Kotagiri Tourism & Travel Guide

South India has its own treasure chest of hills, harbouring greenery, mist, rich coffee and aromatic tea. Kotagiri, 28 km east of Ooty, is one such quiet town, fortified by the Nilgiri Hills, tea estates and various tribal Kota establishments. Kotagiri offers nature lovers many gems such as the trek to Catherine Falls, a double-cascade waterfall descending from a height of 250 feet, Elk Falls, the Rangaswami Pillar, Longwood Shola and Doddabetta Range. For more picturesque views, follow the trail to Kodanad and enjoy passing through tea estates, meadows and the Moyar river. A 4-hour drive to Anamalai will lead you to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, home to many indigenous tribes and beautiful animal species such as turtles, tortoises, pythons, leopards, cobras, Great Indian Hornbill, kingfishers, elephants, porcupines, Bonnet Macaque and many more. Coffee lovers will love the plantations of the exotic and high-grown Arabicas. A visit to the Sullivan Memorial, which houses the Nilgiri Documentation Centre, can give you an insightful introduction to the vast history and heritage of this region and what goes into preserving its beauty. Keystone Foundation, an NGO, can give one more insight into programmes and the work being carried out for and with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives, which is open to volunteers too. Green Shop, belonging to the same foundation, is a must visit for purchasing exquisite tribal craft, wild honey and local chocolates. Restaurants such as Hari Mess, Orange Pekoe and Bison Park Drive In offer travellers a great variety in local, Chinese and South Indian non-vegetarian dishes.
January,February,March,April,May,June,December
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Bangalore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
Kodagu
Best time to visit - January,September,October,November,December
About 100kms west of Mysore, the hilly hamlet of Kodagu (formerly known as Coorg) is located in the evergreen highlands of the Western Ghats. This charming district beckons tourists with its spice gardens, cardamom forests and a sea of coffee plantations. Travel to Coorg for the wide array of adventure activities. Raft through the white rapids of the Barapole river, trek across the grasslands of the Kopatty-Kalugundi trail or quad biking through the Chevalara falls. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, fishing at the Valnoor and Bheemeshwari fishing camps or simply wandering through coffee plantations are some of the most sought after things to do in Coorg. The 17th century Madikeri Fort where the revered Tipu Sultan once held court, and the Omkareshwar temple are among the most famous attractions of the district’s headquarters in Madikeri. While you are here, also visit Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement of south India. Go here for a pleasant evening intermittent with monastic hymns, prayer bells and a motley of Tibetan handicrafts.
Eravikulam National Park
Best time to visit - April,May,June,September,October,November
This national park is the breathtaking home of a plethora of precious flora and fauna, and lies along the Western Ghats. Considered the magnum opus of Kerala, the park provides magnificent panoramic views of tea plantations and rolling hills blanketed in mist. The grasslands protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and harbour several other species of animals, birds and butterflies, including a new species of frog that was discovered recently. Eravikulam park becomes a sought after destination when the hill slopes get veiled by a carpet of blue, a miraculous phenomena caused by the flowering of Neelakurinji, which blooms only once in 12 years. Anamudi, translating to elephant's forehead and located within the park, is the highest peak of South India and its might and height of 8,842 ft can be enjoyed from a distance at Rajamala, from where the endangered Nilgiri Tahr can also be observed. The park provides a number of safaris for convenient and safe tourism around the park. The Kurinji Trail, which follows through misty tracks of protected animals and flowery grasslands, is a must for trekking lovers. Another famous but charming spot is the Lakkom Waterfalls, which provide an enchanting view along with an eco-shop cafeteria to eat at. Close to these falls is a log house, which offers comfortable accommodation with complimentary food and the much desired solitude and peace amidst the lap of nature.
Mysore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November
Once the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore for six centuries, Mysore is now the third most populous state of Karnataka. But not much as changed in terms of its cultural ambiance and heritage, hence deeming it as the cultural capital of Karnataka. This city is popular for its year-round pleasant climate, silk, sandalwood and many majestic palaces, such as Lalitha Mohan Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and the most visited and grand one being the Mysore Palace. To get an exclusive insight into Mysore's culture, Folklore Museum would be the best place, where a plethora of carved wooden figures, ceremonial headdresses, vibrant masks can be seen along with puppet shows depicting Hindu mythological stories. Mysore Zoo is perfect for animal and nature lovers while the Regional Museum of Natural History serves those interested in ecological history. For those looking for unwinding strolls or simple relaxation, Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are the best to visit, preferably early in the morning or evenings. More attractions include Brindavan Gardens, Railway Museum and St. Philomena's Church. Cauvery Arts and Crafts emporium is renowned for an array of silk sarees, carved sandalwood, wooden toys and inlay work, whereas Devaraja market is ideal for a more local shopping experience. Restaurants such as Hotel RRR Restaurant, Malgudi Cafe, Vinayaka Mylari, Sapphire and Anu's Bamboo Hut cater to popular local and international cuisines. Mysore comes alive during the 10-day festival of Dussehra, celebrated in October, when one can witness the entire city bedecked with lights, colours and music, making Mysore a memorable visit.
Mangalore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Known as the gateway to Karnataka, the picturesque city of Mangalore is famous for its golden beaches, revered temples and delicious coffee. This port city lies nestled between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the towering hills of the Western Ghats. The pristine beach of Panambur is a popular tourist destination and also plays host to the colourful kite festival of Mangalore. Adorned with ancient murals, the Kudroli Gorakhnath Temple is frequented by many devotees. The Ullal Beach of Mangalore is a great place to enjoy water sports. Easily comparable to the Marine Drive of Mumbai, the New Mangalore Port is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Mangalore is famous for its Udupi style dishes and staple seafood preparations. The Neer Dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, Cashew Upkari and Rasam are great introductions to this cuisine. Pallkhi, Gajalee, Cochin Bakery and Naivedyam are popular eateries here. There are multiple hotel options for tourists, extending from high-end resorts to budget hotels and even beach resorts. With its easygoing air and calm countenance, Mangalore is the perfect destination to relax and unwind.
Kodaikanal
Best time to visit - April,May,June,August,September
Translating to 'the gift of the forest' in the native language of Tamil Nadu and originally home to the Palaiyar tribal people, this modern city has been a retreat long since the 19th century. Located in the hills of the Dindigul district, this city was established by British bureaucrats and American Christian missionaries. Kodaikanal offers an experience of stunning culture and natural beauty. Some famous attractions include Kodaikanal Lake, where one can always take a peaceful boat ride, Berijam Lake and Pillar Rocks. Take a walk in the pine forest or explore the Kukkal Caves and the Devil's Kitchen, a cave with a series of hidden ravines. Bear Shola falls, Glen Falls, Silver Cascade and Fairy falls make for a magical setting for nature lovers to observe and unwind. Religious dwellings such as the La Saleth Church, Lutheran Church and Subhramanya Temple are admired famously for their intricate architecture. For the inquisitive minds, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, which is home to 500 species of taxidermy animals, birds and insects and the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory are great places to visit. Coakers walk, Silent Valley View Point, Perumal Peak and 80 Mile round make for interesting walks and treks, offering breathtaking views of the plains below. Natyanjali Festival, celebrated over 4 days, is a spectacular sight to behold with dazzling dance performances and top notch acts from across the country, which one can enjoy in the months of February or March. You can get a bite to eat at Cloud Street, Cafe Cariappa, Altaf's Cafe and Tava restaurants.
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