Places To Visit In Coorg
This “country of million hills”, situated on the slopes of the Western Ghats, lies in the heart of the southern Indian peninsula. The mountainous district of Coorg or Kodagu (as officially known now), in Karnataka lies about 100km west of Mysore city. Coorg has many nick names – ‘Scotland of India‘, as both the places had grand and regal highlands with a sturdy mountain-dwelling race’; ‘Kashmir of South India’, for its misty weather and mountainous landscape, and more recently the ‘Grove Capital of the World’ as lately it is a sought after escapade destination. This tiny district is the biggest producer of coffee.
Coorg, a landlocked country, is not connected by train or air. It should be noted that Coorg is only a name of the district and there is no town by the name of Coorg. The only way to reach this beautiful land is to drive down from Mysore, Mangalore or Hassan towns, all in the state of Karnataka or from Kannur or Tellicherry in Kerala state. Madikeri is 120 km from Mysore and 260 km from Bangalore. Coorg, sandwiched between Karnataka and Kerala States, is well-connected by bus service and is two hours drive from Mysore. The drive is marvellous as one can enjoy miles of greenery, thick forests, acres and acres of coffee estates and shimmering streams.
You can book your bus tickets online at abhibus.com who offers bus services from Bengaluru and Mysore to Coorg.
Coorg is a tourist paradise for nature lovers. November to May are the ideal months to visit Coorg when the weather is pleasant. Kodagu is well-known for its coffee and its people.
Given below are a few of the tourist places to visit in Coorg.
1 – Raja’s Seat
Raja’s Seat or the Seat of the King is situated in the town of Madikeri in the Coorg district of Karnataka. It is a small pavilion made of brick and mortar and stands inside a splendid garden of seasonal flowers, with musical fountains. The garden becomes a colourful canvas when the flowering plants are in full bloom. The fountains dance to the tune of rhythmic music and gush out colourful water. The sunset point overlooks a valley and offers a spectacular view of green mist-laden mountains beyond the valley. It is due to the beauty of the place that the kings of Kodagu preferred spending time with their queens or consorts in this lovely ambiance. The spot got its name as it was the favourite recreational place for the kings.
The best time to visit Raja’s Seat is during the early morning and evening hours. The early morning hour offers a splendid view of the sun rising from behind the mist laden mountains and the golden rays of the setting sun offer a wonderful sight to watch in the evenings.
Today it is a famous destination of Madikeri that is visited by tourists throughout the year. The place is easily accessible from any part of the town.
2 – Iruppu Falls
Iruppu water falls is located in the Brahmagiri Range at a distance of 50 km from Madikeri, the head quarters of Kodagu district and 20 km from Nagarahole National Park, bordering the Wayanad district of Kerala. This fresh water cascade, surrounded by the lush green Western Ghats makes a beautiful picture and hence has become a famous picnic spot.
The Iruppu Falls create a breathtaking sight during the monsoons, when the fall is at full capacity. Starting from the lofty Brahmagiri peaks, the falls plunge 170 ft in two different stages. These falls later become a part of the Lakshmana Tirtha River and hence this waterfall is also known as Lakshmana Tirtha falls.
The Rameshwara Temple located near the Iruppu water falls attracts a huge number of pilgrims during the festival of Shivaratri. It is believed that Iruppu waterfall possesses magical powers and they remove one’s sins. On the day of Shivaratri, devotees take bath in Iruppu falls to get rid of their sins.
Irupu is situated at 48 km from Virajpet, 260 km from Bangalore and 120 km from Mysore. The Falls can be visited by the highway from Gonikopal to Nagarahole National Park off the Kutta Road after Srimangala.
3 – Dubare Elephant Camp
Dubare is known for its elephant camp, a forest camp on the banks of the river Kaveri in the district of Kodagu, Karnataka. It is an important base for the Karnataka Forest Department’s elephants. The Dubare Elephant Camp is a must-experience for the elephant lover in you.
This Elephant camp is a project undertaken by the forest department and Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd. This camp has plenty of elephants which are trained under naturalists. A trained Naturalist is at hand to explain the various aspects of elephant history, ecology and biology. The visitor can not only observe and learn but also participate in various activities involving elephants.
Besides the camp, there are opportunities for trekking, elephant rides, fishing, and river rafting. These activities are hosted by jungle lodges and resorts. The Forest Department also conducts some treks along well-defined routes. Other animals found in the forests are tigers, sloth bears, Indian Bison, bears, crocodiles etc and a vast variety of birds including peacocks, kingfishers, partridges etc.
The camp is located in the Coorg district and enjoys idyllic weather conditions. It is open throughout the year. The post-monsoon months (mid-Sept to beginning March) are the ideal time to visit as the weather is perfect. Summers are pleasant, since the camp is nestled amidst dense green forests.
Dubare is accessible by road, air and train. The camp is accessible from Bangalore via Mysore, Khushalnagar and Sidhhapura. It is also easily accessible from Mangalore which is 173 km away.
4 – Golden Temple
The Golden Temple also called Namdroling Monastery stands beautifully amidst breathtaking landscape, exuding a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Situated at a distance of 34 km from Madikeri, 4.5 km from Kushalnagar, 7 km from Cauvery Nisargadhama & 87 km from Mysore, the Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery is a beautiful Buddhist Monastery situated in Bylakuppe. The monastery is popularly known as Golden temple owing to the golden paintings crafted on the monastery. Bylakuppe is the second largest Tibetan settlement in India after Dharamshala. This Buddhist Monastery is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Coorg.
Namdroling Monastery is the largest teaching centre of Nyingmapa, a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, in the world, and houses over five thousand monks and nuns. The Golden Temple complex is huge and it houses 40 feet high gilded images of Guru Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche), Buddha Sakyamuni and Amitayus. The temple tower is highly ornate. The monastery not only attracts large number of young Tibetans seeking enlightenment and education, but also draws large number of tourists from all over India and abroad. Watching hundreds of Buddhist monks doing religious rituals and offering prayers loudly is an exciting sight
To reach Bylakuppe, you can either hire a taxi from Mysore, which is only 90 km away or opt for buses. It is about 250 km from Bangalore.
The best time to visit the temple is during the festive season. During this time, the main courtyard turns into an open stage for masked dancers and performers to present lively performances amid enthralling traditional music. The Tibetan New year (Losar) which usually occurs in the month of February or March is a best time to plan your visit.
5 – Nisargadhama Forest
This forest is a 64-acre island, with lush foliage of thick bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees, formed by the river Kaveri near Kushalnagar in the district of Kodagu, Karnataka, India. It is approximately 3 km from Kushalanagara, off the State Highway and 30 km from Madikeri, 95 km from Mysore and 167 km from Mangalore. The island is accessible through a hanging rope bridge. There are deer, rabbits, peacocks, and a children’s playground as well as an orchidarium.
Visitors are allowed to get into water at a few shallow and safe points along the river. Elephant rides and boating are some of the other attractions. It also has a forest department-run guest house and treetop bamboo cottages. This breathtakingly beautiful island is a popular holiday destination in Karnataka. The beautiful Nisargadhama Falls located on the island is an ideal destination for those who love nature and would like to spend time by themselves.
6 – Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is the enchanting 247 square-mile long wild reserve located in Kodagu and Mysore district of Karnataka. The park was declared as a tiger reserve in the year 1999 to exemplify rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy tiger-predator ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants. Covered mainly by moist and dry deciduous forests, the park is a store house of 250 species of birds like herons, storks, egrets, ducks, kites etc. Adorned with rich forest cover at the west of the Kabini River, the Nagarhole National Park is counted among the well maintained national parks in India.
Nagarahole is named after Nagarahole (Cobra river in the local language, Kannada), a winding river which runs eastwards through its centre.
The Rajiv Gandhi National Park is flanked by Karnataka’ s Bandipur National Park and Kerala’ s Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary. These three parks, together with Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai forest and Kerala’s Silent Valley National Park, constitute the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.
For a better view of the animals, it is convenient to go on an elephant ride. Visitors are taken around the park in early mornings and in the evenings. The park also has its own safari vehicles for visitors. Private vehicles are allowed, but they should be accompanied by forest guides. Within the park, there are good motorable roads.
7- Abbey Falls
Abbey Falls is one of Karnataka’s amazing natural attractions in Coorg and is a destination that you cannot miss exploring during the monsoon ! Which of course doesn’t mean that it’s not worth visiting in other seasons. Is is located 8 km from Madikeri, 122 km from Mysore, 144 km from Mangalore and 268 km from Bangalore. The waterfall is located between private coffee plantations with stocky coffee bushes and spice estates, with trees entwined with pepper vines.
As you make your way to the waterfall, you will be greeted by lush plantations of spice and coffee. The roar of the water along with the aroma of the plantations is a delight in itself. The brilliant view of the waterfall from the hanging bridge running opposite to the waterfall is a sight to cherish. But if you happen to be standing on the hanging bridge right after the monsoons, the voluminous waterfall will leave you drenched by its spray of water.
A number of small streams come together to form the sizzling cascade at Abbey Falls. The waterfall gushes down a height of 70 feet to form a pool below that joins the River Cauvery. During the monsoon season, the cascade becomes thicker and lovelier to watch.
If you are a lover of nature, the beauty of the Abbey Falls will be enough reason for you to spend time there. One can explore the aromatic spice and coffee plantations surrounding the waterfall and a trek through the greenery will leave you with a refreshed mind. While crossing the hanging bridge, do not forget to capture the waterfall’s fascinating views in your camera. You can also visit the small shrine of Goddess Kali situated near the bridge. Since the Abbey Falls is at its peak form during the monsoon season, July to October is the ideal time to plan a trip there. But if you want to avoid the rains, you can plan your trip at any time of the year.
The water at the Abbey Falls may tempt you to take a dip or go for a swim. It is advisable to avoid such activities as the water may turn out to be too risky, especially during the monsoon season. Over the years, many deaths have been reported at the waterfall due to the negligence of the tourists. In fact, the whole area becomes slippery in the rainy season and you will have to exercise caution while walking there in the monsoon. Also, leeches can be a nuisance if you visit Abbey Falls during the rains. So, watch out for them when you are on the marshes of the waterfall.
Abbey Falls is situated at a distance of around 8 km from Madikeri. To reach the spot, you will need to follow the Galibeedu road from Madikeri. You can avail public transport or reach the spot in your own vehicle. Several KSRTC and private buses operate from Bangalore, Mysore, and Mangalore to Madikeri. You can board any such bus to reach Madikeri. From Madikeri town, you can use local transport to reach the waterfall.
8 – Talacauvery
The Cauvery is a large river, the origin/ source of which is at Talacauvery, Kodagu in Karnataka. Located 1,276 m above sea level, Talacauvery is located on the Brahmagiri hill (not to be confused with the Brahmagiri range further south) near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district, Karnataka. However, there isn’t a permanent visible flow from this place to the main river, of course except during the rainy season.
A tank has been erected on a hillside by kodavas, at the place that is said to be the origin. It is also marked by a small temple, and the area is frequented by pilgrims. Mainly, it is the worship place of kodavas. Beside the temple, there is a series of 356 steps which lead to the peak, from where the beautiful hills can be viewed.
The river originates as a spring feeding this tank, which is considered to be a holy place to bathe on special days. The waters are then said to flow underground to emerge as the Cauvery river some distance away. The temple has been renovated extensively by the state government recently. Talakaveri is about 8 km away from Bhagamandala and 48 km from Madikeri.
PICTURE CREDITS : Raja’s Seat – http://www.coorgtourisminfo.com, Irrupu Falls – MouthShut.com, Dubare Elephant Camp – File pic from Wikimedia Commons, Golden Temple – Neha Jain from D’Source Design Gallery, Nisargadhama Forest – TripAdvisor, Nagarahole National Park – TripAdvisor, Abbey Falls – Wikipedia : Santhoshkumar Sugumar, Talacauvery – Holidify