Posted by: getaway2india | November 26, 2009

Coorg – The Scotland of India

Coorg is the anglicised  name of Kodagu, a district in Karnataka State.

Coorg is known for its hospitability of people and beautiful scenery. This is one of the best destinations for nature lover in India. Tourists get fascinated by colourful scenery, wooded slopes, undulating landscape and quaint villages of coorg. There are endless mountain ranges which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Coorg continues to be an important coffee-producing district in India. Coorg has three main types of vegetation – the evergreen forests, the moist deciduous forests and the dry deciduous forests. The natives in Coorg are called Coorgies or Kodavas, and are known for their bravery and sports skills (especially hockey). Coorg’s three wildlife sanctuaries, the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, and its national park (Nagarahole or Rajiv Gandhi National Park) are rich in forest reserve and bio-diversity.

Map of Coorg

You can reach Coorg by driving down the Mysore-Madikeri Road (120 kms) or the Mysore-Gonikoppal Road (90 kms). The Mysore-Madikeri Road takes you to North Coorg and the capital (Madikeri), while the Mysore-Gonikoppal Road takes you to South Coorg.

Regions of interest

Madikeri (also called Mercara), Somwarpet, Virarajendrapet, Kushal Nagar, Honnamana Kere– A Holy & Adventures spot

Getting in

Nearest railway station is Mysore, from there its approx 100 km. You can travel from the Mysore Suburb Bus stand by the state-government buses that ply between Mysore and Madikeri (and also to Gonikoppal) at regular intervals. If you plan to drive down, you need to take the diversion towards North Coorg (Madikeri), about two kilometers from Hunsur (45 kilometers from the city). Now the first major town you enter is Kushalanagar and this is where you begin to feel a change in the air and the scenery, which is an endless stretch of coffee plantations and lush green paddy fields. Make Madikeri your base as this hill town has accommodation and food options.

To See:

Abbey Falls

Abbey falls

A big attraction for tourists and filmdom alike is the Abbey Falls, 8 km from Madikeri. Even during the summer there is plenty of water in these falls. The roar of the falls can be heard from the main road, from where a path goes through lovely coffee and cardamom plantations right up to them. The chirping of innumerable birds which are easier heard then seen, fill the air with sweet music. Do remember to take your binoculars and camera when you go there.

Nagarahole – Wild Life Santuary

Nagarhole is a kannada word meaning “snake river” – which flows through the park but there are not too many snakes at this place. The park and animal life is part of the country’s first “bio-sphere reserve”. The Forest Department conducts tours along well-defined routes for tourists, in the early mornings and evenings. One can surely see the bison, elephant, spotted deer, sambhar, barking deer, wild boar, mongoose, peakcock, jungle fowl and many other birds and animals. Lucky ones get the chance of seeing Panther or Tiger.  This park was created by former king for their hunting adventure. Nagarhole provides best natural habitat for different wildlife animals like tigers, elephant, panthers and many more. Mostly found animals here are wild dogs, gaur, langur and deer.

Honnamana Kere

Honnamana Kere

Honnamana Kere is a holy and tourist place located in Daddamalthe near Sulimalthe village 6 km away from Somwarpet town. The lake (See picture) is surrounded by beautiful landscape including Coffee estates and Cliffs. Special pooja is offered to the Goddess Honnamma on the Gowri festival every year. Thousands of devotees come to this sacred place on this day and offers pooja to the Goddess Honnamma followed by climbing the cliff. ‘Bagina’ which consists of sacred belongings of the Goddess is left in the lake. A new temple was built several years back with the aim to improve the place and offer better facilities to the devotees, this was possible by the financial assistance of the people living in the surrounding villages.

L Shape Rock Formation

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctury

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctury is 30 km from Somwarpet towards Kukke Subramanya. The Wildlife Sanctury is a apt for trekkers who want to experience the wilderness of Western Ghat. Home for different kinds of wild species like elephants, deers, wild cats etc.

Mallalli Falls

Mallalli Falls

Mallalli Falls is situated around 25 km from Somwarpet. The exact location of Mallali falls is in Bettadahalli Gram Panchayat in Somwarpet taluk. It is an eye feasting sight of river Kumaradhara gushing through the valley and falling into a gorge, with lush green mountains around.

Madikeri

Madikeri:

Madikeri is the capital of the koadgu also known as Coorg. This place is known as the “Scotland of India”. Millions of tourists come to this place to visit coffee plantations, lush green forests, misty hills and some breath taking views of other areas. Madikeri is also known for it;s amazing climate. Madikeri also has a world record in the production of cardamom crop.

Staying at Madikeri:

Most places at Madikeri are at the middle price ranges.

  • Hotel Fort View, Kohinoor Rd. opposite State Bank of India, Tel: 08272-225266. Double Delux room (with TV and Non-Attached Bathroom/Toilet) Rs 500(Negotiable up to 300)
  • Home stay- Alath Cad, http://www.alathcadcoorg.com/ . A beautiful homestay with a rivulet within its compound and impressive coffee and pepper plantation.
  • Mercara Inn — Near to Madikeri bus stand. Call +91-120-4666422. Double Room with TV approx Rs.700
  • Home Stay – Kushal Home Stay, Near to Madikeri bus stand. Call +91 9341838605, Double Room with TV approx Rs 1500 – 2500 (Depends on Season)
  • Cauvery Nisarga Dhama, 28 Km from madikeri and 3 km from Kushalnagar. checkin: 12; checkout: 11. Beautiful place to stay. It’s an island with the river flowing around it. Peaceful ambience. Food not so great. note that you may need to shell out Rs 200 extra as a sign of goodwill.

Madikeri Fort

Madikeri Fort

This 19th century fort, in the centre of Madikeri, houses a ganesha temple, a chapel, district prison and a small museum. The fort offers a beautiful view of Madikeri.

This fort is one of the most beautiful places to visit during the trip to Coorg. Initially this fort was built by mud and later on mud was replaced by the concrete stone, by the great king Tipu Sultan. It houses several Govt offices and the central prison. It also houses a beautiful church and museum.

Church inside Madikeri Fort

Garden around the Raja's Seat

Raja’s Seat

According to legend, the kings of Kodagu spent their evenings here. But what’s unforgettable about Raja’s seat is the spectacular sunset that one can enjoy from here. A sophisticated musical fountain is also located here. Best timings for viewing the sunset and the musical fountains are from 17:30 to 19:30 Hrs.

Narrow Roads - often covered in fog

Bhagmandala

Bagamandala – Temple and river confluence

At a distance of 39 kms from Madikeri, 8 kms before reaching TalaKaveri, Bhagamandala is on the banks of the confluence of three rivers, Cauvery, Kannike and the sub terranian Sujyoti, popularly known as “Triveni Sangama”. The famous Sri Bhagandeswara temple is located on the bank of the river over here. Pilgrims visiting Bhagamandala bathe (or sprinkle water on your head) in the Triveni Sangama, confluence of rivers and worship at the temple complex.

Mandalpatti

Mandalpatti- View point

At a distance of about 35 kms from Madekeri town, Mandalpatti viewpoint provides break taking view of the nearby hills. The route from Madikeri is a great ride through coffee plantains. The view point is about 1600 meters above sea-level . If you are looking for some adventure, you can go downhill from the view point on the opposite directions which leads to a small yet beautiful water fall. Please use all safety measures as this water fall is secluded and is almost inaccessible due to its distance from the view point.Avoid trekking down alone or in small groups.

Talakaveri / Talacauvery

River Kaveri which is one of the 7 sacred rivers of Sapta Sindhus of the Hindu scriptures, originated at a place is called Talakaveri (head of Cauvery) in the Brahmagiri hills, at about 4,500 ft above sea level. This place is marked by a tirtha kundike or Brahma kundike (small spring/pond) from where the river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away. It is about 48 km from Madikeri.

There is a shrine near the kundike and a big tank in front of it where devotees baths before offering prayers. There are 2 temples, a Shiva temple and with a rare and ancient Shiva Linga, and another temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple has a holy Ashwantha tree where, according to legend, the Trimurtis – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh gave darshan to sage Agastya.

Legends also has it that every year on Tulasankramana day (approximately on 17 October) Goddess Parvati appears in the Kundike as the sacred teerthodbhava. This occasion is marked by the sudden unsurge of water in the kundike and is considered very auspicious

From Talakaveri, steps lead up to the nearby Brahmagri peak, where the 7 great sages called the Sapta Maharishis had performed a special yagna. From the peak, as well as on the drive to Talakaveri, tourists can enjoy a good view of the misty blue Brahmagiri hills. On a clear and sunny day you can view the glittering of the mangalore sea just before sunset.

Dubare Elephant Camp

Dubare – Elephant Camp

This is mainly an elephant capturing and training camp of the Forest Department, at the edge of Dubare forest, on the bank of river Kaveri, on the Kushalnagar – Siddapur road. The largest land animal is captured here with the help of tamed elephants and local tribals – the Kurbas – and is held captive for upto 6 months in large teak wood cages.

The tamed elephants attend to various jobs during the day and in the evenings they come down to the river to bathe and to be scrubbed clean by their mahouts. Afterwards the mahout obliges eager tourists for free elephant rides within the camp. In the evenings, all the elephants are offered a special treat of ladoos made of ragi and jaggery, each no smaller than a cannon ball!

Dubare Elephant Training Camp

To get to the camp you will need to cross the small still water lagoon over motor boat or still water rafting or by a small trek over a rocky pathway (no trekking in rainy seasons). Ideally you can raft across the river to reach the camp and trek back over the river over the rock pathway.

You could also do white water rafting at this place. The rafting distance is about 7 km and path is a great combination of rocks and water. A must do if you are looking for some adventure

Bylekuppe – One of the largest Tibetan settlements in south India, Bylekuppe has several monasteries and a Buddhist University. Along with the architectural delights, this place also offers an insight into the rich cultural heritage of the Tibetans. You can also source some genuine Tibetan arts and crafts products from here.

Golden Temple, Coorg

Golden Temple

A feel of Tibet in Coorg – that is the best way to describe the Golden Temple. After the Chinese took over Tibet, the refugees settled at Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar and this Buddhist Monastery was re-established here in 1972. The monastery has become one of the most popular tourist spots because of the ambience it provides and the sheer beauty of the architecture, idols and paintings inside it. The Monks here are known to drive huge bikes and luxurious cars…lol…honest.

Irrupu Falls

Iruppu Falls

This is a sacred place called Iruppu in south Coorg on the Brahmagiri range of hills. River Lakshmana-tirtha flows nearby. According to legends Rama and Lakshmana, passed this way in search of Sita. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being the river Lakshmana tirtha when Rama asked him to fetch some water. The river descends into a water fall known as the Irupu Falls.

Iruppu is a sacred place in south Kodagu on the Brahmagiri range of hills, next to River Lakshmana-tirtha. Legend says that King Rama and his brother Lakshmana, passed through the Brahmagiri range of hills while searching for Rama’s Queen, Sita who had been abducted by King Ravana to Sri Lanka. When Rama asked Lakshmana to fetch some drinking water for him. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being river Lakshmanatirtha. Also the river is said to be blessed with powers of cleansing one’s soul, it is an important pilgrim point for many devotees and a temple dedicated to Lord Ram is a few km below.

The river descends perpendicularly into a great cataract known as the Iruppu Falls. This place is believed to possess the power to cleanse one’s sins and is visited by thousands of devotees from far and near on Shivaratri day. There is temple dedicated to Sri Ram, surrounded by paddy fields, from where it is a climb up to the falls through natural forest. This place can be visited from Gonikopal on the way to Nagerhole National Park by taking a detour after Srimangala, situated in the Kutta Road.

Omkareshwara Temple

Omkareshwara Temple:

Omkareshwara temple was built by King Lingarajendra in 1820. The architecture exhibits Islamic and Gothic styles. There is a pond in front of the temple that is considered to be sacred. It is said to be always clean because a certain species of fish, Catla Catla, belonging to the carp family resides there. People from southern India, where temples are built pompously will get to see a simple one in this structure. The tale behind the origin of the temple is that Lingarajendra killed an honest and pious Brahmin to fulfill his political ambitions (also a hearsay that he wanted the Brahmin’s daughter for wife, which the Brahmin refused). According to Hindu mythology killing of a Brahmin is considered to be a hideous crime and the curse is quite deadly of which even Lord Indra couldn’t escape. The Brahmin is said to have become a “Bramarakshas” and haunted the king during his sleep. When the king consulted his astrologers for a solution they advised him to bring a “Shivalinga” and install it after building a temple. The Shivalinga was named as “Omkareshwara” and regular rituals were performed. The bars of the windows of the temple were made of “Panchaloha” and an alphabet “lim” (I am not aware of the origin of this alphabet) has been placed in between the bars. Panchaloha (also called Panchaloham – literally, “five metals”) is a term for traditional five-metal alloys of sacred significance used for making Hindu temple idols (Murti). Making Panchaloha images were a well kept secret for a long time and their color changing properties added to their mysticism. Four minars have been built on four corners of the temple and the central minar is like a globe, which anybody can see. The Shivalinga now worshipped in the temple has its origins in Kashi. Among the many Shivalingas in Kashi five are considered the most sacred, and Omkareshwara is one of them.

To do:

The best things to do in Coorg is outdoor sports. Fondly called The Scotland of India, it’s a lush, green blanket covering ranges of hills, and valleys, great for mountain biking and trekking.

Of course, if you could also come here for some time to cool off, or as a break from the usual tourist hot spots. Coorg has various options for adventure lovers. Some of the attractions are White water rafting, Trekking, Rockclimbing, Mountain Hiking, Dirt track racing etc.

  • White water River rafting
  • Nature Camp
  • Trekking
  • Rock climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Water skiing
  • Para sailing
  • Para gliding
  • Speed Boating
  • Campfire at Beelur Golf Club, Beelur, Somwarpet, Coorg (Located 8 km from Somwarpet town). Beelur Golf Club is one of the oldest club in the town. The lush green golf ground attracts many tourists and movie makers. Also famous for kitty party and Campfire.
  • Trekking, Hiking & Rock Climbing, Honnamana Kere, Somwarpet, Coorg. Honnamana Kere is a hotspot for Trekking & Rock Climbing. Adjecent Cliffs (Gavi betta and Mori betta) are the favourite places adventure lovers. If you prefere to be relaxed you can take a Hike in the Coffee plantations.
  • Boating or Fishing in Honnamana Kere Lake, Honnamana Kere, Somwarpet, Coorg. The relaxed atmosphere at the Honnamana Kere Lake is exquisite for visiters for Boating & Fishing.
  • Barapole Rafting, Indus Experience, ☎ +919880180812, http://www.barapolerafting.com/ . The Barapole Experience has no parrallels in terms of river technicals, white water rapids, rapids gradations, river course, the scenic environment & the management and safety standards adhered to every monsoon. The river Barapole is perhaps one of the very few rivers in the south which becomes a natural waterbody because of the monsoon & hence there goes in, a great deal of recce’s, preperation & management to ensure our paying white water river rafting enthusiasts have a safe & absolutely amazing experience. 999.

Trekking: Coorg is one of the best choices for the trekkers to full fill their desire for trekking. Tourists can travel around the coorg, enjoying the amazing natural beauty in the monsoon season. Coorg also known as Kodagu, was originally known as Kodaimalenadu. http://thrillophilia.com/Adventure-Sports-Extreme-Adventure-Coorg_202.htmlt

Trekking Destination

  • Thadiyandamole(5729 ft). Micro hotspot of bio-diversity in South India, the Trekkers paradise. Breathtaking views of Arabian sea and Kerala coast.
  • Pushpagiri(5626 ft). Trekkers can cross to Subramanya, in Dakshina Kannada district from Pushpagiri Range.
  • KoteBetta(5400 ft). Trekking distance 14 km to and fro; 22 km from Madikeri.
  • Igguthappa Kundu. Trekking distance 12 km to and fro; 40 km from Madikeri.
  • Brahmagiri. Wild life sanctuary near Nagarahole National Park. Trekking distance 24 km to and fro; 80 km from Madikeri.
  • Nishanimotte . Trekking distance 12 km to and fro; 6 km from Madikeri.

Eat

Coorgi food is an elaborate mix of Indian pepper, curry leaves, and, simply putting it, a lot of other magical ingredients. With a tendency to be a little too hot for the foreign tourist, it does have a great potential to compete with Andhra cuisine. Since the people of Coorg have a warrior background, their food is a little different from the mainly vegetarian cuisine of the rest of India with an abundance of pork, chicken and meat in it. Many dishes reflect a melding of meat, particularly meat and pork. Stews are common, and rice is the main staple diet.

And the very famous Coorg coffee to wash it all down.

  • White Water Rafting – Barapole, Barapole. White water rafting and river crossing   Drink
  • Homemade Wine & Tody. Homemade wines are available in local shops across Coorg and Tody is available in the local Plantations

Sleep

  • Orange County Resort: Nestled within 300 acres of coffee and spice plantations Orange County provides a luxurious escape. You’ve got to Splurge but take your pick – Presidential Villas through to Luxury Tents. Get pampered while enjoying the rustic pleasures of Mother Nature.
  • Heritage Resort: It is 11 kilometers from Madikeri. It is set on a slope. About 10 cottages. No room service. One has to trek to the top to the restaurant. Food is just okay. Hospitality is excellent. Be prepared for a late breakfast as it is not ready before 8.30 am. Always have a vehicle when you travel to Coorg as every place is so far off.

Homestays from Mahindra Homestays:

  • PolaycadEstate:

http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/homestays/Pages/KA0003.aspx?prpcod=KA0003.

Stay on one of Coorg’s finest coffee estates, in a sprawling 1920s bungalow. En-suite bathrooms, verandahs and beautiful lawns. Iruppu Falls close by.

  • Ajantha Homestay:

Stay at Ajantha, on a small hillock outside Madikeri, Coorg. Beautiful, private home with elegant gardens. Watch the rising sun from high above sea level.

  • BB Estate:

http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/homestays/Pages/KA0007.aspx?prpcod=KA0007

Stay near beautiful Madikeri, Coorg, on a coffee plantation. Friendly family hosts will show you the estate. Safari, golf, fishing and rafting all possible.

  • Elephant Corridor:

http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/homestays/Pages/KA0005.aspx?prpcod=KA0005

Stay among the elephants on a Coorg plantation. 92kms from Mysore. Comfortable rooms with bathrooms attached. Delicious local cuisine cooked outdoors. Hammock.

  • Honey Pot Homes:

http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/homestays/Pages/KA0006.aspx?prpcod=KA0006

Stay in Honey Pot Homes – wonderful coffee plantation cottages set in the gentle Coorg hills, 250kms from Bangalore. Waterfalls, spice plants and great views.

  • Nakoor Volkot:

http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/homestays/Pages/KA0004.aspx?prpcod=KA0004

Stay in Nakoor Volkot cottage, set amidst the pepper and orange plantations of Coorg. Secluded, spacious Homestay with view of pond, greenery and nearby village.

  • Barapole Rafting, Indus Experience, ☎ +919880180812,. The Barapole Experience has no parrallels in terms of river technicals, white water rapids, rapids gradations, river course, the scenic environment & the management and safety standards adhered to every monsoon. The river Barapole is perhaps one of the very few rivers in the south which becomes a natural waterbody because of the monsoon & hence there goes in, a great deal of recce’s, preperation & management to ensure our paying white water river rafting enthusiasts have a safe & absolutely amazing experience.
  • SILVER BROOK ESTATE, Kadagadal, Madikeri- Sidhapur road, Madikeri Taluk, Coorg, Karnataka, India, ☎ +91 9242271987,

http://www.silverbrookestate.com/

Checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11 am. Amidst the lush green coffee plantations of Coorg, in India, lies Silver Brook Estatel. It is an idyllic setting for a peaceful getaway, nestled amidst vast coffee plantations of with a perennial stream flowing through it. Pepper corn vines embrace the stately silver oak trees and fruit and flowering trees grow in abundance making the Silver Brook Estate Coorg homestay a haven for birds and butterflies. The pleasures of the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in Coorg, emerge within the Estate. The fresh air, the sounds of the jungle and the flowing stream… This experience in its entirety promises the much needed respite from the ravages of today’s world. A perfect getaway for individuals and family alike…… Wake up at leisure..sip your morning cuppa cha or some exquisite Coorg coffee. Stroll around the Estate, paddle your feet in the stream…take a snooze in the hammock…play a game or two, either indoor or outdoor.. or simply wind down, reading a book from the library, snuggled cozily by the fireplace. 2,500 per couple inclusive of breakfast.

Official website of Coorg:

http://www.kodagu.nic.in/

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Responses

  1. Bad Experience with Nisarga Tourism at Coorg – Nanda is not a man to be trusted

    Coorg is certainly a nice place to visit. However if you really have to enjoy the place please make sure you make the right arrangements for Stay & Travel. I paid Rs 36,000/- for stay & travel. I was told that I will be given a 5 bedroom house as we were 16 of us. Nisarga Tourism cheated us by giving us only a 3 bedroom house where we had to stay with so much discomfort. To add to it, we were being taken in the van for 2 to 3 hours in the guise of finding a better house. This house searching happened also at night on the 3’rd day. Imagine with old people and children how we would have felt alone in the dark woods stopping here and there for a house and this fellow called Nanda from Nisarga Tourism is only on the phone directing the van driver. The advance amount was promptly plucked from us on the day of arrival. Had I known that Nisarga Tourism Mr Nanda was a man of no Ethics, I would not have paid the entire amount on day 1 itself. We did visit places and the children liked Coorg very much. However I think one should never go for homestay at coorg unless you are absolutely sure about the place & have some confirmation number etc so that you can press legal charges if there are flaws. The last day we stayed at a place which is owned by Mr Prasad and he advised us that people like Nanda are brokers and are only concerned in making money so dont trust that fellow. We then got his visiting card and said next time we will contact you directly.

    Bottomline of the story, if you want to visit coorg, dont trust brokers like Mr Nanda and dont go to Nisarga Tourism. Instead stay in a hotel or at least if it is a homestay, then contact the owner directly. I hope I am able to prevent some one else getting frustrated like me. Again its only the ethics of Nanda & Nisarga tourism that frustrates me. Coorg is a nice place – Dubare, Cauvery, Abbey, Iruppu , Raja seat are the pleasant memories that help me see beyond Nisarga Tourism & Nanda.

    • Thanks for your input. Tourist should be made aware of such cheaters.

  2. I agree with ISaac..homestays are the best option to stay In coorg if u r on a budget.. Contacting the homestay owner or manager directly is good rather than ending up payin more to the broker n getting shitty accomodation..


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