Heading to Karnataka’s priceless gem Coorg? This article will NOT tell you to about the Abbey falls or the Golden Temple since that would be on your obvious to-do list.
But it will tell you about the must do’s that will help you get lost in the greenery and tranquility of Coorg. Offseason time is when Coorg is at its greenest best.
Choose a homestay: One of the best ways to experience the local culture and cuisine especially when you are on a limited budget is to stay in a homestay. That’s exactly what we did and it turned out to be an absolutely fantastic experience. We stayed at a property called Eco Habitat in Kushalnagar. Although Kushalnagar is 40km from Madikeri, the administrative headquarters of Coorg, it is well connected with key tourist spots such as the Golden Temple (Tibetan Monastery), Dubare Elephant Camp etc.
Eat and drink local: The food in South India isn’t just about dosas and vadas. You can sample everything from the legendary pandi (pork) curry to the ever-so-famous appam. Coorgi cuisine is primarily non vegetarian but there are plenty of vegetarian options also.
Trekking: With lush green jungles and waterfalls all around, Coorg is heaven for those who love trekking. Since we trekked right after the monsoons we were greeted by leeches, but the breathtaking views and the scenic waterfalls more than made up for it.
Eco Habitat arranged for the a jeep ride to Jodpala (12km of Madikeri) accompanied with local ex-army man, Ravi. He carefully maneuvered his four-wheel-drive in the narrow dirt roads through the forest after which we started our long, arduous trek. On our way uphill we met a lovely local family who treated us to lime juice and upmas.
Explore the unchartered: Talk to the locals and they’ll you tell you about Coorg’s hidden gems like dams, places to catch the best views of River Kaveri and coffee estates where you could just sit back, relax and unwind.
With a bundle of reliable information on everything from places to see, accommodation, eating, adventure activities and much more grab a copy of Short Escapes from Bengaluru: shop.lonelyplanet.in.
The article was first published in 2013, and has been updated since.