A picturesque hill station in Karnataka, popular for its coffee plantations, Coorg is popularly known as the Scotland of India.The scenic beauty of Coorg more than lives up to its reputation. Madikeri is the capital city in Coorg, which was established in 17th century. Its history includes the rule of many kingdoms and dynasties including Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, invasion by Mysore Sultans. The place is not just blessed and beautiful in its natural wealth, it has an equally varied historical lineage as well.
For Nature Lovers
Coorg, the largest producer of coffee in India, is also known for producing cardamom, cocoa and Oranges. The forests around the place are full of Sandal, Teak and Rosewood. There are several wildlife sanctuaries in the area including Nagarhole National Park which are popular tourist locations. Elephants, tiger, leopards, cheetah and crocodiles are among the wildlife that can be easily spotted in these sanctuaries. Along with the endless greens of the forests, and the magnificent waterfalls, one can also find streams and valleys within these sanctuaries. The flora and fauna along with the topography play a major part in making Coorg a breathtaking hill station.
The place is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Coorg provides great opportunities for bird watchers. According to the facts and figures, Indian sub continent accounts for over 2060 species of birds. 25% of this population can be relegated to Coorg alone. Nagarhole, Abbey falls are among several suitable locations for spotting the numerous species of birds found here. In fact Coorg boasts of some species that have this place as their origin, for instance Malabar Trogons, Great Black woodpeckers to name a few.
Some 30 km from Madikeri is Nisargadhama, a biological park. The place has peacocks, deer, and rabbits and even provides elephant rides. Here, the river Kaveri splits, forming an island of sandal, teak trees and thick bamboo groves. This island, a beautiful specimen, is connected to the main land with the help of a hanging bridge made of rope. It is one among the many popular picnic sites in and around Coorg, owing to its natural splendor and beauty.
The city and its surrounding areas are littered with several waterfalls. These cascading sources of water have their own historical significance in addition to providing a visual delight for all and sundry. Some of these falls include names such as the Chelavara falls, Irpu falls, Abbey falls. Abbey Falls cascades over rocks and goes some 70ft down. It could be reached through a path that goes through coffee and cardamom plantation, making it a sensory treat.
Irpu waterfalls have a mythological background. Lakshmana Tirtha river flows nearby, and the story, as it is told in Indian epic Ramayana goes that the water fall was created by Lakshmana shooting an arrow to quench the thirst of Rama’ army.
For Religious Travelers
The Lakshmana Tirth River is not the only place that has religious meaning and importance associated with it. Talakauveri, considered as the origination point of river Kaveri, is situated in Brahmagiri hills. The tank or Kund near the temple is considered by the pilgrims as containing holy water. Another popular sacred site is the Omkareshwar temple, dedicated to the deity Shiva. This temple is dated to be some 200 years old, and its architecture is unique in the sense that it employs Islamic and Gothic styles.
Hindu religion is not the only presence in this area. Its mixed cultural heritage becomes evident by the fact that Coorg has the second largest Tibetan settlement in India. The Tibetan Gold temple houses one of the most famous Buddha Vihar- the Namdrolling Monastery. The temple contains gold coated figure of Buddha, and other prominent figures in Buddhism.
For Adventure Enthusiasts
The numerous terrains in Coorg are lined by lush greenery, wilderness and gurgling streams and falls. These terrains provide amazing trekking options for novices as well as experienced trekkers. The journey of these winding trails provides sensational panoramic views, as well as a sense of peace and tranquility. The hills, the endless fields of green, the aromatic coffee plantations all successfully add to this effect.
The various trekking trails include Brahmagiri, Kotebetta (this hill looks like a fort), Nishani Betta, Tadiyandamol, and Kakkabe trek to name a few. All these trails have overflowing abundance of natural beauty. The surrounding wilderness is the habitat of several wildlife animals. Some of the trekking trails that are less popular with tourists still boast of untouched natural landscapes. These places where the hilltops seem to be touching the clouds are also conducive to those in search of peace and a place that is as far removed from the constant fast pacing city life as possible.
The Nishani Betta trail provides one such experience. It becomes more memorable as the trail is lined with sporadic springs; the streams of fresh water and the trail that often goes through beautiful coffee plantations attest to the scenic beauty of Coorg. The Kakkabe trek is famous for its nature walk as well as honey. Nalnad Palace and Padi Igguthappa temple are some tourist locations that can be visited while on this trail.
Coorg is also full of potentials for other adventure seekers as well. In Kushalanagara, a place near Coorg, Quad biking facilities are available for those interested in adventure sports. Coorg also offers white water rafting facilities, mostly during June to September. The rains at this time create stretches of raging white waters. River Barapole is the most popular in this regard. Rafting facility here is available in a 3 km stretch. The five rapids are named as the Morning Coffee, The Grasshopper, The Ramba Samba, the Wicked Witch, and the Big Bang.
The spectacular landscapes of Coorg, the hills, forests and streams, the captivating coffee plantations and smell of the coffee beans, the beauty and quiet, sense of resting in nature’s lap, these all combine to make a visit to Coorg an unforgettable affair.