I had been thinking of backpacking on my own and traveling around, for a while. So I got around picking up the dates, made an itinerary and the list of items that I’d want to carry. Having everything in place, I expressed my idea of traveling alone to Coorg to my mum.

“Make it a group of a few more, including guys. How else would we be sure that you are safe?” mum said. Not having had many prior solo traveling experiences in the past, I found it to be a good advise, since at times things do tend to get scary. Considering this suggestion seriously, I looped in a few more people.

A sleepless night of traveling on the rickety 4 wheeler,we reached our homestay before it was dawn the next morning. After freshening up and having a sumptuous breakfast,we head off to our first destination -Mandalpatti.

Mandalpatti- A breathtaking view

The murky grasslands at Mandalpatti

On reaching the top after an adventurous but a bumpy jeep ride, we were welcomed by a hazy view and a teeth chattering breeze. The mountain ranges were enveloped with a thick layer of fog, making it impossible to see beyond 100 metres ahead of us. We kept a steady footing, with the fear of  a free fall into the infinite . A small trek to the viewpoint gave us a breathtaking view of the lush green valley’s below, alongside the mist circling around close behind. The peace and the tranquility was so overwhelming, that it filled us with power, and left us with a feeling of being invincible.

Abbey Falls – Spraying waters cascading into a river below

The gushing waters of Abbey falls

Abbey falls, being on the way back to our homestay was our next planned location. The falls had people crowding all over which pretty much ruined the ambience of the waterfall. But nevertheless it allowed us to get a decent view of the whole range. We had to trek a small distance from our vehicle to the waterfalls, and there was a hanging bridge which allowed us to get a  better view of the place. After having had spent a few minutes capturing the beauty of it, we drove our way to the Madikere fort.

Madikere fort & Raja’s Tomb

View of the city from Madikere fort

A ruined fort and a museum is what we found at this location. The museum houses the historical pieces, which we quickly had a look at. The fort had some really good photographic spots and scenic views of the city.

At the Raja’s tomb, we got to see the tombs of the Royal kodava kings and their families. When we visited this location,we noticed that it had a well maintained garden and a pretty hill view. This place doesn’t really need to be on one’s must-see list, however  we covered it as we were around the place.

Raja’s seat – The incredible view and the tranquility that engulfed us

View from the hilltop at Raja’s seat

The view was pretty splendid from the built viewpoint of the Raja’s seat. However, on trekking a little ahead, we found a mountaintop overlooking the whole valley, below. We settled there,making ourselves comfortable as we knew that the wait till the sun set would be a pretty long one. Meanwhile it was a very blissful moment- the cool breeze hitting our tired faces, a beautiful view beneath us, the company of good friends, and not a care in the world. All we wanted was- to stop time forever and never have to move ourselves from up there. We silently watched as the brightly colored sky started to fade and the sun began turning into a shade of rusty orange. We rose up to leave, once the sun completely disappeared from our vision.

Being charged up after a good nights rest, we were filled with an increased vigor to face the day lying ahead of us. We looked forward to cover places which were away from the homestay and on our way to Bangalore. We headed towards the Dubare Elephant Camp , after having had a delightful breakfast at the homestay.

Dubare Elephant camp – Watching the elephants, alongside the thickets of the trees and cool springs.

As an elephant walks majestically for a dip in the water

After a good night’s rest and a delightful breakfast at our homestay we arrived at the Dubare Elephant Camp. Its a place where one can get a closer look at the magnificent mammal – The elephant. The camp also offers rafting, trekking and fishing to its visitors.

We hopped on the rocks between the lake, getting our feet wet in the process, as we made our way towards the place where the elephants were being bathed. Having held the elephant, taken a mini shower under its trunk and clicking a few touristy pictures, we headed back.

The still waters around the Dubare Elephant camp

We decided to give Still water rafting a shot. Being summer,the water was pretty dried up,hence the river rafting didn’t really seem like an enticing one. Alongside the boat we got life jackets,rows and a guide who would help us with the directions and the rowing . We were asked to row the boat on our own and were given guidance with the directions,whenever it seemed like we were losing our way or the control over the boat. After a certain stretch however, we were instructed to halt the boat for some time – people were being allowed out here, to take a dip in the water.

Cauvery Nisargadhama – The birthplace of river Cauvery

Cauvery Nisargadhama

After a small walk over the hanging bridge, we reached the birthplace of River Cauvery. This location felt a little similar to Dubare in a sense that,it had little rocks that we hopped over to reach the other side of the river. There was a small lake with lots of rooted trees and greenery around. We watched as a few people and kids got down into the flowing water to take a dip. We seated ourselves in one quiet corner, where our legs were let to dangle half submerged in the water, while the stream of flowing water trickled over our feet, soothing our insides. We felt a sense of serenity set in, a feeling of being unconquerable, a state of pure bliss.

Namdroling Monastery – the exquisite architecture that left us speechless

Inside the Namdroling Monastery

After replenishing our lost energies by stuffing ourselves tummy full, at a roadside restaurant, we finally drove to Namdroling Monastery in Kushalnagar. As we entered the town,we saw multicolored flags fluttering in the air, marking the area around the monastery. It is a beautiful monastery reflecting the Tibetan architectural style. The monastery left us awestruck right from the point where we walked in. The walls were covered with colorful paintings portraying the divinities of Buddhism and it also housed gold plated idols.One could feel the peace and the tranquility floating around – enveloping the place. We sat there for a few minutes, in a state of trance before we decided to head back.
The grounds around the monastery are filled with flowering trees and plants and are very well maintained.

 

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
― Pat Conroy

 

 

Takeaways:

  1. Coorg is famous for its lush green valleys, misty hills,  tea estates,sprawling coffee plantations,soaring peaks and fast flowing streams.One can experience a laid back and a relaxing ambience and enjoy a slow paced life owing to its picturesque surroundings.
  2. At the foothills of Mandalpatti,one needs to hire a jeep which would cost Rs 1500 for 6. Payment needs to done either by cash or by money transfer to the account specified. Cards are not accepted. Usually people are allowed to explore the place on their own,for an hour to the maximum.
  3. The viewpoint at Raja’s seat gives a panoramic view of pretty much the whole valley below. However, a short trek away from the spot would  present one with the much needed solitude and a way beautiful view.
  4. Still water rafting costs Rs 150 per head. If a person is interested in having a short swim in the cool waters,the raft is stopped at a location where the water is shallow. However, the waiting time doesn’t exceed 10-15 minutes. One can buy fresh pair of clothes in one of the stalls outside the Dubare Elephant camp or can get a few of his own. I’d suggest the latter.A few steps away from the Elephant Camp, there happen to be many food stalls, where one can grab a small snack of freshly cut fruits, juices & coconut water.
  5. There are lots of stalls put up near the Cauvery Nisargadhama, where one can buy homemade chocolates,honey,tea and other souvenirs.
  6. Right outside the Namdroling monastery,there are outlets,where one can shop for chimes, idols of Buddha and many such articles. Also,there happens to be quite a few cafes and restaurants nearby where one can have a quick bite.
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