The capital of Coorg formerly called Mercara, Madikeri is often known as the Scotland of India. It has enchanted millions of travellers with its misty hills, lush forests, coffee plantations and breath taking views. Also known for its lovely climate, Madikeri is a world record holder for the cardamom crop.
Famous for being the largest producer of honey in south east Asia, though most come here for the Padi Igutappa temple. This is Coorg’s most important temple and the presiding deity of the Puthari Festival. Built as a hunting lodge, the Nalnad Palace is used as a kiddies’ camp, though no one will really mind you pottering around. You could also visit the honey farms.
Bus & Taxi: There are daily buses that do it in about 90 minutes. You could also catch yourself a bus from Napoklu.
With a dome in the middle of a square lake and minarets at each corner, this is a catholic mix of Keralite, Gothic and Islamic architectural styles. Built in 1820 by King Lingarajendra.
A great place to cuddle up for the night. This 2.5 sq. km. large island in the middle of the River Cauvery, is some place to romance.
Bhagamandala & Telecauvery
At the convergence of the rivers Cauvery, the underground Sujyothi and the Kanike, the Bhangandeshwara temple here has a distinct Kerala touch. Because of the three rivers, it is also called Triveni Sangama. The serene temple has intricate carvings and a copper roof. A dip at the Triveni Sangam nearby is supposed to revive sagging spirits, but take prior permission at the temple.
Every October 17, on Tulasankranama, thousands come here to swim and pray. For this is Telecauvery (meaning Head of the Cauvery), the origin of one of the seven sacred rivers. The source of this long river, which passes through two states, is on the top of the hill called Brahmagiri. It is 1535 metres above sea level. Steps lead up to the Brahmagiri peak, from where a panoramic view of Kodagu meets the visitor.
Bus & Taxi: Buses leave Madikeri every hour, and take about 90 minutes to reach. The ride is very scenic.
Nagarhole National Park
Though the name literally means Snake River in Kannada, there aren’t too many snakes around. Created from a former raja’s hunting grounds, Nagarahole is one of the best game sanctuaries in South India, providing a natural living conditions to several wild animals like elephants, tigers, panthers, rhinos and wild elephants, but one is more likely to see smaller game like gaur, deer, wild dogs and langur. Pleasantly cool round the year, it is a little difficult to reach, which makes it quieter than other parks. This in turn makes it a great place to relax. Jungle safaris are available as elephant rides.
Bus & Taxi: Direct dailies from Mysore and Madikeri. You could also take a bus to Gonikoppal from either of these places, take another to Kutta, and finally hire a jeep.
This is more a hike than a holiday (there are people like us out there who take these differences very seriously). You could begin from behind the Rameshwarna temple, and relax at a refreshing pond halfway up the falls. Then, if you are some strange sort of enthusiastic trekker and have some spare RBC (the leeches demand that), carry on to the top.
Bus & Taxi: Direct buses leave Madikeri every couple of hours. You could also catch a bus from Gonikoppal. There are more of those from there.
Just 7 kilometers from Madikeri town are the Abbi Falls, as remarkable and striking a sight as you would see anywhere. The narrow road to Abbi Falls is a combination of steep ups and downs, twists and turns, wriggling through the green and dense foliage of surrounding coffee plantations. Situated on private property, a narrow pathway leads you downward to where the waterfall can be seen.
As various streams congregate in the mountains above, they swell with the monsoon rains and force their way down the mountain slope. Splashing hard against the huge boulders of rock, unmindful of the crevices and hollows, the water drops at enormous speed accompanied by gushing sounds. This white wall of water creates a misty cloud with its moisture-like spray and descends into a flowing stream to perhaps join with the River Cauvery somewhere in the vicinity.
If you can get off to an early start and if the sky is beautiful with the clouds, take the road to Somwarpet. This 42-kilometer, one-and-half hour drive will surely perk you up. This is the coffee heartland of Coorg. You will pass through some of the finest coffee estates you will ever see. Magnificent trees reaching up to the skies, casting much wanted masses of shade to the coffee plants. It's one great spread of continuous foliage very gloriously prepared in an extraordinary operation by Nature. Mingled with cardamom and pepper as well. Big, medium or small, they add to the already beautiful and fabulous landscape all around.
Besides being the hub of coffee activity, Somwarpet's other claim to fame is the Basappa Club. Like the cold stone-walls of taverns where sailors and ship mates would gather to make merry, drink, talk and pick up some gossip, the Basappa Club is frequented by the medium and small gentlemen coffee planters, who meet here to unwind. Except that out here, there are no cold, stonewalls. Instead, one can have a game of Table Tennis or Snooker in this small, but compact club. And there’s plenty of gossip to be picked up, as well.
Apart from the popular sight seeing places, Kodagu district has a whole lot of Trekking Tracks for those who seek adventure in the wild.