HISTORY OF COORG
Before we start, let’s know a little history about the place? Kodagu, also known by its formerly popular name Coorg, is an administrative and popular district in the southwestern part of the Karnataka state.
Before 1956 it was a directorial separate Coorg state, at which point it merged into Mysore. It is one of the least populated districts in the entire Karnataka and has a geographical area of around 1584 sq mi.
WAYS TO REACH
Coorg is very well connected and dotted with several cities such as Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Somwarpet, Gonikopal and Polybetta. Only Madikeri and Kushalnagar have very good tourist facilities.
Apart from hotels and tourist cottages, there are many places to visit in and around Coorg which provide’ home stay’ facilities located around these cities.
The nearest railway stations are the Mysore Junction, located around 95kms away from Coorg. Other railway stations are Thalassery and Kannur in Kerala at a distance of around 79kms.
It’d be greatly easy and convenient for all you folks from the south.
The nearest airports are the Mysore Airport, also known as the Mandakalli airport is a domestic one. The Kannur International Airport in Kerala(59kms from Coorg) and the Mangalore International Airport(118kms from Coorg) are convenient.
ROADWAYS: Bangalore-Coorg (270KMS~ via NH75)
Since the roads to Coorg are well-maintained, traveling from Bangalore to Coorg by car or bike can be a really pleasant experience. The best part is that you will stop at will and enjoy the natural delights en route.
Three popular routes to get to Coorg from Bangalore are:
- Route 1: The Kushalnagar Route (via Mysore-Madikeri Highway)
- Route 2: The Channarayapatna Route.
- Route 3: The Nagarhole Route.
Mysore to Coorg is a safe and simple car or bike ride without any issues. Enjoy the cool breeze and lush green trees around.
Now that you know how to reach, let me describe a bit about the beauty of the place. Commonly known as the Scotland of India, Coorg is one of the most affluent hill stations in Karnataka.
Those misty hills, rich and lush green teak and sandalwood forests, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantations, serenely high mountains, misty green landscapes, orange groves, those beautifully constructed anemones, scattered villages, the hamlets which are the epitome of the old world charm, varied wildlife, spices, traditions and of course the hospitality of the Kodava people.
Coorg is an eye feast, plain sight, and breathtakingly stunning scenic beauty.
Coorg experiences Tropical Monsoon Climate as it is located in the Western Ghats. The average temperature recorded throughout the year and seasons are as follows.
|Season||Average temperature (noon)Approx||Average Temperature (night) Approx|
|Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb)||26°C to 30°C||12°C to 14°C|
|Summer (Mar, Apr, May)||26°C to 35°C||15°C to 20°C|
|Monsoon (Mid June, July, Aug, till mid-Sept)||21°C to 24°C||17°C to 18°C|
|Autumn ( late Sept, Oct, Nov)||25°C to 26°C||17°C to 18°C|
17 Best Places To Visit In / Around Coorg
As the Monsoon is nearly here and we hopefully battle down the coronavirus asap, we all cannot wait to visit our beautifully decided destinations, right? Well.
Coorg is romantic! Coorg is a lifetime experience that will leave you all spellbound with naturalistic green beauty and exotic locations if visited at the right time of the year.
The hills and mountains here will be covered with lush greeneries. The lakes will overflow with sparkling water. The waterfall sceneries become heavenly to make any human on the planet go away and fall in love with Coorg.
Here, I’m listing down a few of the best places to visit in Coorg with basic information about the particular areas.
Waterfalls are a scenic beauty and are always romantic. Talking about the travelers, they are always eagerly searching for waterfalls if going for a hill station, and Abbey Falls is one of the best waterfalls in the Coorg region.
Just around 8kms away from Madikeri Bus Stand, a series of 150 steps and a walk of around 10 mins down the lane will lead to the waterfall surrounded by coffee plantations, paper trees and spice estates.
The waterfall is quite wide but medium in height, and a hanging bridge is built across where the visitors can have a beautiful view of it. The waterfall sound can be heard from the main road during the Monsoon.
Abbey waterfall is a delight to watch due to its cascading nature on the Cauvery River and its dense coffee forests in the surroundings, which adds to the serenity.
- Distance (From Madikeri Bus Station): 8 Kms
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
- Place Location: Near Madikeri
The Madikeri Fort was first built in the 17th century AD by the then king of Coorg Mudduraja. The Fort was built as a mud structure but was soon rebuilt by Tipu Sultan in 1781.
Dodda Veerarajendra took control of the place in 1790, but further major changes were made around 1812-1814 under Lingarajendra Wodeyar II but were soon captured by the British in 1834.
Situated just at a distance of 1km from the bus station, Madikeri Fort is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Coorg. The Fort is historical and falls in the heart of Madikeri town.
The Madikeri Fort showcases its architectural beauty. The two-storeyed palace in the Fort Complex is a huge and spacious one that spreads around 100ft in length.
The Fort has a grand clock tower, a sculpture of a tortoise with the initials of king Vijayarajendra engraved on it, two life-sized stone replicas of elephants in the northeast corner of the palace can also be seen.
In the inner side of the Fort, a temple of Virabhadra was removed by the British in 1855, and a Gothic-style church was built in its place.
The Church has now been converted into a museum by the Archaeological Department, which shows different weapons used in the era of Tipu Sultan, several items related to history mainly used in the British era and a huge portrait of Kodagu eminent personality, field marshal KM Cariappa.
Mahatma Gandhi Library, Kote Maha Ganapathi Temple and the district prison are also situated inside the Fort.
The Fort has different elegant corners for the photographers as it offers a dilapidated church and the palace surrounded by huge ancient walls. All of these give the Madikeri Fort a splendid and elegantly beautiful experience and to know about the ancient history of Coorg as well.
- Distance (From Madikeri Bus Station): 1km
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1hr
TIBETAN MONASTERY/GOLDEN TEMPLE
In 1959, the Tibetan uprising shook the lives and homes of Buddhists in Tibet. Locals escaped the atrocities of the Chinese government and found exile in India.
The Maharaja of Mysore granted Tibetans seeking refuge land near Coorg, allowing and welcoming them to treat this quaint village as a home away from home.
Located at around 87km from Mysore, the golden temple or Namdroling Monastery is a beautiful monastery in Bylakuppe.
This Tibetan Monastery is one of the most important and popular tourist places in the Coorg region and is also the second-largest Tibetan settlement in India after Dharamsala.
The golden temple is highly ornate, doorways flanking the outer walls, beautifully decorated colorful murals, the red doors, thick plaited ropes, the gold knockers, those hanging tassels, colorful paintings, and the walls depicting the gods and demons from the Tibetan Buddhist Mythology.
The place is calm as it is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens which is an absolute treat to the eyes. The Bylakuppe town is a total delight to visit during the Tibetan New Year, celebrated in February/March over 15 days.
The monastery holds the traditional lama dances and huge thangkas(a Tibetan silk painting with embroidery).
Watching hundreds of Buddhist monks doing religious rituals and offering prayers loudly is an exciting sight that attracts many tourists from all over India and abroad. The young Tibetans seek enlightenment and education here.
The Namdroling Monastery is the largest teaching center of Nyingmapa, a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and is home to a sangha community of over 5000 monks and nuns.
Timings: 9 AM – 6 PM, Prayer is at 1 PM and it is a wonderful experience to watch the prayer.
- Distance (From Coorg): 34 Kms
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
- Place Location: Near Kushalnagar
- Travel Tips: Cauvery Nisargadhama is about 7 km from Golden Temple and can be visited together.
DUBARE ELEPHANT CAMP
Dubare is a naturally formed island, and an elephants training center situated on the banks of the river Cauvery and is one of the important bases for the Karnataka Forest Department.
The camp has plenty of trained under naturalists and is used for the grande Mysore Dussehra.
The trainers are excellent and can give you various knowledge about elephant history, biology and ecology.
You can also participate in various activities like feeding the elephants with sugarcane, jaggery, ragi, bananas and coconuts.
You can also watch the scrub bath being given to the Elephants in the river and how the oil is applied on their forehead and tusks etc.
The forest around is a home for various animals and birds. Spotting the Asiatic Elephants is a full-sight experience. The deers, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, bears, and gaur can be seen too.
Birds like kingfishers, peacocks and woodpeckers are found. The forest is known for many nonvenomous snakes and reptiles too.
The forest department conducts trekking into the forest region along the banks of the Cauvery River. There are many other opportunities like river rafting, fishing, bird watching, elephant rides, coracle rides etc.
Watch out for the crocodiles tanning on the river banks, all hungry(haha) while taking the coracle rides. Fishing can be done with prior permission from the wildlife department.
The timings for the elephant interactions are from 9 am to 11 am and from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm and charge around 900 rupees.
Day visits will be from 8: 30am to 2:30 pm and charge 1499 for Indians and 2250 for foreigners, including elephant interaction, nature walk, etc.
- Distance (From Coorg): 29 Kms
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
- Place Location: Near Kushalnagar
- Tips: Valnoor is about 3.5 Kms from Dubare Elephant Camp and can be visited together.
Also known as Lakshmana Tirtha, a stream originated in the Brahmagiri peaks that join the holy river Cauvery formed the Lakshmana Tirtha.
According to the legend, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana passed along the Brahmagiri range searching for Sita Mata.
When lord Rama asked his brother to get some water, Lakshmana shot an arrow at the Brahmagiri hills and brought it into the river termed “Lakshmana Tirtha.”
There is a temple called the Rameshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the banks of the Lakshmana Tirtha enroute to the falls. It is said and believed that Lord Rama himself installed the Shiva Lingam inside the temple.
Iruppu Falls is a picturesque waterfall cascading experience along with the Brahmagiri mountain range and is one of the beautiful tourist attractions in the entire Coorg region.
The falls are situated amidst the rich forests of the Western Ghats.
Iruppu is not only popular for its picturesque surroundings and mesmerizing beauty but because of its religious importance too.
The Rameshwara temple attracts a huge number of pilgrims during the holy festival of Shivratri.
People come here to admire and enjoy the blissful vicinity of nature, the grandeur of the falls and for seeking inner spiritual peace.
TIMINGS: 8am to 6pm
- Trip Duration: 4 Hours/Half Day
- Nearest City to Iruppu Falls: Mysore (110 Kms)
- Best Time to Visit Iruppu Falls: October to January
- Peak Season: October & December to January & May to June
As the name suggests, “seat of the kings” is a spot with a breathtaking view of the towering hills, green valleys and studded paddy fields.
The Raja’s Seat is a highly elevated brick and mortar structure with four pillows connected by the arches.
This beautiful spot was once a favorite venue of the kings to rejuvenate and spend some quality time with their queens watching the setting sun.
Raja’s seat is a garden with skillfully designed artificial musical fountains and beautiful flowering plants developed by the Government of Karnataka.
The garden becomes a colorful sight when the plants are in full bloom. The fountains dance to the tune of the rhythmic music and gush out colorful water.
With a commanding view of the cliffs and valleys, the sunset view is breathtaking even today, and the sun setting into the undulating mountains is just mesmerizing to watch.
Watching the road to Mangalore from the top is fascinating, which feels like a curved ribbon lying in the valleys.
As the green attracts and invites many tourists and morning walkers, this garden is adorned with a multitude of flowers, which indeed is a treat for nature lovers and makes the locals their favorite picnic spot.
Visiting Raja’s Seat is an excellent way to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of the royal indulgence of Coorg.
TIMINGS: Garden 5:30am to 8pm. Musical fountain 7pm onwards.
- Distance (From Madikeri Bus Station): 1.5 Kms
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 30 Mins – 1 Hr
Built-in 1820 by King Lingarajendra II as an act of penance.
According to the legend, the king had killed a pious Brahmin to fulfill his political ambitions.
However, the king started to have nightmares that troubled him to a great extent for his cruel deed and free himself.
The king sought the help of a few other learned brahmins who suggested building a Lord Shiva Temple to regain his mental peace.
It is believed that the Shiva Lingam was brought from the Holy Town of Kashi and installed at the newly constructed temple.
The Omkareshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an interesting yet beautiful architecture built in the unique blend of Gothic and Mohammedan style consisting of a large central dome with four minarets standing tall at four corners.
The walls are highly decorated with intriguing paintings, and the bars of the windows are made of panchaloha(the five metals – copper, brass, zinc, lead and iron).
The temple’s history is inscribed on a copper plate which has been fixed right at the entrance door frame.
Opposite the temple is a huge water tank that consists of various kinds of freshwater fish, and devotees are allowed to feed them.
In the center of the water tank is a mandapa connected by a causeway.
Mahashivaratri is the major festival celebrated here at the Omkareshwara Temple with great pomp and propulsion.
Irrespective of which faith or religion you are from, the Omkareshwara Temple is worth exploring.
It presents a unique amalgamation of Gothic and Islamic architectural style, similar to a Dargah in some manners of the dome in the center.
TIMINGS: The temple is open all days of the month, but for your accordance here’s the Pooja schedule.
- Abhisheka – 6:30am to 6:45am
- Ganga Pooja – 7am
- Maha Pooja – 12pm
- Maha Pooja – 8pm
- Distance (From Madikeri Bus Station): 1 Kms
- Trip Duration (Including Travel): 30 Mins – 1 Hr
- Transportation Options: Cab / Auto
- Travel Tips: None
Once due to hot weather in the south, there was no rain, people suffered intensely, no food, no water, the land became parched and cracks appeared.
The living beings’ sufferings were beyond words. Agasthya muni was sad and approached Lord Shiva for help.
God Shiva gave him a small amount of Ganga river in his kamandala(a small pot) and said that wherever you spill the water, the river flows from there.
A demon named Surapaduman wanted to destroy and planned to take the kamandala from sage Agasthya.
Lord Ganesha then took the form of a crow, perched the kamandala and threw the kamandala on the earth.
After touching the earth, the water drifted out and took the river Kaveri which is now called Talakaveri.
According to legend, Talacauvery is the spot where Lord Shiva appeared before Sage Agasthya.
There is a shrine dedicated to Lord Agastheeshwara and Lord Vinayaka. The Shiva Temple here houses a rare and ancient Shivalinga.
Situated on the slope of Brahmagiri mountain ranges, Talacauvery is the origin of the Cauvery River in Karnataka also one of the best places to visit in Coorg.
You can climb up the 407 steps to the top of the hill towards the cliffs and breathe in the serene, pure air.
There is a small spring called a Tirtha Kundike or Brahma Klondike. It is believed that the river originates from this spring.
This spring flows underground and emerges after a short distance. Near the klondike, there is a shrine. In front of the shrine, a huge tank has been built where pilgrims take baths and offer prayers.
The place has two temples. One temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an ancient Shiva Linga.
Another temple is of Lord Ganesha. At this temple, you will find a holy Ashwantha tree. According to legend, Lords -Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh gave glimpses of their holy avatars to sage Agastya.
Many devotees visit the shrine during October on Sankramana day. During this time, it is said that one can see sudden bubbling and frothing of the small well, which symbolizes the appearance of the Goddess Cauvery.
Apart from being a pilgrimage place, Talacauvery is also a splendid place amidst breathtaking nature.
The temple is situated in a breathtaking location in the lap of the Brahmagiri hills. The undulating layer of hills with stretches of green meadows is truly picturesque.
There is a flight of steps leading up to the summit of the Brahmagiri Hill, which offers a feast for nature lovers.
The most interesting fact about the hills is that even when you are on the top of the hills, you can still hear the bells of the temple ringing below.
Timings: 6:00 am to 8:30 pm
Few of the other places to visit in Coorg are as directed.
- Distance (From Coorg): 44 Kms
- Trip Duration(Including Travel): 1-2 Hours
- Transportation Options: Bus / Cab
- Travel Tips: Bhagamandala (8 Kms) is on the way to TalaCauvery from Madikeri and can be visited together.
BRAHMAGIRI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary got its name from the Brahmagiri peak, which is the highest peak with a height of 1608 m.
It covers 181 square km and is one of the beautiful sites to enjoy the natural beauty and take a relaxing walk.
It stands as a famous tourist attraction that is visited throughout the year and is famous among the professional trekker community.
- Distance: 74 km from Coorg
- Timings: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARK
Nagarhole National Park boasts rich wildlife that includes both flora and fauna.
This stunning parkland is packed with the bounty of raw nature in its best type. Bestowed with the best of wildlife and varied topography, this wildlife sanctuary offers gushing streams, lush green forests, gentle slopes, and shallow valleys.
This place can be considered a paradise for nature lovers and those who are seeking solitude.
- Distance: 75 km from Coorg
- Timings: 6:00 am – 9:00 am, 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm (All days of the week)
- Cost: Indian (Adult) – INR 50/-, Foreigner – INR 150/-, For still camera – INR 50/-
MANDALPATTI VIEW POINT
Overlooking the grassy knots of Pushpagiri forests, the Mandalpatti viewpoint is a spectacular, admirable and unique vantage point in Coorg. Huddled at a height of 1800m, this viewpoint mesmerizes all the visitors.
This place is also known as “Muguli-Peth”, whose relentless tranquility and the inexhaustible wonder will soothe you and make you crave for more.
- Distance: 34 km from Coorg
- Timings: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Cost: INR 25
PUSHPAGIRI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Make sure to visit this national park, which is also a proposed World Heritage site. It is one among the 21 wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka and is home to many rare and endangered species of birds.
- Distance – 78 km from Coorg
- Timings – 7:00 am – 6:00 pm (All days of the week)
- Cost – Free
Kutta, a small town in Karnataka and a region in Coorg serves as a gateway and connects you to several tourist attractions. The heavenly beauty of the dense and thick forest is a must-see view. Kutta is a hidden gem of a place in Coorg.
Burude falls, located a few kilometers away from the quaint town Siddapur is popularly known because of its breath-taking beauty and mesmerizing surrounding, which consists of lush green forests and offers a stunning panoramic view from the top of Western Ghats.
Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Mallalli Falls is located in the south-western region of Karnataka. These stunning milky white waterfalls surrounded by the scenery lush green forests and clear white waters falling from the origin to deep down is a marvelous sight never to be missed.
- Distance: 73 km from Coorg
- Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Cost: Free
Bhagamandala is a sacred confluence of the three rivers Kaveri, Kannike, and Sujyoti, and thus it is popularly called the “Triveni Sangam”. A bath in the holy waters of Bhagamandala is considered sacred and is also very much spiritually uplifting and gives extreme cleansing experiences.
- Distance: 35 km from Coorg
- Cost: Free
Nisargadhama is a beautiful island which is situated off the State Highway, 2 kilometer away from Kushalnagar city and 28 km from Madikeri.
The 64-acre island, enclosed by the Cauvery stream, will be accessed by walking across a dangling bridge, which connects the island and helps travelers to cross the Cauvery river.
If you are looking out for accommodations in Cauvery Nisargadhama, there are guest houses and treetop bamboo cottages which are maintained by the Forest Department.
Overall, the resort has 10-15 cottages and 5 bamboo cottages which is an ideal place to spend the vacation in nature along the river bank.
Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 p.m.
Coorg might not be the one-of-a-kind tourist place for the regular ones but for those who want to soak in the nature. Coorg is a place where you can relax, try different things, enjoy the natural beauty, and an experience to remember for a really long time. It’s worth spending for an accommodation that gives you a good scenic view