COORG- THE SCOTLAND OF INDIA
252 kms 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 location.
Coorg is on the Western Ghats. Set amidst verdant valleys, imposing mountains and teak wood forests, this is one of the most beautiful hill stations you can visit. It lies on Karnataka's southwestern end, covering an area of 4,102 sq km.
The Kodagu district comprises different communities - Kodava, Tulu, Gowda, Moplah out of which the lasrgest is the Kodava community, both economically and politically. The economy depends on agriculture, coffee plantations, foretry and tourism.
There are many versions behind the origin of the name Kodagu. According to the Puranas, Kodava is the redifned name of Krodhadesa, meaning 'Land of Anger', said to have been inhabited by the Kodava tribe. While for some, it is believed to hve been named after the River Cauveri, where 'kod' means 'give' and 'ava' means 'mother' - which means Cauvery is the 'mother to the people'. Few believe the name originated from the Kannada kudu which means 'dense forest' on a steep hill. It is said that the history of Coorg dates back to as early as 888 AD.
The kingdom was ruled by many dynasties, starting with Gangas of Talakad, Kadambas, Cholas, Kongalvas, Changalvas, Hoysalas and Nayakas. Information on its early history has come primarily from the various inscriptions on stone and copper plates of 9th - 10th century.
The Haleri dynasty was the last noteworthy dynasty to rule the whole of Kodagu. It came into power around mid-16th century and was founded by a young price from Ikkeri. It was the first dynasty in the history of Kodagu, whch spanned 234 years and ruled the entire region.
While everyone talks about the tourism part of Coorg, we salutes Coorg for entirely another reason - a very important one. Coorgies in general opt for the military service in India. We thank them for their contribution in securing our borders.
Coorg is an ideal place for outdoor activities, food and shopping!
Trekking: Coorg has many verdant trekking routes in the midst of forests and hills, and it's best to go in the months from October to February. Some of the known trails are in the hills of Brahmagiri, where you could trek your way to the Irrupa Falls. You could also consider trekking to Pushpagiri, the second higest peak of Kodagu and Tadiandamol (the highest peak).
Golf: Avid golffers can tee off at the 9-hole course of Virajpet.
Angling: Valanoor is the backwater of the river Cauvery. It draws fishing lovers from all over India. You can try and catch the famous mahaseer and the best season is from October to May.
White Water Rafting: There are few good camps around Coorg that offer rafting down the Cauvery river. For some fast paced action, visit the Upper Barapole River to the south of Coorg in Brahmagiri. The best time for rafting is from mid-June to mid-September.
Food: Coorgi cuisine is famous and unique, especially for non-vegetarians as it is based on game meats, pork and other delicious ingredients. Popular dishes are pandhi (pork), koli (chicken) and yarchi (lamb) spiced with pepper, kokum, bamboo shoot, red chilly, bembla curry, kadumbuttu, noolputu, voti and excellent coffee.
Shopping: Some of the popular items to buy are coffee, honey, spices, cardamom, pepper, pineapple papads and oranges ( season). Coorgi silk saree are also very famous and they have a different style of wearing them.
Fairs & Festivals: Schedule your visit to coincie with one of the colorful festivals of the region. The festivals of the Kodava community are largely around agriculture military activities.
The 'Festival of Arms - Keilpoldu' is held in the months of June to September. During this festival the weapons are polished and worshipped before resuse.
Cauvery Shankaramana is based around the river Cauver is held in October.
The harvest festival 'Puthar' is celebrated in November or December. The festival is accompanied by folks songs and dances, performed by the different villagers at their temples.
This 19th century fort, in the centre of Madikeri, houses a temple, a chapel, prison and a small museum. The fort offers a beautiful view of Madikeri.
According to legend, the kings of Kodagu spent their evenings here. But what's unforgettable about Raja's seat is the spectacular sunset that one can enjoy from here.
The most visited tourist spot in Coorg is the Nagarahole National Park which is known for it's wild-life population. One can find elephants, tigers, leopards, sambars, spotted deers, and bisons in plenty. There are facilities for over-night stay inside the Nagarhole park next to water-holes. Madikeri or Mercara is the main town of Coorg and is also a well known hill station. Some of the important places to visit around Madikeri are Raja seat-a well maintained garden with a great views of the hills, Abbi-Falls a beautiful waterfall, Bhaga-mandala and finally Tala-Kaveri-the birth place of river Kaveri, is an astoundingly beautiful place which is surrounded by mountains.
Talakaveri / Talacauvery River Kaveri which is one of the 7 sacred rivers of Sapta Sindhus of the Hindu scriptures, originated at a place is called Talakaveri (head of Cauvery) in the Brahmagiri hills, at about 4,500 ft above sea level. This place is marked by a tirtha kundike or Brahma kundike (small spring/pond) from where the river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away. It is about 48 kms from Madikeri.
Hanging bridge aside Abby Falls: