Coorg- Kodagu

Coorg (presently called as Kodagu) is a district of Karnataka. Although the name has changed the place is famous by the name of “Coorg” today as well. The entire region is spread over 4,102 sq. mt. in area and is a part of Western Ghats. Being among the least populated districts in Karnataka this place has been famous for its coffee. Going back in history the place has had numerous brave warriors. It has many century old histories with the Kodavas living in the area. Over the centuries the place has seen numerous rulers which include the kingdom of the Cholas, Calikyas, VIjayanagar Ravas, etc. The native speakers of the Kodava language are the people who reside in the area. Besides the Kidavas there are about 18 other ethnic groups who speak the language of Kodava.

While people residing in the area are involved in pepper, coffee and paddy plantations they are also known for their skilled labours. The place has a rich group of artisans, mat-weavers, and basket weavers besides agriculture being the primary activity of the region. Going back a few centuries the place has seen numerous attacks by rulers such as Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali, etc. Presently the place is popular for the number of Hockey players it has produced and many of them have played at the National levels. Hockey is one of the favourite sports out here and each year the locals play among them which include about 400 local teams.

coorg
Coorg

For the tourists this place has enough to keep them mesmerized with its beautiful hospitality and the scenery surround the entire region. If you are a nature lover then this is the place you should be at. Every visitor coming to this place is blown away with the fascinating and colourful scenery all around. Among the other attractions which bring people to this place include the wooden slopes, quiet villages, long mountain ranges, and much more.

Interesting Facts

  • The local language does not have any script but recently a German linguist prepared a new system for the language which was named Coorgi-Cox alphabet.
  • The place is popular for its brave warriors but history suggests that the people never had any local leaders and they had administrators controlling their area from outside.
  • Being a part of Kshatriyas the natives of this place practice martial arts. They also worship arms.
  • The place has 3 wildlife sanctuaries and one national park namely, Brahmagiri, Pusphpa giri, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagarhole National Park.
  • Besides housing numerous wildlife creatures the place is home to over 300 birds who have been visiting the place for centuries.

Location

Kodagu shares its borders with the Dakshina Kannada district in the northwest portion while the northern section touches the Hassan District. Towards the east is the district of Mysore and it is close to Kannur (Kerala) from the southwest portion. Bordering the southern portion of this beautiful region is the district of Wayanad in Kerala.

Languages Spoken

  • Kodava
  • Are Bhashe
  • Kannada
  • Hindi
  • English

How to reach Coorg?

Coorg can be reached by all forms of transport systems. Be it railways, airways or roadways people can opt for their options depending on their preference. There are two chief towns which people might stay at namely, Virajpet and Madikeri.

Reaching Coorg by Air

The nearest airport to the place is that of Mysore and Mangalore. Travelling from both these airports is quite easy as there are numerous taxis and buses available from the airports. The distances from both these airports have been summarized below:

Mysore Airport Mangalore International Airport
115 kilometres from Virajpet 172 kilometres from Virajpet
130 Kilometres from Madikeri 140 kilometres from Madikeri

Reaching by Train

If you wish to travel by train then getting down at Mangalore, Hassan or Mysore in the state of Karnataka would be ideal. Moreover, the stations of Kannur and Thalassery in Kerala are also quite near to Coorg. It is possible to travel to Coorg from any of these 4 stations. However, nearest of them all is the station in Mysore which is about 100 kilometers from the area.

Reaching by Road

Road networks are quite good when travelling to this area. It is very well connected through roadways from all the districts of Karnataka and Kerala. If you are travelling from Mysore then taking the Sampaje-Madikeri Ghat road would be recommended. For other places the ideal roads are summarized as below:

Place Road
Kannur Makutta-Perumbadi/Virajpet Ghat road
Thalassery Makutta-Perumbadi/Virajpet Ghat road
Kanhangad Panathur-Bhagamandala Ghat road
Kasaragod Panathur-Bhagamandala Ghat road

Usually the bus journey from these places take around 4 to 5 hours, but the ride can be windy, rough though inexpensive. For those who can afford the ride of a personal car, may hire one from Mysore or Bangalore. Though, it would be recommended to have your own transport with you, especially when travelling in groups, as the experience might not be good with the transport systems every time. Also make sure you stop at the Bylanakuppe which is a Tibet monastery while you are travelling from Bangalore or Mysore.

Best time to visit Coorg

The place presents a moderate as well as a pleasant environment throughout the year. However the best time to visit this place would be in between the months of October to April. Winter months are cool while summers are pleasant. During the monsoons the place receives an average rainfall and can provide some stunning sights to the travellers. The place has emerged to be a popular weekend destination among the people residing in the nearby cities such as Mysore or Bangalore.

Travel Around Coorg

Travelling around the region is quite easy as there are loads of options available. One may hire an auto-rickshaw or 4-wheelers on a daily basis. If you have your car then you can roam yourself. Trekking is certainly the best possible thing to do here besides the hosts of attractions at this place. There are many local operators and guides who offer their services to assist people in trekking and travelling around the region. Tourists should go around the layered landscapes which are covered with a thin mist all over. The bamboo and rosewood trees clubbed with the amazing waterfalls and streams leave an enchanting effect on the tourists.

trekking in coorg
Trekking in Coorg

Going along the coffee bushes, the orange, lemon grass and the nutmeg plantations would certainly bring you closer to nature. When this was all you thought you can check out here then hold on. The adventures starts when you see the elephants, Malabar Squirrels or tigers go past you. If you are alone with your partner romance is certainly going to be high, but it’s equally fun when you are with your friends and family. Trekking among the scenic beauty especially through the Mojo Rainforest which has over a 25 acre organic farm would be mesmerizing indeed. Other treks that must be recommended are the Kakkabe to Malma, Honey Valley, Talacauvery-Brahmagiri Peak, and the Thadiyendamol. Tourists would certainly feel that they are indeed on a leisure holiday with no rush, least people around and the amazing atmosphere.

Attractions at Coorg

  1. Madikeri Fort: Located at the centre of Madikeri this Fort dates back to the 18th century. The Fort was constructed by the Lingayat rulers and has a small museum, prison, chapel and a temple with it. While at the Fort visitors are promised an amazing view of the entire region. Being built on an elevated area the fort is in a shape of an irregular hexagon. It houses 6 circular bastions at different angles. The elephants made of mortar which overlooks the area from the north-east entrance seem quite imposing.

    Madikeri Fort
    Madikeri Fort
  2. Irpu Falls: This is located at the Brahmagiri Hills and is a great place to observe the beautiful environment around. The best time to visit the falls would be the rainy season when the fall is about 60m from the top. The Ishwara temple is located just behind the falls and sees big celebrations during the Shivratrei Festival. There is a trail which goes to the Brahmagiri Sanctuary where people can spot large number of wild animals. You require permissions to roam and trek around the park.
  3. Abbey Falls: One of the biggest attractions to this region is the Abbey Falls which is inside a privately-owned coffee estate. While passing the main road people would hear the roaring sound of the waterfalls. When walking inside people would get the natural smell of coffee along with cardamom. Make sure you have your digital cameras and binoculars with you. The falls are at a distance of 8 kilometres from Madikeri.

    Abbey Falls
    Abbey Falls
  4. Fishing & Angling: The huge Mahseer is one of the popular fishes one would spot near the river Cauvery, especially near the Volnoor area. Make sure you take the permits from the Coorg Wildlife Society before entering the area. People may carry out fishing on their own and carry their own fishing rods with themselves. One thing to note about angling in this area is that one needs to release mahseer back in the river after catching it.
  5. Omkareshwara Temple: This temple has been built by King Lingaraja in the year 1820. The temple is famous for its mosque like structure and has a dome at its centre. People may take a dip at the water tank which is a few metres before the temple.
  6. Nagarahole Wild Life Sanctuary: The sanctuary gets its name from the Tamil name of the Snake River. The river flows through the park and is a part of this 1st bio-sphere reserve in the country. Every day in the morning and the evenings the Forest Department provide tours to the visitors visiting this place. You may see abundant animal and plant life here which includes the elephant, deer, mongoose, peacock and many other birds. If you are lucky you may get the opportunity to spot the Tiger or a Panther in the Jungle.

    Nagarahole Wild Life Sanctuary
    Nagarahole Wild Life Sanctuary
  7. Honnamana Kere: People visiting Coorg should stop at this holy spot as well. It’s about 6 kilometres from the Somwarpet town and is the near the village of Sulimalthe. The area is known as Dadamalthe. Numerous Coffee estates and cliffs provide a great view to this area. The place sees annual celebrations of the Gowri festival here in the name of Goddess Honnamma which can be a great experience as well. After offering puja the deities climb the cliff and leave their sacred belongings for the Goddess in the lake. In order to attract more tourists a new temple has been built a few years back.
  8. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctury: The Kumaraparvatha tek path or Pushpagiri is among the popular areas for the trekkers. The Puspagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is about 30 kilometres from the Somwarpet near Kukke Subramanya. The Sanctuary provides the most amazing experiences for the trekkers here.
  9. Mallalli Falls: The falls are located at about 25 kilometres from Somwarpet. Bettadahalli Gram Panchayat is the location where the falls are located at. When you are here you are guaranteed of an amazing sight of the river Kumaradharna which passes through the valley.
  10. Madikeri: This is the capital of Coorg region. It is often referred to as the “Scotland of India. Each year the place witnesses millions of tourist from around the country and globe. The main attractions here are its coffee plantations, misty hills, spectacular views, dense forests and the great climate. The place holds a record for producing the most amount of cardamom crop ever.
  11. Dubare Elephant Training Camp: Located at the centre of the South Bank of Cauvery and the Dubare Forest reserve it provides a great place to watch the elephants. You can watch them indulge in various activities with over 15 elephants residing in this area. Sip in a cup of tea and snacks available in the area and take an elephant ride around the training camp. Feeding these huge animals with jiggery or ragi could be a great experience as well.
  12. White-water Rafting: For the adventure lovers this white water rafting would be an experience to share. On the river Cauvery in the Nisargadhama season the white-water rafting would be recommended for the strong hearted. The rafting takes place in the morning sessions and is of about 3 hours in duration.
  13. Kakkabe: Popular in the past as the largest producer of honey in the South-East Asian region it is an amazing place for the trekkers. Trekking in the region along the orchids, and wild plants besides the breath-taking views makes it a great place to be when at Coorg. Thadiyendamol which is the highest peak in the region is the major attraction to this place. Trekking can be fun as it is quite easy to go along the path. If you are trekking on a clear day then be assured of spectacular views of the coastal region.
  14. Igguthappa Temple: For all the travellers visiting Coorg this is a must visit temple which is dedicated to the rain god Lord Igguthappa. This temple is famous for the Kaliyarchi festival which involves great ceremonies performed by the deities. The temple can be visited from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and puja can be offered at timings between 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.
  15. Raja’s Seat: The place got its name due to the fact that the Kodagu rulers used it to see the pleasing sunsets. It has been well-maintained over the years and is a garden which gives eye catchy views of the green valleys and the lush paddy fields. The bluish Ghats and the enchanting views are certainly quite fascinating from the garden. If you wish to be here then the best time would be between the evening hours of 5 to 7:30 PM. Though it doesn’t promise to give a great view of sunset in the evening due to thick cloud covers on occasions, being here for the sunrise could well be an alternate option. Pay Rs.10 and you are promised a great toy train ride around the region. Do try the Chur-muri which is certainly great to spice your taste buds.

    Raja's Seat
    Raja’s Seat
  16. Nisargadhama: Now if you are wondering what can be a different experience besides the hills and the mountains, then you have this small island to explore. It is just in the middle of the river Cauveri and gives great views of nature around. People from the nearby regions come to carry out picnics at this location.
  17. River Cauvery: This River is said to be the lifeline of the region. The river starts from the Talacauveri while touching Brahmagiri and disappearing. It reappears at the Bhagamandala and meets the Sujyotu and Kannike at its end. The river flows around Coorg in criss-cross streams and is at its best near the Dubare Reserve Forest. At this place one would find the glimpses of blue kingfisher, Asian Elephants, and the Mahseer.
  18. Talacauvery: This is the place where the river Cauveri originates and is situated at the foot of Brahmagiri Hills. There are two temples at this peak of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. In front of the shrines there is a water tank where the devotees need to take a dip before entering the temple. Talacauvery is at 4,500 ft. above sea level and is about 48 kilometres from Madikeri. The sacred place which is about 365 steps from the temple is the Brahmagiri peak which is said to be the place where the 7 great sages known as the Sapta Maharshis performed a special yagna. The drive to this place can be a great experience for the tourist due to the misty blue clouds in the region.

    Talacauvery
    Talacauvery
  19. Somwarpet: For those who wish to see and explore a coffee estate then Somwarpet is the place to be. The place is full of a great landscape which is covered by huge trees all around. While you walk through the garden you would feel the fragrance of coffee beans all over.

By now you would certainly be wondering as there are hosts of things to see at the Coorg area. If you are actually travelling long distances to this place then it’s recommended to stay for around a week and discover the whole area completely.

What’s in store for the shoppers at Coorg?

While you must be thinking that Coorg is only for the nature admirers, coffee lovers or the trekkers then hold on. There are hosts of things to buy in and around Coorg. You won’t find any big city malls in the area but be assured there are plenty of things you could buy here. Some of the things which you should take back home from Coorg would include:

  • Dry Fruits and Spices: Includes the cardamom, oregano, pepper, mint, bay leaves, garlic, rosemary and many more. Buying cashews, raisins and figs could also be some of the other options.
  • Honey: As mentioned this place still produces Honey in large amounts. The flavour and quality of honey is simply one of the very best in the entire country.
  • Chocory Coffee: Being one of the largest coffee producing areas in India it certainly means you have to buy coffee to your home. The coffee you get here is in the unadulterated form and has a rich aroma with it.

    coffee estates
    coffee estates
  • Traditional weapons or costumes: Every region has its own specialty in terms of dresses and accessories. Coorg presents some appealing as well as lovely looking costumes for the travelers to take back home. Be it the black robe, red cloth or the head gear they have these in plenty. Sari is another speciality in the retail stores of this region.
  • Oranges or Chocolates: Apart from coffee or spices, oranges and chocolates are among the special things you may buy here. The oranges are easy to peel and are sweet in taste.

Where and What to Eat at Coorg?

This place is certainly a paradise for the fish lovers. Coorg has various kinds of delicious fishes such as Meenu Saaru. Other non-vegetarian dishes famous in the region include the Karri which is a pork dish and Pandi Koli Saaru which is a chicken dish. There are a range of other dishes and drinks such as the Bamboo Shoot Curry, Kadumbuttu, Coorg Pork Curry, and several kinds of wines and beverages.

Bamboo Shoot Curry
Bamboo Shoot Curry

Some of the popular restaurants which you may try in Coorg are:

  • Raintree, Madikeri: 13/41 Pension lane, Madikeri 571201, India, Phone: 08272220301
  • Kodava Cuisine (Coorg cuisine), Madikeri: Diagonally opp to Madikeri PO, Madikeri NA, India
  • Silver Oaks – Hotel Coorg International, Madikeri: Convent Road, Madikeri, India, Phone: 08272 – 228071
  • Shanthi Bites, Kushalnagar: Opp Nisargadhama, B.M Road Kushalnagar, Coorg District, Kushalnagar 571234, India, Phone: 09480674674
  • East End Hotel, Madikeri: G.T. Road, Madikeri, India, Phone: 08272 229996
  • Hotel Neel Sagar, Madikeri: Madikeri, Coorg, Karnataka – 571201
  • Caravan The Multi Cusine Restaurant, Kushalnagar: B.M. Road, Kushal Nagar, Kodagu District, Kushalnagar, India, Phone: 08276272737
  • The Falls at The Tamara Coorg, Madikeri: The Tamara Coorg, Kabbinakad Estate, Napoklunad, Madikeri 572212, India, Phone: 0091884000040

Where to Stay in Coorg?

Homestays in Coorg

Planning a visit to this lovely place down south? Then staying at the local homestays amidst nature would be ideal for you. There are hotels in the urban regions of Coorg but experiencing the place can be great with the options available as homestays at Coorg. The charge ranges from Rs.400 to Rs.5,500 to suit every budget of the traveller. You may choose and book your hotels in Coorg by visiting the following site.

Coorg Homestays: http://www.coorghomestays.com/

Homestays in Coorg
Homestays in Coorg

Hotels in Coorg

Besides the above the following Hotels could well be your options to stay in Madikeri when travelling to this wonderful place:

  1. Hilltown Hotel: Daswal Road, Behind vivus hospital, Madikeri 573201, Karnataka, Phone: +91 82 72 223801
  2. Hotel Crystal Court: Mysore Road, Madikeri – 571 201, Phone: +91 82 72 221543
  3. Hotel Coorg International: Near St. Joseph’s Convent, St. Joseph Convent Road, Madikeri, Phone: +91 82 72 228071
  4. Eshwari Cottage: State Highway 88, Madikeri, Phone: +91 82 72 221015
  5. Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley: Galibeedu Road, Kalakeri Nidugane Village, Madikeri, Coorg, Karnataka 571201, Phone: +91 82 72 221114
  6. Hotel Rajdarshan: State Highway 88, Madikeri, Phone: +91 82 72 229142
  7. Mayura Valley View: Raja’s Seat, Mercara (Madikeri), Madikeri, Phone: +91 82 72 228387
  8. The Tamara Coorg: Kabbinakad Estate, Napoklu Nad, Yavakapadi Village, Madikeri Taluk, Kodagu District, Phone: +91 88840 00040.
  9. Orange County Resort: Karadigodu Post, Siddapura, | Coorg, Karnataka State, Siddapura 571 253, Phone: +91 8274 258481 / 482 / +91 80 4191 1000 / 1100.
  10. Heritage Resort: 50/3 , 1st Monnangeri Village, Galibeedu, Madikeri, Phone 91 82 72 571201
  11. Silver Brook Estate: Kadagadal, Madikeri- Sidhapur road, Madikeri Taluk, Phone +91 9242271987,
  12. Capitol Village: 3rd Mile, Madikeri-Siddapur Road, Madikeri, Phone: +918272-225975, 200135, 224078.
  13. Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley Resort: Galibeedu Road Kalakeri Nidugane Village Madikeri, Dist. Coorg, Phone: +91-8272-221114

Some of the other popular hotels in Coorg include the names of:

  • Hotel East End at GT Road
  • Veg Land Hotel
  • Karnataka Lodge
  • Hotel nandanavana
  • The Casiita
  • Hotel nandanavana, gonikoppa
  • Bison Manor
  • Chingaara estate house
  • Honey valley estate

For more updates and news on the region people may visit the website Coorg.

Points to remember

Although the place is equipped with all the modern amenities and everything you require is easily available in the area, there are things you should take care of.

  • It would be recommended that if you are visiting the place in the rainy seasons then carry salt with you while out in the jungle. There are leaches which may be troublesome when you are walking around the natural landscapes.
  • Also during the winter months the temperatures at the hills could be cold so carrying your warm clothes with you is recommended.
  • Lastly, the place is prone to see wild animals that are seen on the roads especially during the night hours. Avoid being out during the odd hours of your dugout.

Post Author: Abhishek Gupta

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