A small little town Coorg is, but offers quite a bit of options for both tourists and seekers of quietude. We try to balance both and here’s what all we saw and experienced in the three days that we were there:
Playing with elephants at the Dubare Elephant Camp: We went to the camp straight after breakfast. Located on the banks of the Kaveri river, you will have to cross the river on a boat to reach the elephant camp. Once a training camp for the royal festivities of the Mysore kings, the camp today is mainly a tourist attraction where you can participate in bathing the elephants or feeding them. A delight for kids, we suggest you do not miss it.
Feeding deers at Nisargadhama: A thickly wooded ‘island’ that you can access through a hanging rope bridge, go to Nisargadhama if you have kids along with you. There are deers and rabbits that the little ones can feed and squeal about.
The quiet of the Namdroling Monastery and the momos nearby: About 40 kilometers from Coorg is the Tibetan monastery called Namdroling. One of India’s biggest Tibetan settlements after Dharamshala, the monastery houses the most revered of the Buddhist monks, Guru Rinpoche. Also known as the Golden monastery, it is the largest teaching center of the Nyingmapa line of Buddhism in the world. The other most important reason for us to have driven up to the monastery was for the momos in the little town adjacent to the monastery!
Trekking down for the Abbey Falls: They put a ‘must-visit’ for Abbey Falls in Madikeri, Coorg. So we listed it in our itinerary too. And braved the rains to see the waterfall. At a little distance from the Madikeri town, you won’t regret the drive one bit. It is green and misty everywhere. Slide down the glasses of your car’s window and allow yourself to take in the mountain air, fresh and life-giving. For the Abbey Falls, you need to leave your car at a designated point and walk down a flight of stairs. Once again, you won’t mind it. For a little walking, climbing makes a place all the more fun. Better still, it raises your expectations. The thought, ‘What lies ahead’, fills you with anticipation.
But with the Abbey Falls, those expectations come crashing down when you see the falls. A small waterfall by any standard, we found it to be over hyped. Why? You’d have see better ones during the drive!! Of course it swells with the rains, but that doesn’t make it any better. It isn’t magnificient and don’t fall for your hotel’s claims that it is a ‘great waterfall’. In all likelihood you will stand in the middle of the bridge there to have droplets of water from the falls come to your face. Good point for a good photograph. Cross the bridge if you want to go to a Kali temple. We didn’t, for thunder started threatening us. Expecting the rains to come pouring down, we took our share of pictures and climbed back the stairs to our car.
A quiet puja at the Omkareshwara Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Omkareshwara being another name for Shiva, the temple is curiously built – it has touches of Gothic and Islamist designs. In a Hindu temple!! Inside the temple premises, Shiva resides in His most popular form, the Linga. Since it was almost evening, the priest was hurrying hither thither, getting the essentials ready for the evening puja. The lighted diya and the muted hymns of the priest were enough to bring to fore my religious self. There I was, offering flowers to the Lord, praying for the well-being of all my dear ones. Ma, of course, got ritually driven. Quietly finished her prayers, made her offerings, touched the Lord’s feet, rang the temple bell. Isn’t it even more pious and de-stressing to watch your mother prepare for a Puja. Not only does it reconnect you to your roots, it also tightens your ties with her. I liked the Omkareshwara Temple for one more reason. It has been maintained very well, and you will not squirm to walk bare-feet at the temple premises. The pond adjacent to the temple gives a wonderful look to the place. Couldn’t help concentrate on taking both the temple as well as its still reflection in the water.
Watch the setting sun from the Raja’s seat: Once a favourite of the royals, the Raja’s Seat is Madikeri’s view point. We loved the play of the clouds and hills here…
PS: Want to plan a holiday in Coorg? Read this post for help with itinerary and food and shopping recommendations — A Holiday in Coorg