The Kodagu region, often referred to as Coorg (the English version of its name), is an extremely picturesque and alluring mountainous area in southern Karnataka, not far from Bangalore and Mysore. It's separated from Kerala by the Brahmagiri range. Coorg is one of the top travel destinations in Karnataka, and has particular appeal for nature lovers and those wanting to enjoy the great outdoors. These six Coorg places to visit are all popular attractions. However, you'll need your own transport as they're spread out all over the region.
1. Coffee Plantations
Coorg is renowned for its coffee plantations, which contribute around 60% of India's coffee production. It also has abundant teak, rosewood, and sandalwood forests. The best way to experience the coffee plantations is to stay at one of the many homestays and resorts that are situated on coffee estates. You'll be able to go on walking tours of the plantations, as well as sample fresh coffee and learn about the coffee making process. It's fascinating!
Abbey Falls and Irupu Falls are two of the biggest waterfalls in the Coorg region. They're best viewed just after the monsoon season, but have cascading water all year around. Abbey Falls, located around eight kilometers north of Madikeri, is most accessible. In the other direction, Irupu Falls is around 90 kilometers south of Madikeri and 20 kilometers from Nagarhole National Park. Many people prefer Irupu Falls to Abbey Falls, and it can be followed with an unforgettable drive through Nagarhole to Bangalore. The area around Irupu Falls is abundant with butterflies in peak season, after the monsoon.
Perfect for trekking, the Coorg region has a number of towering peaks and valleys. One of the most popular routes is from Kakkabe to Thadiyandamol, the region's highest peak. Allow at least five hours for this trek. Many people also enjoy trekking from the Brahmagiri range, starting from Virajpet, to Irupu Falls. It's an arduous trek though, through dense jungle. Trekking to Pushpagiri, the second highest peak, is another option. Most Coorg homestays and resorts offer trekking activities.
If you love elephants, don't miss getting up close to them at Dubare Elephant Camp, which is an elephant training camp operated by the Karnataka government. There you'll be able to learn all about elephants, ride them, and even take a bath in the river with them and scrub them. You'll need to get to the camp by around 9 a.m. in order to catch the bathing. It's possible to stay at one of the cottages at the camp. However, do be aware that this is a government establishment so don't expect it to be well organized. Foreigners pay much more than Indians, and it also gets crowded. The camp is located just off State Highway 91, near Kushalnagar. From there you can visit the Tibetan monastery not far away.
5. Namdroling Nyingmapa Tibetan Monastery and Golden Temple
One of 10 Must See Buddhist Monasteries in India, this monastery has what's apparently the second largest Tibetan settlement in India. The amount of gold in the prayer hall and temple is quite overwhelming, as too are the immense gold statues of Buddha. It's located in Bylakuppe, near Kushalnagar, around an hour east of Madikeri.
6. Raja's Seat
If you fancy doing some sightseeing around Madikeri town, Raja's Seat is the most well known tourist attraction there. This garden spot was apparently a favorite of the Kings of Kodagu. The best thing about Raja's Seat is that it offers breathtaking sunsets and panoramic views across the valley, all the way to Kerala. However, if you want peace and quiet, it's best to go in the morning. The crowds flock there in the evenings.