple, an Anglican Church, a prison, Mahatma Gandhi library and a museum. The St. Marks Church was built by the British in 1855 by removing a temple of Virabhadra and now converted into a museum.An exquisite display of historical weapons and artifacts in the fort in turn explains its motto to link India’s past with present extensive. Nowadays the building is used for administrative purposes.
Raja’s Seat – The spectacular scenic views and relaxing surroundings make it a place worth visiting. One can enjoy the musical fountain at 7.00 p.m in the evening on weekdays and 6.45 p.m on weekends.
Gaddige Raja’s Tomb – A beautiful structure preserving the mortal remains of the royal clan of Kodava has been built in the eighteenth century on the edge of a hilltop in Madikeri.It houses the key tombs of the King Doddaveerarajendra and his wife Mahadeviamma located in the center. The right tomb is the resting place of King Lingarajendra, whereas, the left tomb is dedicated to Rudrappa, the rajguru.
Nagarhole National Park – A must visit place for wildlife enthusiast for spotting majestic Indian tigers, bison, sloth bears, elephants along with other animals in their natural habitat. The park derives its name from the snake river flowing through the dense forests as “nagarhole” in Kannada means snake river. The park is also known by the name of Rajiv Gandhi national park.
Bhagamandal – The temple town of Bhagamandala is located about 33 kilometres from Madikeri. It is home to Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple and the Triveni Sangam, which is the confluence of three rivers; Kaveri, Kannike and Sujyoti. Triveni Sangam is considered scared by devotees where they take a dip in this confluence of rivers before proceeding to the town of Talakaveri.
Dubare Elephant camp – Elephant Camp at Dubare is the project undertaken by forest department and jungle lodges and resorts and is popular among tourists and animal lovers. It has around 10 cottages with attached bathrooms and a bar too. One can watch the mahouts training the elephants, help them scrub these giant animals while bathing in River Cauvery and later feed them with sugarcane, coconut and jaggery. The tourists are also taken for 45 minute jungle ride sitting on these elephants. In addition to all this it is also a hub for adventure activities like trekking, river rafting, fun fishing. The beginners and reluctant tourists can try their hands here on river rafting as the speed of the river is comparatively slow than at Barapole. The camp is open from 8.30 AM – 11 AM / 4.30 PM – 5.30 PM and Entry Fees are 700-1300 for Indians and 1500-2270 for foreigners.
Mallali Falls – Mallalli Falls are one of the best places in Coorg to spend some time. It is situated in Kumaralli village of Somwarpet in the district of Coorg. Mallali Falls are created when River Kumaradhara drips down from the peak of Pushpagiri Peak from a height of 200 feet. The surroundings of the waterfall provide a spectacular view of green forest, valleys and mountain ranges.The falls are 25 kilometres away from Somwarpet and 42 km away from Kushalnagar. These falls are also good for trekking. The timings for the falls are 9.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m. There are no food stalls at the falls. dont forget to taste the local cuisine of Somwarpet.
Pushpagiri Nartional Park – Perfect place for rare bird watching.This place is well-surrounded by Kukke Subramanya Forest and Bisle Reserve Forest which adds to the beauty and charm of the place
Tadiandomol Peak – It is the much sought after destination being the highest peak in Kodagu (Coorg) and third highest in Karnataka state with an elevation of 1748m in the Western Ghats. The name Tadiandomol literally means largest base or tallest mountain. It is located at a distance of 8 km from the town of Kakkabe and approximately 35 km from Madikeri. While trekking, one can stay put at Nalknad Palace maintained by State Archaeology Department for the night and continue trekking in the morning.
Cauvery Nisargdham – Popuar among the tourists is the Beautiful island on the banks of river Cauvery. the major attractions of this place is elephant rides, staying in Bamboo cottages, boating and admiring the stunning views of the dense jungles.
Barapole River rafting – Adventure and thrill seekers should visit Barapole and experience exquisite white water rafting including 4 rapids which last for 80 to 100 minutes covering almost 3 kms. It will eventually take you to the next level of thrill. The Barapole River surges through dense forests and offers rafting participants a breathtaking view of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. It is recommended to take classes and do a mock drill before embarking on this once in a lifetime experience.
Travelling tips :
- Coorg is a relatively easy weekend getaway from Bangalore and Mysore.
- Coorg is round the year destination, but November to March is the best time.
- If you are travelling solo, or travelling on a budget or if you like staying with the traveller community, opt for homestays.
- The route is uphill and windy . You may feel vomitting sensation during the journey but once you reach the top you will be happy instantly.
- Carry food and water to most of the place as there are no food stalls.
- Don’t skip a visit to the coffee and spice plantations.
- Always opt for private vehicles for a round trip. It would be cheaper.
- Make sure you get your stash of coffee from Coorg, organic spices, fresh wine or handmade chocolates from the local markets.
- Try at least one adventure activity in Coorg like river rafting or atleast cycling in the plantations.