January 1st 2010. The day started on a low note with nothing much to do. But since it was the first day of a brand new year, we definitely were not going to let it be a boring one. Resources were few. We did not have plans for any trip and certainly no reservations were available for any resorts. But still we thought of giving it a last shot. Browsing though the list of various hotels at the various tourist destinations around Bangalore, we discovered that there were still a few hotels that could offer us accommodation. That was all that was required to trigger us. Making a quick call to a local cab driver, we booked him for the next two days for a trip to Madikeri, the Scotland of India.
Coorg lies 252 km from Bangalore and 1525 m above sea level lies Madikeri, the district headquarters of Kodagu. Coorg or Kodagu (originally called Kodaimalenadu) means ’dense forest on steep hill’. Dubbed as the Scotland of India, this town has a lot to offer to the tourist. Misty hills, lush forest, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantation, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what make Madikeri an unforgettable holiday destination.
We started early next morning at around 5:30 am. The weather was pleasant with cool breeze blowing. The ride was a uneventful one. The road was in fairly good condition except for a few kilometers after Kushal Nagar. The drive was through the dense forests of Nagahole National Park. We reached Madikeri at around 12 in the noon. Getting a occupancy was not a tough job. We settled for an average hotel by the name of Coorg Residency. The tariff for a double bed room with the view of the valley beyond was for a rate of Rs.1200. The hotel had arrangements for all the basic facilities. Not willing to waste much of our time we decided to head for Abbey Falls which is situated at a distance of 12km from the town of Madikeri . Situated amidst a private coffee plantation, the waterfall provides a mesmerizing view. The cascading water falls several feet below before continuing down the hilly slopes. One has to climb down several steps before reaching the waterfall. With a hanging bridge situated just in front of the waterfall, one can take in the breath taking view of the waterfall.
After spending hours looking at the waterfall, we continued on our way to Raja’s Seat . The entry fee of this park is Rs 5 per head. This is situated at the heart of the town itself. If legends are to be believed, then this is the spot from where the kings watched the sunsets with their consorts. It offers breathtaking view of towering hills, green valleys, studded with paddy fields. The most fascinating view is the road to Mangalore like a curved ribbon lying in the valley.
The view of the sunset from this spot is really a one that would be hard to forget for many years to come. The view point is spread over a large area and one could walk from one tip of the hill to the other for a view. As the sun had set below the horizon, we decided to head towards the bus sand for some shopping and dinner.
One of the delicacies of Coorgish food is Pork cooked as Pandi curry. It is surely a food that is not to be missed by any non-vegetarian lover.
The next day started as we packed our luggage and moved towards Kushal Nagar. Our first stop was at the Dubare Elephant Camp . One has to take a boat to cross the Kaveri River to reach the other side at the charge of Rs 20. One can take a ride on the elephant at a charge of Rs 100 per head.
Next on our list of places was Cauvery Nisargadhama . Nisargadhama is a 25 acre island formed by river Kaveri with bamboos, teak, sandalwood trees streams and wild life covering it. Nisargadhama is also famous for its hanging bridge which connects the island and helps travelers to cross the Cauvery River. A new bridge has been constructed now just beside the old and shaky hanging bridge.
Next we started towards the Golden temple-Buddhist Monastery . After the Chinese took over Tibet, the refugees were settled at Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar and the Buddhist Monastery was re-established here in 1972. It houses over 250 monks today.