Saturday, July 19, 2008

Coorg / Kodugu

Coorg or Kodagu(originally called Kodaimalenadu) means 'dense forest on steep hill', roughly dubbed as the Scotland of India.
Coorg was one of the coolest vacation we had since or marriage. The place had such a reputation that we simply HAD to go and we did to celebrate the birthday of my dear hubby.
We started in Banglore at about half past ten by bus in Kempagowda bus stand. Though we searched the net and got a lot of good hotels and homestay reviews we decided we go there and then decide where to stay, so we did not make any reservations.
We reached Madikeri at 5:30 in the morning, but did not know where to go as the sun did not rise yet and it was still cool and foggy, so we stayed in the busstand until there was a little bit of sunlight. There we found that the auto drivers are trying to sell us the idea of a homestay which is consired to be a pretty nice way of staying in coorg, but since its just the two of us in a strange place, we decided we would rather stay somewhere we would feel secure, the ever reliable KSTDC Mayura hotel.
KSTDC Mayura Valley View Hotel: cost us 1200/- per day and the check-in counts from 12 in the afternoon no matter when you arrive.

View of the valley below from our room
view of the small town of Madikeri from our hotel with its charming little cottages

Madikeri or Mercara is the main town of Coorg and is also a well known hill station.

Madikeri Fort

This 19th century fort, in the centre of Madikeri, houses a temple, a chapel, prison and a small museum. The fort offers a beautiful view of Madikeri.Now it is used to host some governament offices.
Raja's seat
Raja's seat is a small, square 'mantapa' with a commanding view of the valleys and cliffs to the west is an attractive spot for lovers of nature. here we can sit and enjoy the glorious scene of sunrise and sunset as the raja and his consorts did in the past.

A view from the Raja's Seat

Omkareshwara temple
There is a beautiful Omkareshwara temple in Madikeri just a 10 min. walk from the Raja's seat.

kushal mantapa

The Kushal mantapa lies right in the middle of the tank just outside the temple.It is said Lingarajendra killed an honest and pious Brahmin to fulfill his political ambitions. That Brahmin became a “Brahmarakshasa” and started troubling the king. The king got rid of the so called “Brahmarakshasa” only when he brought a “Shivalinga” from Kashi and installed it after building a temple. The shivalinga was named as “Omkareshwara” and regular rituals were performed.

Abbi Abbi falls
Then we took a local autorickshaw to see the famous Abbi falls. The Madikeri stream, also called Muttaramuttu, falls 21.3m to the huge boulders to a deep rocky valley to form this picturesque waterfalls called (Abbi Falls (abbi means waterfall in kodavatak-a tribal local language). The British called it the Jessey Waterfall in memory of Jessey, the daughter of Madikeri's first chaplain.

First view of the falls

A scene of the valley below while returning from Abbi falls


Entrance of Kaveri Nisargadham

Nisargadhama is situated about 36 kms from Madikeri. This is an ideal picnic spot. It is an island in the middle of the river connected by a rope bridge. You can do boating or go for elephant rides as well as visit the elephant training camp run by the Forest Department at Dubare (8 kms further). This place is also home to a few animals sort of a petting zoo where people are encouraged to interact with the animals. It also has tree houses made of bamboo.


When the river Cauvery flows downhill, it is joined by two more tributaries - Kanake and Sujyoti. The spot where all three converte (the Cauvery, the Kanika and the Sujyothi) is called Bhagamandala. The temple here, built in Kerala style, has smaller shrines dedicated to various gods. It is about 40 kms from Madikeri.

Road to Tala-Kaveri


The birth place of river Kaveri, is an astoundingly beautiful place which is surrounded by mountains. Talakaveri (head of Cauvery) in the Brahmagiri hills, at about 4,500 ft above sea level. This place is marked by a tirtha kundike or Brahma kundike (small spring/pond) from where the river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away. It is about 48 kms from Madikeri. There is a shrine near the kundike and a big tank in front of it where devotees baths before offering prayers. There are 2 temples, a Shiva temple and with a rare and ancient Shiva Linga, and another temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple has a holy Ashwantha tree where, according to legend, the Trimurtis - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh gave darshan to sage Agastya.
Legends also has it that every year on Tulasankramana day (approximately on 17 October) Goddess Parvati appears in the Kundike as the sacred teerthodbhava. This occasion is marked by the sudden unsurge of water in the kundike and is considered very auspicious
From Talakaveri, steps lead up to the nearby Brahmagri peak, where the 7 great sages called the Sapta Maharishis had performed a special yagna. From the peak, as well as on the drive to Talakaveri, tourists can enjoy a good view of the misty blue Brahmagiri hills.


Some of the popular items to buy are coffee, honey, spices, cardamom, pepper, pineapple papads and oranges ( season). Coorgi silk saree are also very famous and they have a different style of wearing them.


Ummathat, the lively dance of kodugu is set to the bent of cymbals, which resemble the exuberant Ummat flower (Datura metel) from which the dance gets its name. Ummat flowers and seeds have both medicinal and poisonous properties depending on the parts used and the quantity administered.

Tasty medicine

Abundant in this region, Madduthoppu (Justicia wayanadensis) is attributed medicinal value believed to peak on the 18th of Kakkada (July - Aungust), when it is used as an ingredient in various delicacies.

1 comment:

bhasku said...

Very nice information