For those of you who have not yet been to Coorg, it is 249 kilometres from Bangalore and is a marvellous hideaway from city life. What’s special about Coorg? Some places leave a lasting impression and Coorg is one of them. No matter how many times you visit the place, there is something enduringly enchanting and soul-stirring about the place. It is lush with picturesque locales, alluring mountains and verdant coffee plantations. And so it comes as no surprises that the Kodagu region, which we commonly refer to as Coorg, is one of the most sought after travel destinations in Karnataka. Its tranquil green landscapes have rightfully earned it the sobriquet, ‘The Scotland of India.’
If you haven’t yet been there, put it on your list of top 3 weekend getaways in south India. And don’t forget to enjoy these 5 awesome experiences.
- How to get there: By bus
- Best time to visit: Winter (Nov – Feb)
- Nearest bus stop: Madikeri
- To-dos: Carry track / running shoes because it’s a woody area so sandals / slippers won’t give you the grip you need.
Savour the heady experience of a coffee plantation
Coorg is one of the best places for coffee lovers. It is famous for expansive, old-world style coffee plantations. If you’re a coffee connoisseur and would like the authentic experience of touring a plantation, Coorg is full of coffee estates and plantations for you to explore. Amanvana, the resort I run, also gives one access to our plantation. We offer a guided tour of the properties. If you like to know more about your coffee – its origins, varieties, peculiarities – then touring a plantation is a wonderful way to learn about the history of coffee and the intricate art of coffee-making. The experience will become a part of your memory and enhance your appreciation of coffee. If you visit a plantation during the berry-picking season, you may even get a chance to join the workers and help out on the plantation. This is a sobering, therapeutic experience.
Get high on Abbey Falls and Iruppu falls
Coorg is a place that’s rich with natural beauty. It is ideal for anyone who’s looking to escape the rush and roar of modern urban life and soak in some quiet. Abbey Falls and Iruppu Falls are two of the biggest waterfalls in Coorg. It’s a great place to take pictures with your family and loved ones. The setting is really picturesque and the music of the waterfalls is soothing to the senses. Don’t forget to carry your camera to capture some great shots, including the bridge near the falls where many Bollywood films have been shot. These two places are hydro therapy at their best. They are perfect for people who love to stand under waterfalls and get drenches and they are just as perfect for the introspective ones who would prefer to stand back, observe the water and compose a poem in their minds.
Nagarhole National Park and Dubare Elephant Camp
Nagarhole National Park is now renamed Rajiv Gandhi National Park and should definitely be on your to-do list. This park features a lot of rare, beautiful animals. The last time I visited the park I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of animals: the tiger, the jungle bison, the sloth bear and even the elephant. The park also has over 300 bird species. If you love elephants, visit the Dubare Elephant Camp. It’s a great place to observe this majestic yet warm-hearted animal. You can also participate in the feeding and the bathing of the animals. While you’re at it, if you’re into birds, Amanvana has over 300 varieties of birds winging in and out of the place. My favourite is the blue jay, small, restless and with a bright blue smear on its chest like blue kohl. If I stand very still beside the river, sometimes I see him flying soundlessly over the water. He looks for fish, finds nothing, and leaves as quietly and as elegantly as he came.
The Golden Temple
Each time I walk into the Golden Temple I feel a hush falling over my spirit. The Golden Temple is a Buddhist monastery. It is one of the most beautiful, calming places you will ever see. As soon as you walk in, you will be stunned into silence by the sight of the giant gold-coated idols of the Buddha. Soak in the silence and later, check out the charming shops outside that sell handicrafts, shawls and sweaters. If I had my way I would live in Kushalnagar for a few months every year, just to soak up the silence. It does wonders for the soul. Modern urban life has gifted us all a needless anxiety: email anxiety, achievement anxiety, money anxiety, traffic anxiety and children’s education anxiety. The pace is always so frenetic. But you walk into the Golden Temple and you find an ocean of calm that instantly speaks to the forgotten, ocean of calm inside you.
Raja Seat is one of Coorg’s most popular tourist attractions. It used to be a legendary meeting place for the kings of Kodagu. Set amongst charming gardens you can marvel at the spectacular sunsets and gorgeous panoramic views across the valley and breathe in the refreshing air. There is a silent majesty to this place. It’s not hard to sit here and imagine a king consulting his minister on strategy or several kings meeting up to bury the hatchet or plot a conspiracy. I like places where history is still palpable, where it still breathes and resists the final, modernizing blow of cities. Coorg, and in particular, Raja Seat is one such place.
In conclusion, Coorg is the ideal place for tired city-dwellers to rediscover the simple pleasures of small town life. It is beautiful, hospitable and carries an old world charm that will stay with you forever. And of course, last but not the least, Amanvana is a luxury spa resort in Coorg you can visit. A luxurious resort nestled in a forest with private bungalows on the banks of the Kaveri. It’s a true rabbit hole for the soul, like we call it here.