On our bon voyage, the destination was Coorg, a hilly district in interior Karnataka, known for its sprawling coffee plantations and also the birthplace of Cauvery river. Coorg District essentially consists of three major towns Madikeri, Kushalnagar and Siddapur with the former two being quite popular tourist destinations.
Madikeri Fort with its rich heritage and Raja’s seat with its fantastic view of the plains below are good places to spend an evening. Kushalnagar will need a whole day with its fair share of popular tourist spots nearby like the Dubare Elephant Camp and Nisargadhama, which is essentially a mini forest developed as a tourist spot on the banks of river Cauvery. A must-visit place in your Coorg itinerary has to be the Namdroling Monastery and the Golden Temple near Kushalnagar, which is the largest settlement of Buddhist monks in the world outside Tibet. The beautiful architecture there is a real feast for the eyes.
What is so good about Coorg is that it still retains an old-world charm. Long forgotten sounds of nature like the continuous chirping of birds and the shrill of crickets can all be heard with amazing clarity. The eyes are also treated to lush greenery all around with unending paddy fields in the plains and acres and acres of coffee plantations in the hills. For us city-dwellers, Coorg is a feast for the senses with the kind of stuff that we have seen only in wallpapers and screensavers. Just like all the other wonderful destinations in the Western Ghats, Coorg refuses to get out of your heart and mind for a long time.
Coming to the roads, Chennai to Bangalore is a breeze while Bangalore to Mysore is a pain with butter smooth roads spoilt by those numerous unmarked speedbreakers. NICE Road in Bangalore and Outer Ring Road in Mysore helps us save time bypassing both the cities. After Mysore, the roads are four-laned till Hunsur beyond which it turns into a scenic two-laned country road. This is by far the best stretch for the driving enthusiast in you with those long sweeping curves perfectly complimenting the smoothly paved surface making it a pleasurable drive. But, the roads in and around Coorg are quite bad and ridden with bumps and potholes.
Route Followed: Chennai-Hosur-Mysore-Hunsur-Kushalnagar-Madikeri
No wonder that the UNESCO is on the verge of declaring the Western Ghats as a World Heritage Site.