The Scotland of India : Coorg
Like every kid longing for a summer break, my friends and I decided to roadtrip to what’s known as the Scotland of India – Coorg. Located on the eastern slopes of the scenic Western Ghats, this is a perfect weekend getaway for those residing in or around Karnataka. We started our 6 hours journey by road to Coorg from Bangalore at midnight and woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. The beaming golden rays from the sun made the morning dew on leaves shine like little pearls. Though we were up all night, we got re-energised just by the sight of the amazing hills.
As soon as we reached, we checked into our hotel in Madikeri, a district in Coorg, freshened up and raced for the day’s sight-seeing. The climate was very pleasant as the temperature remains around 20-25 degrees Celsius round the year. After relishing on the scrumptious Masala Dosas and hot Ginger Tea for breakfast, we headed to our first destination – Nisargadhama Forrest.
Nisargadhama is an island formed by river Kaveri. This island is accessible via a hanging rope bridge. The island shelters peacocks, rabbits and spotted deer. There are guesthouses and tree-top bamboo cottages which are run by the Forrest Department for the visitors who wish to stay.
Next, we moved on to beautiful Chelavara Waterfalls. Chelavara Falls is also called as Embepare by the locals meaning Tortoise Rock. The water fall is really a wonderful view as the water gushes from the top amidst the green coffee plantation. After the visit to the falls, we halted for a quick lunch at a local restaurant.
The next place on our itinerary was the Namdroling Monastery. The Monastery is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Namdroling was established by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche shortly after he came to India from Tibet. His Holiness The Dalai Lama consecrated the spot and bequeathed the name “Namdroling Monastery.” Today the monastery is home to nearly 5000 monks and nuns, renowned as a center for the pure upholding of the teachings of the Buddha.
Dubare Elephant Camp
After this peaceful experience, we headed for the last point to see for the day – Dubare Elephant Camp which is a forest camp on the banks of the river Kaveri. This camp has plenty of elephants which are trained under naturalists. A trained Naturalist is at hand to explain the various aspects of Elephant history, ecology and biology. We enjoyed a good 15 minute elephant ride. In the month of July to September, the river accumulates a pretty good amount of water for an amazing rafting experience adjacent to the camp.
Later in the evening, we all decided to take a stroll on the streets of Madikeri for some shopping.
The next morning, we all were upbeat than ever before after a good night’s sleep. The places to see on that day were on distance from one another, but that did not dampen our spirits. Our day 2 began with visiting a historical tomb – Raja’s Tomb (Gaddige Tomb).
The monument depicts the pervading building style of those days which was Indo- Sarcenic. The monument contains the mortal remains of the royal Kodavas. This is built in Muhammadan style with tombs at the center and turrets at the corners. Beautiful Nandi figures are carved on top of the corners. Lord Shiva is placed and worshipped inside the tomb since the king was Hindu.
Next, we embarked for the much awaited Talakaveri, which is the source of Kaveri river. On the way to Talakaveri, we stopped at a small yet beautiful ancient temple of Lord Shiva – Omkareshwara Temple. Talakaveri is situated on Brahmagiri hills which is 1,276 m above sea level. Upon reaching, we were awestruck by the breathtaking view of the hills.
The very last place we were to visit of our Coorg trip was Raja’s Seat. But before moving towards it, we had the most delicious chilli pakodas and a cup of hot coffee on our way from Talakaveri. The drive between Talakaveri and Raja’s Seat is mesmerising. Luscious green trees and the smell of coffee plantations will surely make you want to visit the place once again.
Raja’s Seat (The seat of a King) is a seasonal garden of flowers and artificial fountains. It is one of the most important tourist spots. Truly said, leave the best for the last! The scarlet color was spread across the sky like crimson blood smeared smoothly over a large canvas, as the golden sun slowly hid behind the mountains, with the clouds resembling colorful balloons in pink,blue and orange hue complimenting the sun. Eventually the dimming sun was tucked away in the mountains. The clouds floated by in soft cotton like puffs of pink, as the sky became darker. This was the best feeling ever!
And with lots of awesome, fun memories, we returned back to Bangalore the next morning.
THINGS TO BUY IN COORG:
- Spices and Dry Fruits
- Coorg Honey
- Chicory Coffee (You may not want to miss out on coffee as Coorg happens to be one of the major producers of coffee!)
- Coorgi Costumes and Traditional Weapons
- Oranges and Chocolates
HOW TO REACH COORG:
- By Air-
The nearest domestic airport is the Mangalore International Airport, about 160 kilometres away. The nearest international airport is in Bangalore, which is approximately 265 kilometres away.
- By Bus-
If you want to take the bus, there are K.S.R.T.C deluxe buses, which run daily from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore.
- By Train-
The nearest railway station is in Mysore, which is about 95 kilometres away.
- By Road/Self-Drive-
The drive to Coorg is an experience in itself. The journey from Bangalore to Coorg is a smooth drive that takes about five and a half to six hours.