About Nishani Motte
Nishani Motte is a name which is synonymous with the word “euphoria”. The less frequented peak of the Brahmagiri forest range in Coorg district of Karnataka retains its beauty in the most pristine form calling for adventure buffs and environmentalists to trade into its core.
The trekking trail of 15 Km begins from the untamed woodlands of Tala Cauvery forest range which is home to exotic wildlife including rare species of trees and animals. Your journey on foot begins right after the jeep trail amidst the Shola forest and passes through soft ridges, sprawling meadows, spilling water and thickets of varied plantations.
Trekking to Nishani Motte includes a number of adrenaline-charged activities including river rafting, wildlife photography, jungle hiking, campfire and nature gazing. Also, there are a number of religious sites en route Nishani Motte that are considered sacred among the locals and are worth your visit.
The mixed aroma of cardamom and coffee from the plantations on either side of the trail is bound to intoxicate your senses as you climb up. The final Blue Ridge uphill trek of 1 Km is a bit challenging but certainly, it’s a bull’s eye for any adventure lover!
From the summit, you can get a 360◦ view of the flummoxing landscape with the emerald Western Ghats making a perfect backdrop. Whether you are an avid expert on birds or a regular tourist without any daring goal, it is never too late to discover the mystical beauty of Nishan Motte by embarking on a trek to its summit.
A sneak peek into the basic details about Nishani Motte:
Location: Nishani Motte, Bhagamandala Village, Coorg, Karnataka
Timings: Since it is a long-distance walking trail amidst dense forest, it is recommended that you start around 9 AM from the Tala Cauvery base so that you may reach the summit at around 4 PM when there is still some light around. In between, rest for a while and have some refreshments with your packed lunch at 1 PM. Average timings for reaching the peak of Nishani Motte starting from the base is between 6 AM -6 PM.
Entry Fee: Rs. 200 to be paid at the forest office.
Height: Nishani Motte stands at an elevation of 1270 metres above the sea level.
Best Time: Coorg experiences moderately cool climate throughout the year. During summer it is slightly hotter during the daytime but nights are temperate. Winter is cool and pleasant and is chosen as a favourite time by trekkers to climb Nishani Motte. The months between November-April are mostly frequented by trekkers in this route as it is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities.
But if you want to appreciate wild beauty in its purest form, the best time to trek is during monsoon when the entire Brahmagiri forest range takes on a virgin look by being drenched in rain.
Average Temperature: 28◦ C (max) and 16◦C (min)
Trek Duration: 5-6 hours approximately. It takes about 2-3 days on average for a complete trek.
Distance from Bangalore: 300 Km approximately via NH 48
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How to Reach Nishani Motte
By Air- The nearest airport is the Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru Airport) which is located at a distance of 321 Km approx. Flights from all parts of India and abroad commute between the airports at regular intervals.
By Road - There are a number of AC and non AC buses by KSRTC plying between Bangalore and Madikeri that takes about 6 hours to reach Bhagamandala (289 Km). From there you can hire local transport to reach the Forest Office at Tala Cauvery. The rest of the journey is through the forest and has to be undertaken on foot.
By Bus - There are a number of AC and non AC buses by KSRTC plying between Bangalore and Madikeri that takes about 6 hours to reach Bhagamandala (289 Km). From there you can hire local transport to reach the Forest Office at Tala Cauvery. The rest of the journey is through the forest and has to be undertaken on foot.
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Trek Routes to Nishani Motte
From Bangalore, it is an overnight journey by bus to reach Bhagamandala forest range in the Coorg district of Karnataka. The 7 Km dirt road from Bhagamandala up to Tala Cauvery can be covered by jeep. The Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is the base of Nishani Motte trek. The trail up to the summit goes through dense Shola forest which takes about 7 hours’ trekking time.
Since it is a long trekking route and it will become dark as you descend from the summit, you will need to stay overnight at the forest rest house at Bhagamandala and start your journey to Bangalore the next morning.
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Traveller’s Tips for visiting Nishani Motte
A few things to remember before planning your trekking itineraries to Nishani Motte:
-You will be picked up from and dropped at specific points. Cooperate with your tour coordinator to avoid hazards.
-Consumption of alcohol or any other intoxicants is strictly prohibited during the trip.
-Follow the guidelines given by your instructor. They are the ones who can give you realistic instructions in case of climatic changes or mapping of a route.
-This trekking is not suitable for those with heart and back problems or any other serious health issues.
-Carry your ID proof during the trip as you will need to show them at the forest office for availing the permit.
-For the first time trekkers, it is recommended that you travel in a group. Do not try your adventurous guts and take your own path as you may get lost in the forest trail. Also, the forest is filled with wild animals and only an expert guide can take you safely to your destination bypassing the wild animal zone.
-Do not expect luxury on your trip. The trail to Nishani Motte runs through dense Shola forest where it may be difficult to get anything for a fulsome trip.
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Things to Carry for trek to Nishani Motte
Do not keep your essentials for last-minute packing. Make a list of things well ahead of your backpacking for Nishani Motte trek:
-A sturdy rucksack
-A water bottle that can hold at least 2 litres of water
-Raincoat (weather at Nishani Motte is quite unpredictable and it may rain anytime during your trek)
-Extra pair of dry clothes (in case you are rain-drenched during the trip)
-Photocopies of your ID Proof (Authorised by the Government of India). For foreign tourists, a passport is mandatory for a permit from Tala Cauvery Forest Dept.
-Plastic cover to protect your rucksack
-Shoes with good grip suitable for trekking
-Portable charger, a power back is also a feasible option
-Turkish or double protection socks to prevent leech bite (optional)
-Lunch box and a spoon
-Extra polythene bags to carry wet clothes (if it rains) and other essentials during the trek
-Energy bar and energy drink
-First aid kit and personal medicines
-Blanket or AC comforter (Temperature at night drops during winter and monsoon)
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History of Nishani Motte
Nishani Motte trek begins from Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu district. Apart from its breath-taking scenic view and splendid climate, the place is also known for its rich cultural history and heart-warming people. Tala Cauvery which is the base of Nishani Motte trek is believed to be the source of River Cauvery which is met by another river the Kannike.
The two rivers are joined by another subterranean river Sujyothi and therefore it is considered as the Triveni Sangam (confluence of three rivers) of the South which is a sacred pilgrimage site for the pious Hindus. A tank has been constructed by the Kodavas on the hillside from where the River Cauvery originates.
This place is known as the ‘Ganga of the South’. From here the river descends as a spring keeping the tank full to its brim throughout the year. People from different parts of Karnataka and beyond visit the place and take a dip in the water of the tank on special occasions with a belief of cleansing their souls and uplifting their spirit.
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Attractions and Activities at Nishani Motte
1. Wildlife Trekking- Wildlife trekking in the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is an obligatory part of your Nishani Motte trekking as the trail to the summit begins from here and mostly covers the forest range. The trekking route is not a well-marked pathway amidst the dense forest floor and therefore trekkers need a tour guide for reaching Nishani Motte summit.
You will be mesmerised by the sombre beauty of the Western Ghats at the backdrop of the sanctuary as you hike along vast meadows, rolling estates of coffee and cardamom till you reach the top. If you are trekking in monsoon, be aware of leeches in the jungle pathway which makes it difficult to climb.
2. Photography- Nishani Motte is a great destination for the amateur and expert shutterbugs. As you start your trek through the forest trail of Tala Cauvery you will have an abundance of objects to click with your camera. The Shola forest of Tala Cauvery is home to diverse flora and fauna including some rare species of trees, birds and animals in the lap of nature.
Apart from this, a series of multi-tiered waterfalls cascading down the rocky crevices of the hills is a sight to capture in your camera. The panoramic view of Coorg from atop Nishani Motte will allure even an unskilled photographer to take a few snaps in his camera.
3. Cherish the natural beauty- The trek to Nishani Motte gives you a chance to sink into the unbound beauty of Coorg. The trail from Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary to the summit runs through dense Shola forest, open fields, meadows and ridges in which you will have different experiences at every level of your trek.
From the top of Nishani Motte, you can enjoy a 360-degree kaleidoscopic view of the Brahmagiri Hills bathed in the first rays of the sun. A series of multi-tiered waterfalls on the way to Nishani Motte make the place a blissful haven for nature lovers and holidaymakers.
4. Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary- Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary lies at the south of Karnataka in the Kodagu district and spreads over an area of 105 sq. Km. burrowed in the hilly terrain of the Western Ghats. It is the base of the Nishani Motte trek. As you trek along the forest path, your senses will be intoxicated by the mixed aroma of coffee and cardamom hovering in the air from the nearby plantations.
The lush tropical Shola forest is home to diverse flora and fauna which makes it a hunted destination for a wildlife safari. The scenic charm of the place is enhanced by the twisted River Cauvery flowing through the eastern side of the sanctuary. It is also a perennial source of water to the majestic inhabitants of the region.
You can spot some endangered species of animals including the Clawless Otter, Nilgiri Marten, Barking Deer, Ruddy Mongoose, Giant Flying Squirrel and others. A guided safari in the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best activities in your Nishani Motte trek and certainly an experience of a lifetime.
5. River Cauvery- Cauvery (also called the Ganga of South India) is the most sacred river of South India which originates from the Brahmagiri Hills in the Tala Cauvery forest range. It is joined by its two tributaries namely Thavoor and Kopatti and flows through Tamil Nadu and Karnataka before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
One of the most adrenaline-charged outdoor activities in Nishani Motte trek is rafting in the gushing stream of Cauvery river. It acts as the main source of water to the wildlife and agriculture of the entire region. River rafting is permissible only during the months between May-December.
6. Bhagamandala forest range- It is from this point, your trek to Nishani Motte begins through the dense thickets of Shola, coffee and cardamom plantations. Apart from being home to unique flora and fauna, the Bhagamandala forest range is also a significant pilgrim site of the Hindus. It is the place where the River Cauvery is joined by its other tributaries namely Kannike and Sujyoti which has earned the place the title “Triveni Sangam” (confluence of three rivers).
The twin peaks of Thavoor and Kopatti offer beautiful trekking trails to those willing to sink into the mystic charm of the woodlands. The winding river Cauvery flowing placidly amidst the forest allures every tourist to appreciate the haunting beauty of Bhagamandala forest range.
7. Camping- The lush greenery and tranquil atmosphere make Nishani Motte an ideal destination for camping in the dense Shola forest of Tala Cauvery. It is the base of Nishani Motte trek from where the summit is approximately 14 Km uphill. Being home to wild animals and rare species of birds, Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is preferred by trekkers for outdoor camping for the view, challenges and wilderness it offers.
The memories of warming up in a campfire followed by a sumptuous dinner are enough to drive you for your next trip to Nishani Motte very soon. You will be provided with a guide by the forest department who is well aware of the wild animal zones inside the forest and lead you accordingly. If you have planned overnight camping at Tala Cauvery forest, its better you carry your own tent and a bed sheet to cover yourself. Sleeping bags are provided by the forest office.
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Other Important Information
A few more details about Nishani Motte trekking you should make a note of:
1. Places to Stay – Camping is an integral part of trekking which gives you the chance to be one with nature in all her splendour and rawness. Nishani Motte does not offer a steep climb. So, you can put up a tent and spend a night amidst the woodlands to enjoy a campfire and enjoy the thrill of outdoor adventure to the fullest. Your tour guide will help select a suitable place for your camping.
There are a number of homestays in Madikeri where you can enjoy comfortable accommodation and food (both veg and non-veg) according to your budget. Most of these homestays have camping facilities in their accommodation packages. The Nishani Forest Anti-Poaching Centre (APC) is a preferred stopover for trekkers for overnight camping. The building is equipped with all the amenities for a comfortable stay in a remote zone. You will be served dinner with South Indian platters cooked by the caretakers of the forest rest house.
2. Places to Eat- There are no hotels or eateries en route Nishani Motte as the trail runs through dense forest with no sign of proper human settlement. There are a few huts of locals in the village where you can seek refuge during your trip. The inhabitants of the village are hospitable and friendly and will treat you with their simple home-cooked vegetarian meal.
3. Transportation- Transportation by jeep is available through the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary as an initial part of your Nishani Motte trek. Vehicles provided by the forest department are only allowed to commute through the forest range. The jeep trail stretches up to the part of the forest which falls under Kerala before it takes a left diversion into the dense forest from where the actual trail to the summit begins.
This part of the trail has to be covered on foot as there are ridges and meadows surrounded by dense forest on either side making transportation inconvenient for the tourists. Also, jungle hiking adds to the thrill and adventure of Nishani Motte trek.
4. Medical Facilities- Since the trekking trail to Nishani Motte passes through dense forest, there is barely any medical centre or hospital on your way to Nishani Motte. The only hospital accessible is the Vivus Madikeri Hospital located in the heart of the Madikeri town which provides healthcare facilities to the locals.
It is a 50 bedded hospital well equipped with various specialities for emergency and general services to the patients. Trekkers are advised to carry their personal medicines and first aid kit for emergency during your trip.
5. Network Connectivity- Nishani Motte trek is mostly through the dense forest which stretches for about 16-18 Km along with the Brahmagiri range. As a result, chances are rare that you get smooth connectivity amidst the forest. However, once you descend at the nearest Madikeri town, your mobile network will run smooth.
You are advised to get your mobiles and other chargeable devices fully charged before embarking on the trek so that you can connect with your tour buddies and guide on emergency. You can also take a power bank that will help you if you are camping overnight amidst the jungle.
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