Coorg is one of the most alluring regions of India with its enchanting expanse of nature that nestle amidst the hills and valleys of western Ghats.
Coorg is popularly dubbed as 'Southern Kashmir' and 'Switzerland of India'. The land has a right mixture of nature, civilization, tradition and modernity.
This is a beautiful garden of seasonal flowers and fountains, overlooking a deep valley. In the yesteryears, the rajas of Kodagu spent their evenings at this vintage point watching spectacular sunsets.
A toy train takes around people to enjoy a view of mountains and the raja's Seat from a distance. There is a musical fountain at Raja Seat. A furlong away stands the Gandhi Mantap with the bust of Mahatma Gandhi, built in memory of Gandhiji's visit to Coorg
Coorg Facts The coffee agro-forestry systems of Coorg are one of the richest agro-forest in the world, with about 270 species of shaded trees inventoried.
A thrilling 8 kms drive amid forests and coffee plantations takes one to the most popular picnic spot, the Abby Falls. The gush and grandeur of the waters splashing down from 70 ft, can be witnessed from the hanging bridge.
Although the crystal clear water is inviting, bathing and swimming in the deep water is unsafe.
Coorg Facts In July and August, rainfall is intense, and there are often showers into November. Yearly rainfall may exceed 4,000 millimetres (160 in) in some areas.
Worshipping deity of Kodagu, River Kaveri takes her origin as a spring in Talakaveri, one of the most prominent pilgrim centres of Karnataka. About 38 kms from WoodyWoods at the foot of Brahmagiri Hills in Talakaveri is the holy pond where on the auspicious day of Tula Samkrama [ in every October ] Goddess Kaveri appears in the form of a river
Coorg Facts The Kaveri Sankramana festival normally takes place in mid-October. It is associated with the river Kaveri, which flows through the district from its source at Talakaveri. At a predetermined time, when the sun enters Tula Rasi (Tula sankramana), a fountain from a small tank fills the larger holy tank at Talakaveri. Thousands of people gather to dip in this holy water. The water, called tirtha, is collected in bottles and distributed to every home throughout Kodagu to be preserved. A spoonful of this water is fed to the dying, in the belief that they will attain moksha (spiritual emancipation) and gain entry to heaven.
During his reign, the Haleri King Lingaraja II beheaded a Brahmin who a minister in his court. After his death Brahmin is said to have haunted the king as 'brahmarakshas' As a remedial measure the King was advised to bring a shivalinga from Kashi and install it in Madikeri. The king arranged for it and thus came up the omkareswara temple in 1820. The temple is a quaint mix of islamic and gothic styles of architecture. The gold leaf inscription atop is accessed through a narrow flight of interesting steps used by the then king to survey his kingdom.
The annual 'teppotsava' or boat festival is a memorable event.
Coorg Facts Most of the Kodagu natives wear the traditional Kodava costume. These men wear ‘Kupyas’ (knee-length half-sleeved coats) over a full-sleeved white shirt. ‘Chale’ i.e. a maroon and gold sash is tied at the waist and an ornately carved silver dagger known as ‘Peechekathi’ is tucked into it. ‘Odikathi’ is yet another knife that is tucked into the Chale at the back. Furthermore, a chain with a minuscule gun and a dagger hanging onto it give them a martial look. The saris worn by women folk are pleated at the back and the pallu fixed with a brooch is also wrapped in a very unique way. They wear either a full-sleeved or three-quarter sleeved blouse and cover their head with a scarf. A traditional gold beaded necklace (Jomalae) and a gem-pendant (Kokkethathi) is widely worn by the women of Kodagu.
Bylakuppe, situated 30 kms away from Madikeri on Madikeri-Mysore Highway, is the largest Tibetan refugee camp housing more than 18000 tibetans in exile. They, over the last 45 years of exile, have recreated a mini-Tibet in this village. Their rich cultural heritage resulted in the sprouting of many mammoth and fascinating monastries depicting the different facets of Buddhism.
The Golden Temple adorned with a 60 ft. Buddha statue and Zamdong Palri, the coloured mountain is an exotic tourist attraction.
Coorg Facts The Tibetan monastery in Coorg was established by throne-holder Kyabje Penor Rinpoche in 1963, following his 1959 exit from Tibet as the second seat of the Palyul Monastery, one of the six great Nyingmapa Mother monasteries of Tibet prior to annexation.
An island surrounded by the Kaveri river, Nisargadhama is a picturesque picnic spot offering a true 'woody' experience amidst a bamboo forest with a hanging bridge, boat rides, elephant rides, tree top shelter, deer park etc.
Nisargadhama is strategically located between Madikeri and Kushalnagar
Coorg Facts Visitors to Nisargadhama 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.
Just about 8 kms from Kushalnagar is a natural island with approximately 11 acres of land. The island has a wonderful wreath of water and trees around.
The Dubare Forest area has an Elephant Training Camp. There are several tamed elephants and its an unusual experience of watching the routines of these elephants.
Coorg Facts The moist deciduous forests of Dubare are home to many wild animals and birds. Sightings of wild Asiatic elephants are regular and so is spotting the sambhar, the spotted deer, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, and gaur. Bears are also seen in these forests. Crocodiles can be seen in the river. The forests are also home to many reptiles and non-venomous snakes.
This reservoir is formed by a masonry dam built across the river Harangi, a tributary of the Kaveri. The dam is located about 9 km away from the heart of Kushalnagar town.
A true picnic spot where one can admire the gushing backwaters and a Kaveri temple nearby. A visit to Kudige Dairy Farm close by could be interesting.
Coorg Facts Harangi reservoir is the only reservoir in Coorg.
Nagarhole, a national park, known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is one of the most well maintained game sanctuaries in the country. It is centrally located with Madikeri at 98 kms, Mysore at 90 kms and Virajpet at 64 kms. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 647 sq. kms.
This sanctuary is home for herds of elephants, gaur, cheetah, sambar deer, sloth bear, langur, jackal, crocodile and over hundred species of birds.
Coorg Facts The Nagarhole National Park is usually closed for safaris during mating season of animals and during monsoon. Traffic movement is restricted from 6 pm to 6 am every day and the gates are closed on either sides of entry into the forest.
At the feet of Thadiyantamol, the highest peak of Coorg stands the pride of Coorg's History, the Nalknad Palace. This is about 45 kms from Madikeri. Built in 1792, this beautiful two storeyed palace enthralls one and all with its attractive paintings and architecture.