COORG (KODAGU) TRIP FROM BANGALORE-By Vijay Gaddigimath

Yes guys I am taking you through the Kashmir of Karnataka, Kodagu.....

            Karnataka state is blessed with many geographical privileges and Coorg taken the prime spot  in the list with her enchanting beauty. Beautiful glens decorated with natural meadows at foothills, alluring Kaveri (Cauvery) river, diversified flora and fauna, abundant rain and of course yummy coffee. Coorg is always filled with aroma of the finest coffee beans grown in the valleys and also with rich spices of south India. It was wonderful to see Coorg is again adorned with soothing sunrise and fragrance of the valley energizing the life after the disaster hit in 2018 by heavy rains, landslides and Covid restrictions across the district. Now it is open. This article will help you to gather informations about how to visit Coorg, roads to take, stay, visiting places and how to enjoy the scenic views of the places in Coorg.

People of Coorg:

Coorg district is home for traditional Kodava people. Kodavas have the special place in Karnataka history. Kodavas belong to the ancient race known for their courage. There are mentions in Indian history that Kodavas are the worriers fought several wars to protect the land and culture. Kodavas follow Hindu culture and known for their rich tradition. They have history of fighting to save their mother land and culture. It is also known that they thwarted several attempts of invasion by the Muslim rulers of Mysore, Hyder Ali and Tipusultan. They preserved the essence of Kodagu and their culture against all odds.

People and Diversity:

            According to the 1991 census 37 percent people speak Kannada language, 19 percent people speak Malayalam. 9 percent of the people speak Tulu language. 2.8 percent Muslim population who speak Urdu language.

Places to Visit:

Madikeri is a major tourist attraction in Coorg. Nearby places to see are Mandalapatti, about 12km from Madikeri. Abbe falls, Rajahills, Gold Estate Coffee Plantation, Golden temple-Tibetan Monastery, Kushal Nagar, Chikli hole, Omkareshwara Temple and Somwarpete.

Mandalapatti (Mugilpete):

We started to drive a little early from Bangalore around 5am as there is a 4 lane Mysore-Bangalore highway work in progress and it takes extra time to travel. We had planned the trip just three days before the journey, it was a weekend and festival season was around the corner, finding accommodation of our choice was little difficult. Somehow we got accommodation in Kushal Nagar about 35 km from Madikeri. It is always good to plan at least 15 days ahead for better choices.Treebo Atithi Comforts, we could book online, check-in online, the transaction happened at ease. The stay was also descent. We checked-in at 12 noon, got freshen-up, had breakfast at the same place before leaving to Mandalapatti. First day we planned to visit Mandalapatte (Mugilpete) as the travelling to the place was not easy, it was one heck of an experience of lifetime travelling in service jeep to Mandalapatti.

[Start] Bangalore->Mandya->Srirangapatna->Piriyapatna->Kushal Nagara [Destination]

How to travel to Mandalapatti

To reach Mandalapatti it is not advisable to drive in a normal vehicle or sedan as after 4 to 5 km journey towards Mandalapatti from Madekeri there is no road, it is just a narrow hilly lane with rocks. One needs a country side, hilly road driving experience. It is impossible to drive cars in that road where you can find 3 to 4 feet height bunch of rocks in the middle of the lane and one needs to go through them as the lane is very narrow and cannot avoid the rocks. So it is a must to travel in service jeep available in Madikeri.

We driven to Madikeri, it was a nice experience to drive in dense forest, coffee estates. For urban species like us it was an amazing feeling to find only one or two houses here and there in the middle of the forest and enough to envy those fortunate souls who live there. Greenery of tropical rain forest everywhere, huge variety of more than 200 tree species viz., teak, sandal, veteria indica, Terminalia elliptica, crape myrtle, etc. You can find variety of plants, colourful flowers, trees, small streams in between. Road was narrow single lane, but manageable. We reached Madikeri at 3PM, parked our vehicle in Madikeri Bus stand. We found a nice gentleman, an ex-Army man Mr. Ravi (9449475709} who charged Rs.1800 for his service jeep (That was the normal charge for service jeep). Otherwise, someone asked us Rs. 2800. Mr. Ravi may be a 50+ year old, rugged look but a gentleman. Started towards Mandalapatti in his jeep. The lane was horrible, at least for 3 to 4 km there was no road existing, all of us were bouncing inside the jeep throughout the journey. Some time jeep scaled up on rocks of about 2 to 3 feet height and scaled down, I could not believe my eyes that a jeep could do that in such a narrow lane. It was a steep trench one side and other side was hill, the lane full of rocks, unpredictable inclines and declines, one hell of an adventure. In the middle there was a security check-up by CRPF men. We paid fees of Rs120 for 6 people to check-in. Plastic bottles are not allowed. If you are taking drinking water bottles, deposit Rs.100 and  need to bring them back and collect the deposited money back. Basically the idea was to avoid throwing empty plastic bottles on the mountain, which was a good initiative.

The pristine Madalapatti Peak:

Finally we reached Mandalapatti at 4pm. We were joking to each other if any bones left in our body. When we reached the spot the soothing breeze, misty mountains and fragrance of the forest made us forget everything. The mountain valley surrounded with lush green tropical forest, with variety of flora and fauna. It was so relaxing and blissful to see the mountains adorned with greenery, milky clouds hovering on, cool breeze casting little dew drops dazzling on green leaves. The scenic view was just like heaven on earth. The  mandalapatti peak looked like a painting on a canvas.

The rare Neelakurinji flower:

We were fortunate to witness hue of Neelakurinji which blooms once in 12 years on Mandlapatti and Kote Betta mountains. The rare phenomenon witnessed again this year. The mountain full of Neelakurinji flower looked like painted in purple colour. According to Karnataka forest department officials the state has around 45 species of  Neelakurinji flower, the different species catalogued on different altitudes. Each species blooms at intervals of 6, 9, 10, or 12 years.

            We spent around one hour, it was already 5pm. We had to reach back to Kushal nagar, hence we left Mandalapatti at 5.10pm, reached Madikeri at 6pm.  Thanked Mr. Ravi with extra tip for driving us back safely, greeted each other with smile which reflected feeling of gratitude. Brief stay at Madikeri for snacks at Shanti Sagar and left to Kushal Nagar.

            In the night we had dinner at Treebo Atithi restaurant. We celebrated my cousin’s birthday at 12am, gentleman Mr. John from Treebo Atithi Comfort arranged stage for celebration at rooftop, we had ordered red velvet cake from Penguin bakery at Kushal nagar, and the cake was awesome. After the celebration and photo shoot, we were tired and heavy-eyed, did not realise when we slipped into sleep.

Day 2 at Chikalihole reservoir:

Next day we got up at 7am, got ready and left to Chikalihole reservoir. Chikalihole reservoir is about 12km from Kushal nagar, we driven to the spot. Celebrated my cousin's birthday again in middle of lush greenery.  Some photos shoot for DPs of course. The reservoir opened at 10am.

            The beautiful Chikalihole reservoir located near Nanjarayapatna, if you are in Coorg don't miss it. The Reservoir is built across the river Chiklihole flowing through the Cauvery basin of Karnataka. The design and uniquely built dam is the major attraction of tourists. The water flowing through the dense forest as if a crystal dividing the forest in to two; beautiful reflection of the entire sky on the calm, halted water of reservoir create mesmerising scenic view looks just out of the world. You will never get bored of clicking pictures of the endless beauty, enough for a whole year for social media...he he he.

Places to see near Kushalnagar:

            There several tourist spots near Kushal nagar viz., Golden Temple-Buddhist Monastery, Nisargadhaama-an island, Dubare Elephant camp, etc.

With us: #Mahatisings #Vismahi #Paltakoyal #VijayGaddigimath #Rajguru

Written By

Vijay Gaddigimath|9513880111|vijaymgdg@gmail.com

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