This year Coorg was our choice, to be our runaway from the urbane life. We took a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru and hopped into a vehicle for the 5 hour drive (as most of the websites suggested) to Coorg. But thanks to Bengaluru traffic, the drive was stretched to a little over 7 hours. hence, it was evening when we reached our resort in Kushalnagar.
While trying to find accommodations in Coorg, the options that we found on internet were either in Kushalnagar or Madikeri and we were wondering what is the difference between the two. Kushalnagar is just like any other city, is closer to places like Nisargadhama, Tibetan Monastery and the Elephant Dubhare camp. Madikeri, on the other hand has a hill station feel, much like Khandala. You have to drive through winding roads to reach Madikeri; also while driving in the city itself, you are going up and down the slopes. Mandalpatti, Abey Falls and Raja’s seat are in Madikeri and there are many shops here to pick up the local spices, coffee and other stuff. Ah and there is one Dominoes’ outlet too
The weather in Coorg was really pleasant. Even in the month of May, in the mornings and evenings, there was a bit of chill in the air. Our resort was located in a remote place, far from the madding crowd. The morning here belonged to chirping birds and there was lush greenery all around to soothe our eyes. In fact, at night, we even saw fireflies (I had never ever seen before this).
The Golden Temple
The first visit for us was, The Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery, a beautiful and serene place. Irrespective of one being a spiritual person or not, one should definitely visit this place. The idols in this temple are simply alluring. Their grandeur is encompassing. The paintings on the walls, the architecture, the motifs, the beautiful and well maintained lawns around the temple, everything about this monastery is beautiful. Even in a room full of people, there is a sense of peace here.
Next day’s trip was, to Mandalpatti, which is high up in the mountains. It is a 17 km bumpy ride in a jeep (it would be a good idea to hire a jeep with a door on the passenger side, too). It is a drive through red sand roads, which has puddles (if it has rained) and stones. No proper roads after a certain point and so no railings to prevent any mishaps. The jeep drops you off at a certain point and beyond that you have to walk a short distance, to reach the topmost point. Once I reached the mountain top, I remembered the saying ‘Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations’. Surreal and picturesque! Mountain ranges with lush greenery, clouds touching the mountain tops and the strong winds blowing, make you forget about your bumpy ride. Just one feeling then, to be in awe of this beautiful place and regale in the vastitude of nature.
This is very close to Mandalpatti, just around 3 kms away from the starting point of Mandalpatti. One has to walk down a few stairs to reach the waterfalls. As you start descending the stairs, you can hear the sounds of the waterfalls. There are railings put up in front of the waterfalls, hence people can’t get close to the water. Yet, it is a nice and peaceful place, with lush and soothing greenery.
This is also in Madikeri. A small beautiful garden, from where you can see the sunrise and the sunset and get a bird’s eye view of the entire Coorg. This place offers an entirely different view, from that of Mandalpatti.
Nisarga Dhama is a walker’s paradise. You enter into it through a swinging bridge which is a delight in itself. The bamboo trees in this place are an absolute treat to the urban kids. There are paddle boats here, for some boating. You will be able to witness the innumerable cat fish swimming in the waters there. As you walk into Nisarga Dhama, you reach an enclosure for deer, which houses about 11-12 of them. The kids can touch them and feed them too. That is a sheer joy for them. However, a gentle warning that this place needs a lot of redoing, though it is already in the process of being redone. There is lot of room for improvement.
Elephant Dubhare Camp
Since we couldn’t reach on time, we couldn’t enjoy the activities here. So it is important, to reach before 1700 hrs. The rafting closes at 1700 hrs and obviously there is no way to reach the elephants there. From afar, we could see 2-3 elephants though. One is of course allowed to wet one’s feet in the water or even take a dip or play in the river. But the river bed is rocky and slippery. It is surely a fun activity for the city bred kids.
So the next time, you feel like spending some time in the midst of nature, it is a good idea to consider Coorg, which can be absolutely rejuvenating, in spite of the long drive to reach the place.