Located amidst imposing mountains in Karnataka with a perpetually misty landscape, Coorg is the place to be for all nature lovers. This popular coffee producing hill station is not only popular for its beautiful green hills and the streams cutting right through them. It also stands as a popular destination because of its culture and people. The Kodavas, a local clan specialising in martial arts, are especially notable for their keen hospitality.
Coorg, officially known as Kodagu, is the most affluent hill station in Karnataka. It is well known for its breathtakingly exotic scenery and lush greenery. Forest covered hills, spice and coffee plantations only add to the landscape. Madikeri is the region’s centre point with all transportation for getting around starting from here. On a visit to Coorg, cover the beautiful towns like Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Gonikoppal, Pollibetta, and Somwarpet, and experience the beautiful concept of “homestays” to make your experience more memorable!
Abbey Falls, also known as Abbi Falls, is located around 10 kilometres away from the town of Madikeri and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in and around Coorg. The water cascade coming down from the cliff from a height of 70 feet provides a spectacular scene to behold. Nestled within the lush greenery which is typical to the sceneries of Western Ghats, the waterfalls attract hundreds and thousands of people throughout the year – especially nature lovers and photographers. The waterfall is located between private coffee plantations with stocky coffee bushes and spice estates with trees entwined with pepper vines. There is an over-bridge that hangs opposite of the falls, from where the most picturesque scene of white foams gushing down the ridge can be seen, captured and remembered. The flow of the falls leaves a significant amount of water spray on those who stand on the bridge for some time.
Talacauvery is the source of the river Kaveri, located on the Brahmagiri hill (not to be confused with the Brahmagiri range further south) near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district, Karnataka. It is located at 1,276 m. above sea level. Kodavas have erected a tank which is now considered as its origin. It is believed that the River originates as a spring feeding a tank or a Kundike and then flows underground to re-emerge as Kaveri some distance away. The tank is marked by a temple and bathing in it on special occasions is considered holy.
On the Cauvery changrandi day, thousands of pilgrims and tourists flock by the stream to witness the rise of the spring’s fountainhead, when the river water gushes up at a predetermined moment. Apart from the birthplace of River Kaveri, the town of Talacauvery is also famous for a temple dedicated to Goddess Kaveriamma (Mother Kaveri). The beautiful temple is surrounded by even more breathtaking hills. The undulating hills and lush green meadows are very picturesque. One can climb the 407 steps to the top of the hill, towards the clouds and breath in the pure and serene air of the natural surrounding. The most interesting thing about the hills is that even when one is standing on the uppermost step, they can still hear the temple bells ringing down below in the temple.
Namdroling Monastery, situated at a distance of 60 km from the Kaveri Nisargadhama, is the largest teaching centre of the school of Tibetan Buddhism known as Nyingmapa. Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Daryeling is the full name of the Namdroling Monastery. It is spread over an area of 80 square feet and was built from Bamboo which was donated by the Indian Government to the Tibetans in exile. Today, it houses many auxiliary structures like educational institutions and a hospital, in addition to being home to about 5,000 members of the Sangha community.
The monastery was set up in 1963 by Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, the 11th throne-holder of the Palyul school of Nyingma Tibetan Buddhism. Popularly known as the ‘Golden Temple’, the Namdroling Monastery holds some excellent examples of Tibetan architecture and artwork, as seen with the elaborately decorated temple tower and ornate outer walls, intricately adorned with beautiful murals. The red doors have giant golden knockers. Inside, one has the privilege of witnessing the enormous 40 feet high golden statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha Sakyamuni and Amityaus, surrounded by lovely paintings of various aspects of Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The prayer rituals conducted by the monks are a unique sight that must not be missed. The serene vibe of the place is amplified by the well-manicured gardens that surround the area.
Many ceremonies are held in the Namdroling Monastery every year amongst which the Tibetan New Year, which usually falls in February/March as per the lunar calendar, is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Also, traditional Lama Dances along with solemn processions are organised in the monastery which takes place for two weeks. The rich cultural heritage is magnified by the nearby Sera Monastery, Sakya Monastery and Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, marvellous tributes to the ancient and disciplined culture of the Tibetan Buddhists.