Day at the Land of Cauvery: Trip to Coorg
When we think of Karnataka, Hi-tech city, busy traffic and posh lifestyle are few things that will catch your eye in Karnataka, but this place has much more to offer. Coorg the place known for its trademark coffee should be a must visit destination in everyone’s wish list. This beautiful district in Karnataka, 250 km (155 miles) is located from the southern city of Bangalore. The British nicknamed this scenic place as “Scotland of India”.
Coorg is situated in the south-west part of Karnataka which borders the Kerala region. Coorg measures 96 km (north-south) in length and 64 km east-west in breadth. The area of Coorg district is 4102 sq. kilometers and the population estimated in 2001 was 545,322, increasing 11.64% from 1991 to 2001, and 5.75% from 1981 to 1991 (Wikipedia). Coorg is also known as ‘Kodagu’ which means “dense forest on steep hill,” .This place is located about 1,500 meters above mean sea level with coffee and tea plantations. This place is also known for its dense lush forests and orange groves. Coorg has three wildlife sanctuaries and one national park, ideal for people who love trekking. Coorg’s natural beauty, the people, the culture and the food is the major attraction which draws people towards Coorg from all over the world.
Coorg is one of the most visited tourist destination in Karnataka. This place is well-known for its coffee and brave warriors from history. Coorg is a picture-perfect region of beautiful villages and hamlets, which is an exemplar of old-world charm and rich culture & heritage. Kodagu is ideal for outdoor activities such as trekking, angling and white-water rafting, and major festivals like Keil Poldu (worship of weapons), Cauvery Shankaramana (return of the river goddess) and the Huttari (harvest) festival is a huge draw. There are many places which are worth visiting. Few places like Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple and Abbey falls are post-card perfect destinations.
Madikeri is the picturesque capital of Kodagu district is located in a beautiful hilly setting surrounded by the forested slopes of the Western Ghats. This sloppy region is dotted with a cluster of red-roofed dwellings and a bustling bazaar, the town, situated at an elevation of 1525m, has a charming old-world look. Madikeri provides access to some excellent picnic spots. The 19th century Madikeri Fort with its stone ramparts now houses the prison, a temple, a chapel, a small museum, and assorted government offices.
Madikeri Fort was first founded by Mudduraja in the second half of the 17th century. He also built a palace inside the fort. It was eventually rebuilt in granite by Tipu Sultan who named the site as Jaffarabad. (Wikipedia).The Palace of the erstwhile kings located inside the Fort, now houses the offices of the Deputy Commissioner. The brick and mortar Palace was built in 1814 by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II.
The strong fort of Mercara explains the tale of bravery and battle. In the inner Fort, a temple of Virabhadra was removed by the British in 1855 and in its place built an Anglican Church. The Church, in Gothic style, with color stained glasses has now been converted into a museum. The museum, run by the state archaeology department, is a repository of many antiques of Coorg. The original mud fort was rebuilt in stone by Tipu Sultan. Two life-size elephants made of mortar, catch the eye of the visitor on entering the Fort. The other buildings inside the fort include the Mahatma Gandhi Public Library, the Kote Maha Ganapathi temple and the district prison. The two-storied lofty and spacious structure is 110 feet long. The British renovated the structure twice and in 1933, a clock tower and a portico to park the commissioner’s car were added. This temple also forms one of the major temples list competing for Madikeri dasara festival.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Madikeri Fort is the Omkareshwara Temple, built in1820 and featuring a blend of red-tile roofed Kerala architecture and Islamic -style domes. The Omkareshwara temple in Madikeri was built by Lingarajendra II in 1820 in the Mumammadan style of architecture with a dome in the center and four turrets at four corners. Temple dedicated to Shiva, was built in the 19th century in a mix of Gothic and Islamic styles. Legend has it that the King put to death a Brahmin to fulfill his political ambitions and in order to appease the spirit of the Brahmin, the temple was built. There is a pool in front of the temple with tons of fresh water fishes in it. The temple has four minarets around it and a dome in the center. The temple is Similar to a Muslim dargah with a Linga installed near the entrance door. The King inscribed the history of the temple in a copper plate which is fixed at the entrance door frame. There is a water tank in front of the temple and in the middle of the tank there is a “mantapam” connected by a causeway. There are plenty of fish in the tank which is an attraction for children.
This spot is inside Madikeri Town, just a minimal fare in auto.
Tucked away between private coffee and spice estates, abbey Falls offers a splendid backdrop for picnics. As you make your way past stocky coffee bushes and tall trees entwined with pepper vines, the falls make a sudden and dramatic appearance as they cascade their way down steps into limpid pools to join the river Cauvery.
Abby Falls or the Abbi Water Falls is situated just 7-8 kilometers from Madikeri town [Galibeedu road]. ‘Abbi’ in coorgie means a waterfall .A waterfall you don’t want to miss. The British called it the Jessie waterfalls in memory of Jessie the daughter of Madikeri’s first captain. It is located in a private property and decently maintained. Abby cascades 70 ft down to flow as a small river .The falls appear suddenly, the water cascading over rocks into calm pools. A path through coffee and cardamom plantation off the main road adds to the attraction of the falls. Enjoy the gushing, roaring beauty but a desire to take a dip in the cool waters may prove to be risky. Reaching the place is a nice ride in itself as the road that drives you is very narrow with lots of turns and twists, ups and downs a two wheeler ride would be JOLLY one. A nature welcomes you at every turn .The route to this Falls one has to go through private Coffee estates. The Foggy Spray issuing forth from the stream flowing over a precipe makes a spectacular sight when viewed from a convenient spot. The water flow is very high during the monsoon season and during the dry seasons the flow is considerably less. The falls is more enjoyable within the fenced area wherefrom you get its friendly pose for your camera. A hanging bridge has now been built across the gorge here offering a good view of the falls. The best time to visit is early winter when the monsoons bring plenty of water. Do take Immense care at this falls as adventure [crazy] stuffs in the falls has always led to a sorrow ending. Thus Coorg, the land of coffee is a worth-visiting trip. Come, allow the Spirit of the land to infuse your very being, and coax you gently on a personal voyage of discovery.