Coorg is one of the smallest districts of Karnataka in size but is
among the most beautiful. It is often called the Kashmir of Karnataka for it's cool weather and natural beauty. This small
district if home to 260,000 people and is as well known for its coffee and tea estates, as for its brave people. The whole of coorg, barring a few places is covered
with dense forest. The total area of the reserved forest in Coorg is 830 square kilometers. There are many open glades (bane)
full of beautiful grass and varied forests.Around Somwarpet in the north of coorg, the hills are rounded off with slopping
glades and clumps of forest trees, Towards east the country assumes the character of the Mysore plateau, with solitary hills
scattered here and there. In Beppunad and Kadiyatnad, which lies in the direction of Virajpet, the taluk headquarters, the
country is open, and the woods are neither high nor dense. The eastern frontier, between the Kaveri and the Lakshmana Thirtha,
presents the picture of an almost uninterrupted jungle, deciduous in character.
Interiors and external views of Grand View estate Bunglow
|Traditional Kodava Bride and groom
Kodava girls' at their traditional best
Distance from Madikeri (in Kms.)
The capital of Coorg formerly called Mercara.It
used to have a sizable Kodava population upto the early 70's, but now has more outsiders who have settled here.
Famous for being the largest producer of honey in
south east Asia, though most come here for the Padi Igutappa temple.
With a dome in the middle of a square lake and minarets at each
corner, this is a mix of Keralite, Gothic and Islamic architectural styles. Built in 1820 by King Lingarajendra &situated
in the heart of Madikeri .
Bhagamandala & Telecauvery
the convergence of the rivers Cauvery, the underground Sujyothi and the Kanike, the Bhangandeshwara temple here has a distinct
Kerala touch. Because of the three rivers, it is also called Triveni Sangama.The source of this long river, which passes through
two states, is on the top of the hill called Brahmagiri. It is 1535 metres above sea level. Steps lead up to the Brahmagiri
peak, from where a panoramic view of Kodagu meets the visitor.
Nagarhole National Park
Though the name literally means Snake River in Kannada, there aren’t
too many snakes around. Created from a former raja’s hunting grounds, Nagarahole is one of the best game sanctuaries
in South India, providing a natural living conditions to several wild animals like elephants, tigers, panthers, rhinos and
wild elephants, but one is more likely to see smaller game like gaur, deer, wild dogs and langur.
This is more a hike than a holiday (there
are people like us out there who take these differences very seriously). You could begin from behind the Rameshwarna temple,
and relax at a refreshing pond halfway up the falls. if you are an enthusiastic trekker and dont mind
the leeches, a trip to the top is well worth it as one can sight neighbouring Kerala on a clear day.
Just 7 kilometers from Madikeri town are the Abbi Falls, as remarkable
and striking a sight as you would see anywhere.
Dubare -A famous picnic spot on the banks of the Cauvery close to Kushalnagar & Sidapur.Close
to Dubare is the fishing camp near Valnur where licensed fishing for Masheers are allowed though the catch has to be cast
back into the river after weighing the same.
Siddalingeshwara Betta(Hills) also called Gadhige
Situated as one drives into the Kodagu border towards Sidapur & consisting of lofty hills of breath taking
splendour & a temple, said to have been built as a tribute to the ouster of Tipu's troops from Coorg.However getting
there requires the assistance of the forest dept or the natives of the place as wild elephants roam the forests below.
Situated eight Kilometers from Virajpet ,also consists of the temples of Bhadrakali and Ishwara.Other important
places to see in Coorg are the Barapole falls which is close to Bittangala and about 16 kms from Virajpet.Bellur
near Hudikeri is also a famous place as it contains ancient sculptures and could be of interest to archaeologists and students
Important towns in Coorg besides Madikeri are Virajpet, Gonikoppa , Sidapur, Suntikoppa and Somawarpet.Kushalnagar
on the borders of Coorg is home to many Tibetian settlers and one can purchase Tibetian artefacts and visit the Tibetian
colony and monastery.It also contains the famous Harangi dam and "Nisargadhama" which is an island on the river Cauvery.It
is well laid out with a deer park and has become a famous picnic spot.
See more information below:-
People of Coorg
Perhaps the earliest settlers in Coorg were the forest and hill tribes like the Kudiya,Yervas and the Kurubas, but the
Kodavas who came later and whose origin is shrouded in mystery ,had the greatest impact on the land.Many of pure Kodava ancestery
are usually tall and fair with sharp features.Their customs and culture too are different from amongst people not
only in South India , but perhaps even in the entire Indian sub continent.They are mainly non vegetarian and their customs
are devoid of any Brahminacal influence as can be seen in the rest of India.
Other peole like the Amma Kodavas who have a close genetic connection to the Kodavas are pure Brahmins though priesthood
is uncommon amongst them.
Besides the Kodavas the major group of people in Coorg are the Gowdas and the Airis or blacksmiths.
The Kodava Mapilas are the Muslim descendents of the Kodavas(Coorgs) who took to Islam during the time of Tipu Sultan.Some
of these Kodava Mapilas however came back to the Kodava fold after they fled Srirangapatna following the defeat of Tipu.Many
of their family names are identical to some Kodava family/clan names and they also speak Kodava thak, the local dialect of
the Kodavas in Coorg.It is sad that today some of these Kodava Mapillas have intermarried outside their fold thus
obliterating their genitic pool.
Kannada and Malayalam are spoken by a large section of people and because of the influx of Tamil estate workers , tamil
is also understood and spoken by many . A large number of defence people and others who have been employed
outside and are now settled in Coorg ,can also speak fluent Hindi though these are still in a minority.
Kodavas are not 'language fanatics' and they are not overjoyed or depressed if a non kodava speaks kodava
thak or not.Infact a Kodava loves to show off his prowess in speaking other languages. It is heartening to note that even
in Kodava villages today they are a large number of people among the kodavas who read and write English ,besides knowing all
of the languages mentioned above.This speaks volumes for the cosmopolitan nature of the Kodavas.
I often think of Coorg as "God's forgotten country", for insipite of its lovely landscape ,undulating terrain ,brilliant
weather , lovely people , aromatic coffee and the place that gave India its famous army generals and some great
sportsmen, it is sad to see a proud people humbled by bad roads, hard to find quality education and bad governence.But despite
everything , the adventureous tourist will not be dissappointed to find that whichever homestay he stays in Coorg, or
wherever he/she goes there, they will be treated with great hospitality.This despite the fact that many of
the natives have in recent times left Coorg out of frusturation or to seek greener pastures in the economically expanding
world .Ofcouse many of these natives return on occassions,but it is also sad to see that many more have severed their roots
with the motherland altogether.So the visitor need not be astounded to find that coffee plantations are no longer in
the hands of the Kodavas or other natives.Even the ancestral houses of various clans are left empty with nobody even to lite
the sacred lamp everyday. But I only hope that one day the natives return back on the road that is today a nightmare to travel
on and the "vaalaga"(Native music)plays on.
Of late due to the mushrooming of homestays in every part of the district due to the hospitable nature
of the Kodavas ,there has been a large influx of tourists.During the peak season these tourists often litter the hillsides
,roads and waterfalls with non biodegradable materials like plastics etc.It is my humble request to these tourists to pay
more attention to Kodagu's environment by not dumping these wasteful ,toxic material all over.
Also of late a number of outside settlers have made Coorg their home by purchasing estates which once belonged
to the Kodava landlords.What is more deplorable is that these lands in certain cases have been subdivided to such an extent
that it encourages the formation of sites and where once greenery existed there exists small dwellings which considerably
change the landscape .It is therefore important that Govt's and the natives of the place enact laws which prevent large
scale subdivision and fragmentation of properties in Coorg thereby discouraging settlements andthus spoiling the ecology
of the place.
As I have said before bad roads in Coorg are another problem which I hope the Govt. will be able to address
soon.I beleive that as in many parts of the country , the road contractors ,civil engineers or in some cases even the elected
representatives often swallow the money meant for road building year after year.Close to Grand view estate is the Margolly
-Pollibetta road which has been in such bad shape for years that I think it requires the Govt's urgent attention.So too are
many other roads in Coorg like the Ponnampet -Kutta road etc.which all require urgent attention.
|The stately Kodava with traditional dress
For more information on Home stay at "Grand View" estate-Coorg(Kodagu) ,contact
Muthanna(Coorg) @ 9845907227, Subbiah(Bangalore-India)Ph:0091-9886903831 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org,
Good time to visit Coorg:Generally between September to early April, but the monsoons from May to September
can also be very alluring if you are prepared to stay indoors and open up a "bubbly".
Some Kodava family names:-
etc.There are pleny of others whom I dont have place to mention as space does not permit it.Family names are also the
'clan ' names of the kodavas.A recently concluded inter family hockey match had 250 family clans participating.