This tiny hill station in south Karnataka is a wonderful place to visit all year round. The cool and pleasant weather in Coorg makes it the perfect place to spend a few days in the lap of nature. Along with the weather, the people, the culture and all the beautiful places to visit in Coorg make it a wonderful destination to visit. The beautiful hill station nestled in the Brahmagiri ranges of the Western Ghats has several hidden gems that you must visit.
Kodagu or Coorg is a large district with three taluks, giving you many options for sightseeing. But how do you decide where to go and which tourist places in Coorg to see? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’ll help you plan your itinerary for the perfect trip to Coorg.
Here Is A List Of The Places To Visit In Coorg That You Shouldn’t Miss
For the sight of misty hills dotted with coffee plantations with a tiny hint of urban life, a trip to Madikeri is a must. Madikeri is the capital of Kodagu district. The beautiful town sits amidst green woody slopes, colourful scenery, misty mountains, cascading falls, dense tropical forests and coffee and spice plantations. The paradisiacal hill town stands 1,452 meters above sea level and is home to several beautiful places in Coorg that you shouldn’t miss.
1. Madikeri Fort: Home Of The Erstwhile Kings Of Coorg
The capital of Coorg has its fair share of history, and the Madikeri fort is proof of that. The fort was built in the 17th century. Over time, the original mud structure of the fort was renovated and what stands today is built of granite. Madikeri Fort is an amalgamation of the different rulers, their religious beliefs, cultures and traditions. It has a temple, church, prison, museum and library inside its walls, and was constructed in the European style with checkered floor tiles and large windows.
One of the main attractions inside the fort is the large, life-size masonry elephants in the entrance. Visitors can take pictures standing next to these elephants or enjoy the panoramic view of Madikeri town from the fort walls. Madikeri Fort is one of the best places to visit in Coorg to get a glimpse into Kodagu’s history.
2. Omkareshwara Temple: The Temple Built As Penance
The Omkareshwara temple in the centre of Madikeri town is one of the most popular tourist places in Coorg. The temple was built in 1820 by the then king of Coorg, Lingarajendra II, as an act of penance. The temple is an interesting mix of architectural styles with features of Gothic and Islamic architectural styles. The idol in the temple is a Shiva linga named Omkareshwara Swamy, which was brought to Coorg from Kashi/Varanasi. The beautiful pushkarani (holy lake) in front of the temple has a small shrine built in the middle of the lake. The shrine called vasantha vihara is connected to the main path by a walkway. Spend an evening in the temple with the cool breeze, the fish in the pond and twinkling stars for company.
3. Abbey Falls: A 70 Foot Waterfall Amidst Lush Greenery
A waterfall in the middle of a lush green coffee and spice plantation sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Abbey Falls is truly that kind of paradise and is one of the best places to visit in Coorg. The only thing you’ll hear is the rush of the water falling over the rocky mountainside, the chirp of birds and the buzz of bees. The water cascading over the rocks into the green pool that is 70 feet below is quite the spectacle. The surrounding plantation makes it an enchanting place. Dip your toes in the cool water or click some photographs of the falls from the hanging bridge. A day spent in the calm atmosphere of Abbey Falls will leave you refreshed.
4. Raja Seat: A Perfect View Of The Sunset
The best thing to do after a long day of sightseeing is just to relax on a bench and watch the sunset over the horizon. Well, Raja Seat in Coorg offers you a spectacular view of the sun setting over the Western Ghats. It is one of the popular tourist places in Madikeri. The botanical garden was once a favourite amongst the royal family of Coorg, who came here to watch the beautiful sunset. Today, the popular tourist spot is made up of the botanical gardens, musical fountains and a toy train.
Take a leisurely walk among fragrant flowers and topiary in the beautifully manicured gardens or bring forth your inner child on the toy train. Then head to Sunset Point and watch in wonder as the fiery orb calls it a day and sets in the distant mountains. After the view of the beautiful sunset, Raja Seat has one more surprise waiting for its guests. As the magical musical fountain comes on, the water bursts from the fountain in tune to some catchy music and beautiful lights. A truly magical experience to end your day of sightseeing in Coorg.
5. Talakaveri: The Origin Of The Holy River Kaveri
Nestled in the mighty mountains of the Brahmagiri hills, is the birthplace of the river Kaveri. Talakaveri, the place where the river originates, is considered sacred by the Kodavas. Thousands of Kodavas and tourists visit every year to bathe in the river. It is believed that a dip in the river cleanses one of all their sins. Talakaveri is located 1,200 metres above sea level and the winding roads going up the hill to the temple offers great panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. After the visit to the temple, devotees also climb the steps carved into the Brahmagiri mountain. It is believed that the sapta maharishis (seven great sages) performed a special yajna (fire ceremony) in the Brahmagiri peak. The peak offers unparalleled views of the beautiful mist-laden Western Ghats for miles. Talakaveri and Bhagamandala are two of the most sacred places to visit in Coorg.
The taluk of Virajpet, which was earlier known as Virarajendrapete, was named after one of the kings of the Haleri dynasty who ruled Kodagu. Virajpet is another of the taluks in Kodagu and is located in the southern part of Coorg. The town was founded in 1792 to commemorate the meeting of the king, Dodda Virarajendra with General Robert Abercromby. They met to ally themselves to fight against the then ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan.
The southern part of Coorg is a lovely place filled with lush green coffee plantations, gurgling streams and tea plantations. The tiny towns and the tourist places in Virajpet taluk are beautiful and should be on the itinerary of your Coorg trip.
1. Nalknad Palace: The Summer Palace Of The Royal Family Of Coorg
Deep in the wilderness of Coorg is an old palace that was once the summer palace of the erstwhile royal family of Coorg. Dodda Veerarajendra, the king of the Haleri dynasty, built the Nalknad palace in 1792, under the foothills of the Thadiyandamol mountain. The palace also served as a refuge for the king and his family from Tipu Sultan and his invading troops. The beautiful, old Nalknad palace, also known as Nalnaad Aramane, is relatively small but still impressive. The palace is built in the style of most old Kodava houses, with tiled roofs and wooden pillars lining the corridors.
A gigantic gateway outside leads to the palace. The kalyana mantapa, where royal weddings and ceremonies were held, is just outside in front of the palace. The walls and ceilings inside are decorated with intricate paintings and carvings. The basement in the palace has two dark rooms, which served as the king’s hiding place. The palace also has an underground tunnel, which leads to Madikeri. The Nalknad palace is a testament of the life and struggles of the kings of Kodagu.
2. Iruppu Falls: The Water That Quenched Rama’s Thirst
Set in an idyllic location, the Iruppu Falls in the middle of the forest is the perfect place to lose yourself in nature for a few hours. Iruppu Falls, located in the Brahmagiri range, at the border of Kodagu and Kerala is another of the most beautiful places to visit in Coorg. A forest trail leads to the place where the Lakshman Theertha river cascades over the rocky face of the Brahmagiri mountains. The waterfall cascades from a height of 170 feet into the pool below.
According to legend, the birth of the falls is mentioned in the epic ‘Ramayana’. The falls were born when Rama and his brother Lakshmana passed by the area looking for Sita. When a thirsty Rama asked for water, Lakshmana shot an arrow into the mountain range and brought forth the waterfall to quench his brother’s thirst. The famous Rameshwara temple on the banks of the Lakshmana Theertha river was apparently set up by Rama. It is believed that he created the Shiva linga in the temple to pray to the god Shiva .
Iruppu Falls is considered a very sacred place by the locals. Thousands of people visit the falls to cleanse themselves of their sins and take part in the festival on Shivaratri (a Hindu festival). Visitors have to pay an entry fee of INR 50 to go to the falls.
3. Glenlorna Tea Estate And Barapole River: The Place Where Your Cup Of Tea Comes From
If you think Coorg is only full of coffee and spice plantations, then think again. The south of Coorg has a tiny bit of paradise called the Glenlorna tea plantations. Just after Hudikeri town, your eyes will be treated to the wonderful sight of green hills, a pristine blue sky and fluffy clouds. The sight of the hills covered with tea shrubs, interspersed with tall trees and mud roads winding through the green hills will leave you spellbound. The beautiful Barapole river winding peacefully through the tea estate makes it look like a scene right out of a fairytale.
The Glenlorna tea estate was started in 1914 and named after its British residents. Now the 1,200-acre tea plantation is part of the Tata tea plantations. If you’ve wondered about the origin of your chai then a visit to Glenlorna tea plantation is a must. Learn everything about tea, right from the time it’s on the shrub to the time it ends up in a teacup. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, try a rafting trip on the river. This is one of the best places to visit in Coorg to lose yourself in the lap of nature.
4. Nagarahole: The Gateway To The Wild
The Nagarahole National Park is located in the southern part of Coorg and is one of the premier tiger reserves in India. The national park lies adjoining the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Nagarahole is home to several species of wild animals and birds along with small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The name Nagarahole is a combination of two words nagara (serpent’s) and holay or hole (river). The national park gets its name from the several serpentine streams winding through the rich tropical forest.
The national park runs a safari, which takes visitors on a guided tour of the forest to see the animals. The Forest Department, which manages the national park, operates the wildlife safari twice a day. The safari is conducted from 6 AM to 8 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM from 2 different locations – Nanchhi Gate (Kutta) and Veeranahosalli Gate. Advance booking for the safari is recommended as the safari has limited seats. The forest department charges INR 300 per adult and INR 15 per child (under 10 years) and INR 1000 for foreigners, for the safari. If you’re keen on wildlife photography, Nagarahole is one of the best places to visit in Coorg.
Also Read: 5 must-see national parks in India
Somwarpet or Somvarapete is the third taluk in Coorg. Located at an altitude of 1,130 metres above sea level, the beautiful town of Somwarpet offers great views of the surroundings. Like the other two taluks in Kodagu, Somwarpet is also home to several beautiful tourist spots. Along with hills dotted with coffee plantations, it is also home to several beautiful waterfalls, grasslands and peaks.
1. Honnamana Kere: Home Of The Goddess Honnamma
A mere six kilometres away from Somwarpet lies a tranquil lake with a temple on its banks. This beautiful lake, the largest in Coorg, is called Honnammana Kere (Honnamma’s Lake). The deity in the temple is called Honnamma Devi. The temple and the lake in Doddamalthe near the village of Sulimalthe are considered sacred by the locals.
According to legend, the goddess Honnamma sacrificed her life for the welfare of the people.
The people of the land erected a temple in her honour on the banks of the lake. The lake lies amid mountains, coffee plantations and small cliffs. The view of the lake and surrounding countryside from Gavi Betta, a nearby cliff, is one for the books. Honnamana Kere and the nearby Gavi Betta are one of the best places to visit in Coorg for some solitude and great panoramic views.
2. Mallalli Falls: The Mesmerizing Falls In The Pushpagiri Hills
Mallalli Falls, also known as Mallalli Abbi or Kumaradhara Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Coorg. The Kumaradhara river, which originates in the Western Ghats, drops down 200 feet to form the Mallalli Falls. Mallalli Falls is located in the foothills of the Pushpagiri Hills, which is about 25 kilometres from Somwarpet. The river branches after Mallalli Falls and forms several other misty waterfalls as it flows downhill on the Pushpagiri hill ranges, making it a magical sight.
For trekking and adventure lovers, this is one of the wonderful places to visit in Coorg. Tourists have to trek to see the waterfall as the road is quite narrow for vehicles. The best time to visit Mallalli is in the monsoon (June-September) when the rain-fed Kumaradhara river is full.
3. Dubare: A Place To Get To Know The Gentle Giant Better
The forest camp Dubare is on the banks of the Kaveri river near Kushalnagar in Coorg. The elephants of the Karnataka Forest Department live in the elephant camp in Dubare. Earlier, the Dubare Elephant camp was the training ground for elephants for the Mysore Dasara’s Jumbo Savari (elephant procession). Now, the elephants are mostly retired and tourists can interact with the elephants in the camp.
Visitors can bathe, feed and play with the elephants or go on a safari. The forest camp also offers boating and white water rafting in the Kaveri river. The camp charges INR 800 for Indians and INR 1437 for foreigners. The Dubare elephant camp is one of the best places to visit in Coorg to spend some time with the gentle giants and get to know them better.
4. Nisargadhama: The Island Forest Park
The Kaveri Nisargadhama, also known as Nisargadhama, is a delta formed by the river Kaveri near Kushalnagar in Coorg. The locals refer to the delta as an island. The 64-acre island is a forest park filled with lush bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees. These trees are interspersed with gazebos and treehouses, a children’s park and orchidarium. The island, which is a popular tourist spot, is also home to several kinds of wildlife like peafowl, deer and rabbits.
The Forest Department runs the island, which is connected to the mainland by a hanging rope bridge. Visitors can go on elephant rides or go boating in the Kaveri river. The island is open to visitors from 9 AM to 5 PM on all days of the week. Adults have to pay an entrance fee of INR 10 while children are charged INR 5. Boating and elephant rides are charged INR 100 and INR 25 respectively.
5. Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe: The Golden Temple In Coorg
Bylakuppe is a town just outside of Kushalnagar in Kodagu. The town is home to several Tibetan settlements and is the second-largest Tibetan settlement in India. Bylakuppe is home to almost 70,000 Tibetan refugees and several agricultural settlements, educational institutions and monasteries. The Namdroling Monastery or the Golden Temple is one of the most popular tourist places in Coorg.
The Golden Temple sits amidst beautifully manicured gardens. The interiors of the monastery are equally or more beautiful than the exterior. Every inch of the walls and ceilings and pillars is covered in intricate and colourful paintings depicting Tibetan mythology. The altar has three large golden statues. The 60-feet-tall statue in the centre is the Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. It is flanked on the right by the 58-feet-tall statue of the Buddha Amitayus. Amitayus is considered to be the Buddha of long life. And the 58-feet-tall statue on the left of the Buddha is Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche.
Just outside the monastery is a large shopping complex with several shops selling traditional Tibetan statues and handicrafts. The area also has several restaurants serving authentic Tibetan cuisine. If you’re craving some authentic Tibetan food, Bylakuppe is one of the best places to visit in Coorg.
The Scotland Of India
So here is the list of the best places to visit in Coorg to make your trip to Coorg hassle-free. History, luxury, adventure, mouth-watering food, great culture and sightseeing, Coorg has it all. The weather in Coorg and the landscape lives up to its name, Scotland of India. Come here to forget the hustle and bustle of the city. Give your eyes and senses a break from city life and treat them to the great panoramic views of misty mountains, fragrant coffee and spice plantations and gurgling streams with clear waters. A visit to these tourist places in Coorg will leave you relaxed and refreshed.