If you have the wanderlust, Coorg will win you over. It opens up to anyone who seeks an inspiration. Wanton wind blows through scented pathways where coffee and cardamom grow together; majestic waterfalls wake up the dense forests from their slumber, and the wilderness howls in pride. Its hills are unruffled by the rough rivers below; its monastery remains a sanctuary of peace, and its historic fort guards its eventful past. This hill station in Karnataka is every inch an ecstasy.
#1. Abbey Falls and Iruppu Falls
A walk through coffee plantations suddenly makes you excited. You guess what you hear could be the sound of waterfalls. When you move further, glorious sight of the Abbey Falls appears. Stand on the hanging bridge; listen to the thunderous sound, and see the water spray at the bottom. The setting looks magnetic and mystical, if you wish. A similar experience awaits at the Iruppu Falls – one of the biggest in Coorg. Large volume of water descending from a height of 60 meters breaks the silence of the surrounding woodlands and creates a beautiful spectacle.
#2. Nagarhole National Park and Dubare Elephant Camp
Serpentine streams flow through the park and the golden shower tree brightens up the surroundings with their presence as you enter deep into the Nagarhole National Park in search of tigers, bisons, bears, and of course, the majestic Asiatic Elephant. Let your eyes feast on the sight of rare Nilgiri Flycatcher and Blue Face Malkhoa. Head to Dubare Elephant Camp for the love of gentle tuskers. But before you take an elephant ride, you have to please the animal with a grooming session!
#3.Tadiandamol and Pushpagiri Hills
Hills lead to thrills. That's so true for Tadiandamol peak – the second highest in Karnataka. Trekkers walk the trail with a hope of reaching the top. Possibility of getting a top-of-the-world feeling is what keeps you going. Pushpagiri is another beautiful peak in the Western Ghats. You see determined trekkers pace along the trails with an objective – scaling the Kumara Parvatha. September and October are the ideal months to kindle the conqueror in you. When trekking whets your appetite, find an excuse to try steamed rice dumpling and Pandi Curry (spicy pork curry) – the signature delicacies of the Kodavas. This “bold and beautiful” community traces its history back to the first millennium.
You might also get to hear that the Kodavas are descendants of the soldiers of Alexander the Great who had migrated to India.
#4. Cauvery Nisargadhama
The best part of the journey to this beautiful island is crossing the hanging rope bridge. It reminds you of the suspension bridges in Swiss Alps or French Alps. Cocooned by rosewood, teak, and sandalwood trees, the island looks a precious little place untainted by worldly intrusions. There's lot for you to behold apart from deers and peacocks. This popular picnic destination is gifted with orchids of different hues. You should not think twice before staying at the treetop bamboo cottages run by the forest department.
#5. Madikeri Fort
This 17th-century granite fort is very much European in essence. The chequered history of this hilltop fort is not the only lure. European architecture, intriguing stories about secret underground tunnels, and the artifacts housed in the on-site museum are major takeaways for a visitor. A 19th-century chapel and a public library are some of the places of interest for those who want quietude.
#6. Coffee Plantations
How is Robusta coffee different from Arabica coffee? Why are coffee seeds exposed to the monsoon rain? If these questions don't crowd your mind, you can’t call yourself a true caffeine lover. As you take a guided tour of the coffee plantations, your curiosity is satiated. Staying in any of the homestays in these coffee estates is a Nirvana moment for connoisseurs of coffee.
#7. Barapole River & Cauvery Backwaters
If you are ready to defy the ferocity of river, give yourself a chance and try white water rafting in Barapole River. Surrounded by forests, this river in South Coorg looks fantastic and formidable – all at once. Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned one, when you strap on those life jackets, there's no looking back. All you want is a challenging ride through rough waters. After a tumultuous ride, settle for something peaceful. Go angling at the backwaters of the Cauvery River and try getting hold of whiskered catfish, brown trouts, and eels.
#8. Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery (Golden Temple) and Talacauvery
If you want to visit the top 10 Buddhist monasteries in India, Namdroling Nyingmapa has to be one of them. Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement in Coorg, is home to this 20th-century monastery. The sound of the gongs and assembly of the monks before the different gold-plated statues of Buddha make you bemused. Come here during the Tibetan New Year and see thousands of monks and nun partaking in festivities. As you turn your back and prepare to leave the monastery, you hear the congregation chanting in chorus. To prolong that blissful feeling, head to Talacauvery, a pilgrimage site and the source of the sacred Cauvery River. Visit Bhagamandala where three rivers – Kaveri, Kanake and Sujyoti meet.
#9. Golf Courses
The old world charm of the clubhouse in Coorg Golf Links and the breathtaking view of Bittangala Club golf course are the finer pleasures you can derive in this hill station. In fact, the 18-hole Madikeri Golf Course is among the oldest in the country. It's real fun to swing your club and watch the ball fly over the lush green field and cut through the mist.