Coffee plantations amidst coconut trees spread over miles swirling along the cool monsoon wind frequently interrupted by monsoon showers – this is Coorg, India’s Scotland with natural beauty in its purest form. Some of the best things are across the worst of the roads in this yet to be fully commercialised escape from the exhausting daily life of the city.
With minimal disturbance, chilly environment in the lap of Western Ghats, it’s a perfect getaway to relax. Coffee is synonymous to Coorg more than anything else. Take a walk along the trails in the coffee plantations among tall trees, the aroma of the coffee will leave you wanting for a hot cup of coffee. You can buy ground coffee and delicious homemade chocolates, and no matter how much you buy, you just wont get enough of these two!
Coffee is not the only thing about Coorg that will leave you in awe. Take an early morning ride to Dubare Elephant Camp, across the gushing Cauvery river waters on a boat and spend some time with Elephants, bathing and playing with them in the water. The camp also provides elephant rides and rafting in the Cauvery.
For some inner peace and exotic Tibetan delicacies, Namdorling Monastery in Kushalnagar is the must visit place. A Visit around noon and you can be a part of Buddhist monks chanting prayers in unison. The market just outside the Monastery has some fine eating options serving traditional Tibetan food and shops with Tibetan handicrafts.
Madikeri to the north is a little commercialised but it is home to some of the most magnificent locations. The majestic Abhey Falls will remind you of Niagara Falls. You will have to take a little trek down the stairs to the bottom of the falls but it will be worth your time and effort. Madikeri Fort and Omkareshwar Temple located around the same area are architectural marvels. The best spot in this town though is the Raja’s Seat giving a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats overwhelmed under cloud cover.
There are numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries located across the district of Kodagu. To the north, you will find Nisargadhama Sanctuary on the banks of Cauvery River with a hanging bridge over the river surrounded by high reaching bamboo trees and a deer park. In the south is the famous Nagarhole National Park also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park that is home to a considerable tiger population. One can stay overnight in the forest camp and take a safari around the reserve. One can find the famous Irupu Falls close to this national park. On the other side of the district is the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary located on the border between Karnataka and Kerala. The sanctuary is famous for its trek to the top of the Brahmagiri peak, one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats.
Chiklihole Reservoir across the Cauvery is yet another treat to the eyes. With water spread across miles on one side and hills painted in green from natural fauna of the Attur forest on the other, the reservoir dividing the two is small but beautiful. A walk along the dam is an experience in itself. To the north is Harangi Dam which is another tourist attraction. It has a beautiful park around it where one can spend some quality time in the lap of Mother Nature along the Cauvery.
Apart from coffee and chocolate, try some local delicacies to get a taste of the rich South Indian flavours. A Chai(tea) served with pattal is sure to get your mouth watering in the cool monsoon weather. If you are a oenophile, give your taste buds a treat with some homemade flavoured wines easily available across the district. Buy some locally grown spices to please your Mum.
Coorg is small and yet a mesmerizing natural marvel in the Western Ghats. Perhaps, its low popularity among the travellers is what has helped it maintain its raw natural beauty making it a perfect escape from the busy city life.