What do you do after days of back breaking effort at work? What do you do when your mind searches for peace, far away from the humdrums of the city, the traffic, pollution, same old gossip with your colleagues about receding hairline or increasing belly-size. Well you say enough is enough!
My journey to Coorg can be best explained as a spur of the moment .So, when I was gifted with a long weekend, I quickly booked two way bus tickets to Madikeri and a hotel for one night. I browsed the net to identify the locations to visit, and things to see and eat. Took my cam and set for the journey.
What I didn’t plan for was, that I would be dropped at the Madikeri bus stop at 4am, with few local people and bus drivers and a solitary tea stall at the dead of the night! Anyways, I was escorted to a nearby Taxi stand by a samaritan and from there my journey began through the sleepy meadows.
Kodagu or popularly known as Coorg is 275 kms from Bangalore. It is also known as the Scotland of India. So, what excited me the most was the chilly weather and the misty atmosphere around this sleepy hill-station in South India.
The ride to Buddhist monastery from Madikeri is a one to remember for the lush green trails and coffee plantation at both sides of the road. The monastery is a peaceful place and the huge temple sheltering Buddha’s statues surrounded by neat gardens is a sight to behold. What takes you by surprise is, the amazing level of spiritual high you get after listening to the morning prayers of the monks, and the constant chanting, penetrated only by the deep sound of dungchen. Pure Bliss!
I and my cabbie then made our way to Dubare Elephant camp. There are a lot of adventure sports and river rafting along the way to the entrance of the camp. While having the morning breakfast by the river I watched a man take sipping the running water of river Cauvery. What mesmerised me was the complete surrender of the man to the nature, as if the river was his mother! A little while later, crossed the river to enter the elephant camp and spend quite a lovely time in the company of elephants and their mahouts. If you love elephants, this is the place to be.
From here we went to Nisargadhama and walked through the forest and watched few deers and also had an elephant ride. The hanging bridges over river Cauvery might give jitters to the faint hearts.
Next on our trip was Mandalpetty . The journey through the twists and twirls of the mountains , and the panoramic view of the meadows, swayed by the pleasant winds of the ghats will make you yearn for more. This is a heaven for travellers as well as trekking and cycling enthusiast.
We closed the day early to take rest and have some awesome delicacies of Coorg. They are spicy and delicious. The city of Madikeri is really filled with warm and welcoming Kodagu people and they are one of the bravest tribes all over India. You can have the best of idlis, dosas, as well as multiple non veg dishes in the recluse of cosy restaurants. Rest of the evening and the night was spent watching dusk from Raja’s seat, finding that fav restaurant and savouring the delicacies in the chilly weather of Madikeri.
The next day started early and we made our way to Bagamandala. The river Cauveri meets river Sujoti and Kanika. Lot of pilgrims take a dip at the confluence of this river. We proceeded further to Talacauvery. This is the origin of river Cauveri and is one of the most picturesque places to visit in India. You have to climb another 100 feet through stairs to reach the top and the moment you are there you know you can never forget the experience.
On the way back stopped for a while at a homestay , an acquaintance of my cabbie. Visiting their coffee plantation and having freshly prepared omelette and coffee, grown in their own backyard, completely rejuvenated me.
We made our way to Abbey falls. The journey is really nice again and on our way back to my hotel I also travelled through some lesser known places like the Raja’s Tomb, hill top of Madikeri, beside the local radio station, played cricket at the highest ground with local boys. If you are history lover you can also stop by the fort and museum.
The partying gift from Coorg was a rainy evening which was nicely spent in the local restaurant, watching the clouds empty their stock to sweep clean the roads of Madikeri. I made the most of it while having Bella coffee. I couldn’t have asked for more.