Coorg is a popular hill destination in Karnataka and is at a distance of 252 from Bangalore. While Madikeri is the district headquarters of Coorg and is situated at an elevation of 1525 m. One of the most popular weekend getaways in Southern India, Coorg is rightly called the Scotland of India because of its alluring sights, misty hills, lush Teak wood and Sandalwood forests, green valleys, wildlife sanctuaries, coffee and tea estates, orange groves and waterfalls. Apart from its famous coffee/tea estates, and Spice Plantations, Coorg has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. The places I visited in Coorg are:
(My day one was spent visiting Abbey falls in the afternoon and Raja Seat in the evening with a final stopover at Madikeri fort before coming back to the resort)
1. Abbey Falls:
Abbey Falls is located at a distance of 5.5 kms from Madikeri amidst the lush green private coffee plantations. Once we reached the falls, we were enthralled by the beauty of the cascade. The water was falling from great height, and was giving the illusion of milky white falls. There is also a suspension bridge across the falls which offers a very picturesque view of the falls from different angles and make it a perfect spot for taking photos.The road to the falls was narrow and slippery winding through the dense coffee and spices plantations. The gushing water, falling from a height of 70 ft, makes such high thunderous roar when it hit the rocks, that you can hear it the moment you enter the coffee estate. I loved this place so much that I have written a complete post on it which you can read it here- ABBEY FALLS IN COORG
2. Raja’s Seat:
We reached Raja’s seat around 5 PM. Raja’s Seat is a popular sunset point in Coorg. Once upon a time, this place was favorites with the kings of Kodagu who used to watch the sunsets from there. I liked this place as the view of the green valley and the surrounding high and low rise hills covered with mist was breathtaking. There is a garden surrounded by artificial fountains and in center, there is a square shaped structure having four pillars bridged by arches where the Raja’s used to sit. The best time to visit this place is either early morning when this entire place is covered with mist or in the evening to watch sunset. We also rode a toy train there just for fun and bid goodbye to this place after spending a good 45 minutes there. Our next destination was Madikeri Fort which was just one km away from Raja seat.
3. Madikeri Fort:
We reached Madikeri Fort around 6 PM and could not see it as the fort gets closed by 5’o clock. Frankly speaking, I didn’t find anything great here. There were ruins of the fort situated atop a hill. After spending some 10 minutes there and got some photos clicked, we came back. This fort was built in the 17th century and was restructured by Tipu Sultan. There is a public library and a small museum inside the fort which displays weapons used during Tipu Sultan era. Now there is a government office inside the fort premises.
(Our day started with a visit to coffee, tea and spices plantations in our resort where we were staying, and a visit to Nisargadhama Forest in the afternoon followed by The Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe)
4. Coffee Plantation Visit:
Since Coorg is famous for its coffee and tea plantations, your trip to Coorg is literally incomplete without a visit to the plantation estates. This place is one of the biggest manufacturers of coffee in India and you will find numerous plantations estates in Coorg which are either Private or Government owned. The best option is to stay at a resort which has its own plantation estates. We went on a guided Coffee and Spice Plantation tour arranged by our resort on foot and were explained about the different kinds of coffee beans like Coffee Robusta and Arabica, how the cultivation is done and coffee is dried and the entire process of coffee harvesting and the techniques of coffee picking.
5. Nisargadhama Forest:
In the afternoon, we went to Nisargadhama forest which is near Kushalnagar. This is an island on river Kaveri and is spread over an area of 25 acres and is accessible through a hanging rope bridge only. It is full of lush green thick bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak wood trees and has a children’s playground as well as an orchidarium. You can enjoy elephant rides, boating swimming here. There are some designated spots in this place where the water is shallow and swimming is allowed.
6. The Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe:
Next we went to the Namdroling Monastery which is also called the Golden temple. It is situated in Bylakuppe and is the second biggest Tibetan settlement in India and is at a distance of 34 kms from Madikeri. This golden temple is vast and beautiful and temple gets its name “Golden” because of the golden paintings above the monastery. The main prayer hall in the monastery has three statues of lord Buddha which are 40 feet high and are called Padmasambhava, Buddha & Amitayus.There are paintings on its walls rendering a very colorful feel to the prayer hall. It is mandatory to maintain silence inside the temple. Bylekuppe has a large concentration of Buddhists and you will get to see a lot of Tibetans there. The complex also has other temples, lodging for monks and souvenir shops. I have covered this post in detail, which you can it check out here.
(On Day third, we went to Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp)
7. Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp
Another popular attraction of Coorg and a must visit place for animal lovers is the Dubare Elephant Camp. This place is located at a distance of 30 km from Madikeri. Here you get the chance to see how the elephants are given scrub bath in the river, fed and trained by the naturalists. The timings of visiting this place is from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. Be on time else you will miss out on these activities. If you want, you can also join and bathe and feed the elephants. After that, the visitors are taken on a 10-15 minutes elephant ride into the Dubare Reserve Forest. Elephant rides occur daily between 10 am to 12 pm. But you need to purchase tickets for all these activities. Overall, you need to have at least three hours in hand to spend enjoy fully. This camp is accessible only by boat as you need to cross the river to get to the camp. Dubare elephant camp is a forest camp on the banks of the river Kaveri and is habitat to around 150 elephants. Here the elephants are bred and trained for the famous Mysore Dasara festival. Other activities which you can do here are trekking, fishing, and river rafting. You can go for Corracle Boat Ride on river Kaveri This boat is circular in shape and is made of bamboo. If you go there during the months of July to September, you can enjoy River Rafting. Also, explore the deciduous forests of Dubare which is home to many wild animals and birds. You can spot Sambhar, spotted deer, Wild Asian elephants, leopards, the gregarious wild dogs etc. This place is also a home to birds like woodpeckers, patridges, peacocks, kingfishers and reptiles and venomous and non-venomous snakes too.