1. Madikeri Town
Madikeri is a fascinating town that still retains its old world charm and has some of the most beautifully preserved cottages and mansions in the British Colonial and traditional Coorgi styles. The most popular luncheon place is the East End serving traditional Coorgi and other Indian cuisine. It does get full on weekends and the place bustles with people and dishes. But it’s definitely worth a visit to feel and experience the local flavour.
Every town has a central point and Madikeri’s is Raja Seat. Nothing spectacular but the kids can have a good time, if you are travelling with any. The fort palace, a 17th century work of mediocre talent, is part of the Lingayat rule. Part of it houses the Commissioner’s office, a chapel, a so-called library and of all things, a prison.
Madikeri’s other claims to fame include the habanero, the world’s second hottest chilli, the Southern Birdwing, India’s largest butterfly and the Atlas Moth, having the world’s largest wingspan. And near Madikeri is Galibeedu. You can be literally swept off your feet here as gali is wind and beedu is place. The roads out of Madikeri are picturesque and the most breathtaking is the Mangalore-Madikeri road that winds its way in the hills atop deep gorges thick with forest.
2. Abbey Falls
A mere 7 kms from Madikeri, is Abbey Falls. The road is somewhat narrow but the drive is through lush coffee estates and forests. If you are into waterfalls, Abbey aka Abbi is a place to visit. There’s a panoramic view of the incredibly large green valley if there’s no mist. And if there’s mist, it adds to the mystery of the place.
As with other falls in Coorg, you need to buy tickets to enter. Plastics and food stuff is banned. This does not appear to intimidate many of our people who simply ignore such bans and litter the place, oblivious to their beautiful surroundings. We need a great change in our outlook as plastic and other litter continues to be a bane of our modern life. A hanging bridge is the highlight but it does get a trifle crowded.
The highest peak in Coorg is Thadiyendamol and, at 1747m, is the second highest in Karnataka. On a clear day, you can see the coastline. It takes about 3 hours to go up and a little less coming down. If you miss a step, you’ll come down a lot faster. The climb from Palace Estate is shorter and easier, relatively speaking.
For the more adventurous, hit Kabbinakad Junction aka Yavakapadi Post-Office. If you are one of the fortunate who drives a Hummer, you can drive up the steep mud slope. Otherwise, park here and go by foot. You can also hire a Jeep from Kakkabe. This route is more arduous and longer but you walk through rainforest that’s breathtaking.
4. Golfing in Coorg
If you would like to spend the day playing golf, Coorg Golf Links is 45 minutes away at Bittangala, just before Virajpet. The links is a nine hole, 3,000 yards par 35 course and golf is played amidst a superb setting. The family can relax at the clubhouse or drive on to Madikeri and beyond and return in the evening to pick the waiting golfer quenching his thirst.
The other golf courses in Coorg are the beautiful Mercara Downs near Madikeri and the Tata’s undulating
nine-hole course at Polibetta.
Reservations need to be made both for playing and for any meals.
Talakaveri is the origin of the Kaveri River. The spring is located within kundike or tank and the waters flow underground to emerge as the river some distance away. There’s an upsurge in the water level in October and worshippers observe this as the annual rebirth of the river.
All places in India have some legend or story attached. In this case, legend has it that Sage Agasthya held the Kaveri River in a Kamandala or a container of sacred water. Lord Ganesha, in the form of a crow, upset the Kamandala when Agasthya was meditating and Kaveri flowed. The crow vanished, replaced by a small boy on whom Agasthya tried to vent his anger. It was then Lord Ganesha revealed Himself and Agasthya was aghast at the realisation that he had just tried to pound the head of Ganesha Himself. As atonement, he knocked his own head with his clenched fists. This specific story is important to narrate as the Kodavas primarily worship the Kaveri River.