Venturing into the “Scotland of India” was really thought provoking and we were sure that the place has quite a lot in store. To give you a brief preface about Coorg or Kodagu as the locals call it, is a rural hilly district in the state of Karnataka in southwest India which majorly cultivates coffee, spices and chocolate.
We took the right decision of going last week of May as not only the weather was cold and foggy but we did not come across any downpour overall. So, the preferred timeline would be between May – July
- How to reach:
As Coorg, does not have direct connectivity via Railways and airlines, Mangalore or Bangalore are the nearest stations/airport which are to be considered while booking.
- We booked Mangalore express for to and from journey and boarded the train from LLT(Mumbai). The destination for us was “Mangalore Junction” which in this case is the last stop so you can sleep as much you want. It was an exhaustive 17 hours’ journey so be prepared to take all the game boards possible. One of the perks is the amazing country side scenes which Mangalore has to offer.
- Distance from Mangalore Junction to Coorg City is roughly 130 km so it is safe to say that it took us around 3 hours excluding the pit stops
- Taking the same path, for our return we took the same one from Mangalore Central this time around.
Though buses are available till the Madikeri Bus stop but it will be total 17 -18-hour journey which can be tiresome.
P.S: We booked a vehicle for the whole journey as getting local transport is not an option due to language barrier. Our travel guide had made sure two things are covered:
- Pick up and Drop between Mangalore station and Coorg (right outside our hotel)
- Sight-seeing all day (Intercity, pit stops all included)
- Mangalore Express(To)/Matsyagandha Express(From): 1100/-
- Vehicle for the 4-day journey(Swift): 9500/-
The train reached around 3.30 pm at Mangalore station. We headed to Madikeri immediately and reached our hotel at around 7.00 pm. We had the luxury of checking in to Mahindra holiday homes,thanks to a generous friend’s membership.
Since Coorg is practically a Ghost city after 9.30 pm,we couldn’t explore much of the place at night. We preferred basking in the comforts of our studio apartment.
With the help of our travel guide friend, we prepared a checklist to cover the day. We started off at 10 am and as suggested we explored the breakfast at Green Land, Madikeri. Foods we recommend you should try:
- Fish curry(people actually eat for breakfast)
- K tea (Tea lover, nothing can beat this multi layered tea concoction)
- Egg dosa
After the heavy meal, we left for the Talakaveri temple which is located in the Brahmageri hills. Needless to say the journey was a roller coaster ride as it was situated in the lush green hills of Brahmegri. It took us around 2 hours to reach the place but yes, we didn’t mind that.
Entrance of the temple
Next stop for the day …..Abeyy Waterfall
No doubts it was a huge water fall and due to some mishap, the bridge that was connecting one side to other of the waterfall was closed, so as a visitor all can be done was view the waterfall, monkeys and have Maggi noodles.
It was almost 6 pm by then, hence we headed back to our den again to gorge in the amenities.
Day 3 was ambitious since this was our last day and we had many places to cover.
Namdroling Monastry or the Golden temple situated in Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar is more of a teaching centre to over five thousand lamas who reside there. You can see a hostel setup inside the Monastry along with the magnificent temples.
There is a small gate outside the monastery which leads to an array of praying bells which encircles the entire temple.Popular belief is that when you start rolling one… you should complete the whole!!!!I am assuming the place had more than 500 prayer wheels. We had not only attained the blessing but had a good workout in parallel!!
Moving along to the next destination – a coffee plantation(you can find plenty in the area). The one which we went was a home-grown estate. It was a family owned place.
Charging at 150 for an hour tour, the guide explained the various plantation that grew there apart from coffee. Primarily we could see many exotic fruits and spices and the star of the afternoon – a vanilla sapling which takes 4 years to convert to the actual product which we see. So, guys treasure a single drop of vanilla essence next time.
Next destination i.e., Dubare Elephant Camp.
You have a small boat ride to reach the place amidst the Kaveri river. What differentiated this from the other camps is the fact that the area was VAST, so lot of room for the elephant to roam around post the human interference. Make sure you check the time for the visit as usually the park is open only at very concise time:
Morning: 9 – 11 am (for Elephant ride and bathing)
Evening: 4.30 – 5.30 pm (Only for Elephant feeding and bathing)
Entry Fee: 100/-(20/- extra for each hay stack for feeding)
We wanted to end our day and the trip with a traditional Madikeri style cuisine and we chose exactly the right place for it.
Coorg Cuisine located in the city itself had some authentic Coorg style dishes and was easy on pockets too. Our pick in terms of food would be below
- Kodavu Chicken
- Bamboo shoots
- Neer dosa (Paper thin dosa)
- Ghee rice
- Vegetable stew
- Popular for the pork dishes
This included more of travel i.e., (Mahindra Hotel_Mangalore Central_Mumbai)
Since our train was at 12.30 pm, we had to rush.But we did manage to bite into the famous Ice cream parlour, which is 5 mins way from the Mangalore Central, Ideals(Hampankatta)– a must visit for ice cream lovers.
Coorg is very reasonable when it comes to food, courtesy homegrown products and simple lifestyle. People are not much fuzzy when it comes to pricing their food. All the listed hotels are rational and on should not spend more than 2000 – 3000 /- even if we are eating heartily
There are many reasonable as well as expensive locations. Coorg is mostly known for homes stays which is something that should be explored (Pepper rail Home stay, Danush Homestay, Gowri Nivas to name a few)