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The state of Karnataka in India has many beautiful hill stations. People who live in the capital city of Bangalore are fortunate to have an abundance of options for weekend getaways. Coorg is a small town near Bangalore and is affectionately known as the Scotland of India. This article will help you get the best of Coorg in 3 days.
Why you should visit Coorg?
The fact that Coorg was named Indian Scotland speaks volumes. It is known for its tranquillity, coffee plantations and rich culture. At Coorg you can enjoy the magnificent beauty of the Western Ghats during your trip. Coorg is surrounded by coffee and pepper plantations. It will be difficult to take your eyes off the road. All major market players have plantations in Coorg, including Tata Coffee, which operates the world famous Starbucks in India. Now you know where Starbucks coffee beans originated in India.
How to Reach Coorg?
Coorg is located about 270 km from Bangalore, 150 km from Mangalore and 118 km from Mysore. The road from Bangalore takes 56 hours, and from Mysore and Mangalore to Coorgh by road - about 3 hours. There is no direct train or flight connection.
Reach Coorg by Road
The most popular and easiest way to get to Coorg is by bus. Bus services are available from all major cities in Karnataka, including the capital Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. The frequency of buses from Bangalore is the highest. Public and private services are available. You can book through the KSRTC official website or any other travel website. Please check the bus type before booking, if the image is not available on KSRTC try google search for the same. You can book through the KSRTC website.
In addition to the bus, you can also hire your own taxi for 3 days. However, I recommend that you choose this option as it will make your travel easier. There are many online travel agencies like Make my Trip, Yatra.com where you can book a taxi with ease.
Reach Coorg by Train
There is no train station in Kurgh, the nearest stations are in Mysore and Mangalore. This way you can go to the nearest train station and then take the bus to Koorg. MySore has more buses to Coorg than to Mangalore, so it's better, even if you have to wait for your bus in Mysore, you can also explore this small town.
Reach Coorg by Air
Again, the nearest airports are Bangalore and Mangalore International Airports. Mysore also has a domestic airport, but flights are limited. Remember that you can take a direct bus (FlyBus) to Mysore from Bangalore Airport itself. Hence, you do not need to enter Bangalore city, which will save you a lot of time. Taxi services are also available, but buses are a better and cheaper alternative. Similar services are also available at Mangalore International Airport.
Where to Stay in Coorg?
Coorg has a wide variety of options, from luxury lodges to beautiful family homes and budget hostels. Zostel and Manyana hostels are some of the best budget accommodation options. With price as cheap as 800-1000 INR per night for dorms, both have scenic spots and great food.
Waking up in the morning will never be so refreshing as Zostel is located in the middle of a coffee plantation. There is a pond near the site, take a walk and breathe in the fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Avoid taking accommodation in the centre of Madikeri and near the bus station. These hotels are often expensive and located on busy streets. You will always find the best options a little further from the main city. If not, find suitable accommodation online. if don't want to risk overspending.
About this 3-day Coorg Itinerary
There are many places in Coorg where you want to spend time, but due to the growth of tourism, the number of tourists visiting Coorg is increasing and therefore most places remain crowded. In this itinerary I would mention the best places worthy of your time and effort. Also, how can you avoid the crowds of tourists simply by planning your day in advance helping you easily plan your own Coorg itinerary based on your comfort and ease.
Dubare Elephant Camp
This camp came about when the government banned logging and deforestation. There are about 100 elephants in the camp, and they are currently under the care of people hired by the state. Dubaare Elephant Camp is the perfect place to experience elephants. Here you can spend time with the elephants, feed them, go down to the Kaveri River to see the elephants swimming in the river (they charge approx. 100-150 INR per person to go down the river with the elephants).
The camp is located next to the Kaveri River and you need to take a boat to cross the river. Opens at 9 am and closes at 11:30am, you have to wait your turn to catch the ferry to the camp. Ticket price 100 INR / person, you are advised to arrive at the camp at 8:30 am as the queue gets longer.
Also, be a little responsible and kind when playing with the elephants. These animals are forced to live in camps, although the area of the camp is very large, but it is not suitable for the natural habitat and freedom of elephants. Your kind behavior will help them in this and make them feel much better.
Coorg has a rich culture, in addition to local culture, they also respect foreign cultures. There is a city called Bylakuppe (5 km from Kushalnagar and 35 km from the main city of Madikeri), the center of the Tibetans. You will find the famous Namdroling Monastery, also known as the Golden Temple. Bylakuppe is the largest Tibetan settlement in India after Dharmashala and the largest training center in Nyingmapa, one of the branches of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery is home to about 6,000 monks.
Namdroling Monastery is an excellent example of Tibetan architecture, with an area of 80 square meters, with 40-foot statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni and the Amitayus. The main shrine is located in a large hall where hundreds of monks gather for prayer. The walls of the room are covered with beautiful paintings and murals from Tibetan and Buddhist mythology. I meditated for a while, sitting inside, and believe me, it helped me to clear my entire aura.
Walk around the monastery and get ready to explore the market and eateries nearby.
Tibetan Market for Food & Shopping
Not far from Namdroling Monastery there is a shopping complex and many cafes where you can eat Tibetan cuisine. In fact, there are also cafes and shops on the premises of the monastery. Interestingly, all the money collected through the monastery business shops, motels and cafes go to the good fortune of the monks living in the monastery.
But in the shops on the street there are more favorable prices for the same things as inside the premises. And if you decide to explore more in Bylakuppe, there are many other markets where you can find cheaper deals. Since Namdroling Monastery is the most famous attraction in Bylakuppe , prices are slightly higher. In shops you can collect prayer flags, prayer wheels, dreamcatchers. There are also many souvenirs here, take them as a souvenir of this beautiful place.
Cafes in Bylakuppe
The Namling cafe on the premises of the monastery is really nice, we ordered a lot of food and drinks. Best of all are ginger tea with lemon, vanilla bread, and veggie burger. This cafe has a very sweet atmosphere. You just sit back and enjoy the surroundings. With many monks around you, this place seems like a different world.
There are many other restaurants where you can taste authentic Thukpa and Momo (momo are classic dumplings stuffed with ingredients of your choice and are now very popular in India on the street). 4 km from the monastery is Potala Kitchen, one of the most famous Tibetan restaurants here. I tried different dumplings here and was satisfied, only to find out that this place has a 7 page menu with Bhutanese, Tibetan and Indian dishes. I honestly wasn't aware of these varied dishes and therefore decided to just eat the momo.
You will also like the fact that there are few tourists and most of the people are dressed in red and mustard robes, the monks.
Enjoy sunset at Chiklihole Reservoir
After spending time in Bylakuppe, head to the Chiklikhole Reservoir to watch the sunset. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Namdroling Monastery. This reservoir is beautiful and the sunset view is even better. It is advisable to check the sunset time. Google it and get to the dam 15 minutes early to take pictures or maybe have an impressive time.
The clouds, the colors of the sky and the sun - all this was reflected in the water of the reservoir, as if someone had just drawn a copy of the sky in the water. What a look !!!
Go Trekking at Tadiandamol & Mandalpatti
Coorg is home to some of the highest peaks in Karnataka. The sublime beauty of Coorg makes hiking a good idea. And if you fell in love with first day with this place, trust me then I have to tell you that there is much more to come. Mandalpatti and Tadiandamol are two best options for trekking. Tadiandamol, the third highest peak in Karnataka, 1748 meters high, very popular with tourists.
For Tadiandamola, you have to walk despite the peak, while in Mandalpatti you can also take a jeep to reach the top. Both places have their own charm and good weather is the cherry on top.
This hike is 12 km round trip from the starting point. The hike begins at the foot of the Nalkanad Palace. The terrain is pretty steep at first, so be prepared to take on the challenge. Hike between 8:30 am and 9:00 am. Since this is a popular trekking destination, people will start to come and you will lose your peace of mind at the top. Don't forget to carry water bottle, snickers and quick snacks to stay charged.
The weather changes dramatically during the walk, sometimes it rains, sometimes it will be sunny, please bring your sunglasses, raincoat and hat depending on the weather conditions. Otherwise it would be very difficult to get up.
After walking about 3 km, you will reach the checkpoint in the Shola forest, they charge 120-150 INR per person as entrance fee to the forest.
I started at 9:30 am and reached the peak at 12:15 am and began to descend at 1:00 am and back to baseline at 4:20 pm.
After entering the forest, the hike becomes a little difficult, usually I have seen hikes that require both ascending and descending, but in Tadiandamol it is mostly just an ascend but you will clearly see yourself walking through the clouds.
Mandalpatti is a must-see place near Coorg. This place is called Mugilu-Pete in the local language, which means "Cloud Market". And Mandalpatti is truly a place where you will find yourself surrounded by large cotton clouds. In fact, it is the hidden gem of Karnataka, with green surroundings and majestic views from the top of the hill. The best thing about Mandalpatti is that it's not yet commercialized, making it the perfect place to escape the chaos of the city.
Located 20 km from the main town of Madikeri, you can drive 17 km, but the last 3 km must be reached on foot to the top or by jeep from the forest. The jeep will carry 5-6 people, although a trek to the top will be my personal suggestion. When you reach the top, the view will amaze you. It takes about 5-6 hours to cover Mandalpatti.
Please note that there are no shops or restaurants near Mandalpatti, so please bring your essentials. You can organize a small picnic at the top of the hill, but don't litter. During monsoon it gets really muddy and not at all recommended to visit here.
The last day of the itinerary can be more leisure and you can explore the main town and Madikeri market. There are many attractions in the main city, but I will tell you the ones worth visiting, even though they are crowded.
The Omkarhsvar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology. It is famous for its combination of Gothic and Islamic architecture. The temple is located in the center of the main city. Try to arrive early in the morning at 8am to enjoy the serenity around temple. There is a pond just behind the temple where you can feed the fish. Take time to read the architecture of the temple and enjoy the glory. Please note that you may not be allowed to click on images inside the temple.
From the Omkareshvar temple, walk towards Talakauveri, which is the source of the Kaveri river. On the way to Talakaveri, there are many South Indian restaurant where you can have lovely breakfast. The drive to Talakauveri will take about 1 hour. After arriving at Talakauveri, you will find a large arch at the gate in the middle of the Brahmagiri hills. Talakauveri is famous for two things: firstly, the temple dedicated to Kaveriamma (Mother Kaveri, yes, in India they worship all rivers), and secondly, the majestic view of the Brahmagiri hills.
The premises of the temple is huge with a pond, and Kaveri is said to be flown over it, originating in the hills. Behind the main shrine, a staircase leads to the building leading to the the viewpoint. You need to climb about 400 steps before getting there to experience the panoramic view of the Brahamagiri hills. The setting is so surreal and soothing, I believe that places around the temples have an aura that is soothing and makes you feel full of life. Sit back and relax, click some great photos and head to your next destination.
Visit to Coffee Plantation
If you are in Coorg, your visit would not be complete without a visit to a coffee plantation. There are many coffee farms in and around Madikeri town where you can tour the plantation and learn about the coffee making process. The tour lasts at least an hour. While you can take help online to know this place, I would recommend asking the locals for less charges as compared to online. Also, you would get to know the timings so you can plan it accordingly.
So next time you are in South India be sure to visit Coorg and now that you have the complete Coorg itinerary you will see and do your best.
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