Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Coorg is a famous hill town with unrivalled beauty, a peerless landscape and an aromatic coffee plantation. Coorg is said to be the Scotland of India, but I wonder if it is. But I can tell that Coorg was once known as Kodagu. Hence, I decided to visit Madikeri, a small hill station in the Western Ghats best known for its coffee plantations. Coorg or Madikeri are synonyms for the traveller, which is ideally different.

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Coffee Plantation

I planned it for my birthday, an ideal period for a short vacation. So I did some research & booked the Honey Pot home homestay amidst the coffee plants and cardamom, along with rows of areca nut trees with vines of pepper and vanilla climbing up around them. All satisfied, I packed my bags and set to experience the cultural diversity, culinary delights, heartwarming hospitality and myriad adventure activities.

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Honey pot homes

I decided to take roads, post landing in Bangalore. I heard that coffee plantations and pepper vines surround roads in Coorg. Taking your eyes off the streets themselves will take a lot of work. The distance is approx 270km from Bangalore, a 5-6 hrs drive. On the way to Coorg, we took Kushalnagar to visit a town named Bylakuppe. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Roads to Coorg

Bylakuppe is the largest settlement of Tibetans in India after Dharamshala. One of the largest teaching centres of Nyingmapa, a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Here is the famous Namdroling Monastery, also known as The Golden Temple- home to 6000 monks. The tranquillity with the chants vibrating in the air was soul soothing. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Namdroling Monastery

In 1963 the foundation of the monastery was laid by the Indian government for the Tibetan refugees. I was overwhelmed to see it, as I have already visited the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamshala. Though the monastery had many buildings, the main chamber was gigantic, with three statues of Tibetan deities in gold colour. The entire walls of the halls depict stories from mythological tales painted in detail. The murals, as well as the Thankas, were in bright colours. It is fantastic to see such stark similarities with the monastery in Dharamshala. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Golden Temple

I even visited Tashi Lunpho Monastery, a 15-20 walk from the Namdroling Monastery. A lesser crowded place and the area around the monastery has a lot of stalls selling souvenirs while restaurants serve Tibetan food.

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Interior of the Monastery

We had our lunch at Potala Kitchen, 4 KM from the Monastery and one of the famous restaurants in the Tibetan region here. Namling café inside the monastery premises has the cutest ambience. As I looked around at monks wrapped in red and mustard robes, the place seemed to be another world. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Surrounding the Monastery

Next, we drove to ‘Nisargadhama,’ an island that stretches across 64 km amidst bamboo groves, beautiful sandalwood, and teak trees. I had to cross a hanging rope bridge to reach the island. Upon arriving, I found several children playing in the arena and the adventure park located within the premises. It’s an eco-park surrounded by Cauvery; there is also a forest resort to relax. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka

After the monastery & eco park visit, we visited Chiklihole Reservoir to witness the sunset. It’s a 30-minute drive from Namdroling Monastery. A beautiful reservoir on one of the tributaries of the River Cauvery. Advisable to check the sunset time on google and reach the dam 15 minutes before. The pool is secluded, surrounded by dense forest, with rich flora and fauna that add to the place’s charm. To capture sunset pictures or for a stunning time-lapse. I watched patiently, watching the clouds, sky colours and sun changing. The complete reflection is reflected in the reservoir’s water. It felt like someone had just painted a replica of the atmosphere in the water. It was just mind-blowing! Since this place has no shops nearby, I suggest taking all the basic amenities while visiting the reservoir.

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Chiklihole Reservoir

I finally drove towards Coorg after the stunning sunset, it was getting dark & the roads were silent. The streets were fringed by tall white-skinned Eucalyptus and Gulmohar trees, and their creepers stared at us. The Tiny thatched huts dotted the agricultural fields that spread from the road to the villages. I could only hear the stir of the crickets on that quiet forest road and saw few cars passing by infrequently. The rain-soaked jungle was pitch dark which made my stomach churn. But we finally reached Honey Pot’s home. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Skinned Gulmohar & Eucalyptus trees

The homestay was located on 225 acres of private coffee plantation. Upon our arrival, they served us coffee from the plantation and shared Coorg’s history. The native of Kodagu migrated from northern parts of India during the 2nd century. These were Coorg’s earliest inhabitants and agriculturists who lived here for centuries. The Gangas of Talakad and the Hunsur taluk in Mysore ruled Coorg. Since they hailed from a warrior community, they carried arms during times of war and had chieftains. However, in the 14th century, the Vijayanagar empire took over the region and established its dynasty. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka

However, the history of Coorg was formally documented in the late 16th century when the Haleri dynasty- an offshoot of the Keladi Nayakas rule. The Linga Rajas came here in the 17th century, and later in the 1780s, Hyder Au took over Coorg. In 1782 Tipu Sultan made his way to Coorg until 1788, when Vira Raja drove him out. Later the British took over the entire region after signing an agreement with Vira Raja. They took charge of the area in 1834 and instated their rule until India’s independence in 1947. 

Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka
Illustration of Coorg Harvest festival In London News.

These were exciting facts that were unknown to me. Well, since it was late, I had a quick dinner & headed to bed. I had an early start tomorrow to explore Madikeri, located on a highland at an altitude of 1,150 meters or 3,773 feet.

How to Reach

By Air:

The nearest airports are Bangalore and Mangalore International Airports. However, Mysore is a domestic but limited flight. Either avail of bus or cab services till Coorg.

By Train: 

The nearest one is Mysore and Mangalore, as Coorg needs railheads. Outside the railway station, opt for bus or cab services to reach Coorg.

By Road:

Roads are the easiest & convenient way to reach Coorg. Many private & state-run buses ply from Bangalore, Mangalore & Mysore regularly. Once also book cabs or self-drive to the destination.


2 thoughts on “Coorg: The Quintessential Karnataka

  1. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. Its always exciting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from other sites.

  2. I was excited to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to see new stuff on your site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
error: Content is protected !!