Coorg historically known as Kodagu is a place to be definitely placed in the “To travel” list. It is a beautiful place with magical setting situated on top of the hills. The view is breathtaking at all levels. This is one of the alluring place and I am sure it will leave you speechless with its cool climes, historical significance such as ancient monasteries (Tibetan and Buddhist) and the fetching views of valleys. Coorg is 3 hour drive from Mangalore, Print capital of India. It is approximately 145 kms from Mangalore whereas 100 kms from Mysore. Mysore is the closest railway station and you can club the trip visiting most popular Mysore palace and Ooty. While it is run of the mill for the local folks out there, it was exotic for us. One cannot bring the view and experience in one’s camera but one has to truly be in that situation to embrace the magical delight that a place offers. Definitely a no frill village reveling in the basics, but it offered us an exquisite artistic beauty to our thirsty eyes.
Our Stay – Hotel Le Coorg in Madikeri ( Mercara in English)
Hotel Le Coorg nestles in the foothills of Coorg and stands tall with its modern setting amidst the blanket of nature. The rooms are very well maintained. The building is well planned and serves as a delight to stay with your family. The breakfast here is well thought and prepared with keeping everyone’s interest in mind. To say the menu and the spread is diverse and suitable for north and south food lovers as it is designed keeping both the tastes in mind. The staff is very courteous and goes out of the way to bring you the best. The welcome kit has fruits mainly bananas and pear. You are offered a cup of hot coffee once you land there. The level of hospitality offered by each and everyone here is truly a customer delight in every sense.
Places we saw
1. Raja Seat
This is located near our Hotel and served as a delight for the days we stayed there. The name Raja seat comes from a story which dates back to centuries and centuries ago. The kings used to take their queens out to this significant place to relax and spend their time with each other. The monsoon adds to the already delicious flavor as the valley is shrouded by fine mists and the rolling clouds take over the green hills. The heaven itself is descended and place its shine on the valley it seems. The lovely sunset view is the most promising view and crowds throng in the evening to get a taste of it. The garden overlooking the valley, huge lawns, the places to click pictures and pose are some ingredients which make this recipe of Raja Seat worth grabbing a bite.
Thalacauvery or the birth place of river Cauvery was some 35 kms odd from our hotel. We hired a rickshaw to take us to this place which is 8 kms from Bhagmandala. The small pond which has the Cauvery river water is eneveloped by huge building structure with flight of stairs taking us to the temple. The small temple is placed right in front of the pond and worshippers offer flowers, take blessings, do some puja and sprinkle the holy water on their heads. The weather was lovely. Sun was slighted by the wintry climate but the rays were making their presence felt on us.
Bhagamdala is the place where Triveni Sangam( the unison of three rivers namely Kannike, Cauvery and Sujoti) is. The point of confluence is magical and as per the information from local folks, one of the river water is underground and the mouth of that source is unknown. It is called as Gupt Gamini due to its mysterious presence. The temple situated in front of this sangam is Bhagandeshwara. The lord shiva is celebrated and worshipped and the place looks like its dates back to eons ago as the structure of the buildinh, setting and the atmosphere looked very traditional.
4. Abbeys Falls
Abbeys falls is the major waterfall and stands tall in the list of important places to see in Coorg. It was raining cats and dogs when we reached this place. It was beautiful and a great deal of excitement surged among us when we had to take a flight of stairs (Huge block of stairs to say) to get close to the falls. It was flooded with people clicking selfies, pictures and videos of the falls. Local folks told that the water from the falls are not conducive to get drenched or wet or bathe as there were many fatal incidents occurred earlier. In William Wordsworth’s words “When water rolls out from the mountain springs, there comes a sweet inland murmur.” He adds, landscape gets connected with the quiet of the sky. This will not be termed as meddling or an interference but a synergy of two things that multiplies the natural effect in a bigger scale.
5. Madikeri Fort
The fort is situated on the hills and has a unique structure. It was founded by Mudduraja in some 17th century as per the local folks. The fort houses a beautiful palace .The Madikeri museum was built right next to it but it was closed that day so we couldn’t get to see the artistic renditions of the artists located in Kodagu.
6. Omkareshwara Temple
This temple is 2 kms from our hotel. We chose to take a walk to the destination but that was a wrong call. The temple is situated pretty downhill and the path is very steep so you need lot of patience and stamina to engage in the walk. Nonetheless, the temple is very pretty with its presence in the locality close to nature. The pond encircling the river renders a sight that you would want to carry home. The golden doors, the lovely structure of the temple will pull you towards it at least couple of times during your stay. The advantage of walking to this place is you can watch those beautiful houses coming on your way. The huge bungalow sized houses with its quaint feel and setting will serve as an escape from busy urban life.
7. Raja Tomb
As the name goes, there are three tombs built in this place. A beautiful well planned and maintained garden overlooks the tomb giving it a palatial view. It is some 15 mins from Raja Seat and was very close to our hotel. It is popularly known as Gadhige.
We stopped over at BMS on our way to Coorg and on our way back to Mangalore Airport. It is 20 mins from Mangalore airport. The huge building which has a restaurant and lodging is well built and surrounded by palm leaves. The restaurant offers delicious south Indian food. In our stay, the biggest boon came in the form of Swaad Restaurant which is just a stone throw from our hotel. The food is very child friendly specially if you are travelling with a toddler, it becomes a go to place for lunch and dinner as they offer fully cooked rice, not so spicy sambar, the vegetable( oh they don’t charge for every extra veggie and sambar bowl, at least they did not with us), and a sweet dish. This mentioned menu is for children. For adults, you get a sumptuous thali (full meal plate). There are also other options available but we stuck to this more often. The people here are very nice indeed and go out of the way to bring you the best.
Few delights we came across with while we engaged in our evening walk which became a ritual during our stay.
Colorful flowers adorns every balcony of the rustic houses which are built very strategically. The vibrant blooms peeking out from the window, the climbers flowing out and figuratively blends with the bricks and structure, the plantations of coffee, pepper and rubber, the variety of family run homestays, riverside locales and many more things, all in the lap of nature will push you to believe and wonder if this quaint village is drawn out of a children’s folk tale.
A place generally becomes sought after, for its people, the view, the food and its simplicity. I promise you that these items that I mentioned will definitely be in your plate named as Coorg.