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Of misty mornings and serene evenings
Aug 28, 2008 11:11 AM 5508 Views


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A getaway is what I had hoped for when I, along with some friends zeroed in on the concept of visiting Coorg for a long weekend, and thankfully it didn't turn out to be overhyped like so many other places one gets to hear about.Dubbed as the Scotland of India, Coorg or Kodagu as it is locally known as is a district in Karnataka, about 4-5 hours drive from Bangalore or 2-3 hours drive from Mysore.Nestled in the western Ghats, Coorg is full of scenic valleys and vast expanses of forest lands.The weather is very pleasant where it never gets too chilly yet remains cool throughout.

We started on a Friday afternoon from Bangalore and reached Madikeri(the district headquarters) at about 9 PM.The roads are pretty good but towards the end part i.e for about 40-50 kms the road narrows down and snakes through dense forests with a lot of "tough to negotiate" bends.Once there, we checked into our home stay which was unexpectedly cosy and comfortable.This was my first time at any home stay and I absolutely loved the arrangements.I think more visitors to Coorg stay in home stays than hotels, because that's a cheaper, better and a pretty convenient option.

The next morning we got to have our first real look at the place.A thick mist had engulfed the whole place accompanied with a slight drizzle that added a lot to the charms of the place.We kicked off our day with a strong hot cuppa coffee grown locally(Coorg is famous for it's coffee plantations).The first place we visited is the nearby Madikeri Fort. Although it's no comparison to the more ornate forts situated elsewhere, this more than a century old structure still offered nice views with it's temple, prison cells and museum.Next stop was Raja's Seat also in Madikeri.This place is basically a cliff overlooking the lush green valley.Although because of the heavy cloud cover and mist the visibility for us was pretty poor, still this place offers a lot of scope for some nice Kodak(or Canon) moments.

After having our breakfast we made our way to the famous Abbey Falls which is about a half an hour drive from Madikeri.To reach there one has to climb down some 100-200 odds steps through a thick forest with coffee, cardamon and other such plantations.The roar of the falls keeps on increasing as we reach closer and finally all of a sudden  the wonderful sight of milky water gushing down with tremendos force unveils itself in all it's glory.The next destination for us was a place called Dubare which is on the banks of river Cauvery.This place is famous for it's elephant training camps where visitors can experience the tuskers from close quarters like bathing them and enjoying a ride on them.Apart from that the other attraction there is rafting where they take you on the wild Cauvery for 6 kms downstream.Now, this took up a lot of our time because we were in a long queue and hence was a bit of a dampener.To add to the inconvenience there are no good options nearby for lunch.If someone isn't game for rafting and wants to soak in the peace and calm of the place one can go for fishing nearby. A trip to Tala Cauvery which is about an hour from Dubare rounded off the day for us.This is the origin point for the river and is considered quite a holy place.

As we reached Madikeri in the night and went into the main market place in search of dinner we were taken aback by the darkness as the whole place was experiencing power failure which is quite natural there.Coorg cuisine mainly consists of non-veg delicacies(pork and chicken mainly) which are quite sumptuous but finding a good dining place in Madikeri is a challenge.Although it wasn't all that late in the night the whole place wore an almost deserted look.This kind of small town ambienceis what I find so very desirable after slogging day in and day out in the mindless hustle and bustle of the so called big cities.

The next morning we made an exit from Madikeri towards a place called Kushalnagar which is about 30 kms from the place.On the way we made a stopover at a horticulture centre known for it's orange farms.This is a vast place housing orchards for oranges, citrus, sapotas, Guavas, butterfruits and more than 100 varieties of rose plants.One of the most enduring images of Coorg is the Golden Temple in the Tibetan monastery near Kushal nagar.This is a must-visit destination.Another nice place nearby is Nisargadhama which is actually an island in the river Cauvery.The rope-way is the major attraction here.If we had one more day at our disposal we could have made arrangements for a visit to the nearbyNagarhole National Park which is about 90 kms from Madikeri.

Coorg is a place seeped in tradition and valour.The Kodavas(the actual residents of the place) have distinct traditions and are known for their service to the armed forces.A visit to these serene landscapes is bound to refresh everyone and be a lifelong memory.

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