Tourist Places in Coorg
One of the most fascinating hill stations in India, Coorg is famous for its enchanting landscape and its natural bounty. A treasure trove for Karnataka’s Tourism Industry, it is one of the most frequented hill – stations in South India. An ideal abode of peace and resplendence, the place harbors some of the major tourist spots of the country.
The most affluent hill station in Karnataka is Coorg. With its natural splendor and exotic scenic environment, Coorg has a special place among the hill stations in India. Nestled among the lusting greeneries of the Western Ghats, Coorg offers unequal luxurious vacation period to its guests. Coorg is praised as the ‘Scotland of India’ and also renowned as ‘Kashmir of the South’ due to the majestic beauty and cool ambience of the hill station at an altitude in the range of 3500 ft above sea level.
Dense teak wooded forests, lush green valleys, breathtaking coffee plantations and undulated challenging mountain ranges make Coorg an exquisite location for the tourist seeking natural scenic spots and challenging treks. Tadiandamol, Brahmagiri and Pushpagiri peaks in Coorg are very challenging for the trekkers and the natural scenic surroundings of these peaks are really eye feasting. Coorg is considered as a mind blowing summer retreat for escaping from the hot summer days in downtown cities. Monsoon is one of the best time to visit this hill station; and many tourists arrive in Coorg to enjoy the wild beauty which unfold to its maximum during the monsoon.
Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park, which is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is located between Coorg and Mysore district. Spread over an area of 643 square kilometres, this park protects the wildlife of Karnataka. The main trees that can be found in the park are rosewood, teak, sandalwood and silver oak. Dry deciduous forest is inhabited by Terminalia tomentosa, Tectonia grandis, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Pterocarpus marsupium, Grewia tilaefolia, Dalbergia latifolia and Anogeissus latifolia.
Tiger, Indian bison or gaur and Asian elephants are the prominent species found inside the park. Other animals like jackals, grey mongoose, sloth bears, striped hyenas, spotted deer or chital, sambar and barking deer can also be spotted. Mammals including common palm civet, brown mongoose, striped-necked mongoose, black – naped hare and mouse deer inhabit the park. Visitors can spot Indian pangolin, red giant flying squirrel, Indian porcupine and Indian giant flying squirrel.
This park is home to 270 species of birds, including the endangered oriental white-backed vulture, vulnerable lesser adjutant, greater spotted eagle and the Nilgiri wood – pigeon. Some of the threatened species, like darters, oriental white ibis, greater grey headed fish eagle and red headed vulture, can be found here. Endemic species like blue winged parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill and the white bellied treepie can also be spotted.
Omkareshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva that was built by Linga Rajendra II in 1820. With central dome and four turrets at the corners, this temple reflects the Muhammadan style of architecture. According to the local belief, the king killed a Brahmin in order to fulfil his political ambitions. After the death of the Brahmin, the king built this temple to appease his spirit.
However, the Brahmin became a ‘Brahmarakshasa’ and kept bothering the king until he installed a ‘Shivalinga’ in the temple, brought from Kashi. This Shivalinga is named as ‘Omkareshwara’ and is worshipped by people. The architecture of the temple reflects both Hindu as well as Islamic style. Windows of the temple have bars that are made of ‘Panchaloha’ and an alphabet ‘lim’ has been placed between two consecutive bars.
Near the entrance of the temple, there is a Linga installed, similar to that of the Muslim Dargah. The history of the temple is inscribed on a copper plate, which has been fixed at the entrance door frame. Furthermore, the temple also features a water tank, which has tons of fresh water fishes in it. In the middle of the tank there is a ‘mantapa’, which is connected by a causeway.
Dubare Elephant Camp
Dubare Elephant Camp, which is located near Madikeri, is a famous elephant training camp. The deciduous forests of Dubare are home to several species of wild animals and birds. Asiatic Elephants, sambhar and the spotted deer are among some of the animals that can be easily spotted. Besides, Indian Bison or Gaur, crocodiles, peacocks, patridges, kingfishers and woodpeckers can also be seen.
This elephant camp caters to both overnight guests as well as day visitors. Jungle lodges and resorts have 10 cottages, golghar and bar. Wildlife safari, joyride on the elephant and coracle ride are among the major attraction of this camp.
Admission Fee : $15.48
Namdroling Monastery belongs to Sangha Community, where Buddha’s preachings are preserved intact for worldwide propagation. This monastery was founded by His Holiness, Pema Norbu Rinpoche. Home to 5000 monks and nuns, this monastery is known as a centre for pure upholding of the teachings of Buddha.
Currently, the Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is one of the largest teaching centres of Nyingmapa, which is a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Besides, this monastery also features a retreat centre, which was opened in 1985. At this retreat centre, thirty monks have undergone an intensive three – year retreat.
Every year in the autumn season, Pema Norbu Rinpoche gives instructions on Ngondro, Tsa Lung and Dzogchen, from the Namcho cycle of Terton Mingyur Dorje. This one month retreat can be attended only by people of Buddhism faith.
Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Somwarpet taluka of Coorg district and is one of 21 wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka. This sanctuary is home to rare and endangered birds and hence, is designated as one of the important bird areas of the world. Within Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, there is Kumara Parvat peak, which is the highest peak. This sanctuary is joined with the Bisle reserve forest in north and Kukke Subramanya forest range in west.
Visitors can find several plant species like Albizia lebbeck, Artocarpus lakoocha, Dysoxylum malabaricum and Mesua ferrea. Indian Wild Dog, Brown Palm Civet, Indian Giant Squirrel, Indian Hare, Spotted Deer and Sambar are few of the animal species that can be spotted there. Other species like Indian Muntjac, Gaur, Asian Elephant, Wild Pig, Giant Flying Squirrel, Travancore Flying and Stripe – necked mongoose can also be found at the sanctuary.
Towards Madikeri, just 3 Km away from Kushalnagar, lies the beautiful tourist destination of Kaveri Nisargadhama. River Kaveri splits forming a beautiful island measuring 65 acres. The forest department develops this tourist centre by providing a hanging bridge into the island, boating, tree top shelters and elephant riding and other tourists attractions. The forest department has constructed nine beautiful cottages for tourists to dwell in. Kaveri Nisargadhama is located a few kilometres away from the Mysore – Coorg border and not in the hilly terrains of interior Coorg.
On the far side of the bridge is the actual resort, sprawled over 25 acres. On one side are picturesque hanging cottages made from bamboo, suspended over water and surrounded by a profusion of bamboo grooves. On the other side stands a small, friendly canteen that supplies food to the vacationers.
Nisargadhama offers boat rides and elephant rides and nature lovers can visit the deer park and the orchidarium. Those planning a longer stay at Nisargadhama should surely make a trip to the Tibetan settlement called Bailkuppe near Kushalnagar. This settlement is about 10 km away from the resort and boasts of a Buddhist temple with three 45 feet golden statues of the Buddha. There is a shopping lane in Bailkuppe, which sells all the traditional Tibetan ware. A few tiny Tibetan restaurants nearby offer traditional momos. Alternately, take a trip to Madikeri, which is an hours journey from Nisargadhama. This hilly town is yet another sought after tourist destination that can be explored at leisure.
Padi Igguthappa Temple
Padi Igguthappa is a famous temple in Kakkabe that was built in 1810 by Linga Rajendra. Situated on the hammock, this temple has a long stretch of steep stairs that connect the temple to the base. Square in shape, this temple is adorned with balpeetha on its entrance ground and ceiling.
The idol of Lord Igguthappa is seated on panipeetha. After the festival of Holi, special procession of Lord Igguthappa is conducted. Kaliyarchi Festival is ideal time for visiting this temple.
Located 40 km away from Coorg, this temple can be reached within 2 hours and 30 minutes by jeep.
Timing : 5:30 am – 2 pm, 6 pm – 7 pm
8 am – 12:30 pm ( Puja )
Bylakuppe, which is situated on the state highway 88, is the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet. This settlement came up in 1960s, when a large number of Tibetan refugees settled here due to Chinese aggression. The area is dotted with monasteries, out of which Great Gompa of Sera Je and Sera Mey are the most significant.
Major attractions of the town are Namdroling Monastery, Ingalakere Lake, Rangaswamy temple, Ganapathi temple and several Buddhist monasteries. This town is connected by bus facilities from major towns like Mysore, Bangalore, Mangalore, Chennai and Panaji.
Madikeri Fort was built in the last quarter of the 17th century by Muddu Raja. Originally made of mud, this fort was rebuilt in granite by Tippu Sultan, who rechristened it as Jaffarabad. Later in 1812 – 1814, the fort was reconstructed in mortar and brick by Linga Rajendra Wodeyar II. Today, the palace inside the fort serves as the office of district collector.
The palace features a stone formation of a tortoise, which has initials of King Vijayarajendra engraved on it. The north – east corner of the entrance of the palace is marked by two life – sized stone replicas of the royal elephants that were killed by King Veera Raja. Towards the south – east corner, visitors can find a church that was built by British in 1855.
Built in gothic style, this Anglican Church is known as the St. Mark’s Church, which has been converted into a museum by the Archaeological Department. The museum houses historical artefacts, along with a section dedicated to Field Marshal Cariappa. Besides museum, this fort also houses a district prison, the Kote Maha Ganapathi Temple and the Mahatma Gandhi Public Library.
Abbi Falls is located around 8 km away from the town of Madikeri, in the mountains of the Western Ghats. Nestled between a private coffee plantations and spice estates, this waterfall descends into the Cauvery River. Just opposite the fall, there is a hanging bridge, which can be accessed by tourists. Visitors can view the Kali Mata Temple as well as coffee and black pepper trees from the bridge.
The level of the fall rises during the monsoon season and diminishes during the dry season. For reaching the Abbi Falls, visitors can take a narrow road to the coffee estate. From there, a path through coffee and cardamom plantations leads to the waterfall. Best time to visit the waterfall is in early winter months, when fall is flooding with water brought by the monsoon.
Every year, at a predetermined time, water gushes out from a small pond at Talacauvery, the birthplace of river Cauvery. Talacauvery is located 44 km from Madikeri, on the slopes of Brahmagiri Hill. Besides being a pilgrimage center, Talacauvery is known for its natural beauty.
Raja’s Seat is a seasonal garden of flowers and artificial fountains, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Coorg District. Surrounded by several high and low – rise mountains, this garden was once the favourite place of the King of Kodagu. He used to spend time with his queen in the garden, watching the setting sun.
Highlight of the garden is a structure, which has four pillars made of brick and mortar, bridged by arches. Toy Train for children is another major attraction of this garden. For catching the glimpse of sunset and the musical fountains, tourists visit this park from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Admission Fees : $0.11 ( Park Entry ), $0.22 ( Toy Train Ride )
Iruppu Falls is a fresh water cascade, which is located in Coorg district of Karnataka. This fall originates from the Lakshmana Tirtha River, which is the tributary of Cauvery River. Owing to this, the fall is renowned as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls. From these falls, visitors can reach Brahmagiri Peak, following a forest trial.
Near these falls, visitors can find the famous Rameshwara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is situated on the banks of the Lakshmana Tirtha River and attracts pilgrims during the festival of Shivaratri. As per the Hindu mythological belief, Lord Rama and Lakshmana passed along the Brahmagiri range in search of Lord Rama’s wife, Sita.
Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills, when Lord Rama asked him to fetch some drinking water. His arrow brought into being the Lakshmana Tirtha River. Since then, these falls are believed to cleanse sins of devotees, if visited on Shivaratri. During the monsoon season the fall has high flow of water and offers a beautiful sight. This time is considered ideal time for visiting the Iruppu Fall.
Bhagamandala, the sacred place for Hindus, is situated at the confluence of Cauvery River and Kanika River. Another river called Sujyothi is believed to join the confluence underground. As per Hindu rituals, pilgrims dip in the river and perform rituals for their ancestors. From there, pilgrims ascend to Talacauvery, which is the birthplace of Cauvery River.
Near the concurrence, a Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple has been built in Kerala style and contains idols of Bhagandeshwara ( Ishwara ), Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapati. During the reign of Tippu Sultan, this temple was named as Afesalabad from Bhagamandala. In 1790, King Dodda Virarajendra made this temple part of the independent Coorg. Located about 33 km away from Madikeri, Bhagamandala can be accessed by government and private buses.
Chelavara Falls is one of the most beautiful falls in Coorg, which is located about 26 km away from Madikeri. This fall is popularly known as the Embepare, which means Tortoise Rock in the colloquial language. From the waterfall, visitors can view the water gushing through the green coffee plantation. Tourists visiting Chelavara Falls can also visit Choma Kund hill, which is just 2 km away from the falls.
Dubare Reserve Forest
The Dubare Reserve Forest is a popular attraction amongst nature lovers and trekkers. The moist deciduous forests are home to several species of flora, fauna and avi – fauna. Some of the commonly seen animals include sambar and spotted deer. These can be seen grazing around or drinking water by the river side. Birds like partridge, kingfisher, woodpecker and even peacock can be spotted here. However, the major attraction of the reserve forest is the Asiatic elephants. There is an elephant camp as well which also has accommodation options for overnight visitors. Wildlife safaris, elephant rides, coracle rides, fishing and river rafting are some of the things that can be done at the camp.
Valnur Fishing Camp
The Valnur Fishing Camp is situated on the banks of the Cauvery, close to Kushalnagar, in the Coorg district. It is a popular place among angling enthusiasts as a wide variety of fish are available here including golden mahaseer and maral which are found in plenty. Mornings are considered to be the best time for angling. Fishing permits need to be obtained from the Coorg Wildlife Society. Most home stays and plantation stays assist their guests in obtaining these permits.
Gaddige, which is also known as Gadduge, is the tombs of King Virarajendra, Linga Rajendra and one of their court priests. This tomb was built in the 18th century in the northern corner of Coorg. Two tombs that are dedicated to the soldiers of the king are also located in the same area. Constructed with a dome in the centre and turrets at each end, the tombs resemble a Muslim pilgrim centre.
Harangi Dam is located in Hadgur village at a height of 47 metres. This dam attracts tourists from around the world during the monsoon season. Tourists should visit this dam by 6 pm after which it will be closed.
Mallalli Falls, which is situated in the foothills of Pushpagiri, is known as one of the most beautiful water falls in Coorg. The origin of the fall lies at the point where Kumaradhara River takes plunge over 200 feet. Monsoon season is the best time to visit the fall, when water rises high and flows with full speed.
Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary
The Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Western Ghats in Coorg district and is named after Talakaveri, which is the origin of the Cauvery River. Spread over an area of 105 sq km, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1987. The vegetation of the sanctuary is mostly tropical evergreen forests with a few coffee and cardamom plantations as well.
Some of the animals which reside in the park are elephant, tiger, lion – tailed macaque, sloth – bear, langur, spotted deer, sambar, civet cat etc. Birds like Malabar trogon, great pied hornbill, black eagle and reptiles like cobra, python and king cobra can also be seen amongst others. The region is also popular amongst trekkers and hikers with the Igguthappa Devara Betta being a nearby attraction. The best time to visit this sanctuary is between November and April. Situated at a distance of 130 km from Mangalore, 165 km from Mysore and 300 km from Bangalore, it is easily reachable by rail and road.
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