What Makes Coorg My Favorite Weekend Getaway From Bangalore!
Enchanting woods, misty mountains and titillating aroma of coffee is what you are looking for, then let me hold your hand and take you around this quaint little paradise on earth called “Coorg”! It was literally the 10th time that we were visiting Coorg and once you experience the calm and bliss that Coorg has to offer, I am sure you too would want to visit the place over and over!
How to reach Coorg
For us & people who stay in Bangalore, it is 270 odd Kms and just 5-6 hours ride which makes it possible for us to go to Coorg for weekend getaway from Bangalore and cover all the places to visit in Coorg at our own pace.
For the rest of the world, the nearest airport to Coorg is in Mysore (120 Kms) and then comes Mangalore airport (135 kms). From Mysore airport it takes roughly 3 hours to reach Coorg by taxi. Nearest railhead is Mysore and you also have Hassan Railway Station at a distance of 146 Kms from Coorg.
The best part about driving down to Coorg is that overall it is a smooth ride. Most of the road is either 4 lane or 2 and there are literally no hairpin bends! Imagine having a puke-free ride to a hill station! It is a major relief for people like me who love traveling but are blessed with bad motion sickness!
Place to stay in Coorg
On multiple occasions we stayed with Club Mahindra Resorts in Virajpet & Madikeri. One is a gem hidden amidst lush green coffee plantation while other is literally a rainforest! My favourite is the one in Virajpet though. I consider it to be one of the best places to stay in Coorg!
Any window you touch here opens up to beautiful green views! The serenity in the resort is just blissful while the sound of birds chirping in the day and crickets in the night add to the experience of truly residing amidst nature!
Also, there are plentiful options of places to stay in Coorg ranging from exotic 5-star resorts, luxurious to humble homestays, delightful to decent hotels and campsites for adventure lovers!
Why Coorg is Known as Scotland Of India?
Many planters in early British community in Coorg were scots and they found striking resemblance between the landscape and weather of Coorg and their homeland! That is how coorg earned its name as “Scotland of India”! In addition to landscapes and weather, Coorg and Scotland, both have their exotic local brews, adding to the similarities!
Interestingly, both the places have history of constant war in earlier days, so much so that weapons were a part of their daily wear! Scots had “dirks” while Coorgis had “pichekathis”! Isn’t it difficult to believe that such serene places had a gory history!
Places to visit in Coorg
It is truly amazing how a single place has such a variety of experiences to offer! Interestingly, there is something in it for everyone; mountain peaks, lakes, waterfalls, adventure activities, wildlife sanctuaries, temples, a monastery and much more!
If I had to take my pick in places to visit in Coorg, these would make top five-favourite Coorg attractions!
I still remember that morning, our very first in Coorg when we parked our car at Talakaveri and could see literally nothing a few meters away! It was my first experience of walking in thick fog and zero visibility beyond a bit made it exciting! It was very close to how TV shows portrayed heavens!
Talakaveri is where we believe river Cauvery originates on Brahmagiri hills, neighboring Bhagamandala in Coorg. A Temple and a kund was constructed by Kodavas to mark the origin of the holy river and many pilgrims visit the temple and take a dip in the kund during festivals. The temple is 1267 meters above sea level and offers beautiful views!
There is also a viewpoint near the temple where you need to take steep long flight of stairs to reach the top. But if it is foggy, take my advice and skip the viewpoint because after reaching the top it probably will be difficult to see who is standing next to you…forget the view around downhill!
2. The Golden Temple, Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe
The Namdroling Monastery, established in 1963 is the biggest teaching center of Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in entire world and over 5000 Buddhist monks and nuns call it their home! The Monastery complex also houses a junior high school, a religious college, a hospital and a temple that locals call “Golden Temple” owing to the golden paintings!
The Golden Temple, inaugurated in 1999 has space for a few thousand monks! The inside of the temple is a total treat to eyes; painted with beautiful vibrant colors, adorned with intricate woodworks and the giant golden Buddha statue in the centre! As you enter the temple, you feel a certain kind of tranquility in the air! Imagine a place where thousands of monks pray and meditate daily, becoming or trying to become ‘One’ with God! It felt great to be a tiny part of that universe, even if it was for just a minute. I wish I could describe the feeling in words but you need to experience it to know it!
The bazaar complex near the temple is a shopper’s delight! You can find Buddha statues, chimes and a lot of other Tibetan art pieces on sale there. Also, don’t forget to hog on the yum Tibetan delicacies!
3. Dubare Elephant Camp
As I said, there is something in Coorg for everyone and this one happens to be for kids! It truly is an experience to be close to these magnificent beasts; feeding them, bathing them and if you’re lucky, the majestic giant would bathe you too with the shower from their trunks!
To reach Dubare Elephant Camp, you need to take a short boat ride in monsoons when river Kaveri is all happy and gushing while in dry seasons you might have to trek to the site. Once you reach the camp, the sight is captivating! There are around 30 plus elephants at the camp including a few super cute chubby calves! When we went there for the first time, a decade ago, elephant rides were also available for a price but now it has stopped and rightly so! There is a minimal price for feeding and bathing the elephants which goes towards the upkeep of the camp.
Okay, the most important thing to remember is to start early! The feeding and bathing activities are only up till 11 am! (We’ve learnt our lesson the hard way!) This is one Coorg attraction that my kids loved and yours will too!
4. Mandalpatti Peak
Mandalpatti is the highest point in Coorg and probably the place where the Scots in British Planters Community back then, drew parallels between Scotland & Coorg! A lot of people swear by “If you haven’t visited Mandalpatti, you haven’t seen Coorg!”
This place is only approachable by special jeeps or 4 wheel drives and is off road driving experience so not advisable for people with back problems. Now that we are done with cautionary statements and all, let me tell you how stunning the place is! 360 degrees view from this peak is absolutely spectacular, especially in monsoons when there is lush green cover over the landscapes around! You would be lucky if these misty mountains allow you to see the dazzling sunset!
You can hire a jeep for 1500 bucks and experience the thrilling ride and spectacular views!
5. Nagarhole National Park
Originally an exclusive place for hunting for kings of Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore, Nagarhole Park was set up as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955, national park in 1988 and finally a tiger reserve in 1999. Also, there are chances of Nagarhole National Park becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in future!
Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is a world in its own; it encompasses hills, streams, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and valleys! It has a vast variety of flora and fauna and you can spot many animals such as tigers, elephants, sloth bears, otters, gaur, sambar deer and more on your visit! It typically takes around three to four hours to visit the National park.
For thrill seekers there is white water rafting at Barapole river, for history and architecture lovers there is Madikeri fort & Gaddige Raja’s Tomb, for the religious folks out there, there is Omkareshwar & Rameshwara Temple while Brahmagiri is a popular trek-route! Take your pick and plan your Coorg holidays since holidaying and planning your holidays is precisely what makes this life worth living!