When it comes to Coorg, a quaint hill station in Karnataka, I call it my second home. Not only because I have visited this place many times over the years but also because each time you visit Coorg, the warmth and simplicity of people along with cozy surroundings makes you feel at home. I can say Coorg, also known, as Scotland of India is one of my favorite weekend getaway destinations from Bangalore. Check out my last post about yet another weekend getaway Chikmagalur Weekend Getaway to Chikmagalur
Often the most memorable trips are the unplanned and spontaneous ones. True to this, some of my best and the most memorable trips are the ones to Coorg.
With the very first trip many years ago, where we landed early morning at an altogether new sleepy hill-station without any accommodation, just to find out that hotels are booked here during weekends, to the one where we, along with a group of friends decided over the dinner to head to Coorg next morning. And yet another one where things dint turned out the way they should and led to some other adventure. Each trip has its own fun element and memories to look back.
Now with a naughty toddler, I don’t think I would dare to do any of those crazy adventures. Yet the idea of visiting Coorg always sounds exciting.
Till past few years Coorg was popular only among the travelers from nearby cities, but off late its acknowledged and visited by tourist from across India.
Sharing a list of ten must visit and most popular places in Coorg for the benefit of those who are planning to visit this serene hill station for the first time.
1) Namdroling Monastery – The Namdroling Monastery is the largest teaching center of the Nynigma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Located in Bylakuppe, Kushalnagar, this Monastery is home to 5000 monks and Nuns and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. Although the entrance is not really grand but once you enter inside, you can see huge campus with gardens, monastery and magnificent Buddhist golden temple. Golden temple is very impressive with colorfully painted walls depicting the Tibetan mythology. Temple is equally enchanting from inside and enshrines large golden Buddha idol. One can meditate inside the temple.
There is a small Tibetan market outside the monastery, selling small knick-knacks and Souvenirs, also a small Tibetan restaurant.
2) Cauveri Nisargadhama – While travelling from Kushalnagar to Medikeri, you can visit Cauveri Nisargadhama, which is a small island formed by Cauveri river. Nisargadhama is more like a picnic spot, thick foliage of bamboo groves, teak and sandalwood trees surrounds the area. There are deer, rabbits, peacocks and a children’s playground as well as an orchidarium inside. Elephant rides and boating are the major attractions. There are also some riverside cottages as well as tree houses where visitors can stay. .
3) Dubare Elephant Camp – Dubare forest is famous for its Elephant-training center, where the elephants were once trained for renowned Mysore Dusherra celebrations. Today this camp provides tourists with an opportunity to closely interact and get to know these creatures better. Here tourist can witness the activities like scrub bath being given to the elephants in the river, other rituals including application of oil on their forehead. How their food is prepared and how they are fed.
Along with this one can also enjoy the typical coracle ride in the river, surrounded by the dense forest where you can spot some wild animals and birds. During the monsoon season, river rafting is also conducted on a small stretch of river, which provides a good experience for the first timers.
4) Chiklihole reservoir – Located between Madikeri and Kushalnagar, Chiklihole Reservoir is a place worth visiting once. It is approximately 15 km away from Kushalnagar and Madikeri.This place offers serene and peaceful surroundings and is usually free from tourist activities. It makes for a great picnic spot and also perfect for nature lovers and those seeking peaceful momets away from crowd
5) Raja’s Seat – Once you reach Medikeri, there are some spots, which are worth visiting in and around the town, and best among them is Raja’s seat. Raja’s Seat means seat of the king, is a brick and mortar structure with four pillars, a spot from where the kings of Coorg used to enjoy the view of Sunset. Now it’s surrounded by a beautiful garden and sit out point that offers a breathtaking view of the misty valley studded with paddy fields, enclosed by layers of green mountains. District administration has also put up a toy train in the garden to engage children. There is a small light and sound show conducted at artificial fountain in the evening which attracts many tourists as well as locals to the park.
6) Abbe falls – Located around 8 kms away from Medikeri, Abbe falls is one of the popular tourist attractions in Coorg. White foamy Water gushing down from the cliff from the height of 70 ft, provides a spectacular view. Hanging bridge built right opposite to the waterfall to capture the most striking view of waterfall. One needs to walk down around 200 steps from the main entrance amidst lush green surroundings of coffee plantation, cardamom trees in twinned by pepper plantation. Monsoon is the best time to enjoy this cascade.
7) Madikeri Fort – Although not very impressive, but one can visit the fort as its located right in the center of the town and has a story to tell about the bygone era. Although some of the higher points inside the fort offers a beautiful view of the surrounding areas. Built in the 17th century by Muddu Raja, the then king of Coorg, fort has seen many changes since then.
Currently, fort premises house the Madikeri Deputy Commissioner’s Office. Madikeri Fort is unique in a way that it houses a temple, an Anglican Church, a prison and a museum within its walls. The St. Marks Church has been converted into a museum and preserves several historical artefacts and antique items related to the fort, mainly from the British era.
8) Bhagamandala – Bhagamandala is a place of religious importance in the scenic foothills of Talacauvery, 39 kms from Medikere. Bhagamandala is also popularly know as Triveni Sangama, as its situated on the banks at the confluence of three rivers, Cauvery, Kannike and the sub terrain Sujyoti. Taking a dip in the holy waters of triveni sangama is considered sacred. Sri Bhagandeshwara temple is a famous temple near triveni sangama. Temple complex houses temples of Bhagandeshwara (Ishwara), Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapati. Bhagandeswara temple complex though said to have been built by the Cholas before 11th century follows the gabled roof style of the Kerala temple architecture common on the west coast.
9) Talacauvery – birthplace and origin of sacred river Cauvery, Talacauvery is located 44 km from Medikeri at the slope of Brahmagiri Hills. Talakaveri lies about 1276 metres above the sea level. Apart from being a place of religious importance, Talacauvery also offers a panoramic view of the mountain range and the valley.
There are two temples here, one of Lord Shiva and the other of Lord Ganesha. The linga is supposed to have been installed by Sage Agastya. Next to the temple a flight of stairs can take you to a breathtaking viewpoint, which is simply a feast to the eyes and offers a mesmerizing view of the Brahmagiri hills.
10) Coffee and Spice plantations – Trip to Coorg can not be completed without visiting and capturing some beautiful moments at the Coffee and spices plantation. Since these plantations are available everywhere there is no particular spot. However most of the homestays have their own Coffee plantations, which can be visited.
Which are your must visit places in Coorg?