Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness

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Madikeri, or Mercara, is the picturesque town of Kodagu known for its misty mountains, green woody slopes, colourful scenery, cascading falls, dense tropical forest, and tea, coffee and spice plantations. The town, with a cluster of red-roofed dwellings and a bustling bazaar, has a charming old-world look. And today, I am going to explore the laid-back town.

Madikeri: Tucked away in wilderness

Moring was eerily silent in the valley, and the tranquil valley was swaddled in a veil of poltergeist-white mist. The rain began buzzing, and sheets of mist fell thin. Holding a cup of coffee, I looked stunt at the beautiful nature, deciding shall I trek or not. And the scenic beauty lured Mandalpatti and Tadiandamol trekking. 

Madikeri: Tucked away in wilderness
Rainy & Misty Morning

Before the trek, I drove to Abbey falls or Abbi Falls located 8 km from my homestay. It’s a famous picnic spot of Madikeri and was known as Jesse falls in the olden days. I was happy that the place was deserted and I would get the fantastic sight of waterfalls at the hanging bridge.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Abbey Falls

Surrounded by the natural greenery of coffee plantations and spice estates, the place is blessed with stunning beauty and serene calmness. Though the water flow was low, there was a wildness about the falls, water cascading over rocks into the pool.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Closer view of the Fall

Spending some time, I drove towards Mandalpatti, 4 km before Abbey Falls. I moved back to Madikeri and took the deviating road 4 km before the famous Abbey Falls. No bus service is available for Mandalpatti; hence advisable to hire a car. Mandalpatti offers impressive scenic beauty and perfect opportunities to be amidst the best natural settings. Mandalpatti is called Mugilu-Pete in the local language, which means the Market of Clouds. It is a hidden gem with lush green surroundings and majestic views from the hilltop. I covered 17km by vehicle and walked the rest, 3km. One can opt for jeeps from the forest department too.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Way to Mandalpatti

I was amazed by the scenery, rich flora, and fauna along the trek. Advisable to carry water & food as there is no facility available on the way. The best part about Mandalpatti is it has yet to be commercialized. I took entrance tickets from the authorities at the base of Mandalpatti, and it took 5-6 hours to cover the place. Trust me; I was astounded upon ascending to the top. The entire valley was covered with mist, and I found myself surrounded by big cotton clouds. I spent some quality time before heading to my next spot.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness

From Mandalpatti, I drove to Talacauvery/Talakaveri, a 2hr 15min drive of approx 61.5 km located in the Brahmagiri hill. It is situated at 1276m above sea level; and has a small spring called a Brahma kundike or Tirtha kundike in Talacauvery. Since it has high religious, the place was crowded. It is even believed to be the source of River Cauvery.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness

Although the water source is primarily invisible, it’s only seen during the monsoon. It is thought that after a short distance, the spring flows underground and emerges. I walked up the stairs towards the shrine close to the kundike. I also saw two temples- one dedicated to Lord Shiva and another to Lord Ganesha. There is a vast tank where devotees bathe before offering their prayers to the deities. 

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Bharmha Kundike

Walking around the temple, I saw a holy Ashwantha tree where sage Agastya saw divine avatars of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Many people were offering prayers to the tree. Later I climbed 400 steps to get a panoramic view of the Brahamagiri Hills. It took an hour to reach the surreal and peaceful place. I sat back, relaxed, clicked some excellent pictures and headed to your next destination Padi Igguthappa Temple. 

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Bharmhgiri Hills

After an hour’s drive, approx 43 km, I reached the Madikeri Fort. It is a bustling tourist place, and I cannot afford to miss it. Mudduraja built the Madikeri fort in the last quarter of the 17th century. Until 1790 the defence was under the regime of Doddavira Rajendra. Later King Lingarajendra Wodeyar II renovated it.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
One of the entrances to the fort

As I entered the fort, I saw two life-sized elephants made of mortar and even a temple dedicated to Virabhadra, later removed in 1855 by the British. Instead, Britisher Anglican Church in its place is also a beautiful architectural work. It is a beautiful architecture with a Gothic style.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Anglican Church

The fort was once renovated with stones and bricks by Tipu Sultan. And he renamed fort Jaffarabad. And twice renovated by the Britishers, added a clock tower and an entrance to park the commissioner’s car in the fort’s complex in 1933. Presently the fort is being used as the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The Madikeri fort has a rich history and has seen many battles and successes.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Madikeri Fort

I took a walk to Omkareshwar temple; it was like 10min. Famous for its Gothic and Islamic mix of architecture. There was a pond right in front of the temple, and clicking pictures inside was prohibited. I spent time reading the architectural bliss and soaking myself in the aura of the holy shrine.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Omkareshwar Temple

I then walked up to the Raja seat, meaning “Seat of the Kings”. Raja’s Seat used to be a favourite place of the kings of Coorg. He used to visit the site to get a fantastic view of the valley and refresh himself. Since it’s a famous tourist spot, it’s most overcrowded but empty due to on & off showers. 

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Raja’s Seat

The calmness, scenic beauty and lovely toy train are fantastic. I looked at the vast valley, caressed by the cool breeze and greeted by lush greenery. However, the sunset and sunrise from Raja’s Seat are exceptionally captivating when Golden sunlight falls on the lush greenery. But today, the sky was filled with grey clouds.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Panoramic View

There was a lesser-known spot in the vicinity of Raja’s Seat-Nehru Mantap. 10 min walk from Raja’s Seat & post climbing 25-30 steps, I reached this alleviated place. This place offers a captivating view of the mountain along with the town as it overlooks the Madikeri Radio Station. The silence of this place provides accord and soothes mind & soul amidst a refreshing natural setting.

Nehru Mantap

Our last destination of the day was Gaddige, also known as Gadduge. It was 8 min drive from Nehru Mantap and located on a hilltop. The monument has an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture built in the 18th century and dedicated to royal members of the Kodava clan. The Gaddige is set amidst verdant gardens decorated with central domes and minarets.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness

The quaint place on the hilltop surrounded by lush gardens is soul-soothing. It’s a serene spot in nature’s lap to unwind in Coorg’s lovely weather. The complex houses three tombs. The largest mausoleum dedicated to Mahadeviamma was the beloved consort of Haleri King Doddaveerarajendra. It was built in 1809. Later Doddaveerarajendra rested in the most famous tomb alongside his wife, Mahadeviamma and construction work was completed by his brother Lingarajendra.

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
The complex with Royal Tombs

It has central domes housing the tombs, and the corners are decorated with turrets. And interestingly, the monument houses a Shiva Linga alongside graves. The entrance, passages, and minarets are intricately carved with motifs, including figurines of Hindu gods, sages, the revered bull Nandi and other mythical creatures. 

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
The architecture

The tombs are well-preserved and have been recently refurbished. The surrounding landscape has also been repopulated to improvise the idyllic setup. I climbed up to the airy balcony of the mausoleum to get a gorgeous view of the nearby terrain. It is awe-inspiring!

Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness
Overlooking Madikeri town

By the time I reached my hotel, I was exhausted like hell. I took a hot water bath & had an early dinner before heading to bed as another trek awaits tomorrow morning.

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 “Madikeri: Tucked away in the wilderness

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