Coorg lies in the state of Karnataka in India. It is also known as the coffee capital of India.
We set out on our trip to Coorg on a sunny Friday afternoon from Mumbai. This was the long weekend we were eagerly waiting for and we had decided in our hearts that we will make the most of it. Our trip started with train journey to Mangalore and from there we caught a KSRTC bus to the beautiful town of Madikeri. Madikeri is the headquarter of Kodagu (Coorg) district and the main tourist attractions are around this town.
On day one, we reached Madikeri around 2:30 pm and checked into our homestay; Flora Homes (http://www.florahomesgec.com). It is located very close to Madikeri bus stand and is a calm and serene place with great hospitality. The place is owned by Mr. Haroon who is a very courteous host. After checking in we got to know that most of the tourist attractions close by 4:30 pm, so, we decided to roam about in Madikeri town.
We started with Raja’s Seat which is a popular sunset point. Legend says that the King of Madikeri used to watch sunset from this point. Apart from being a sunset point, there is a beautiful garden and a small toy train for kids, although adults also take a ride in it. The entry fee for this garden is INR 5/- only but it has a long queue at ticket counter.
After watching sunset and clicking few pictures, we started exploring the hill town. On our way to bus stand, there were lot of coffee and spices stores. So, we decided to have coffee at Coorg Spices and Coffee House and believe me, it was the best coffee I’d ever had. They also sell fruit wines amongst which Passion Fruit wine tasted the best. Our next stop was at a wholesale shop of spices and coffee named Spices Corner. I would recommend that you pick a local retailer for coffee/species as they stock freshly brewed coffee powder and you can buy in loose packets in desired quantities v/s the glamorous packaged items from branded stores.
While shopping and walking around, we didn’t realise that it was 8:00 pm already and our stomachs were roaring out of hunger. Our search for a nice restaurant serving Udupi thali ended at Udupi The Veg restaurant near Madikeri Bus Stand. The food was delicious and unlimited too 😉
Day 2: This was going to be a very tiring day for us as we had to start at 8:00 am in the morning. The list of places to be visited that day was, Sri Omkareshwara Temple, Bhagmandala, Talakaveri, Namdroling Monastery, Cauvery Nisargadhama, Iruppu Waterfall and checking in to our home-stay at Kutta.
Sri Omkareshwara Temple: As the name suggests, it is the temple of Lord Shiva and is located in Madikeri. Like all South Indian temples, this temple also has a pond with fishes of various varieties.
Passing by beautiful coffee plantations and mighty mountains along the road, we reached Bhagamandala.
Bhagamandala: It is a religious site which is known as Triveni Sangam of the rivers Kaveri, Kannike and Sujyoti. There is a temple of Lord Shiva on the bank of river.
After sipping on coconut water to beat our thirst , let me tell you it was neither too sweet nor tasteless infact it was just perfect, we proceeded to Talakaveri.
Talakaveri: This is known as the origin of holy river Kaveri. The 300 steps trek to Brahmagiri starts from this temple.
Since, it was the month of March, the weather was very sunny and hot but we still decided to trek to the top of Brahmagiri in hope of finding something beautiful up there. But after burning so many calories and our skin too, what we found was nothing but disappointment. People usually trek to the top of Brahmagiri to get aerial view of the mighty western ghats from the top. The place must be beautiful during sunrise or rains but in hot weather, it can be avoided. We had to skip Abbey Falls as we got to know that it was dried up due to lack of monsoon this year, hence, we left for Kushalnagar. Kushalnagar is a town in Kodagu district which is approximately 30 km away from Madikeri. Namdroling Monastery aka Golden Temple and Cauvery Nisargadhama are located in this town.
Namdroling Monastery: This is a Buddhist temple complex which was constructed by His Holiness Drubwang Padma Norbu Rinpochein in 1963, following his 1959 exit from Tibet. Many parts of the Monastery are open to the public. The monastery campus gives a feel of being in Mcleodganj with all the Lamas around and women dressed in Tibetan attire.
After walking around in the monastery for some time, we took a pit-stop for lunch at Hotel Top in Town. After having lunch, we stopped by Cauvery Nisargadhama. I would not recommend going to this place in hot weather. Although, the entrance of Nisargadhama has a Laxman Jhoola and bamboo forest which gives a really cool vibe about the place. We kept walking in the scorching sun in search of something interesting and figured out that this place is worth visiting during monsoon and winters. It gets really hot in summers and one can’t admire the beauty of this place due to the hot weather. It also has adventure sports like zipline and rafting in Kaveri river.
After Nisargadhama, we headed towards Iruppu waterfall. It is a really nice place for a short forest walk during winters, where you can hear the sound of grasshoppers but in summers, the waterfall is almost dried up with people bathing under the water and soap water all around.
We started for our next destination, Kutta around 5:30 in the evening and the weather was getting more and more pleasant with setting sun. After reaching Kutta, we were welcomed by our host Mr. Aiyappa’s father at Nitara Holiday Home. It’s a beautiful farmhouse situated almost 3 km away from main road between coffee plantations. We chatted with Mr. Aiyappa’s father for a long time discussing the various stages of growing coffee and spices, over a cup of filter coffee. The home-stay has a living area on first floor where our nice home-cooked dinner was served. After having dinner, we sat there in silence, gazing the starry sky and admiring the beauty of full moon night.
Day 3 had something else in store for me. We got ready at 6:00 am for leaving for Tiger Safari at Nagarhole National Park and while getting down the stairs I slipped and got a twisted ankle. But, no pain can hold back my wanderlust and despite being in so much pain, I took a bumpy jeep ride to Nagarhole National Park. Our 1.5 hour long bus safari started at 7:00 am. Due to hot weather, most of the trees had dried, but we could still spot peacocks, Indian spotted deer cheetal, neelgaay and beautiful birds near the water streams. By the end of safari, people were quite bored of spotting the same deer again and again and had started dozing off. And in last 10 mins, what I see is an Elephant with long tusks and I screamed out of excitement and the whole bus was awake. It was as if people had accomplished their sole purpose of taking this safari.
After having breakfast at our homestay we started our return journey to Calicut via Wayanad. We were supposed to go to Kuruva Island and Thiruneli temple but both the places were closed. The road to Calicut has tea estates on both the sides till the end of Wayanad district and once the Malabar district starts, these tea estates are replaced by coconut and areca nut trees. We reached Kozhikode in almost 3 hours passing through 9 hairpin bends on the ghat and checked in to our hotel. By now, my ankle’s condition had worsened so I decided to stay at hotel and my friends left for watching sunset at Kozhikode beach and Calicut Halwa shopping.
Next day, after a lot of drama of flight getting cancelled and waiting for 5 hours at the airport for next flight, we finally reached Mumbai with bitter and sweet memories of our rendezvous with Coorg.
- The best season to visit Coorg is during monsoon and coffee makes it a perfect holiday destination. Avoid going there after February. The weather becomes unbearably hot from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm the temperature starts dropping.
- Kutta is a very small place having only one ATM. It is advisable to carry cash in case you are planning to stay at Kutta.
- The only way to reach Kutta is by private taxi which can be hired from Madikeri.
- Google maps is quite misleading in Coorg so, it’s better to ask locals regarding routes.
- Padeel bus stop is the closest bus stop from Mangalore Railway Station. However, people prefer going to Madikeri via Mysore or Bangalore.