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Coorg Travel Guide Blog: The Scotland of India

Coorg Travel Guide

There is no doubt in saying that India is indeed a land with many wonders. You can find mystic places, loud but also happy places, silent peaceful places and pristine nature in its full form. It isn’t wrong to say that nature works wonders in India. One such place is Coorg, also known as Kodagu. It is in the state of Karnataka. This place is incredibly wonderful yet less explored. Coorg is often mentioned as the Scotland of India. There is so much greenery and beauty to even comprehend in words. 

Coorg has a great history of its own. The natives of Kodagu migrated from northern parts of India sometime around the 2nd century. 

It is a great place to go if you want to have a digital detox as there is no internet connection and minimum network coverage. I went there with my friend. We were in a need for a place to recluse from the bustling city of Mumbai. The noises of Mumbai and the city itself was becoming chaotic to hold on to. We went through many options and came up with Coorg as it was a great place to have a few days of peace and scenic pleasure. Coorg compared to the crowded city of Mumbai was a paradise. We started planning our journey shortly. 

How to reach Coorg

The next hurdle for us was to find a way to reach there. There is no railway station or airport to reach there easily. There is no way to reach there other than via road. The nearest domestic airport is Mysore which is 120 kms from Coorg whereas the nearest international airport is 140 kms away. It is the Mangalore airport. However, well-connected Bangalore airport is almost 286 kms away. The nearest railway station from Kodagu is either Mangalore or Mysore. Either way you will have to book a cab or take the private or state-run buses. 

We debated and later decided to take a flight to Mysore and catch a state bus as we wanted to catch the full experience. It takes almost 5 or more hours to reach one of the main towns of Coorg- Madikeri. The journey to Madikeri ended in a jiffy as we both were engrossed with watching the sights on our way. 

Where to stay in Coorg

Where to stay in Coorg

 After a short walk we reached our home stay. We wanted to have the best experience so we preferred Home stays. There are resorts, hotels and home stays. I would definitely suggest to book home stays as you get to meet genuine people and home stays are budget friendly as well. The main source of income for the people of Coorg is tourism and coffee plantation as this is a small and beautiful hill town. The air of Coorg smells of coffee. 

The cottage we stayed in was cozy and comfortable. It was situated on a mountain side and was beautiful with the sight of misty mountains, setting sun and silvery oaks. This home stay was very budget friendly. He got the cottage and started to plan the day. We wanted to experience Coorg in our own way, so we decided to rent out scooters. It cost 500-600 INR a day. There are also other ways to go around Coorg such as Auto rickshaw, walking, buses and rental taxis. But beware of frauds. 

We started our trip and decided to go to Abbey falls first. 

Places to visit in Coorg

Best Places to visit in Coorg

There are many beautiful and scenic places in Coorg. This includes Abbey falls, King’s seat, Omkareshwara temple and many more. We wanted to start our trip on a magical note so we went to the mystic Abbey falls.

 It is one of the most famous waterfalls in south side. It is almost 10 kms away from Madikeri. It is, without a doubt, a mesmerizing sight to see. The falls come from the mighty Western ghats and create a picture perfect site. There were many people sightseeing as this is a massive tourist attraction. The pictures captured turned out to be so beautiful and there is a hanging bridge if you want to see the waterfall closer. You have to take ticket(extra for parking) and hike a little to reach the falls. There was certain timing to visit the site.

The ticket prices from 15 INR per person and 50 INR for parking

Timing- 9 am to 5pm everyday

The waterfall is surrounded by coffee and spice plantations and the air has a whiff of their aroma. You can roam in these plantations too. 

We later went to the fort of Madikeri. It is the last remnants of the Haleri dynasty of Coorg. The fort isn’t in a great condition and there was degradation in many parts. But this place holds a lot of history of Coorg. The structure was initially made by mud but was burned down due to the power struggle of the dynasties. It was reconstructed with granite by Tipu Sultan in 17th century. 

Next to the fort is a church which was built by Britishers after abolishing a temple dedicated to Virabadra. It is also a government museum and displays a collections of articles of early native Kodagu ancestors. We got to see a lot about the ancient life of Kodagu settlers. The church is all free to enter but there is a timing to visit this place. 

Timing-10 am to 5.30pm everyday

We later went to the other most visited place in Coorg is the Raja’s Seat. This place was a favorite place of royals of Coorg and the princess and queen had their gardens there. It is really close to the Madikeri town. You can basically walk to this site. The garden is still maintained and it is really alluring. There is a viewpoint overlooking the green mountains which is absolutely attractive. There was even a fountain show with lights after sunset. There was also a toy train for kids that goes a few hundred meters.

 You have to buy a ticket(extra for parking) to go in and also for the toy train. The tickets prices 5 INR per person and 40 INR per parking. The toy train cost 20 INR per person. 

Timing- 5.30 am to 8 pm everyday
Omkareshwara Temple in Coorg

On the second day, we went to the famous Omkareshwara Temple. It is very unique with its artistic architecture. Even though the temple is dedicated to ‘Shiva’, it strongly resemble a Muslim dargah. Inside the sanctum, the shiva lingam is situated. It is one of the most intricate temple I’ve ever seen.

According to the tales a king constructed this temple to earn the gods penance in 18th century. A brahmin was killed for the King’s diplomatic goals. The victim’s spirit was haunting the king in his dream and in order to calm the spirit the king decided to establish a shivalingam and built a temple. This eventually stopped the haunting. You can go there in a bus too as it is really close to the bus stand. 

Timing- 6.30 am- 12 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm

we trekked the highest peak of Coorg district, Thadiyandamol peak with a group of travelers. It stood at an altitude of 1,748 m or 5,738 ft. we started the trek from the distance of 41 km from Madikeri. It would take 3 or 4 hours to complete the trek one way depending on the weather and speed of the traveler. Rain is always to be expected but the scenic beauty is worth it. There are many other trekking trails. While this one is free some of them cost fees. 

You can accompany a group or can trek on your own. I would suggest you go with a group as this can help you greatly. The trek starts from a village called Kakkabe. We walked for almost 20 kms for a full trip from the peak. The jungle is filled with flora and fauna. It was fairly safe and moderately difficult to trek.

The main issue is Leeches. You have to be equipped with a gear that can protect you from blood sucking leeches. Take first aid, plenty of water, food and salt for the trek. There is no fee to enter the area.  

But try not to be in the forest after sunset. 

On the third day we wanted to know more about the flora and fauna of this place so we visited Nagarhole National Park. It is one of the richest and biggest wildlife of indigenous animals in India. This park had a big forest filled with animals like Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bear, boar, striped hyena, deer,  antelope and a big population of Indian Elephant. There are jungle lodges available inside the park. It is one of the best thing about this park. There is jungle safari for day tourists. 

We went on jeep safaris that run twice a day in morning and afternoon and a 26- seater minibus. You can even visit limited area if you have private vehicles.

 You have to buy tickets. It is 250 INR for a person. If you have a camera with lens up to 70mm additional 200 INR, camera lens between 70-200mm -400 INR and with camera lens of thickness above 200mm- 1000 INR. the tickets can’t be booked online. It is a great idea to arrive in advance as the queue can get really long. The jeep safari costs1,500 INR and the minivan cost 250/125 INR per person/child.

The park is open from 6 am to 6pm everyday. 
Tibetan Buddhist monastery

On the fourth day, we went got to know that there is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. So we visited the Namdroling Monastery. It is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma Lineage of Tibetan Buddhist. The interior of the monastery is so immaculate and so beautiful. The statue of Buddha is so big and it is really peaceful and can give you inner peace. It is home to thousand of students, monks and nuns of the Tibetan Buddhist monastery. These people live and study in the premise of the Monastery. 

The main hall is huge and there were three huge Tibetan deity statues in gold color. The walls depicted the tales with flat colored murals in very bright colors. This was a major contrast in the culture in the middle of Karnataka’s town in Western Ghats. It is free for all to enter. Just be careful to not disturb the monks who are meditating. Don’t show your back to the deities.  

The premise where it is built was given to the Tibetan refugees by the Indian government. The foundation of the monastery was placed in 1953. 

The area around the monastery had a lot souvenir stalls and restaurants that serve traditional Tibetan food. Don’t miss the food there. 

Timing- 7 am to 7pm everyday

On the last day of the trip we wanted to have a great end. So we went for adventure activities. Coorg is the go-to place for these physical adventure activities. There we did River Rafting, Micro-flying, Kayaking, canoeing and many more. 

River-rafting was done in the Whimsical Barapole river near the Dubare Elephant camp for almost 2.8 km. The seasons have a great influence on rafting. Rafting can’t be done if the water levels are too low. We were lucky as the water levels were pretty good and it was fun to do it. It is an ideal place for beginners and first timers. It costs 600 INR per person. Professionals always accompany you in case you worry about the safety. It was a great experience which gives a high adrenaline rush. 

Then we went to do zip-lining near Jog falls and my god was it an experience. The adrenaline rush you get when you do this can’t be explained. The feeling of free-falling with support of just one-rope is immaculate. It is loved by many people. And the zip-lining near Jog falls is an experience you can hardly forget.

 It can cost you around 250 INR per person. 
Microlight flight in coorg

Later we went to a new thing called Microlight flight. It is basically a mini helicopter. You are the only person in the pit and everything is the pilot’s responsibility. But it only happens if the climate is clear and sunny. It is one of the best adventure activities Coorg can give you. It is often done around the area of Chelavara as the town and the surroundings looks amazing. You can fly till 5000 feet in the sky and feel the air up there.

 It can cost you almost 2,500 INR but it is worth it. 

There are kayaking and canoeing that is available to do in the Kakkabe river. It was a great experience for us. Did you know that there are exotic fishes in that river. You get to move in the river without getting wet and it is a great bonding time. It is a must experience and it can create a lot of memories with whomever you’re going. It doesn’t cost much. 

The fee is only 250 INR per person.

As a dramatic end to our trip we went for rock climbing. Oh god was that an experience. The trill and the danger just adds zest to the adventure. It was such a thrilling experience that I suggest everyone should do it. It is very safe as you are secured by the harness which is strong and there are volunteers who are guiding you and also on the ground. We headed for the Mori Betta Hills. The volunteers were really friendly and patient. It is highly recommended. 

It costs you around 650 INR per head which is completely justified.

We ended the trip on a good note and a great meal from our home-stay. I would highly suggest to eat the traditional food as it is so good and tasty. It can make you feel closer to the Kannadiga town. The city on its own has a strong foundation of its own and it can make you fall in love with this town and its beauty. 

We were so sad to end our 5 day journey as we were so in love with this place as this place gifted us many memories. I would highly suggest to visit this town. It can be a little on the expensive side as this is a famous tourist destination in the southern India. Nonetheless, it is worth it as it is so magical, adventurous and very full of nature’s wonders.

Everything and every bit of is this town is priceless and worth every penny. We wish to come back to the Mystical and gorgeous Scotland of India- Kodagu.


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