Coorg: The Scotland of South India

16th Oct 2013
Photo of Coorg: The Scotland of South India 1/1 by Priya Ray Chaudhuri
Day 2
Photo of Madikeri, Karnataka, India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri
Day 1

Our trip started at the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, where we spent a night at the Serajey monastery hostel. This is clean affordable living but the only problem with our room was that the huge windows could not be closed due to a flourishing creeper that lived both within and without. My friend and I stayed awake late at night discussing the various horrors in the form of creepy-crawlies or thieves and thugs who might enter via the open windows. All in good fun, of course!

The next morning we walked around the Tibetan settlements and marvelled at the fact that Karnataka is the state with the largest Tibetan refugee population, in India. The common sights which greeted us were of young monks walking around in groups with smiles on their faces, of tourists milling around from one monastery to the next and of acres and acres of green fields separating the main settlements in between. It was peaceful.

Photo of Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri
Day 2
Photo of Abbey Falls, Hebbettageri, Karnataka, India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri
Photo of Madikeri Fort, Stuart Hill, Madikeri, Karnataka, India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri

If you live in Bangalore, a lot of beautiful hill-stations are just a night journey away. Coorg is one such must-visit weekend destination.

Photo of Coorg: The Scotland of South India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri

The grandeur of the monasteries and the quiet village life after sunset was enough to last us one day and we decided to cut our stay at Bylakuppe short to give Madikeri a visit.

The distance between the two places is just about an hour and a half and there are frequent buses plying day and night. We hopped onto a rickety government bus and paid less than 20 INR per head to reach our destination.

Once we had found a decent hotel to stay in, my friend and I decided to hire a car for half-a-day and check out the local sight-seeing spots which included the Abbey Falls (picture above), Madikeri Fort and the Madikeri view-point.

I remember walking down a hill and then climbing halfway across a rickety spray-wet bridge to capture this photo of Abbey Falls. Even though it was 'off-season', hordes of tourists were making the trek down to the falls and posing for pictures. Some of the more adventurous ones were ditching the bridge for 'au naturelle' pictures on the treacherous looking wet boulders below.

At lunch time, it was our driver who introduced us to this brilliant restaurant called 'Coorg Cuisine' which I highly recommend. This was just a short walking distance from the Madikeri Club and is almost always crowded with locals and tourists alike. The bamboo shoot curry and the chicken and pork cooked according to traditional Coorgi recipes are unforgettable at this place.

We spent the greater part of the afternoon, post-lunch, walking along the ramparts of the Madikeri fort and quite enjoying ourselves, mostly because we were the only tourists there. The fact that Tipu Sultan had rebuilt the 17th century structure did add a historical flavour to our sojourn there. The fort is an interesting combination of Deccan-Muslim and British architecture and we found the clock-tower quite quaint.

Photo of Coorg: The Scotland of South India by Priya Ray Chaudhuri

After shopping for some spices, coffee and cashew-nuts to take back home we found ourselves at a park with a view-point at dusk. The concentric ranges of rippling blue-green hills fading away into the horizon is where the sunset of our trip took place.

That night we took a Volvo bus back to Bangalore.

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