It was a weekend and without much of an idea on what to do in Bangalore apart from visiting the malls for a window shopping or some sports arena, I decided to take a break from this chaotic place.
Well, an unplanned trip is the most amazing part of every traveller and sometimes it can be the toughest one as well if you are not mentally prepared for it. Walking into the nearest bus stand and hopping into a bus without an idea of a destination in your head is completely exciting and thrilling.
Homestay at Madikeri - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
Got into a local bus in Bangalore at 10:30 PM and got down at the Madikeri bus stand at 5:30 AM and as the bus travelled through the lush green forests and the mist, it is certainly an experience to be felt. Spending a day without halting anywhere is a great deal and this can even be called as a Low Budget Trip as well.
Find a public toilet or an accommodation on hourly basis to freshen up and within the Madikeri Bus stand, you would find travel agents who would be available to facilitate travellers and tourists with the necessary arrangements. There are buses available to commute however, to remote places you may have to hire a taxi or Jeep to go around the city based on the choice of places you would want to cover within the set time.
There are a lot of attractions within Coorg however, in to spend the 24 hours in Scotland of Karnataka, you may choose the below three destinations.
Mandalapatti Ranges - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
At a distance of 20km from the Madikeri town is this beautiful hill Mandalpatti, also called as Mugilu Pete - meaning, Market of Mist in local dialect. It is a part of the Pushpagiri forest reserve; this is one of the most scenic locations of Coorg which everyone should pay a visit atleast once in their lifetime and this place certainly not for weak-hearts. Roads leading to this mesmerizing beauty can be trekked to or you may choose to hire a jeep and go on a 4 wheel-drive. Do not forget to hold on tight to anything available in the jeep. The roads are steep and climbing uphill amidst the rocks and rough paths is definitely an act of courage. There are steps that lead you to the edge of the cliff for an amazing view at the bottom.
There are three view points from this hill and the one at the edge of the cliff is a must if you are a sucker for adventure. It's good to visit this place early in the morning as it would be completely covered with fog. However, the vicinity level decreases and it may become a little difficult for the drivers to
manoeuvre along the rocky roads. The place offers an excellent view of the lush green forests and is a must-visit place.
Pushpagiri Forest Reserve - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
Things to check before you visit Mandalpatti
- Visiting this place during monsoon is not recommended.
- You may have to check for permission and parking fee before entering the premises from the forest department.
- You may have to carry water bottles and snacks as there is nothing available on the top of the mountain.
- Should wear comfortable clothes and footwear, if you are planning to trek to this place.
- You may choose to have some snacks and noodles from nearby shacks available on the way to Mandalpatti.
- Do not litter in this space as this is a plastic free zone.
- Toilets are available once you climb down the hill.
- Jeep rent - 1800 INR/-
Madikeri Fort and things inside the fort - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
Once, you cover Mandalpatti; you can visit the fort of Madikeri. A fort that is situated in the heart of the city and can be a part of your 24 hours in Scotland of Karnataka journey.
The fort has a large entrance and the original mud fort was reconstructed by the Tiger of Mysore, Tippu Sultan using stone. The fort also houses an ancient Ganapati Temple and the 10 days of Dasara festival is celebrated with great fervour and gaiety. The Fort also has a palace which has now turned into a Government office. There is also a library and a museum inside the fort. The museum has various collections donated by Field Marshal General Cariappa. There are broken statues of a lot of gods and goddesses and the attraction inside the museum is the ivory art of Lord Krishna and Arjuna depicting the scene of Kurukshetra war.
The museum also has a lot of cannons used during the war and also swords and clothes from the rulers of Kodagu region. Artefacts are kept in and around the museum and it would take atleast an hour to cover the entire museum. There is a small canteen in the fort premises that offers food at nominal cost. Do not forget to have a butter-milk from that canteen at INR 10/-
Statue of elephants inside the Fort - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
You can take a stroll of the entire fort as you climb the steps, the fort also has a prison which once punished the notorious criminals. But now, the fort seems more like a lovers paradise and the view from the top is very scenic. As you climb down, there is a lawn that is beautifully spread and in the middle of the lawn are two giant elephants made of Plaster of Paris and the place is a perfect spot to pose for some photographs.
The fort also has an orphanage exclusively for girls within its premises. It also has the horticultural and archaeological offices along with some of the other government offices. There is no entrance fee, photography fee applicable. However, entry to the orphanage and photography inside the museum is restricted.
- The Fort is opened between 10 AM to 5 PM on all days except Mondays.
Namdroling Monastery at Bylakuppe - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
Bylakuppe - Tibetan Colony
As you fill your brains with the information of history, now its time to take a chill pill and shop for some souvenirs at the Tibetan Colony of Bylakuppe and visit the serene Namdroling monastery. At a distance of 30km from Madikeri is Kushalnagar and there are frequent buses to this place at a price of 50 INR/-. You may reach the Tibetan camp from Kushalnagar by auto rickshaws who would charge anything between 40 INR/- to 60 INR/-. The distance from Kushalnagar to the monastery is 4.6 Km.
You may walk into the peaceful monastery which was initially constructed using the bamboos from the forest, look at the lovely lawns and also the art on the walls. As you take a tour around this place you would come across the friendly monks who would direct you towards the prayer halls and the prayer area. Behind the monastery is the tower dedicated to one of the Lamas and you would see people chanting hymns and making circumambulation of the same. Do not be surprised, if you are also invited to follow the procedures.
Tibetan Monks at the monastery - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
The monastery is now closed for renovations however, the monastery houses a gigantic statue of Lord Buddha and on either sides are the statues of Padmasambhava and Amatiyus. The monastery has a serene environment and it is a bliss to see little monks running around in their traditional attire.
Videography is not allowed inside the monastery and it is opened on all days from 9AM to PM to visitors.
Once, you quench your heart and soul with the sight of the Namdroling monastery you may visit the Tibetan shopping complex. They have a lot of souvenirs and sometimes may be priced a little exorbitantly. Do not forget for some awesome steamed momos from the Malaya restaurant within the shopping complex. There are pay and use toilets inside the complex for visitors which are well-maintained.
Things not to miss in when you are in the Scotland of Karnataka
Pork Curry and Rotis made of Rice - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
- Try the Local Pandi curry and chapatis (local delicacy made of pork) from any non-veg restaurant.
- Buy home made chocolates.
- Buy some cool gifts for your friends and families.
- Enjoy a cool morning walk in the coffee plantations.
- Pick some home made wines of beetle, grapes, pineapple, bananas, coconuts etc.
Home made wine - PC : Brunda Nagaraj
Well, looks like we need to now board the bus back to our base location and I guess, this write-up would for sure come handy when you just want to get out and relax yourself of a busy from the city limits without spending much:)
Go backpacking, have fun and just travel to see how beautiful the world is!
Saying this, Brunda signing off for the day from NativePlanet!