Trip to Coorg
by Varsha Panicker
Misty, aromatic, spicy Coorg
We didn't want to go to the normal honeymoon destinations. We wanted an idyllic, laid back and quaint little place. Finally, we decided on Coorg.
We took a flight to Bangalore and from there took a State bus to Madikeri, the capital of Coorg. There are many buses from Bangalore to Madikeri and we had opted for a night bus. It started at 11.30 pm and reached Madikeri at 5.30 in the morning. Since we had gone to Coorg in September, it was still drizzling and was foggy. We got down at the town centre which looked like a small, mist covered sleepy hamlet.
The drive to the estate was also beautiful with teak forests, coffee and cardamom plantations on both sides of the road. We had arranged for a taxi to take us around Madikeri. From abbey falls our next stop was Raja's seat - a small garden on top of a cliff that overlooks the hills beyond and the small town. It's named so because the Kodagu king used to sit in the garden and relax. But we could hardly see anything beyond 4 ft because of the heavy mist.
The next day morning, we drove out to Talacauvery, where the river Cauvery is said to originate. It was still gloriously misty and the temple and tank looked ethereal. On our way the driver would point out nice bungalows telling us who it belonged to. The Coorgi's are known to be fierce fighters and so there were a lot of them in the Indian army. After Talacauvery we drove all the way to the other side of the town to go to Harangi dam. We were advised not to take any pictures of the dam per se. But the walkway on top of the dam was beautiful with lovely lamposts on both sides.
Our next stop was a 20 odd km drive in the opposite direction to Kushalanagar. There is a Tibetan colony there and the breathtakingly serene Namdroling monastery. The main temple has golden pagodas that glitter in the evening sun. Inside were seven big gold covered statues of the Bodhisattvas. The walls were decorated in bright colours of the traditional Buddhist tankha painting and depicted various stories of the bodhisattva. Another temple to the left was similar except that it was the prayer hall where the monks sat in rows and chanted before three huge statues of buddha.
There's a third smaller temple dedicated to the medicine goddess Dhanvantari. Next to the temple complex is the monastery where hundreds of monks live and study.
Outside the complex there is a small shopping arcade with a number of souvenir shops selling tankha paintings to wind chimes to laughing buddha statues.
The next morning we packed up and after goodbyes to our manager we took a bus from Madikeri to Mangalore.
Closest Airport: Bangalore (260 km), Mangalore (135 km)
Closest Railway Station: Mysore (146 km)
Road: The Mysore - Mangalore highway (NH48) passes through Kodagu. The district headquarters Madikeri (Mercara), is 260 km from Bangalore and 120 km from Mysore. The distance from Mangalore is 136 km and from Cannanore and Tellicherry, it is about 115 km. There are regular buses plying from these places to Madikeri.
Co-ordinates: 12.25 N, 75.44 E
Best Time To Visit: April to November