Saturday, 5 May 2012

Madikeri, Coorg... Weekend getaway



We planned for it for some time... that is for sure. However, the sudden excess temperature in Bangalore was perhaps giving us a bigger push..."Go go... get to some hill station". 1st May was near. So, get set go to Madikeri, Coorg.

  The trip in short:
  Start Date: 28th April, 2012      Return Date: 30th April, 2012
  Places visited: 
        Tibetan Monastery (Golden Temple)
        Kaveri Nishargadham
        Dubare Elephant Camp
        Abbey Falls
        Raja's Seat
        Raja's Tomb
        Madikeri Museum
        Omkareshwar Temple
        Bonus: Mysore Zoo (on our way back)
  Travellers : Me and my husband
  Transport: Our good old Sparky (Chevy Spark)
  Stay: Hotel RajDarshan (just next to Raja's seat)

Day 1:

 This time it was an extended weekend of three days and we decided to set for a much awaited trip to Coorg.We got up at 5 am on Saturday (OMG!) ,which on normal weekdays is like a big NO NO... to us.
So we started at 6 am to avoid Blore traffic, got our tank filled(yes,of our car's of course ;) ),and hit  Mysore Road......my hubby was the driver and me the navigator.Our GPS was a bunch of papers with maps on them that we googled for a couple of days.

Here are the maps.......

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0ByA6w_6TFQfbalFxSnpyTWNDNUU

Mysore Road is clean and smooth till Mysore though you may find some minor jam at Bidadi and Ramanagara(Silk City).We drove at a leisurely speed of 60 to 80Km/hr though most cars zoomed past us.

After Srirangapatna and just before Mysore there is a big signal at Columbia Asia Hospital.We took a right from here to get on the Ring Road...just to avoid the city traffic..........but pheww it wasn't a very good plan as the roads were under construction till Hunsur Road.

From Hunsur Road to Kushal Nagar the road is very scenic with blossomed gulmohar trees on both sides of the road.The number of good restaurants in this stretch(around 120 kms) is pretty scarce.



 Spot 1: Tibetan Monastery (Golden Temple)
  Enroute to Kushal Nagar is Bylakuppe where we stopped(around 11:30 am) to see the beautiful Buddhist    Monastery. Include this in your must see list and don't miss tasting the Tibetan food there.
  There are souvenir shops around. So you can buy things like wind chimes, laughing Buddha, hanging masks, crockery with engraves of dragon etc. So happy shopping.
   Here are some snaps from the place:













Spot 2: Kaveri Nishargadham
  We left Golden temple at around 2:30 pm. for Kaveri Nishargadham which is around 8 kms from there. For both these destinations, keep your eyes to the left of the road, as the banners will direct you to the by-lanes to these places. 
  It started raining as we reached Nishargadham. Entry fee is Rs.10/person and Rs.10 for parking. The entrance is a hanging bridge which leads you to the actual park. The bridge swings a little and some people seem to enjoy it very much... so very much that they jump on the bridge to make it swing harder. This is how it looks:




  So what is inside the park?
  A deer enclosure, by which you will find a cucumber/mango shop... not for you. You buy it and feed the animals. Fantastic. Have a look.




  There are few tree house like watch towers. Although we didn't give it a try because the stairs were made of round woods and it was drizzling. But you can give it a try :) .



   And there is river Kaveri. Many people take a quick dip there. But again, we didn't.



  Then we headed for Madikeri. 
  We didn't book any hotel from B'lore, although we did good research on the options available. We even locked on KSTDC hotel(Mayura valley view) mostly because of its proximity to Raja's seat. And on reaching the hotel, we found that the view from here was spectacular indeed. However, there were no rooms available, not just in KSTDC, but in many other hotels we called up. However, Lady Luck was on our side and we found Hotel Rajdarshan, a fine hotel just 100 mtrs from Raja's seat. They have their car parking and decent double room at Rs 1250/day. They had power back-up and hot water supply. And their restaurant is pretty okay.

  Spot 3: Raja's Seat
   Raja's seat was very close to our hotel so we decided to see the sunset there just after checking in the hotel.According to legends the Raja used to see the sunset from here.It is a protected monument.The entry fee is Rs 5 per person.There is a small light n sound show everyday from 6:45 to 7 pm.
You do get a lot of fresh air though its nothing more than a common park.
There is also a toy train ride and you can book the tickets on spot.






Back to hotel and had dinner at the hotel restaurant. And that was all for the day. 

Day 2:

  It was cloudy till 7-7:30 am in the morning. So we got out for the day at around 8:30 am.
  Before that, we planned for the day over a couple of cups of tea. Google map is always handy while you are on the move. We planned to visit only Dubare Elephant Camp, Abbey Falls, Raja's Tomb, Madikeri Museum and Omkareshwar Temple. There are of course other places like Tala Kaveri and Somwarpet etc. But we didn't go for these simply for the reason that they are around 40-60 kms from Madikeri and we thought that it would be really hectic. After all, it was supposed to be a let-go-off-the-stress weekend trip. So...

Spot 1: Dubare Elephant Camp
You can get to Madikeri either by SH 88 or SH89. We went through the latter just by chance.......but it was a bonus for us.It is a long stretch of curvy road through the scenic coffee plantations on both sides,though it is narrower than SH 88.However the 2km stretch before the Dubare camp is terrible (88/89 wont make any difference).

Once there you have two options to reach the elephant camp.You can either raft across the water body or simply take a boat(both can be shared).We took a boat and it costs 20 bucks per person.
In the camp you can see elephant bathing,taking instructions or can enjoy a elephant ride.However for any of these you need to be present there in specific time slots....by the way,everything costs :)



Here are some more snaps







Spot 2: Abbey Falls
 We drove back to Madikeri(around 28 kms) and went straight for Abbey Falls which is another 8 Kms.The road is narrow with one hair pin curve which is very much manageable.
After car parking we walked a little down to see the actual falls......much before you see it you hear it.
Its a spectacular falls worth spending some time.There is also a hanging bridge from where one can see a straight view of the falls.We felt that in monsoon the beauty of the falls will be much more.




Now here's the video of the falls..
video

Spot 3: Raja's Tomb

  We spent like 1.5 hours at Abbey falls and then headed back. Raja's Tomb is on the way back. The place comprises of three tombs, One for the King, One for the Queen and the last one for the High Priest. This place seemed a little less crowded than the rest. The interesting thing about this place is the architecture used for these monuments. It appeared to be a mix of different cultures and religions, much like that of Omkareshwar Temple. 
   You can also enjoy a nice panoramic view of the city from this place. Here are some of the snaps from Raja's Tomb.






Spot 4: Madikeri Museum

The museum is in the city and very close to Madikeri Police station.Inside is a church which houses artifacts mostly of the 16th century.Photography is prohibited inside the museum.




Interestingly whenever we found a high rising wall,or a cliff some people would be there to show that they are more physically and mentally fit than the rest of us.Here's one chap........again highly not recommended.



Spot 5: Omkareshwar Temple

  So after spending some time at the Museum we drove straight for Omkareshwar Temple, the last destination of the day and thus of our trip. Omkareshwar Temple is pretty near to Madikeri. From our hotel(near Raja's seat), it is a 5-10 minutes walk to this temple.
  This temple stunningly resembles the similar work of art as that found at Raja's Tomb. It is also believed to have architectural inputs from different cultures. Here is a snap:


Marketing and dining in Madikeri
The next thing that was in our mind was to do some local shopping and of course tasting some  Kodava cuisine.We brought big cardamon,tea leaves,tamarind toffee and coorg honey.The price of these things are much less in Coorg when compared to Blore.

For tasting Kodava cuisine,we went to a restaurant named "Coorg Cuisine " on the recommendation of the shopkeeper.We decided to taste a 1)  typical kodava mutton dish made with a lot of coconut and 2)  bamboo shoot fry with rice balls.Mutton dish was okay but the bamboo shoot fry was pathetic.We felt that Kodava cuisine is good but the restaurant could not deliver it properly.

You can check "Crystal Court" which was also highly recommended by the shopkeeper.We could not taste the food there because by the time we reached that restaurant their al-a-carte
serving was over :(

Day 3:

We left for Blore around 9:00 am and decided to have a quick visit to Mysore zoo(specially for the green anacondas). Ticket Rs.40/person + Rs.20/still camera.








So here's the final checklist

  • Don't drive too fast on Mysore road.
  • On the day of your return, try to get out a little early to avoid Bangalore traffic.
  • Summer or Monsoon, take an umbrella with you.
  • Do better research on authentic Kodava restaurant.
  • Book hotels well in advance during peak seasons.
  • Very few restaurants from Mysore to Kushalnagar.
Our travel statistics(for two people):

    Total fuel consumption: Around Rs. 3000 (petrol).(Around 650 KM all inclusive)
    Hotel Cost: Rs. 1250/day (checkout at 12 noon)
    Food Cost: Around Rs. 500/day

    
So, what are you waiting for... pack your bags and get-set-go.










40 comments:

  1. You have made me nostalgic of my old college days... i had covered some of the places in bike... that was luxury in those days

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    1. Thanks for your comment Nirmalya Da. Please share your exp. of some of the other places you visited. Maybe we can plan our weekends accordingly. :)

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  2. Thanks for such a detailed review. I am planning to figure out an agenda for my parents who are going to visit Coorg. Your review has helped me get an idea of what to expect and what not to. Thanks for the post again.

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    1. Keekat, feels good that you liked our blog. We wish you a happy journey.

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  3. My friend and I are planning to go on a 2-day trip to Coorg!! Is it safe? I mean, are there chances of robbery or harassment?

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    1. Zim, overall its safe. However, streets get pretty much empty by 8:30 pm. And please book your hotel in advance(not too far from the town center). And its good if the hotel you book has its own restaurant.

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  4. Thank you!! I have another question. Is it very cold in Coorg? I have been looking for jackets in B'lore but it seems that none of the shops keep winter wear at all!! I am new in B'lore!

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    1. The weather of Coorg is more soothing than B'lore. However, we do not feel that any jacket is required at this time of the year. At the most you can carry some thick cloths. We stayed near Raja's seat and we never needed Jackets. Please note that there are some higher peaks in Coorg that we did not visit. So, won't be able to tell much about the temperature in those places.
      And yes, better to carry an umbrella.

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  5. Thank you very much! Since we are on budget, are the restaurant prices very expensive? And are buses available for sight seeing?

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    Replies
    1. There are many many restaurants in Madikeri so finding a good resonably priced one wont be a big problem.

      We saw a big bus stand in Madikeri but not very sure where to book for the sight seeing tours.We saw several sight seeing buses on our way.Autos are not very expensive in Madikeri so you can book an auto also.

      One good idea is to call up a few hotels and ask what sort of transport can they provide.

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  6. Can you please share the hotel details where you stayed and if possible its review.

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    1. Thanks for the query iPhone Blogger.
      We stayed at hotel Rajdarshan. Its like 100 meters from Raja's seat. They have their parking facility as well. At the time of our visit, a double bed-room was charged at INR 1250/-(inclusive of tax). For that amount its good, we'd say. The restaurant, we must mention, is quite good. The hotel has its travel desk which you can contact according to your need.
      Although you did not ask for it, but exploring KSTDC hotel would also be a good idea. We didn't get any room that day; nevertheless, the view from the lobby was fantastic.

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  7. Thank you for the comprehensive log of Coorg. Marvelous images too!

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  8. Don't know that Coorg is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this experience of yours.

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  9. Thought COORG was a hill station, meant for its climate, didn't know it had so many site seeing places. Great post thanks for sharing...
    [www.ajeethboaz.com]

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    Replies
    1. Coorg is really beautiful. Thanks for stopping by Ajeeth.

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  10. Very Fast , All in one ghumakkadi + journey . Suoerb snaps . Wish I was there .

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  11. Wow..Amazing pics and wonderful post..:-)

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  12. Thanks for refreshing my memories. We had been to most of the places and it was a lovely trip to Madikeri.

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    Replies
    1. We're really glad that the post helped you remember old days. Thanks for stopping by Fayaz.

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  13. beautiful pictures...
    one the places I could never cover despite living in Bangalore...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. We're glad you liked the post.

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  14. Your post makes me try to plan a try to Mysore. Thanks a lot. And of course, nice snaps.

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    Replies
    1. We wish you have a great trip. Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. Very nice to view all this, I felt like I was in tour/trip. Thanks

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    1. Thanks you very much for your kind words Roohana.

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  16. Nice blog, thanks for the details. Me and my wife decided to go and visit Coorg tomorrow only :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much......and have a nice travel to Coorg :)

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  17. Thanks Soma, that is really helpful for me, since i have planned a 3 days trip in April with my wife and 2 yr old daugher.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by...I am sure that you will have a wonderful time :)

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  18. Good Travel Diary, tourists will find it helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you so much and yes that is our main motto of helping tourists who plan to visit these places :)

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  19. WOW!!! awesome pics and looks realllly good!!!!
    Pls see my experience in Coorg as well thru my blog

    http://housefliesanonymous.blogspot.in/2014/03/come-away-with-me-destination-coorg.html

    Enjoy!!!

    HFA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Fliesonthewall. We checked your blog,lovely indeed

      Delete

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