|Attractions of coorg
Coorg , is a picturesque highland in the summits and slopes of the western ghats. Coorg in general, extremely rugged and covered with forests, abounding in some parts in sandal and other valuable woods, but overgrown in others with a dense jungle, the resort of wild animals and beasts of prey. Some of the mountain cliffs are steep and terrifying to the very sight. The climate is temperate and healthy.
Coorg is known to visitors and tourists as the Scotland of India and the Kashmir of the South for it's scenic beauty. The plateau of Madikeri, the principal town of Coorg, is 3900 feet above the sea level. The correct name of Coorg is Kodagu , which is said to be derived from a kannada word ' Kudu' meaning steep or hilly.
Near Mercara (Madikeri) the hills are closer together and are abrupt, and the ravines deeper and more wild. The eastern frontier, between the Kaveri and the Lakshmana Thirtha, presents the picture of an almost uninterrupted jungle, deciduous in character.
Easily one of the most attractive regions in India, Coorg or Kodagu is an enchanting expanse of natural tourist spot that nestles amid the hills and valleys of the picturesque Western Ghats.
Kodagu district has several tourist spots of historic, epic and natural importance like Raja's Seat in Madikere, Raja's Tomb, Sri Omkareshwara Temple, Madikere Fort, Abbey Falls, Harangi Dam, Bhagamandala and Talacauvery.
Coorg is Located 252 kms from Bangalore and 1525 m above sea level lies Madikeri, the district headquarters of Kodagu. Coorg or Kodagu(originally called Kodaimalenadu) means 'dense forest on steep hill'. Dubbed as the Scotland of India, this town has a lot to offer to the tourist. Misty hills, lush forest, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantation, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what make Madikeri an unforgettable holiday destination.
The fort is atop an elevated ground, crowning Madikeri with its imposing structure. The original mud fort was rebuilt in stone by Tipu Sultan. Two life-size elephants made of mortar, catch the eye of the visitor on entering the Fort. In the inner Fort, a temple of Virabhadra was removed by the British in 1855 and in its place built an Anglican Church. The Church, in Gothic style, with colour stained glasses has now been converted into a museum. The museum, run by the state archaeology department, is a repository of many antiques of Coorg. Field Marshall K.M. Cariappa, who settled down in the town after his retirement, has donated the various awards and gifts bestowed on him. The other buildings inside the fort include the Mahatma Gandhi Public Library, the Kote Maha Ganapathi temple and the district prison.
The Palace of the erstwhile kings located inside the Fort, now houses the offices of the Deputy Commissioner. The brick and mortar Palace was built in 1814 by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II. The two-storied lofty and spacious structure is 110 feet long. The British renovated the structure twice and in 1933, a clock tower and a portico to park the commissioner's car were added.
GADDIGE (Rajas' tombs):
Gaddige or the tombs of Virarajendra and Lingarajendra at Madikeri is one of the important monuments of Coorg. The royal tombs on a hillock to the north of Madikeri provides a commanding view of the town. Lingarajendra's tomb was built in 1820. There are also the tombs of a Raja's priest and that of two army commanders. A commemorative plaque, eulogizing the bravery of General Biddanda Bopu who fought Tipu Sultan has been recorded by Dodda Veerarajendra in an inscription. The tombs are in the style of Muhammadan edifices with domes in the center and turrets at the angles. The bars of windows made of brass have fine engravings. The grounds surrounding the tombs have been encroached.
The Raja's Seat in Madikeri town, the spot from where kings of yore watched sunsets with their consorts, could be considered as one of the most scenic spots in south India. The spot offers a breathtaking view of towering hills, green valleys, studded with paddy fields. It is fascinating to watch the road to Mangalore like a curved ribbon lying in the valley.
The Raja's Seat, which means the "Seat of Kings", is a brick and mortar structure with four pillars, was a spot from where the kings of Coorg watched glorious sunsets.
The Karnataka government has developed a garden around the Raja's Seat. The spot attracts lot of tourists and morning walkers. For the nature lover, the ideal time to visit the spot is in the morning when the first rays of the sun pierces through the mist covered valley. The district administration has put up a toy train near the Raja's Seat which attracts children. Interestingly, the land-locked Coorg does not have an inch of railways!
Around Madikeri :
The most visited tourist spot in Coorg is the Nagarahole National Park which is known for it's wild-life population. One can find elephants, tigers, leopards, sambars, spotted deers, and bisons in plenty. There are facilities for over-night stay inside the Nagarhole park next to water-holes. Madikeri or Mercara is the main town of Coorg and is also a well known hill station. Some of the important places to visit around Madikeri are Raja seat-a well maintained garden with a great views of the hills, Abbi-Falls a beautiful waterfall, Bhaga-mandala and finally Tala-Kaveri-the birth place of river Kaveri,
is an astoundingly beautiful place which is surrounded by mountains.
River Kaveri which is one of the 7 sacred rivers of Sapta Sindhus of the Hindu scriptures, originated at a place is called Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills, at about 4,500 ft above sea level. This place is marked by a kundike from where the river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away.
There is a shrine near the kundike and a big tank in front of it where devotees baths before offering prayers. There are 2 temples, a Shiva temple and with a rare and ancient Shiva Linga, and another temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple has a holy Ashwantha tree where, according to legend, the Trimurtis - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh gave darshan to sage Agastya.
Legends also has it that every year on Tulasankramana day (approximately on 17 October) Goddess Parvati appears in the Kundike as the sacred teerthodbhava. This occasion is marked by the sudden unsurge of water in the kundike and is considered very auspicious.
From Talakaveri, steps lead up to the nearby Brahmagri peak, where the 7 great sages called the Sapta Maharishis had performed a special yagna. From the peak, as well as on the drive to Talakaveri, tourists can enjoy a good view of the misty blue Brahmagiri hills.
Iruppu Falls :
There is a sacred spot called Iruppu in south Kodagu on the Brahmagiri range of hills. River Lakshmana-tirtha flows nearby. Legend says that Rama and Lakshmana, warrior Gods, passed this way while searching for Rama's concert, Sita. Rama asked Lakshmana to fetch some drinking water for him. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being river Lakshmanatirtha.
The river descends perpendicularly into a great cataract known as the Iruppu Falls. This place is believed to possess the power to cleanse one's sins and is visited by thousands of devotees from far and near on Shivaratri day. There is temple dedicated to Sri Ram, surrounded by paddy fields, from where it is a climb up to the falls through natural forest. This place can be visited from Gonikopal on the way to Nagerhole National Park by taking a detour after Srimangala, situated in the Kutta Road.
Abbey Falls :
A big attraction for tourists and filmdom alike is the Abbey Falls, 8 kms from Madikeri. Even during the summer there is plenty of water in these falls. The roar of the falls can be heard from the main road, from where a path goes through lovely coffee and cardamom plantations right up to them. The chirping of innumerable birds which are easier heard then seen, fill the air with sweet music. Do remember to take your binoculars and camera when you go there.
This is mainly an elephant capturing and training camp of the Forest Department, at the edge of Dubare forest, on the bank of river Kaveri, on the Kushalnagar - Siddapur road. The largest land animal is captured here with the help of tamed elephants and local tribals - the Kurbas - and is held captive for upto 6 months in large teak wood cages.
The tamed elephants attend to various jobs during the day and in the evenings they come down to the river to bathe and to be scrubbed clean by their mahouts. Afterwards the mahout obliges eager tourists for free elephant rides within the camp. In the evenings, all the elephants are offered a
special treat of ladoos made of ragi and jaggery, each no smaller than a cannon ball!
Nagarhole National Park :
The place derives its name from the winding river - Nagarhole meaning "snake river" - which flows through the park. The 640 sq km of gently undulating terrain at the foothills of the Brahmagiri hills is covered with thick tropical forest, grassy swamps and numerous rivers and streams. The park and animal life is part of the country's first "bio-sphere reserve".
The Forest Department conducts tours along well-defined routes for tourists, in the early mornings and evenings. One can be sure of seeing the bison, elephant, spotted deer, sambhar, barking deer, wild boar, mongoose, peakcock, jungle fowl and many other birds and animals.
Lucky people may see a tiger or panther or even a King cobra. Both trekking and going by private vehicles is allowed, though permission has to be taken first. Huts have been built for those who wish to stay in the wilds.
There is a forest lodge here. The sanctuary affords an excellent oppurtunity to the visitors to see wild animals of all kinds, from the magestic elephant and the gracefull deer to the wily Jackal moving about in their natural surroundings unmindfull of intruders.
Valanoor: Situated around 30 kms.from Mercara,the back waters of river Cauvery is one of the most beautiful Angling sites in Karnataka. Types of fish include Golden-Masheer, Maral and Mapp. Licence / permit can be arranged by local tourist agents.
Bhagamandala: is situated at the confluence of 3 rivers (the Cauvery, the Kanika and the Sujyothi). The temple here, built in Kerala style, has smaller shrines dedicated to various gods.
Nisargadhama :Known for its calm, serene beauty, this place is an ideal picnic spot visited by hundreds of tourists throughout the year.
Harangi Dam is a great picnic spot 36 kms from Madikeri.
Igguthappa Devara Betta:
Igguthappadevara betta, in the proximity of the Aiyengeri forest near Kakkabbe , is a lofty peak and is a pilgrim centre for the Coorgs in particular and other Hindus in general. Worshippers from all over the district congregate at the shrine and offer poojas and sometimes "Tulabhara", weighing oneself with rice or coconuts and offering the same to the deity along with some money. The place is highly venerated for the presiding deity Subramanya, the patron God of Coorg.
Kakkabbe is at a distance of 45kms from Madikeri. Private buses ply from Madikeri & Virajpet.
Triveni Sangam :
A sacred site for the Hindus, Bhagamandala is on the banks of the confluence of three rivers, Cauvery, Kannika and a mythical river Sujyothi, to form the 'Triveni Sangam'. One of the seven sacred rivers of 'Sapta Sindhu', river Cauvery flows for about 800 km across the stats of Karnataka and Tamilnadu before it empties into the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar in Tamilnadu.. It is 29 km from madikeri and 50 km from Virajpet..
Tadiandamol (5,724 ft) is the highest peak of the district and is situated near Nalknad Palace which is 40 kms from Madikeri. The peak is not altogether inaccessible; two-thirds of it can be negotiated on a jeep. The topmost position is rather difficult to ascent. But if one perseves and climbs to the top, their exertions are amply rewarded and there from the giddy top of the peak they can look all around towards west and east and feast their eyes on the majestic grandeurs of the slopes. The best season to visit is during December to May.
The Pushpagiri or Subramanya hill, the celebrated mountain (5,626 ft.), is in the north-west of Kodagu, about 36 kms from Somwarpet and 1.5 km from Kumaralli, which is amidst jungle.
This is a remarkable two-pointed hill of precipitous height and peculiar shape and resembles, as seen from Madikeri, a gigantic bullock hump. The ascent, which, on account of precipices of the southern and western parts of the hill, can only be effected by a circuitous route, is more difficult that of Thadiandamol.
Starting from Bhagati, at the base of Pushpagiri, it is about 10 kms walking, the ascent taking a good walker about three hours. The summit commands an extensive view of Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Hassan and Mysore.
There are on this hill numerous hindu memorials in the shape of stone mounds. Within an enclosure, there are two stone structures, with traditional imprint of two feet (paadha) said to be of celestial origin. There is a temple of Ishwara also on the top of the hill. Poojas are performed on a grand scale every year on the occasion of 'Thula Sankramana'.
The Western Ghats are on of the 14 areas in the world having rich biodiversity, which are gravely threatened due to deforestation, indiscriminate feeling, submergence and encroachments. The abundant vegetation that thrives in the Western Ghats forms almost 27 per cent of the flora of India.
The four main types of vegetation found in Kodagu are the Evergreen and the Semi evergreen forests in the western parts of the district, and Moist and Dry Deciduous forests in the central and eastern parts of the district.
Some of the rare tree species found in Kodagu include Artocarpus Hirsutus (hebbalasu), Chukrasia tabularis (kelgarike). Aporusa lindleyana (saligada).
Isolated evergreen forests, nestled between the mountains, seen above 1200 m are the Sholas, a typical feature of the Western Ghats. These forests are in the folds of the mountains while the slopes are covered with grasslands. these forests and grasslands act like a sponge to absorb the rainwater, prevent soil erosion and recharge the aquifers. Timber feeling and forest fires are the greatest threat to their survival.