Situated just 7-8 km from the Madikeri town, Abbey Falls is one of the most visited spots of Coorg. Appearing suddenly at the end of a narrow lane that passes in between the thick bushes of the private coffee plantations and the spice estates, Abbey Falls surprises visitors with the roaring sound that shatters the tranquility of the environment.
Though called Jessi waterfalls by the British in the memory of the daughter of Madikeri's first captain, it got its present name from the word “Abbe” or “Abbi”, which in Coorgie means waterfalls. Part of the Western Ghats, Abbey Falls is basically a combined stream that gushes down the rocky slopes in an enormous speed and hits the boulders and provides a spectacular sight of cascading water which settles down in a calm pool below.
The roaring sound of the waterfalls is a stark contrast to the otherwise tranquil environment of Coorg. As the water flows down in a speed it creates a layer of misty cloud that always hang over the mountains and provides a bewitching sight to the onlooker.
The falls gains its force during the monsoon as the force is high and usually diminishes in summer as the flow dries up this time. There is a hanging bridge opposite to the falls that provides a better view to the tourists. A Kali Mata Temple on the other side of the bridge is also not to be missed.
Iruppu Falls is located in South Coorg in the Brahmagiri Range of hills in the side of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls as the Lakshmana Tirtha river which is a tributary of Kaveri originates from this falls. The river takes a 60 ft plunge amidst the green mountains which is known as the Iruppu Falls.
It is situated at a distance of 48 km from Virajpet and 80 km from Madikeri, on the highway to Nagarhole and also very close to the Wayanad district in Kerala. The famous Rameshwara Temple is very near to the falls.
There is a legend that says that Rama and Lakshmana had come here while searching for Sita and Rama had asked Lakshmana to fetch some drinking water. In order to quench his elder brother's thirst, he shot an arrow at the Brahmagiri hills from which, sprung the Lakshmana Tirtha waterfalls. It's due to this reason that people have the religious belief that this falls cleanse the devotees of all their sins if visited during the Maha Shiva Ratri.
Like all the streams in Western Ghats Iruppu also has a considerably heavy flow during the monsoon compared to summer. There is a bridge and stairs to climb up along the falls and also benches to relax at the side of the falls that makes it easy to have a closer look. The picturesque view of the ferns and other trees along with the gushing sound of the falls makes it a memorable experience.
Talacauvery is a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. Located at the Brahmagiri hills and considered to be the origin of the river Cauvery, it is situated 1276 m above sea level. At present there is a tank at the place where Cauvery is believed to have originated. The river originates as a spring supplying water to this tank. The water then flows underground to emerge as the Cauvery river at some distance. This tank is considered to be a holy place to bathe on special days. Nearby there is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Agastheeswara and frequently visited by the pilgrims.
There is a legend saying that Cauvery was held captive by the sage Agastya in his kamandalu and Lord Ganesha in the form of a crow made the kamandalu topple at the top of this hill when Sage Agastya was meditating. People believe that taking bath in Talacauvery is very sacred and it can relieve man from all his sufferings.
One of the biggest attractions here, is Bhagamandala, the confluence of three rivers Cauvery, Kannike and Sujyoti. Bhagamandala is 8 km from Talacauvery. There are nearby temples devoted to Lord Ganapati, Subramanya and Vishnu. An annual festival is celebrated during the month of October/November every year when the river gushes out of the tank in a predetermined moment and thousands of pilgrims gather to witness the rise of the fountainhead. During this festival the region becomes very attractive with thousands of lights lit in the temples.
Apart from being a place of sanctity, Talacauvery is also a must-visit tourist place when you visit Coorg. The temple is situated in a breathtaking location, in the lap of the Brahmagiri hills. The undulating layers of the hills with stretches of green meadows is truly picturesque seen from the temple. A wonderful tourist place to relax in leisure.
Burude Falls gets its name from the word 'Burude' which means 'skull' in Kannada. The falls is located on the Siddapur-Kamta Road. The best time to visit the falls is during winter and early summer because during monsoon it is quite impossible to cross the valley.
There is a small creek through which a tourist can trek to reach the falls during summer. One needs to trek carefully in order to reach the other side of the Burude falls. There is an amphitheatre sort of a setting at the initial step of the falls and the tourists can sit and enjoy the gushing sound and splashing water forming mist around the falls.
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is located in between Wayanad of Kerala in the South and Coorg of Karnatka in the North. It is located on the Western Ghats and Brahmagiri is the highest peak of this sanctuary. The reach of the sanctuary is 181 km. It is almost 60 km from Coorg.
The forest here is dense and full of evergreen trees. This is one of the favourite places for the trekkers. The Brahmagiri hills can be approahed from both the sides. On the Kerala side, the trek starts from Thirunelli and on the Karnataka side it starts from Iruppu falls. Whichever side the trekker starts, he needs to take permission from the forest range officer of that respective side.
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is the home to different wild animals like lion-tailed macaque, elephant, gaur, tiger, jungle cat, leopard cat, wild dog, sloth bear, wild pig, sambar, spotted deer, Nilgiri langur, slender loris and bonnet macaque.
Other animals include common langur, barking deer, mouse deer, Malabar giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel, Nilgiri marten, common otter, brown mongoose, civets, porcupine, pangolin, python, cobra, king cobra, emerald dove, black bulbul and Malabar trogon. Birds like emerald dove, black bulbul and Malabar trogon can also be found here.
Mallali is the most beautiful waterfalls in Coorg. Mallali falls is formed from Kumaradhara River. It is at the foot of Pushpapagiri hills and falls from a height of 62 m. It is closer to Somwarpet in Coorg and there are few buses from here to Hanchinalli, which is the nearest village to this falls. One can approach the falls only by foot as the roads become very narrow and rugged over here.
Monsoon is the best time to visit Mallali falls as the river dries up in summer. In monsoon the falls runs in full strength with water gushing down intensely and creating a layer of mist around it that adds to the mystic atmosphere.
Omkareshwara Temple is situated at the heart of the Madikeri hill station. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by King Lingarajendra in 1820. This temple bears the influence of the Islamic architecture which was a result of the Islamic invasion of Kodagu during the reigns of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The temple has a dome at the centre and four turrets at the corners.
Resembling the structure of a dargah, it has a Shiva Linga at the entrance of the temple. The temple has a water tank, which has a mandapa at the middle of it and a causeway to connect it with the main temple. Omkareashwara temple got its name as people believe that the Linga present here was brought by the King from Kashi.
The story goes that the king had killed a Brahmin to fulfill his political goals and he tried to conciliate his disgruntled spirit. The spirit had turned into a Brahmarakshasa and bothered him till he founded the temple and installed the idol. The temple has an inscription at the entrance of door which is on a copper plate.
The quality that makes the Hindu temple a unique one is the confluence of the Islamic and Hindu architectural styles.
Bylakuppe is second biggest Tibetan settlement in India, after Dharamshala. It is just at a 6 km-distance from Kushalnagara. There are two Tibetan settlements Lugsum Samdupling and Dickyi Larsoe, in which thousands of Tibetan refugees live in exile.
After the Chinese occupation in Tibet these Tibetan refugees have escaped their homeland to get shelter in these settlements. There are agricultural settlements, Tibetan monasteries, tourist oriented Tibetan eateries and handicraft shops all over this place.
The main attraction in Bylakuppe is the Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery which adheres to the typical Tibetan style of architecture and appears as a pleasant surprise in South India. The golden colour 40 ft tall idols of Padmasambhava, Buddha and Amitayus are heavily decorated and awe inspiring.
The prayer drums, prayer wheels and the doors are full of handcrafted decorations. The walls of the temple are filled with Tibetan Thangka, a paintings depicting all the incarnations of Buddha and the deities of Vajrayana Buddhism. Large educational monastic institution Sera, the smaller Tashilunpo monastery, Sera Mey and Sera Jay monasteries and many other Buddhist universities for advanced Buddhist practices are also the flag-bearers of the Tibetan Buddhism.
Raja's Seat is one of the important sites of Madikeri of Coorg District. It's a garden of seasonal flowers and wonderful fountains. These fountains are musical and they gush coloured water to loud rhythmic music.
The garden gets the name as this was the favourite recreational place for the Kodagu Kings. The Raja's seat is a small pavilion made out of brick and mortar, supported with four pillars and bridged by arches. The structure commemorates the association of this place with the Kodagu Kings.
The Kodagu Kings used to spend time with their queens in this garden. Layers of lush green garden and the valley of high and low raised mountains covered with mist, truly justifies the fascination of the Kodagu Kings for this spot.
Built at a higher level from the nearby cliffs and valleys, from Raja's seat one gets to enjoy a better view of the surroundings. Watching the sunrise and sunset with the golden light covering the whole valley with its mystic beauty is an experience in itself. There is also an added attraction of Toy train for the children to enjoy.
Madikeri Fort was originally a mud fort built by Mudduraja in last quarter of the 17th century. It also had a palace inside the fort. This fort was rebuilt with stone by Tipu Sultan with secret underground passages.
In 1790, Doddavira Rajendra took control of the fort. In 1834, the British added to the fort. Later in 1812-1814, it was once again reconstructed by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II. This palace consists of a sculpture of a tortoise with the initials of King Vijayarajendra on it and two life size stone replicas of the royal elephants which were killed by King Veera Raja.
The fort has a tale of bravery to narrate. In the inner fort there was a temple of Virabhadra, which was forcibly destroyed to give place to an Anglican Church built by the British in 1855. Built in Gothic style this St. Marks Church has stained glass windows.
The structure was renovated twice and in 1933, a clock tower and a portico was constructed to park the commissioner's car. The two-storied fort is a 110-feet-long structure. Today it is a museum under the Archeological Department of India.
It has become the home to some of the historical artifacts and a section has been dedicated to Field Martial Cariappa. Other areas of interest within the fort premises are the district prison, the Kote Maha Ganapathi temple and the Mahatma Gandhi Public Library. The Kote Maha Ganapathi temple is also one of the main temples in Coorg which competes during the Madikeri Dussera Festival.
Rajara Gaddige is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Coorg. Rajara Gaddige is the mausoleum of the former Kodagu kings Doddaveerarajendra, Lingarajendra and Rajaguru Rudrappa. Gaddige has two identical structures, which are the tombs of the king Doddaveerarajendra and his queen. They are close to each other, built in Indo-Sarcanic style.
There are central domes supported with four pillars at the corners. The right tomb is of King Lingarajendra, built in 1820 AD by his son king Chikkaveerarajendra. The left tomb is of Royal priest Rudrappa, built in 1834 AD. Buried nearby are two royal officials, Biddanda Bopu who died fighting with Tipu Sultan and his son Biddanda Somaiah. This spot is just 1 km away from Madikeri.
Bhagamandala is a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. Situated at the confluence of Cauvery and its tributary Kannike, the mythical river Sujyoti is said to have joined from underground at this point. It is considered as a sacred river confluence and called Triveni Sangama.
During the Tula Sankramana, pilgrims take a dip at the Bhagamandala before proceeding towards Talacauvery. At a short distance from the Triveni Sangama, there is a famous temple known as Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple, where Bhagandeshwara, Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapati idols are worshipped. This place is also known as Bhagandeshwara Kshetra, from which the name Bhagamandala has been derived.
The temples in this area are built in Kerala style. During 1785–1790, this area was occupied by Tipu Sultan. He renamed Bhagamandala to Afesalabad. In 1790, King Dodda Vira Rajendra took Bhagamandala back into an independent Kodagu kingdom and Bhagamandala got back its ancient glory. Bhagamandala is 33 km from Madikeri and well connected to Virajpet and nearby places of Kerala.
Valnur fishing camp is very near to Dubare. Located at the backwaters of Kaveri, it is a heaven for people who love fishing and angling. This is the most beautiful fishing spot in whole Karnataka. Other than the fishing experience one can never deny the wonderful beauty of nature
The standstill calm water with the sudden lashes of fish leaping from it is what one gets to see here. Valnur has various species of fish that include Mahseers, Marals and Mapps. Mahseers and Marals are considered to be good catches. Mahseer fishing camps and eco tours to river Kaveri starting from Valnur are conducted by many tour companies.
The fishing camps begin at the Valnur fishing camp and moves downstream to Doddamakali, Bheemeshwari and finally reaches to Galibore. A regular fishing license from the Coorg Wildlife Society is required for someone who wants to fish in Valnur Fishing Camp.
Somwarpet is a panchayat town in Coorg and also the main town of Somwarpet Taluk. The important destinations in and around Somwarpet are Pushpagiri Hills, Kotebetta and Makkalagudi Betta. Pushpagiri is the second highest peak in Coorg and around 6 kms from Somwarpet.
Trekkers trek in order to reach the peak of Pushpagiri and the trek starts from the base Bhabati. Kotebetta is the third highest peak of Coorg and is located in between Madikeri and Somwarpet. The trek to the top of Kotebetta is around 10 km from the base. There is a Shiva temple on the peak of the hill.
No permission is required to trek on these hills but taking a local guide can definitely handy. Makkalagudi Betta is the backwaters of the Harangi reservoir. It is famous for its paddy fields, forests and scenic beauty. Another important spot not to be missed in Somwarpet is Malemalleshwara Betta.
Located around 13 km from Somwarpet, Malemalleshwara Betta is popular among the tourists for the grand Maha Shivaratri celebration organised in this town.
Honnamana Kere is the biggest lake in Coorg and a place of historical and spiritual significance. It’s 6 km away from Somwarpet. There is story which says that the goddess Honnamana sacrificed her life for the welfare of the people and a temple adjacent to the lake has been constructed in the honour of Goddess Honnamma.
Every year once, during the Gowri festival, a special pooja is conducted and a 'Bagina' consisting of different belongings for the goddess Honamma is presented to the lake.
Honnamana Kere is surrounded by two hills Gavi Betta & Mori Betta and by beautiful mountains, cliffs and coffee plantations. Man built caves can be found amongst these hills which are believed to be built by the Pandavas. Honnammana Kere is also a boating and fishing spot and every year during the Gowri festival newly wed couples visit the lake to give offerings.