South India has never disappointed us when it comes to natural beauty. Be it Karnataka or Kerala, South India speaks of ancient art forms, beautiful beaches, fascinating culture and lush greenery. One such relatively less-known but equally breathtaking place is the beautiful hill station – Coorg. Previously, the region served as the administrative center of Karnataka State and was later renamed to ‘Kodagu’. However, over the years, the name ‘Coorg’ is still held close to heart by its residents.
Coorg lies 100 km away from the city of Mysore and is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations in South India since recent times. And for that very reason, we have decided to jot down some of the best places to visit in Coorg that clearly delineate the beautiful history, culture, and traditions of this small district. A visit to all these places will guarantee an unbelievably soothing experience.
30 Prominent Places to Visit in Coorg
Coorg is famous for its treks and beautiful waterfalls, and over the years, a number of tourist spots have gained attention. Listed here are famous places in Coorg that every visitor must add to their itinerary:
1. Iruppu Falls
Iruppu Falls is situated 48 km away from Virajpet and offers a breathtaking sight during the monsoons when they overflow. Situated in the Brahmagiri range, this is one of the famous places to see in Coorg.
They form the cascade of the Laxman Tirtha River which can be seen on the way to Iruppu. Iruppu is also the starting point for the Brahmagiri Trek. The only noise in the entire area will be of water hitting the rocky ground which is pleasing to the ears.
2. Brahmagiri Hill
The trek starts from Iruppu falls and passes through dense forests to Narimale Peak which is located in the Brahmagiri National Park. After a walk through thickets of grass, you get to the top of the Brahmagiri peak which offers a splendid view of the nearby surroundings.
Expect to spot some rare animal species at the national park, and if you visit during the right season, the fog accumulating at the top of the peak is simply wonderful to look at.
3. Abbey Falls
Commencing at one of the early points of the Kaveri River, Abbey falls is a beautiful waterfall hidden amidst a number of large coffee plantations. Abbey Falls is situated around 8 km from Madikeri and features amongst the famous tourist attractions in Coorg. Facing these beautiful falls is a bamboo bridge which makes the slow descent (through a narrow path) to this place all the more exciting.
4. Barapole River
Kithu-Kakkatu, which is also known as ‘Barapole’, is a river all adventure-seeking souls would love to visit. It is the only river in all of Coorg which possesses the turbulence and gradient required for whitewater rafting.
The activity roughly spans a couple of hours and also is near the Brahmagiri Sanctuary which makes it easily accessible and hard to miss. Anyone yearning a bit of adventure should definitely head to Barapole.
Tadiandamol is the second highest peak of the Kodagu district which is often frequented by trek and nature enthusiasts. The trek to the top and back takes approximately a day. The historically significant Nalaknad Palace is situated at the foot of this peak and is an added reason to visit this natural beauty. The palace houses a bee-keeping center and is also a popular site for camping.
6. Bylakuppe and Zangdok Palri Temple
BylaKuppe is hometown to Tibetan settlements (established by Lugsum Samdupling and Dickyi Larsoe) in India and shares its boundaries with the Coorg district. A visit to the Zangdok Palri Temple provides deep insight into the Tibetan Buddhist culture which is an enlightening experience. It is believed to possess a kind of energy that leads to spiritual strengthening and realization of innate compassion.
7. Namdroling Monastery
This monastery is located in the Bylakuppe temple and is the largest teaching center for the Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was built in 1963 and speaks volumes on the Palyul Lineage. Anyone with an interest in history and culture will find a visit to this place highly enriching. A community of nearly 5,000 Buddhist monks resides here. The monastery hosts various events such as the Tibetan New Year (marked by traditional Lama dances and dignified processions).
8. Omkareshwar Temple
Omkareshwar Temple is the result of a king trying to redeem a heinous act of killing an innocent Brahmin in the 1800s. The Shiva temple was built when the kind started to experience nightmares featuring the ‘haunted’ spirit of the man he murdered.
The king (Lingareshwar II) decided to buy a lingam, an energy object from Kashi and built the temple on the exact spot where he killed the man. The temple holds great historical significance, and even though it is a Hindu temple, the architecture is mostly Islamic.
9. Nagarhole National Park
Forming a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the park is also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. Situated partly in Coorg and partly in Mysore, this national park boasts of beautiful streams, hills, rivers, and valleys.
With a dense forest cover, it also has lions, elephants, Indian leopards and bisons that can be spotted during any regular visit to the sanctuary.
10. Dubare Elephant Camp
Dubare is an elephant camp which has nurtured and trained elephants for many years. The experts love elucidating in detail about the ecology around elephants along with comprehensive insight into their biological backgrounds. This camp is a treat to all animal lovers and in case you happen to be one, drop by and you get a chance to make new friends and click spectacular pictures.
11. Cauvery Nisargadhama
It is a relatively small island formed by Kaveri river which can be accessed through a rope bridge. The island is marked by teak, sandalwood and bamboo groves. Rabbits and deer can be found here in plenty. Click pictures of peacocks as they display all their feathers, go for an elephant ride, and head into the shallow areas of the Cauvery for a soothing dip.
12. Madikeri Fort
This magnificent fort was built in the 17th century and is situated at the heart of Coorg. Perched atop a hill, you can also find a palace here that has been built along the lines of European architecture. With statues of horses flanking the entrance, a good part of the fort is believed to have been put aside for prisons. The British constructed a chapel here in the year 1834 which is presently a museum exhibiting weaponry and attires used during the Tipu Sultan era.
13. Raja’s Seat
The place received its name from kings who sat at the very spot to witness beautiful sunsets. This beautiful tourist spot is filled with lush green vegetation and also doubles as a seasonal garden with artificial fountains and blossoming flowers. You get to capture picturesque views of the other side of the city as well as the gorgeous valleys located below if you are carrying your DSLR camera.
14. TalaCauvery & Bhagamandala
Situated in the Brahmagiri hills, Talacauvery boasts an elevation of 1200 meters above sea level. While the vantage points offer mesmerizing views, the temples here are treated as major sites of heritage and culture. The river here is visited by a large number of pilgrims and is believed to rid you of all kinds of psychological woes. Bhagamandala is famous for being the point of convergence of three tributaries of the river (Triveni Sangam). Even though the two places lie at a distance of 8 km from each other, visits to both can be clubbed.
15. Honnamana Kere Lake
Encompassed by a beautiful landscape filled with coffee plantations, cliffs, and valleys, Honnamana Kere Lake warrants a visit especially during the Gowri festival which is marked by the performance of a special ritual hailing Goddess Honnamana. On the banks of the lake, you can spot elephants, wild cats, and other fauna. The region experiences moderate weather throughout the year and hence, planning a visit is considerably easy.
Located between Siddapur and Madikeri, Chettalli is a gloriously green hamlet that houses the temple of Cherala Bhagavathy. The place is sure to bestow visitors with a sense of calmness and composure. During non-rainy weather conditions, a bike ride to the place is most recommended. The temple here attracts a huge number of devotees during festival season. Tourists (and locals) flock to the place to break away from routines.
17. Mallalli Falls
Located on the northern side of Coorg, the Mallalli Falls are fed by the Kumaradhara River. Monsoons are undoubtedly the best time to pay a visit to this magnificent piece of natural beauty. The streams flow with all their might and the pools below are filled to the brim during the rainy season. The nearby Pushpagiri peak is a popular spot for treks with spellbinding views of the waterfall.
18. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
A pristine location filled with patches of green, the sanctuary hits a maximum height of 1700 meters above sea level. The Kumara Parvatha trekking spot is quite famous amongst adventure enthusiasts. Many hikers have made their way to the top by going through rough, uneven terrain. While there are plenty of wild animals in the area (such as barking deer, wild cats, jackals, pigs, elephants, and leopards), you don’t necessarily have to be intimidated by them if you’re traveling in a group.
One of the major monuments in Coorg, the tombs have been erected in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Standing on a hillock located north of Madikeri, the place is said to house the tombs of Lingarajendra and Virarajendra. Characterized by domes in the center and turrets on the edges, the brass-barred windows have neatly carved inscriptions. The place offers an imperative view of the town of Madikeri.
20. Harangi Reservoir
Constructed over one of the tributaries of River Kaveri, the Harangi Dam is located in the Somwarpet taluk of Kodagu. While the river originates in the Pushpagiri hills, heavy south-west monsoon downpour drives it towards the reservoir. The dam began operating in 1982 and delivers hydropower to nearby districts apart from providing water for the purpose of irrigation in the farmlands. As with other dams, this one too is a sight to behold during monsoons.
21. Pushpagiri Hill
Boasting an altitude of 5626 feet, the hill is the point of origin for the Harangi River. The Pushpagiri hill is surrounded by beautiful forests and valleys. At its peak, you can find a temple dedicated to Kumara Swamy. Since the climate stays more-or-less constant throughout the year, hikers can conveniently plan their visits. The average duration of the trek is approximately 4 hours and is considered a milestone by many an adventure enthusiast.
22. Chelavara Falls
Getting to Chelavara involves a long drive from Madikeri, an uphill walk on untarred roads following the noise water hitting the ground, and a descent into cool waters. You’ll also get a superb view of the plains below. While this is a chief hiking/trekking site, tourists even camp at the place for days together. Since the waterbed is rocky, it is advisable to be cautious while making your way into the waters.
23. Nishani Motte
One of the lesser known peaks in the Brahmagiri range, Nishani Motte is a sheer delight for the eyes. Treks usually commence at Bhagamandala and proceed through paddy fields and coffee plantations (and eventually the Wildlife Sanctuary) before concluding at the hill summit. If you are an amateur hiker, be aware that bloodsuckers thrive in the area and do the needful to keep them away. Towards the end, the trek-path becomes extremely steep, adding an adventurous touch to the proceedings.
24. Cauvery Backwaters
Located near the Harangi Dam, you can enjoy the backwaters of River Cauvery by opting between homestays that offer makeshift accommodation or campsites where you can pitch your tents at. Based on your preferences, choose how to spend the day here – you can take long strolls along the riverbanks, inhale fresh air, meet locals and discuss their laidback lifestyles, or warm yourselves around a bonfire.
Positioned at an altitude of 4050 feet, this hilltop viewpoint lies around 18 km away from Madikeri. Mandalpatti geographically comes under the Pushpagiri reserve and has gained popularity in recent times. The 4×4 jeep drives to the top of the hill (in order to catch lovely sunsets) is now a popular activity when you visit Coorg. Once you reach the forest-reserve checkpoint, you can either hike up the hill or take a jeep.
A tiny hamlet located in the Kakkabe area, Karada is hallmarked by pathways strewn with leaves, rain-hit vegetation and beautiful ancestral villas and cottages. Set amidst coffee/spice plantations, the houses here are said to be over a couple of centuries old – some of them have been converted into home-stays offering food and lodging. This place is an ideal getaway spot when in Coorg.
27. Mercara Golf Course
Established by the British in the 1800s, Mercara Golf Course is likely to be the oldest golf course in the Indian subcontinent. This wonderful 18 hole course features distinct front and back nines spread over 5584 yards. Marked by water hazards, small bunkers, and a practice green, the Mercara Golf Course also boasts excelling dining facilities. Due to affiliations with other clubs, getting inside Mercara Downs isn’t that difficult.
Where to Get Lip-smacking Food
28. Taste of Coorg
A blink-and-miss eatery located near the Town Hall in Madikeri, Taste of Coorg, in all its probability, serves the best pork dishes in town. Try out some Coorg specialties such as Neer Dosa, Kadubu, Chili and Masala Pork (which is literally melt-in-the-mouth). While there’s no great ambiance to speak of, the food is, by all means, bang-for-the-buck. The portion sizes are decent for the prices charged and service is prompt.
29. Raintree Restaurant
Located on Madikeri Road, Raintree is a chic modern restaurant serving an extensive range of Indian dishes. The restaurant stays open till late in the night and is an excellent choice when it comes to Tandoori, Mughlai and Coastal cuisines. Flavorful food at affordable rates is what Raintree promises. The hotel is set amidst scenic surroundings. ‘Wholesome’ is one word to describe the restaurant.
30. Coorg Cuisine
Run by a Kodava, this restaurants serves authentic Coorg dishes. Bamboo shoot fry, Pandi curry, Mutton fry coupled with Akki Roti, Malabar Paratha or Steamed Rice Balls – ‘mouthwatering’ is indeed the word. Out of the beverages, fresh lime and passion fruit juice are our picks. You can find hunting rifles, hatchets and portraits of famous Kodavas on the walls. The pricing is reasonable too.
Coorg, the little hill station in Karnataka, is a must-visit destination for travel enthusiasts. And once you get there, ensure that you put the above list of places to visit in Coorg to great use. Share your Coorg travel experiences with us by leaving comments in the space provided below!
When you’re visiting Coorg, stay at a Treebo property.