My mom said ” We should go to Thala kaveri / Coorg this summer” , I guess it was 6 years back and for some reason there was always a snag when we planned for Coorg. Finally last December holidays we planned in the eleventh hour to some how make it to Coorg.
I was really excited , I guess after marriage this was my first trip with my parents and my nephew. The best part was I get to drive, I am person who loves going on long drives for no reason. Fortunately or unfortunately my life partner also enjoys driving , so my chances of driving when he is in the car is .0001%.
Roomsdon was the only home stay left for us which was situated in Virajpet, 30 km away from Coorg. Booked our room on Goibio, my dad was bit agitated about the room booked on online. During peak seasons finding a decent hotel in Coorg will cost you double the rate when compared to usual rates.
From Coimbatore we travelled via Nanjangudu , I would suggest you to have your meal somewhere in Nanjangudu. The route was very dry and the sun hits right on your face, starting early will definitely help. Our luck was not so bright,we landed in a crap restaurant. The food was eatable but the moment I saw the curd packet being undone right next to the toilet, it did not give me a good feeling .
Passing Kushal Nagar one reaches Coorg. People say that there is nothing to see in Coorg just few falls and Coffee estates, they are so wrong there is so much to do. One must plan well before visiting this place, else you will end in complete chaos like us.
We started off with Abbey falls, the road was in a pathetic condition. If you have a low ground clearance vehicle I would suggest you to take a jeep. It is a 15 mins trek to reach the falls. You cannot get close to the falls , just enjoy the nature and come back.
It was almost evening , we planned to visit few places in Madikeri before going to our room. We visited Raja’s seat and Madikeri fort. Raja’s seat is a flower garden and a view point. There is a small park with Toy train.
The Madikeri fort was built buy Mudduraja in 17th century, later Tipu Sultan took control of it and then moved it in the hands of Doddaraja (Dodda Vira Rajendra). After Doddaraja was arrested by British it was under the control of British until independence. Noting great about this fort, just like any other normal fort in India. You can skip this place if you want to save sometime.
This temple was built by King Lingarajendra II in 18th century as a penance for killing an innocent brahmin. A lingam was bought from Kashi and instated in the temple for worship. The temple architects seem to have adopted Gothic and Islamic architecture. There is no gopuram instead there is a central dome for Lord Omkareshwara. The history of the temple is inscribed in the bronze door inside the temple.
We had our dinner at Udupi veg restaurant and started to our room at Virajpet. Driving without fog lamps is like driving blind folded . There are lot of room stays on the way to Virajpet. So finally reached our room after 1 and half our travel. Napped well in the night for we had lot of plans the next day.
In the morning we had our breakfast at Veg Paradise hotel , the only vegetarian restaurant available in Virajpet. It is a very small town, after 7 in the evening fog covers the area and everyone goes to bed early. One can hardly find any shops after 7 in the evening.
We started our day visiting the Nalknad palace.
Hyder Ali had taken over Kodugu defeating king Linga Raja I in the late 18th century, he captivated Linga Raja and his sons – Dodda Vira Raja, Linga Raja II and Appanna. Hyder Ali passed over the regime to Tipu Sultan , Dodda Vira Raja evaded and came back to Kodugu. He was proclaimed as the ruler of Kodugu and built this Nalknad Palace by himself in the highest peak of Kodugu. This was the best place for ambush attack on intruders. The palace is an elegant two storey building with trap doors and dark rooms. He joined hands with British and fought against Tipu Sultan. Dodda Vira raja was unable to produce a male heir , thus giving way to Linga Raja II to succeed his throne . Following his father’s lineage Chikka Verra Raja son of Linga Raja II ruled Kodugu, differences rose between him and the British. The Britishers laid roads to this palace and finally captured Chikka Veera Raja in Nalkanad Palace, which was his last refuge. It is said that the Palace was very difficult to reach with out roads and this region was guarded by the cobras from intruders.
Igguthappa the rain god or the harvest god ,one of the main deities for Kodugu people. It is said that the temple is know for its existence from 12th century . King Linga Rajendra , the 18th century Kodugu ruler was on an hunting expedition. He was frustrated that he could not find any animals. The king’s minister Boppa Divan , prayed to Lord Igguthappa to control the wrath of his king. The next day the king found 32 elephants and slayed them all but to his astonishment non were dead, those elephants calmly left the place with bruises. Boppa Divan explained the King that all living beings in this area were guarded by lord Iggutappa. King Linga Rajendra atoned for his actions, he made a silver elephant idol with three kg of silver coin and gifted the temple .The Idols inside the temple are also silver coated, Lord Shiva is in Linga form with eyes. The temple was renovated by the descendants of Boppa Divan.
Baby naming ceremonies are done here. When we visited the temple, there were many Kodugu people. Kodugu woman have a different style of draping a sari , even young ladies of this generation espoused this tradition inside the temple. Annathanam( Lunch) is always available in the afternoon everyday.
The legend goes this way, 7 celestial god children arrived at the Malabar coast. They settled in various places in Kerala and Karnataka to bless the people around those regions.
1)Kanjirathappa – Lord Shiva – Vaidyanath Temple – Kanhirangad – Person who cure illness
2)Thiruchambaratappa – Lord Shri Krishna -Trichambaram Temple – Kannur – Krishna is in Roudra form after killing Kamsan a demon.
3)Bendru Kolurappa – Lord Shiva – Rajarajeswara temple – Kannur – It is believed that after Sakti’s self – immolation, her head fell down in this place and Shiva ‘s Rudra Dhadavam happened here. It is also said that Shiva gave Parvathi 3 Lingas. Maandhata a sage who worshipped Shiva was bestowed with a Linga and Parvathi asked him to install it in an non cremated ground , so he chose Kannur. The Linga installed disappeared into the ground after the sage’s death, the same repeated when his son installed the second Linga. King Satasoman was bestowed with the third Linga , he installed in the same place. Sage Agastya light a ghee lamp in a brozen deepam and this time the Linga did not disappear.
These three temples are called brother temples in Kerala. The other three brothers and a sister settled in Kodugu.
4)Igguthappa – Lord Shiva – Igguthappa Temple – Coorg/Kodugu – The harvest or the rain god. Every first harvest in the year is given to Lord Igguthappa. Huthari, the harvest festival in Kodagu, is normally celebrated 90 days after Onam around the end of November or in early December. Igguthappa is considered as the father and River Cauvery as the mother who save Kodugu people from famine. Igguthappa the giver of food.
5)Palurappa- Lord Shiva – Mahalingeshwara temple – Paloor
6)Thangamma – Goddess – Ponnangala Thamme Shrine – Ponnangala
7)Pemmayya – Lord Vishnu – Thirunelli Temple – Bramahgiri hill near Wayanad. The temple is at an altitude of 3000ft. The temple’s existence is dated back in the 10th century during the rule of King Bhaskara Ravi Varma Cheran.
It is said that once Lord Brahma was travelling around the world, he noticed this beautiful place and noticed an idol under an amla tree. He recognised it was Lord Vishnu’s idol, he built a temple and worshipped Vishnu. Pleased with Brahma’s request, Vishnu promised that any one who wash themselves in Papanasini will be freed from sins. Papanasini is river that has its roots in the heart of Brahmagiri hills. The idol is called Sahyamalak Kshetra which is mentioned in Ved vyasa’s puranas. It is believed that Lord Parasurama had a dip in Papanasin to wash away his sins.
Bhagmandala temple – Triveni Sangamam.
The Bhagmandala temple is close by the confluence of three rivers Kaveri ,Kannike and Sujyoti(Triveni Sangamam). Triveni Sangaman is a holy place to perfrom rituals for ancestors. Bhagmandala is a shiva temple in Karavali style. The Bhagmandala temple is close by the confluence of three rivers Kaveri , Kannike and Sujyoti(Triveni Sangamam). Triveni Sangaman is a holy place to perfrom rituals for ancestors. Bhagmandala is a Shiva temple in Karavali style
Thus fulfilling my mom’s journey, we visited Talakaveri, the place where river cauvery originates. The river originates Kundike pond , then joins its tributaries in Bhagamanadal. One cannot see the visible flow of the river from this place joining the main course, it is said that it visible only during rainy season.
When the south was suffering from drought, Sage Agastya prayed Lord Brahma. Yielding to Agastya’s prayers, Brahma asked Agastya to bring ice from mount Kalisha where the never dying Ganga is formed and drop it in a suitable place in the south. As instructed by Brahma , Agastya collected some ice in a pot from Kailash and came down to south. He notice a small boy and gave the pot filled with ice to him. Later the boy dropped the pot in Madikeri. Agastya asked angrily “what have you done ?”, the little boy revealed himself as Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesha helped Agastaya find a suitable place to orginate Cauvery.
People are allowed to bath in the pond and worship Matha Cauvery. Close to Talakaveri, there is a small hill which gives a 360 view of the Bramagiri hills.
My nephew was almost exhausted travelling with us. But some how he climbed the small hill to check out the 360 degree view.
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery – Bylakuppe
After having lunch, we thought about visiting the Tibetan monastery. That was not a good idea , Tibetan monastery is 40 km away from Virajpet and we could also visit it when we go back home because it is on NH 275 . While arriving at Coorg we made a mistake by keeping our destination as Madiker on GPS so we skipped Kushal Nagar by taking a different route. You know what google maps does, even if you have an NH it takes you through some crap road showing it as the shortest route.
Again while going to the Tibetan golden temple we were fooled by GPS, it took us to Tibetan settlement . I was like “did we cross the border and get into China ? “, yes government of India has given 3000 acres for Tibetans to settle down as they were exiled from Tibet. They are given lands for agriculture ; health care and free schooling facilities. Every Tibetan gets a RC certificate which to be renewed every semester or year, every Tibetan above the 16 must register for this stay permit. There are Tibetan universities and other monasteries are found inside this settlement.
Entering into little Tibet , we did not know how to get to the Golden Temple. We saw few kids playing around we asked them, I was amazed to see those kids giving us direction in Hindi. Somehow we reached the golden temple. Buddha is the main god worshipped here.
There are other monastery but this is the one which is prominently visited by outsiders. Buddha’s preachings are inscribed in the temple. You can find monks in red all around the place. Buddhist tales are painted on the walls inside the temple. There is cafeteria outside, you can get taste the best coorg coffee ever.
It was almost 6 in the evening we started to Virajpet, my little nephew was hungry and said he wanted Puri. We wanted toreach Virajpet before it becomes too foggy and decided have our dinner at Virajpet. We reached veg paradise and found it closed, in Virajpet restaurants close by 8 and this veg restaurant closes by 6 in the evening. Nonveg restaurants does not have a good reputation in this place. To quench our hunger we bought few bananas at the local shops. There was KFC(Koorg fried chicken) fast food restaurant , we bought cake & some potato fries for my nephew to ameliorate his disappointment.
Next day we packed our bags, thought we could visit the Dubare elephant camp. The camp technically an island formed in the carvery river. River flows either side of the camp, one must use a boat to get to the camp. The river is shallow, one can cross the river by walk , unless you don’t want your clothes to get wet. There was a big queue for the boat tickets so we skipped this lovely camp.
Nisargadhama ecological park
As our last stop we visited Nisargadhama ecological park, finally I could see some excitement on my nephews face. Nisargadhama has a deer park and kids park with tree house. Nisargadhama park is on the banks of carvery, boating facility is also available. The ecological park is filled with fun and tranquillity. My nephew did not want to leave the tree house.
We started home after getting some Coorg spices in Kushal nagar. We planned at haste so missed few things in coorg. We missed the elephant camp, Chelavara falls and river rafting(which might not be possible with a kid on board). While returning we had a detour by getting into the rural side of Mysore , but it was a lovely sunset with paddy fields either side of the road. Definitely a trip to remember.