Coorg (Kodagu) - Scotland of the East
Posted: Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | Views: 4999
Hill station  -   Coorg District
140 kms from Mangalore to Madikeri (District HQ)
How to reach:  There are frequent KSRTC buses operating between Mangalore and various locations in Coorg. Madikeri is the district headquarters of Coorg district.
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Madikeri is popularly referred as the Scotland of the East, and has a number of sightseeing options such as Madikeri Fort, Abbey Falls, Dubare elephant camp and the Harangi dam. It is also very popular for its exotic wildlife such as the Nagarhole National Park where one can enjoy a ride on an elephant or, on a lucky day, even spot a tiger. On the Madikeri-Bangalore highway is the Bylekuppe Tibetan monastery where visitors can experience a slice of Tibetan life.

There is a story that dates back to the 17th century explaining the origin of the name Madikeri. There was a king on a hunting expedition who came upon a hillock. All of a sudden, his trusted companions, a pack of wild dogs, were retreating, chased by a hare. The king felt that there was a powerful energy in the hillock, which transformed a timid hare into a courageous beast. He decided to build a mud wall garrison there and make it his kingdom capital. The name of the king was Muduraja of the Haleri Dynasty and the place was called Muddu Raja Keri or Muddurakayray after him. Today, it is known as Madikeri or Mercara and it is located in Coorg.

Coorg is a mix of legends and myths, and the origin of the Kodavas is still unknown. The popular belief is that they are descendants of the Greeks who settled here after the invasion of India by Alexander the Great. The river Cauvery originates here at Talacauvery and is worshipped by the natives and other regions and hence the name “Kodava”, which means blessed by the mother Cauvery. Kod means give and avva refers to mother Cauvery and the Kodavas call themselves the “children of Cauvery.”

Dotted with endless forests and coffee plantations, Coorg is a paradise of mother nature decorated with colorful flowers and waterfalls. The natives (Kodavas) are very friendly and hospitable and they are food, fun loving and hard working people. Pork is a favorite dish. A whole pig is roasted at a spit, for a feast, and liquor is a generous beverage. The Akki roti or rice roti is a traditional dish, eaten with a meat or vegetable or both.

Talacauvery is the source of the holy river Cauvery, and is about 30 km from Madikeri. There is a small water tank along with a shrine of river goddess which is the actual source of the river Cauvery. It is said that the water level, though right up the brim, never decreases or overflows.

Abbey Falls is a fantastic picnic spot and a rising roar of water can be heard as one approaches the falls on a stony path. A very broad sweep of water rages over the rock face with a constant fine spray of water on the visitors. There is suspension bridge to climb down to the stream to bathe and have fun at the foot of the falls.

Mallalli Falls, is another location far away from the crowd and involves a six kilometre trek to reach there. The waterfalls is on the Kumaradhara river and one can view the Kumaraparvata far off in the distance from beautiful viewing points atop big black boulders. There is a point on the top of the cliff where one can view a rare peek of a waterfall from above directly into it.

Cauvery Nisargadhama, is a 64-acre island sanctuary where one can stroll amidst bamboo groves or go for a round of boating in backwaters of Cauvery river. Dont miss the Coorg oranges also called as 'naati oranges', considered a heritage of Kodagu with its tangy flavour.

Kushalnagar houses the famed Tibetan settlement to whom India granted a wild expanse of land 40 years ago for the refugees from Tibet. Today, this place is a matter of pride and passion for the hardworking Tibetans. They cultivate their own paddy fields and rear their cattle. There are a lot of materials available for sale fetched by them from Nepal, such as apparels and prayer materials. A visit to the Namdroling monastery gives a glimpse of Nepal presence and feeling with its unique murals, huge idols of Buddha, prayer desks, gongs and huge blowing instruments.

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