As a tourist visiting Bangalore , you can visit some of the wonderful parks like the Cubbon Park, Lalbagh Botanical garden and the Bannerghatta National Park and also go shopping in Bangalore in the Phoenix Market City Mall and the Orion Mall for example. Coorg, also known as Kodagu ,which means `dense hilly country’ in the local language , is one of the nicest and coolest places for a short break from Bangalore or Mysore.
A short trip to Coorg
A 3-4 day trip is ideal to explore this delightful area in the middle of the Western Ghats, surrounded with rolling hills, forests and coffee plantations. You can of course spend a week in this beautiful place, if time permits. Coorg is about 225 kms south west of Bangalore and is best reached by road, the travel time taking 5-6 hours appoximately .
Road to Coorg
Until a few years ago, the drive used to be much more adventurous after Mysore, as the road leading to Kodagu was a narrow, pebbled, village road with huts and fields on both sides. You could get a feel of the rustic, country life with small mud houses, thatched roofs and bamboo hedges all around. Corn, paddy and cotton farming is done here and kids love to watch whiffs of cotton wool floating around. This being my second visit to Coorg, I was surprised to find a newly constructed road leading to Madikeri (another name for Coorg) which made our journey easier and faster.
Coffee Plantation in Coorg
As you near Coorg, long stretches of undulating landscapes carpeted in every shade of green and covered with a gauzy stole of thin, white mist emerge into new. Coffee bushes, studded with red berries, pepper, cardamom, oranges, nutmeg and lemon grass are to be seen everywhere . Coffee is grown in Coorg as it has very salubrious weather and ample rainfall. No wonder this place is also known as Scotland of India!
The smiles of the friendly local people (who are a group of warrior tribals), having a unique culture and distinctive dress , is very welcoming. I am reminded of one of my school teachers who belonged to Coorg and we kids were so fascinated by the way in which she used to wear her sari, in line with the way the local Coorgis do.
Flora and Fauna in Coorg
Since this region is covered with ever-green forests, animals like elephants, the Malabar Squirrel and tigers are found in this region. The famous Dubare elephant camp is located here. It is a wildlife adventure camp which serves as an information centre on anything to do with elephants . A visit to this place is a must when in Coorg, specially for animal lovers and of course for kids . The trip usually begins early in the morning as the pachyderms are early risers. Children love it as they see the elephants being bathed and fed. They are allowed to scrub these mighty beasts and also feed them ragi and jaggery. Since you have been so good to the animals , they will dress up in their `howdah’ and even take you on a 30 minute ride into the jungle !
Source of the Kaveri river
Madikeri is also the birthplace of the mighty Cauvery river. It has numerous murmuring streams, rivulets and waterfalls. A ride on the coracle (a type of boat) on the river is quite popular with tourists. As the coracle moves languorously on the meandering river, one gets to experience nature in its varied form – a vast expanse of blue sky above, lush green forests on both sides and an occasional chirping of birds flying past.
There is lots more to do in Coorg, including fishing in the river, trekking in the coffee and pepper plantations or simply strolling in the lush, hilly surroundings. As we bade adieu to such a soul stirring place, we thought we would surely want to come back here more often to spend time.