Located at 143 kms from Mangalore airport, Madikeri in Coorg (locally known as Kodagu or Kodava Nadu) is a district in southwest Karanataka. It is surrounded by Dakshin Kannada, Hassan, Mysore districts of Karnataka and Kannur and Wayanad districts of Kerala. Madikeri is the headquarters of Coorg. Coorg is also known as 'Scotland of India'. The flora and fauna is extremely diverse. Some of the trees that can be seen around are Ben teak, Silver Oak, Eucalyptus and Jack Fruit. The wilderness includes fruit trees, coffee, cardamom, vanilla and pepper plants.
Coorg is well known for production of coffee,spices like pepper and honey.
How to reach?
By Road :
Mangalore is the important city at a distance of 140 kms. There are regular KSRTC and private buses available to Madikeri from Mangalore. Bangalore is at a distance of 260 kms and Mysore is at a distance of 115 kms.
Private taxis are available from the nearby major cities or towns.
Mysore railway station is the nearest at 115 kms. and Mangalore is the important station at a distance of 140 kms. Bangalore railway station is 240 kms away.
The nearest airport to Madikeri is Mangalore at a distance of 143 kms. The other airports connected are Calicut (200 kms) and Bangalore (260 kms.)
Visited Coorg with spouse from 13th to 16th September, 2015.
Where to stay?
In Madikeri there a number of hotels and home stays. Some of the Hotels are Vivanta by Taj, Orange County Resort, Hotel Madikeri Heritage, Hotel Coorg International, Bgrows Holiday Home, Hotel Cavery Inn,Heritage Resort, Misty Woods etc.
Thanks to our son-in-law Mr.Pravin Fernandes, we were booked at Club Mahindra, Madikeri for stay on 13th and 14th September and at Club Mahindra, Virajpet on 15th and 16th September, 2015.
Club Mahindra has a sprawling property of 33 acres at Madikeri surrounded by forest. The 4 kms. inside road is narrow and uneven but once you reach the resort, it is bliss to be in the middle of nature.It has more than 12 varieties of orchids.
Club Mahindra resort is built in a traditional Kodagu style and the rooms are quite spacious with all amenities including a kitchen. There is a laxurious swimming pool and spa. It has two restaurants serving lip-smacking delights. The resort houses a Holiday Activity Center which hosts different programmes for the guests in the evening every day. On 13th we participated in a family entertainment programme which was real fun and on 14th a magic show.
As soon as you reach the resort, you are welcomed with a tilak placed on the forehead and bella kapi (coffee made with jaggery) the local speciality is served. Once you are checked in, mini vans will cart you and your baggage to the room.
Club Mahindra Room layout
Club Mahindra, Virajpet is located inside 15 acres of coffee plantation. It is a relatively new resort which is at about 30 kms. from Madikeri. The resort has a beautiful swimming pool, outdoor games like badminton, basketball, play things for children. Among the adventure activities, there is rope walk, rain walk, plantation walk etc.
It has a huge restaurant "Aroma" and a Coffee Bar near the Reception, 'Gourmet Express' to get packed food and a 'Pool Bar' at the pool side.
The only set back is the area is connected by only Airtel and BSNL mobile connectivity.
What to see?
On the way to Madikeri
There are a number of spots that can be visited in Coorg. Coorg has three talukas with tourist attractions viz., Madikeri, Virajpet and Somwarpet. From Madikeri, we visited the following tourist attractions covering 2 days:
While driving down from Mangalore to Madikeri, a few kilometers before Madikeri, you find a small waterfall right next to the road known as Devarakolli waterfall.
Slightly ahead of this small fall, there are rubber trees wherein the rubber extraction can be seen.
Located at 8 kms from Madikeri, this is a nature lovers' delight. Walking down the foliage of coffee plants and silver oak trees entwined with pepper vines, this majestic water fall can be viewed from a hanging bridge built opposite to the fall.
This is a beautiful temple in Madikeri. The inscription outside the temple says there is a legend associated with the temple built by Lingarajendra II in 1820 A.D. The king put to death a pious Brahmin who dared to protest against his misdeeds. The spirit of the dead man began to plague the King day and night. On the advice of wise men, the king built this temple and installed a shivlinga procured from Kashi and thus freed himself from the curse. The inscription further goes on to say that the temple tank houses the common carp (catla fish) introduced to keep the water free from organic matter and pollution. You can see a number of such catla fish in the tank.
This is a small structure from where sunset can be seen. It is said that the local King used to sit at this place to watch the sunset. A small garden is built around this structure. The panoramic view of surrounding areas from this spot is beautiful.
Adjacent to this garden is the Toy Train 'Babasaheb Express'. The train ride includes passing through the tunnel and a view of the Raja Seat.
Dubare Elephant Camp
It is at a distance of 37 kms from Madikeri on the way to Kushalnagar. The access to this spot is through boat crossing the Kaveri river. The bathing of the elephants starts at 9.00 a.m. till 9.45 a.m. If you wish to see or bathe the elephants, you must reach the sport by 9.00 a.m. Thereafter the elephants are fed and thereafter elephant ride. There is an entry ticket of Rs.20/- per person to the attraction and Rs.100/- for the elephant bathing and Rs.100/- for elephant ride.
There is river rafting activity for those interested.
River Rafting at Dubare Elephant Camp
Tibetan Budhist Golden Temple
34 kms from Madikeri lies this Tibetan Budhist temple which is also known as Bylukuppe Golden Temple or Nyingmapa Monestry (Namdroling Monestry) built in 1963. Immediately after the entrance is the residence for the monks and the temple is located inside with 3 beautiful golden statues with paintings of dragons on the side walls. The place is serene and prayerful.
Tibetan Budhist Golden Temple
This man made island is situated at 30 kms from Madikeri. It has a hanging bridge connecting the island to the mainland. It houses a deer park, rabbit den and boating facility during season time. Many of the trees along the path are painted with different creatures. There is a shopping complex near the parking area. Among other activities,there is a rope slide inside the island. The elephant ride which was there earlier has now been discontinued.
This is one of the important attractions in Coorg located at a distance of 60 kms from Madikeri. The 3 kms stretch of the inside road adjacent to Kannika Home Stay is bumpy and riddled with stones. This part of the ride can be done on Jeep or by walk. Kannika Home Stay has a jeep which can take the tourist to the spot. They have 6 rooms with 3-4 cots in each room and the charge is inclusive of food. The locals say that improvement of the road has been approved but it may take some time.
Despite the bumpy ride, once you are at the waterfall, eveything else will be forgotten. This is one of the biggest waterfalls in Coorg. It can be seen from a distance. To get to the flowing water from the fall, there are 160 well laid out steps down stream. This year the force of water is comparatively less owing to lesser rainfall. There are two smaller waterfall around by name Pori Abhi and Koti Abhi.
Next two days, we moved to Club Mahindra, Virajpet and from there we covered the following attractions :
On the way to Talacauvery, the confluence of three rivers namely, Cauvery, Kannike and Sujyothi can be seen at Bagamandala which is also known as 'Triveni Sangam'. While two rivers cauvery and kannike can be seen joining at this point, the third river Sujyothi is said to join from underground.
43 kms from Virajpet is Talacaurvery, the originating point of river Cauvery. The temple on the riverbanks here is dedicated to Lord Brahma. It is one of only two temples dedicated to Lord Brahma in India and even Southeast Asia.
The day we visited there was heavy mist with very less visibility around. Once you enter the gates, you will find a pond filled with water. The local priest said that the water in this pond is coming from underground and flows through a pipe through a statue of nandi to the other side and from there it goes underground and joins Kannike at Bagamandala.
26 kms away from Virajpet (56 kms from Madikeri) is this structure is located on Coorg's highest peak Thadiyandamol built by Doddaveerarajndra in 1792 A.D. This is believed to be the final refuge of last King of Coorg Chikkaveerarajendra before he surrendered to the British in 1834. The attendant at the palace informed that this was the hiding place for the King. With two levels, a spy hole with 24 holes to shoot invaders (the attendant informed that you can shoot any invader in the chest including a child from any hole) and a dark room underneath to hide are the high points of this palace. Some of the beautiful paintings on the walls are completely destroyed by passage of time but still some paintings can be seen on the ceiling.
Situated at 35 kms away from Virajpet, (65 kms from Madikeri) this is one of the treacherous waterfalls in Coorg with a height of 100 feet. The display board here mentions that more than 20 teenagers have lost their life attempting to go near the fall. It warns the tourists not to attempt to go near the waterfall as the rocks are very slippery. In the rainy season, even the pathway is slippery.
Iruppu Water Fall
This enigmatic waterfall located at 60 kms from Virajpet (and 90 kms from Madikeri) has mythological origin and has been created by the descent of a river over step like rock formations. Tumbling though the hills, the Laxmanathirtha river thunders 51.8 meters down the valley. The Irupu Sri Rameshwara Temple is the owner of the property leading to the fall. The temple authorities have built concrete steps all along the way to the fall to enable tourist to reach the fall. On the way to the fall, people take bath as showers from this fall are believed to the very holy. There is also a changing room for ladies built by the temple authorities near the bathing place. Blue Flutter, one of the most beatiful butterflies in India can be seen here.
It is one of the exquisite waterfalls in the area and the only waterfall where you can reach very near the fall to see its grandeur. It was an exquisite experience to walk along the track listening to the sounds of nature. We were the only couple the entire way to the fall and back. At one spot along the way we found a board warning of den of King Cobra. There are leeches which stick on to you even without your knowledge during the visit. But the beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding nature overrides everything else.
Nagarhole National Park
Located at a distance of 61 kms from Virajpet, (92 kms from Madikeri) this wildlife park also known as Rajiv Gandhi Park,is the home to innumerable spotted deer, wild elephants and bison. There is a safari starting at 3pm every day. Vehicles are not allowed inside the park before this time. However, we managed to get in and have a close view of herd of spotted deer grazing all along the road. We were warned not to honk or get down from the vehicle. The view of spactacular to see such beautiful animals at close quaters in such large numbers.
Rajiv Gandhi National Park
On the way back from Virajpet to Mangalore, we spotted red necked turkey with an umbrela shaped tail taking a walk on the roadside.
Where to eat?
The local cuisine specialities in the non-veg. category are Pandi Curry (Pork Curry), Koli Curry (Chicken curry), Bella Kapi (coffee with jaggery instead of sugar - a very tasty item), thari payasa (sweetened milk with brown rice). We wanted to try the Pandi curry.
There is one small restaurant next to the Town Hall by name 'Taste of Coorg' which offered one of the most delicious pandi curry we ever had and also other items like akki roti, koli curry, even the lemon tea was outstanding in taste. This is a Tripadvisor award winning restaurant.
Other eating places around are Raintree Restaurant and Rajdoot Family Restaurant among many others.
When to visit?
Immediately after rainy season is the best time to visit Coorg if you are interested in watching the waterfalls. It is chilly throughout the year and best enjoyed during rains. The temperatures range from 4 degres C in Winter to 35 degrees C during summer. Winter requires warm clothing and skin care creams.
Visit to Coorg is a must to be among the nature and also enjoy the various attractions as a holiday destination.