Summers are offsetting and in just a couple of months, India is going to embrace the monsoon. If you happen to plan a trip to explore the southern part of India, Coorg needs to be on the top of your list. According to the current scenario, Kodagu or Coorg is one of the top tourist places in Karnataka. Popularly known as the Scotland of India, this place holds an abundance of hidden thrills and treasures for any explorer willing to indulge in new experiences. If you google top places to visit in Coorg, places like Raja seat, Abbey falls, Iruppu falls and Talakaveri will be suggested to you. However, Coorg is so much more than the mainstream crowded tourist attractions.
Drift away from the regular hot spots in Coorg and fold away your planned itinerary to unfold the real beauty of Coorg. After all, the road less taken always leads you to something unexpected and beautiful.
Coorg provides a handful of accommodation options ranging from India’s best luxury resorts like Tamara Mahindra, Vivanta and Ayatana Coorg to warm, intimate and secluded homestays. If you want to enjoy the resort and just have a leisure holiday, go ahead with the resorts. But if you want to experience the real side of Coorg, waking up to the smell of coffee plantation, the soothing sound of birds, eating the homely cooked local meal and in the comfort of a coorgi family in a very nominal price; then you should definitely pick a homestay. There are plenty of homestay options in Coorg and they vary from exclusive villas to private apartments to a full-fledged bungalow also.
Here are a few pro tips to select the perfect homestay in Coorg, take the most isolated one in the middle of nowhere with just abundance of natural beauty surrounding you. Nothing is as beautiful as waking up to a dewy morning with half asleep dizzy eyes just to witness a priceless sunrise with the pleasant cold breeze hitting your hair. There are certain moments you live for when you want to voluntarily breathe loudly to remind yourself that you’re grinding only to survive and capture these little moments of happiness, a homestay will give you exactly that.
Coffee Estate and Wine
You might not know this but Coorg is the Karnataka’s coffee country and throughout the worlds as a coffee cup of India. Acres of land spread is dedicated for coffee plantation, organic fresh brews, Kodavas (coorgi) indulged in the coffee trade, local shops selling coffee souvenirs, coffee museums and more. It is safe to say that most livelihood in Coorg runs on coffee. However, make sure you relish your taste buds by freshly plucked coffee leaves from the lush plantations all by yourself, grinded by the hands of a Kodava lady with love and affection. As you drink the first sip, the smell of the aroma will blossom your soul and you will feel the enchantment of years of caffeine legacy pouring inside your body.
Apart from coffee, Coorg is also a huge name in the tourist industry for its locally made wine. Coorgis love their liquor a bit too much, especially wine. Unlike the grape and gooseberries wine, the less known ingredients like banana, coconut palm, betel leaves, pineapple, passion fruits and various other fruits are also used to prepare special kind of exclusive wine. You are guaranteed to wine a couple of bottles in every household here. They even prepare special sugar-free wines. So, if coffee is not your preferred poison and you like the hard drinks, chill on a drizzling evening at the porch sipping from your wine glass and enjoy the simple pleasures of like just like that. In fact, on your way back home pick your preferred flavours of local coffee and wine bottles from the shops as a souvenir.
You might be a bit taken away by this but don’t visit abbey falls because the falls can be witnessed only from a distance and the 20 minutes hike down till falls only to find a spot full of hundreds of people is totally a waste of time and not worth it. Coorg is surprisingly home to many hidden and magical waterfalls that are gushing down the dense forest hills. The best part about these waterfalls is they are not exposed and explored by the tourists, making them untouched beauty of the Scotland of India. Most of these forms are in their glory only during the monsoon between June to September. You may go ahead with a little excursion hike, day picnic or just waterfall rappelling in these falls. Dodmane falls and Mallali falls are two of the most precious findings of Coorg with a spectacular view of the nature surrounding the falls. There are no proper trails marked to reach these falls, you might have to trek a bit to reach this place. However, make sure you take a local guide along and be very cautious while going there as there have been a few cases of accidents in there as well.
Sunset Jeep Safari
With luxuriant landscapes opening up to the heights of western Ghat paired with the strong wind embracing your hair and intoxicating smell of coffee peeping in your senses, witness the turquoise strands of the sky turning crimson with the silhouette of mountain peaks in your backdrop. A sunset jeep safari that lies in a place called Madalpatii, 18kms from Madikeri is an enchanting drive passing through enthralling terrain to a point which is 1600 metres above the sea-level. Be ready to unveil the most beautiful sunset of your life from this point. There are a few things you need to keep in mind before going here though. There are no shops and restaurants in the vicinity, so make sure you carry enough water and food on you. Tickets and permits need to be taken from the forest office to go up to the viewpoint. The jeep will drop you till a certain point and you will have to walk for the rest of the way. Also, during the onset of monsoon, the forest officials usually close the ways of going all the way up. Thus, if you want to relish this experience visit Coorg in any season but monsoon.
Trek to Tadiandamol
At a distance of 40kms from Madikeri, lies the highest point of Coorg; Tadiandamol. In Kannada, Tadiandamol literally means a big mountain, quite justifying the name of the place. Nestled at an altitude of 5734 feet, this magnificent peak is bounded with lush green grasslands and wide stretches of Shola forests. Breaking the monotony of the peaks, small streams flow through in between to form an exquisite blueness of water bodies. Nalakand palace is the starting point of this trek which takes you through the vast expanse of scenic beauty, an array of colours and aromatic goodness of coffee that you’ve never attained before. As you pass through the rich diversity of flora and fauna, the multiplicity of the wilderness will give you a rewarding experience of reaching the top. Once you reach the peak, the widespread beauty of the highlands will immediately calm your soul down. You can either get enriched by the view and walk back home or you can even camp overnight to enjoy the beauty of the peak under the charming stars.
Coorg is also blessed with a treasure of backwater! Yes, there’s a lesser known Hirangi backwater in Kushal Nagar in the middle of the wilderness or the forests. Nature’s too sensual when it comes to seducing the living life out of you and sitting by the side of the backwaters you’ll realise how important is it to surrender yourself to the gems of nature in order to feed the hungry wanderer soul of human beings. There are many luxury resorts and homestay surrounding the same. So if you want to spend a night in the midst of the mystical beauty of backwaters, you can go ahead without giving any second thoughts over it.
Even though Coorg is a perfect holiday destination all-round the calendar, but the best time to visit this beauty and experience the best inclinations is from September to March. You will be welcomed with pleasant and refreshing weather.
Don’t visit Coorg with a mindset of visiting a couple of tourist’s spots. Dig the woods and forests deeper, explore the hidden waterfalls, talk to the locals as to how contented they are with their lives, without any signal, where everyone knows everyone and are simply busy in just embracing the simple pleasures of life and how the insects and birds respond to your presence with their voice and the mystic beauty of this place which make it the Scotland of India.