Coorg on the Western Ghats of Karnataka is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations of not only Karnataka but India as a whole. Unfortunately a lot of geographical misconceptions about the localities and distances abound in Coorg, which makes the tourists come back without seeing a lot of hidden attractions. Another problem is of crammed up itineraries of packing too much in too short a time thus making the tourists jaded rather than invigorated by the time the tour comes to an end.
Going by the number of mails we receive in our travel QNA section and frantic telephone calls to our travel counselors, from exasperated travelers asking about Coorg- distances, attractions, transports, ideal itineraries et al, most of them veer round primarily to a lot of misconception about the location.
Considering the lacunas, we have decided to come out with a breakthrough visual distance chart, which graphically traces all the important places of the Coorg(Kodagu) district and beyond. The purpose of this is to assist the enthusiastic travelers to unravel Coorg and also plan a well organized itinerary to make the most of this fantastic original “Coffee Country”.
So set forth and bust the long standing title of Coorg as “one of South’s better kept secrets”.
The confusion starts with Madikeri itself. Many people think that Madikari or Coorg are the same. Madikeri or Mercara is the district headquarters of Coorg aka Kodagu. Madikari is situated at a height of 5000 feet above sea level. A great place for walking leisurely or a purposeful trek amid lush green surroundings, innumerable little streams and expansive coffee and pepper plantations, Madikeri also offers typical tourist attractions like Fort, Abbey falls, Raja’s Seat, Omkareshwara Temple, Gandhi Mantapam.
Abbey Falls is located inside a privately owned coffee estate but is accessible to the tourists. It is just 5 km from Madikari and a jeep or taxi takes you to the coffee estate. Once inside the coffee fields a 10 minutes stroll will take you to the picturesque waterfalls.
Siddapur or Siddapura is located around 28 kms from Madikari through a winding driveway. The scenic views along with the fresh unpolluted hill air make the drive exhilarating. The Siddapur taluk offers some nice stay options and is well known for the spice gardens and myriad unfailing streams. Nearby attractions include Pollibetta(12 Km) home to a golf course and Ammathi known for its “hockey utsav”.
Kushalnagar is 35 kms from Madikari and is known for the beautiful Namdroling monastery of Tibetan Buddhist settlers nearby.
Kavery Nisargadhama is 3 kms from Kushalnagar and 30 km from Madikari. It is a beautiful 65 acre riverine island. The primary attraction of this picnic spot is a 90 m rope bridge that connects this island to the main land. Other attractions of Nisargadhama include boat rides, elephant rides, deer park and the orchidarium.
Dubare Elephant Camp
Dubare Elephant Camp lies on the south bank of Kaveri River in easten Kodagu. It is located 40 kms from Madikari. Dubare is essentially an elephant capturing and training camp run by the Forest Department of Coorg. Location wise, Dubare is in between Siddapur and Kushalnagar. Visitors to this amazing place can indulge in feeding and bathing of Elephants.
Somwarpet or Somvarpet is a small town in the northeast coorg and is approximately 40 kms from Madikari. Apart from its undulating natural beauty by way of vast coffee plantations and spice crops it is also the starting point of the trek to Kumara Parvata, one of the most beautiful peaks in the whole of Western Ghats. The trek starts at Bidalli 45 minutes from Somwarpet. Mallalli Falls, around 25 km from Somwarpet, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary (30 km) towards Kukke Subramanya and Honnamana Kere(6km) are the nearby attractions.
Kakkabe or Kakabe is one of the gateways to Coorg county and 45 kms from Madikari. With its heavy rainforest cover Kakkabe boasts of some rare orchids, dense forests and a birdwatcher’s paradise. Other attractions include Paddi Igutthappa/Subramanya Temple (2 km), Nalkad/Nalnad Palace and the Nilakandi waterfall (3 km).
Talacauvery or Thalacauvery is 48 kms from Madikari and is the birthplace of the sacred Cauvery River. It is essentially a spring from which the Rivery Cauvery originates. The place is of immense religious significance.
Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park comprises three forest ranges namely- Nagarhole, Kallahalla and Thitimati. This National Park is a pachyderm’s paradise along with equally respectable other wild life species. A Safari on the dense jungles here is a special attraction.
Irpu Falls is 14 kms from Nagarhole National Park. Irpu or Iruppu Falls is located on outskirts of the Brahmagiri hill range and acts as the gateway to the range. The falls is formed by a tributary of Cauvery, Lakshmana theertha as it jumps down from a height of 170 ft. A temple dedicated to Lord Rama is also located nearby.
Going outside the coorg district but a place enjoing immense significance is the holy temple town of Kukke Subrahmanya. It is located in the Dakshin Kannada district just 100 kms from Madikari. The temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, also revered as Murugan, in south India lies on the banks of the river Kumaradhara at the base of the western Ghats.