A Travel Guide to Coorg, Karnataka
Forests and lush greenery covers this enticing little district in Karnataka, called Coorg or Kodagu. Nestled in the Western Ghats, this is one of the best hill stations in India. Home to a number of valleys, streams, lakes and mountains, makes it a backpacker’s paradise. Its natural beauty which makes Coorg known to people as the “Scotland of India”. Coorg’s interesting history makes it a wonderful experience for tourists.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Coorg would be whenever as this place always serves a wonderful sight for travellers. The weather during the monsoon months from June to December will be very pleasant and visitors will be able to enjoy the greenery at its best as the beauty of Coorg is enchanting after a downpour. However, the peak season is October to March and this is also the best time for travellers who want to try adventure activities such as rock climbing, trekking and river rafting.
Also Read: A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HAMPI
How to get to Coorg
No trains or flights serve Coorg. Hence the best option to reach would be via public transport buses which operate from all over Karnataka and nearby states. Visitors can hop on a flight to Mangaluru and then get a cab (75 miles). Alternatively, they can reach Bengaluru and get a cab (150 miles). Those wanting to travel at a budget amount can also get public transport from either Mangaluru or Bengaluru.
The nearest railway station to Coorg is in Mysore which is around 60 miles away from Coorg so those who prefer to travel by train can opt to go to Mysore and get a bus or a cab from Mysore to Coorg.
For those wanting to drive to Coorg, this is a wonderful opportunity for a road trip as the roads to Coorg are smooth and will give ethereal views for the travellers in terms of forests and mountains.
The best option for getting around in Coorg would be to hire a cab as it is the most suitable option for travelers. Public transport will be cheaper, however it is not as easily available owing to the hilly terrain of the Kodagu district. Hire a rental car if you are confident enough to navigate through Coorg’s terrain. Otherwise, hire an experienced driver.
Eating in Coorg
Coorg houses a large number of restaurants which serve both North Indian dishes as well as South Indian dishes. Several restaurants in Coorg also serve Tibetan cuisine owing to the number of Tibetan settlements in Coorg.
Some good restaurants in Coorg are Shanthi Family Restaurant in Bylakuppe which serves some good Tibetan food along with South Indian dishes, Hotel Capitol in Madikeri which serves some amazing authentically Coorgi dishes and Athithi restaurant in Madikeri which serves good vegetarian dishes.
Also Read: 7 BEST HILL STATIONS IN SOUTH INDIA
Visitors should try not to miss the local non-vegetarian dishes made from mutton and chicken. The locals also enjoy the flavourful and spicy pandhi or the pork curry which can be eaten with rice and local beer. You should not miss out the Kadumbutto. A staple food that consists of steamed rice dumplings which are eaten along with curries.
Where to Stay
There are a number of options for people looking for accommodation in Coorg including hotels, guest-houses and homestays. Check sites like Airbnb or Trivago before reaching to pre-book rooms. As peak season is always crowded. Visitors can also opt to stay in nearby town such as Madikeri and Virajpet instead of opting to stay in Coorg if they want more choices.
Some good accommodation options are:
- Club Mahindra Resort, Madikeri – 8,500 Rs (~ $124)
- Woodstock Villas, Madikeri – 3500 RS (~ $55)
- Palace Estate – 1500 Rs (~ $23)
- Kings Cottage Homestay – 2000 Rs (~ $31)
Things to do and Places to see
Coorg is a backpacker’s paradise as it presents some wonderful trekking and hiking opportunities with its abundance of mountains. The trekking peaks include
- Pushpagiri peak at a height of 1650 meters,
- Tadiyandalmol peak at a height of1750 meters and
- Kotebetta peak at a height of 1650 meters
However those opting to trek these peaks must take some precautions. Get a guide so that you do not lose your way inside the forests. Carry enough essentials in case of an emergency. Prepare for leech bite when trekking during monsoons.
One of the most famous tourist attractions is the Namdroling Monastery, popularly known as the Golden Temple. Pema Norbu Rinpoche established the monastery. The Dalai Lama himself consecrated the spot and named it the “Namdroling Monastery”. The monastery is famous for the huge statues of Guru Rinpoche, Buddha Sakyamuni and Amitayus. Mesmerizing decoration also befits the beauty of the monastery.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Nisargadhama. An island formed by the river Cauveri. It is 64 acres of dense foliage and bamboo groves, a tropical paradise for the old and young alike. You can walk over the hanging bridges to the island to access it. Elephant rides, deer park and the boating are some of the opportunities that you should not miss when here.
The Dubare Elephant camp near Madikeri town houses a number of trained elephants in a safe environment for tourists. The camp can be reached by boating through the river and cannot be reached by road. This is a perfect spot for families and for people who want to try boating and rafting.
When in Coorg, don’t miss these other attractions:
- the Abbi waterfalls near Madikeri,
- the Nalknad Palace near Virajpet,
- Omkareshwara temple near MAdikeri,
- Iruppu falls near Nagarhole,
- the Raja Seat near Madikeri and
- the Madikeri Fort and Palace in Madikeri.
Also Read: A TRAVEL GUIDE TO NORTH-EAST INDIA