Coorg was initially a province. It was called the Coorg Province, but that was later changed after India gained independence. All provinces were made into states, and this place came to be known as Coorg State. It was ruled by the Chief Commissioner and the state also had a capital.
But in 1956, the boundaries were reevaluated, and Coorg was made into a district in the state of Mysore. Mysore today is called Karnataka. Coorg was then later renamed as Kodagu district. Thus, this historical place went through a lot of changes to get to where it is today.
Budget travellers will find a lot of things to do and explore in Coorg that won’t break their banks. Here are some of the exciting things to do in Coorg.
After entrancing the world with its superior quality of coffee, Coorg is fondly referred to as the ‘Coffee Cup of India.’ One can see miles and miles stretch out ahead covered with coffee plants. By February, these plants grow their flowers. Lose yourself in the beautiful scenery of soft white flowers blooming in these fields.
The aroma of fresh coffee is hard to miss. By November, one can notice small red berries starting to appear. Coffee as a beverage is enjoyed in almost all parts of the country.
And when one can find coffee as exquisite as the ones produced here in Coorg, then how can he resist enjoying a cup? Travellers can easily get local coffee in every department store in the area.
One can also enjoy a steaming cup in any of the stalls selling coffee or even in the hotel one stays at. Enjoy long walks in the fields and fill your lungs with clean, fresh air and the lingering aroma of fresh coffee.
2. Visit Abbey falls
A must thing to do in Coorg is to take a relaxing and rewarding trek to the ever famous Abbey Falls. Located in Kodagu, the falls is situated some 7 km away from Madikeri or Mercara, the capital city of the district. One can easily take a bus to get here.
Travellers also have the option of hiring a jeep or a cab to reach the beginning of the trail. Walk among the lush greenery surrounding this scenic spot. There are many coffee bushes and other herb spots in the small forest near the waterfall. River Kaveri flows down the hill some 21 meters.
The cascading shower of this brilliant river accompanied by the gushing sound is sure to raise goosebumps. Best time to visit this iconic falls is in the monsoons when the river is full and flowing with gusto.
3. Puttari festival
Puttari festival is also known as Huttari festival in Kannada, the official state language of Karnataka. Puttari means ‘new rice.’ This is the rice harvest festival of the local folk. The festival takes place in late November or in early December. People decorate their houses with flowers, banana leaves, and green mango leaves.
The head of the house is presented with a sickle and the family proceeds to their paddy fields. ‘Poli Poli Deva’ is chanted to bring prosperity and rice is cut and stacked. This rice is cut in odd numbers and is used as offering to the gods. Firecrackers are lit, and money is given to people around.
At the end of the week, a feast is held in the entire village consisting of delicious authentic preparations of meat like pork and chicken. Alcohol flows around in such celebrations. Travellers coming to Coorg in this time of the year find themselves involved in the local celebrations. One can get an excuse thus to try some of the local dishes.
4. Omkareshwara Temple
Built in 1820, this ancient temple is situated in Madikeri. A harsh King spilt the blood of an innocent Brahmin for reasons unknown. But the spirit of the Brahmin troubled him, and the king was soon asked to atone for his great sin. He was asked to collect a lingam from Kashi and install it where he slaughtered the Brahmin. A temple was built in the spot housing the lingam.
The thing to be noted here is the architecture is in the Islamic style, all with domes and minarets. There is a pond alongside the temple full of fishes. One can easily get to this temple at any time of the day.
Though if you come here during a puja, be sure to get lost in the continuous chimes and ringing of the bells, the constant chant of mantras and the huge crowds with folded hands and bowed heads. Other times, one can marvel in the tranquillity of this religious institution.
Bylakuppe is an area in Karnataka, India, which is home to several Tibetan settlements. The town of Bylakuppe with Indian locals is located here. The place is close to Coorg towards the eastern part. The state government makes many provisions for the betterment of the Tibetans.
They can avail free education and medical care. Scholarships are also provided to eligible students. This quaint town has a police station, a post office, a few banks and some lodges and hotels. Buses, auto rickshaws, and taxis are the available modes of transport.
Ingalakere, the largest lake in Mysore is located here. The Namdroling Monastery, also known as the Golden Temple and the Sera Monastery are other attractions in this small town. Visit this monastery is one of the things to do in Coorg.
Travellers can come here to experience and explore the Buddhist way of life and also visit schools and settlements. A Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required by travellers who want to stay overnight in Bylakuppe.
6. Kodava cuisine
Travelling to exotic places means visiting picturesque spots and eating delicious local cuisines. And trying the Kodava cuisine is one of the definite things to do when in Coorg. Traditional Kodava dishes are simple and befitting the common man and his busy life. Enjoying Kodava cuisines is one of my personal favourite things to do in Coorg.
Breakfasts include akki rotti and kumbala curry which is flatbread made of rice and pumpkin curry. Coffee is the most obvious choice of beverage preferred in the mornings. For travellers interested in trying more of this classic cuisine, it is best recommended to try a ‘thali.’
Items like Kadambuttu, pandi curry, venison, chicken, rice, and vegetables are what one will normally get for lunch. Dishes like sautéed beans, kuttu curry, cucumber raita and kaipuli pajji are some of the sides provided to add accents to the meal. And to add the perfect touch to the perfect meal, cleanse your palate with amazing local desserts like jalebis and payasam.
7. Dubare elephant camp
Started by the Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd., this elephant camp focuses on welcoming visitors to interact with these majestic beasts. People have the services of a guide who will take them around the camp and show how various processes go on.
Visitors can observe the animals and also get involved in the activities. Since logging operations have stopped in the forests, these elephants are practically jobless and thus are considered to be retired! The place offers luxurious cottages as an option of accommodation.
The resort has an excellent restaurant and bar area. The main sight to look out for here is the troop of elephants coming to the river to take a dip. Often crocodiles come out too to bask in the sun.
Elephants here are groomed, and visitors are allowed to feed them. Elephant rides, river rafting and a ride in the coracle, traditional boats are some of the activities provided here. For environmental enthusiasts, a trip to Dubare elephant camp is one of the definite things to do in Coorg.
This is a natural island formed by the many turns of River Kaveri. Nisargadhama can be accessed through a hanging rope bridge. The place is full of lush greenery and filled with bamboo groves and large trees like sandalwood and teak.
Animals like deer, peacocks, and rabbits can be seen here in plenty. A children’s playground on the island attracts a lot of families. There is also an orchidarium here. Elephant rides and boating are some of the sports open to visitors.
People are also allowed to get into specific safe spots in the water. This is a fun adventure to go to, and visitors are often seen staying at the guest house and treetop bamboo cottages on the island.
9. Madikeri Fort
The fort was founded in the 17th Century, and the founder Mudduraja built a palace within the fort. Tipu Sultan, a Mughal ruler, later rebuilt it in granite. The fort was added to by the British in 1834. Thus, one can see the differences in architecture and the influence of culture in the combined construction.
The site holds many carvings and statues that clearly represent the artistic style of that period. Historians would love a trip to Madikeri Fort. The Fort proudly houses two life-sized masonry elephants at the entrance. Today, the fort holds many governmental offices.
The Madikeri Fort Museum is located within the fort. Visiting this ancient fort is one of the interesting things to do in Coorg, and one can easily explore the depths of history that this place holds.
10. Talakaveri wildlife sanctuary
Spread across 150 sq km a visit to this wildlife sanctuary is one of the exciting things to do in Coorg. The sanctuary is named after the source of the great river Kaveri, Talakaveri. The place is full of lush tropical evergreen forests. One can also find cardamom and coffee plantations here within the sanctuary.
Animals like elephants, tigers, jackals, various species of deer, squirrels, otters, and mongoose are found here. Reptiles like snakes are a common sight here. Cobra, king cobra, python and rat snakes are some of the varieties found here.
The sanctuary also houses exotic species of flora. Various types of birds are seen here too. Trekking is one of the common things to do in Coorg and visitors here are often seen doing. The place mainly sees a rush in the months of November to April.
11. Tadiandamol peak
Located in the Western Ghats, Tadiandamol peak is the highest mountain in the Kodagu district. Short, stunted trees are found in certain areas in the mountains. They are collectively termed as the Shola forests. One of the top things to do in Coorg is the daily trek to the peak of this mountain.
The trek is moderately tough, and a roundabout trip will probably just take a day. This is thus perfect for people from the cities who want to try out trekking. Avid Trekkers too love scaling this magnificent mountain.
People are often seen camping at the top for the night. The base camp Kakkabe offers an enthralling view of the valleys below and the rolling grasslands.
The period from September to February is the recommended time to visit this peak. A trip up top will let you encounter the beauty of nature in the form of gurgling streams and rivulets, patches of lush forests and gusty winds.
12. Iruppu Falls
This magnificent fall is located in the Brahmagiri mountain range. It is also called as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls as it is the origin of the tributary Lakshmana Tirtha River. Lord Lakshman from the Hindu mythology is believed to have shot an arrow at the mountain to fetch drinking water and thus started the cascading fall of this great river. Visiting Irupu falls is one of the most sought after things to do in Coorg.
Also, the Rameshwara temple, an extremely famous Shiva temple is located on the way to the falls. Thus the place has not only gained the attention of tourists but also pilgrims.
A huge crowd is thus seen towards the end of February washing off their sins. The best time to trek to this excellent spot would be during the monsoons as then the waterfall would be gushing down in all its glory.
13. Nagarahole National Park
Located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, Nagarahole national park is a World Heritage Site under the protection of UNESCO. It is a huge tiger reserve and has a good prey-predator ratio. The park is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park and visiting this park is one of the best things to do in Coorg.
The Park displays a wide variety of vegetation including grasslands, thick forest covers, rivers and small streams, mountains, hills and waterfalls. Fauna like tigers, sloth bears, striped hyena, leopards, dholes otters, and squirrels are found here.
Crocodiles are seen slumbering on the banks of the Kabini River running through the reserve. There is a huge variety of birds and insects here. More than 270 species of birds and 60 species of ants are seen here.
What are you still waiting for, when you have a list of things to do in Coorg! Head to Coorg this time along with your gang. The Coorg samaja caters to all types of travellers and their needs.