Saturday, August 16, 2014

Coorg Trip

 

Just back , and exhausted from a two day trip to Coorg.This week we had an rare long weekend in our favour, Independence day, a mandatory holiday here , fell on a Friday. My current project follows an Agile delivery model, we have a release every Friday night, and testing on Saturday morning. But this time, I had very few changes going in. So, I could afford to take the weekend off, and we began making last minute arrangements for a quick and short weekend trip. We found out the hard way that it was raining in most of the places of our first choice. The monsoons are still strong in South India, so most of the destinations in Karnataka, Kerala , and even Goa, was soaking wet. Then I did a weather search for Coorg, and it came out dry. Wait, what ? Coorg it was.

After making quick reservations at one of the few hotels still available in Madikeri, we booked the last two seats on a private bus from Bangalore to Madikeri. We stayed at the now-dilapidated Hotel Hilltown in Madikeri. And had a two day itinerary planned to visit the most popular destinations around the Coorg.

Tip : Don’t book Private buses from Bangalore to Coorg. The Private buses are rare and not in good condition. KSRTC is much more active on this route, you can get good bookings all day and all night round, for a little less money.

Tip : If you have Payback points from your credit card you wish to redeem, book hotels via makemytrip. They let you pay via payback points, we were able to cover half of our hotel charges this way.

 

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Day 1:

  1. Abbey Falls
  2. Bhagamandala
  3. Talakaaveri & Brahmagiri
  4. Madikeri Fort  (not worth it :-( )
  5. Rajas’s seat

Day 2:

  1. Dubare Elephant Camp
  2. Kaveri Nisagardhama
  3. Tibet Monastery

Over the years, many of my acquaintances had visited Coorg, and most of them told me it was not as good as Ooty.. Well, maybe I had not taken a trip in many months, but the whole trip to Coorg was …AWESOME ! The picture below was taken on top of Brahmagiri hill near Talakaaveri. No, the camera is not faulty, the whole place was covered in dense fog when we arrived there. It was 1pm, when the sun was right above you. Mist and rain had covered the hilltop, and the winds blowing where also strong. We were drenched to our bones in the cold rain. I don’t remember the last time I had a similar experience.

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My best part about the trip was the Abbey falls, and the Brahmagiri hill above Talakaaveri. These where the places truly Coorg, cool and hilly areas covered in fog. The places on our Day2 of our trip where all down flatlands. If you are planning to visit Coorg, try to book and stay at a homestay in the hills instead of the city around it.

Madikeri, the main town of Coorg, turned out hard to navigate, it is definitely not as clean as Ooty or Kodaikanal Eventhough Coorg has been made a plastic free zone, there was lot of plastic and garbage on the road side. If you are taking your own vehicle, be prepared to drive everywhere in first gear, because the little town is all topsy turvy, most of the roads are at 30 degree angles to each other. Our cab driver Zafar (+919945303537) knew all the shortcuts and the quickest way to get there. They charge 1300 for a 1 day site seeing travel in Coorg. And maybe because we travelled on a long weekend, every site we visited in Coorg was crowded !

This turned out to be a much needed break for me and my wife. The place not only cooled our heads, it also gave us a lot of things to talk about. We could not get enough of the hills and waterfalls. My wife specially enjoyed the Dubare elephant camp, there were two baby elephants , she was around them the whole day. She was able to ask and find the names of all the elephants there, …I only remember a Gopi elephant, and a Rama elephant. Anything to keep her happy  !

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