Photo Credit- Lingeswaran Marimuthukumar- Flickr
The capital of Coorg district, the ambrosial land of Madikeri is a sought-after hill station. Alternatively known as Mercara, it is here where tourists flock to bask in the beauty of nature.
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When in this nature’s delight, you cannot deny the ubiquitous presence of coffee. Its sweet aroma along with that of different spices treats your senses. A place of austere beauty, there are many places to visit here that make you feel one with nature.
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The following are some well-known Madikeri tourist places:
1. Raja’s Seat
Raja’s Seat is a sprawling garden and one of the popular Madikeri tourist places. This used to be the place frequented by kings as a place for leisure and relaxation. A treasure house of naturalistic delights, the sunrise and sunset views in this place are among the best in the region. The garden is atop a hill overlooking misty mountains and dense forests.
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A verdant seasonal garden thrives here and the refreshing greenery pervades your senses. It is no wonder that the kings of Kodagu visited this place and enjoyed the sunsets here. Amidst the garden is a small structure built with pillars and arches.
The Rajas played games and sang songs and regaled their queens in this romantic garden. During sunset, the light of the setting sun casts a colourful shadow in this place. The spectacle is truly magnificent as the hues of the setting sun get superimposed on the multi-coloured flowers in the garden.
The Raja’s Seat is located atop a high plane. From here you get breathtaking views of the adjoining cliffs. The eagle’s eye view befit kings and his ministers who were used to looking at everything from an elevation. You can view mountains and valleys situated at a distance. Even though they are miles away, it could seem that these magnificent nature creations are close to you. The mist shrouded valley is the best sight of them all. If are good at photography, you have to come here as this place is poetry in motion. It has all the characteristics of a garden that was once used by the mighty and powerful. You come to the Raja’s Seat to feel on top of the world – literally.
2. Omkareshwara Temple
Image Credit: Akshathkumar Shetty
This temple was built by Lingarajendra II. Even though it is a Hindu temple, there are elements of Islamic style in the architecture. This place of worship incorporates Gothic and Islamic styles making it one of the unique temples in India.
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The design is unlike other South Indian temples. There is a dome at the centre and turrets at the four corners. This temple was built in honour of Lord Shiva.
There is a legend behind the creation of this revered structure. A Brahmin was killed by the king and his spirit troubled the king for many years. The king decided to build a temple to appease this spirit as he was remorseful that he had put to death an innocent person to fulfill his political ambitions. It is believed that after building this temple, the spirit of the Brahmin left the king.
The king brought an idol of Lord Shiva from Kashi and installed it into the temple that was named Omkareshwara. Regular puja or religious ceremony was held every day and this temple is visited by large numbers of Shiva devotees.
You can visit this place for multiple reasons. The temple is located in an idyllic location and is surrounded by hills and valleys. The architecture of the temple is unique. The temple is well maintained and will find a sense of calm and peace when you visit this place.
The temple is considered to be powerful. Praying here is considered an important activity in the lifetime of a Hindu devotee. There are people from all over the world that come here to this ancient temple.
3. Abbi Falls
Image Credits- psykle- Flickr
Abbi or Abbey Falls is one of the prominent cascades in Coorg and famous among Madikeri tourist places. Located 8 kilometers from Madikeri, it is nestled in the Western Ghats. Descending from a height of 70 ft, the waterfall is voluminous during the monsoon. This is a perennial waterfall as there is water here at all times of the year. Numerous streams combine to form the Abbey Falls. The waters eventually join the Kaveri River.
Amidst coffee plantations, the location of the falls is picturesque. There are spice estates in the background. When the British ruled India, this waterfall was known as Jessie waterfall. Jessie was the daughter of a powerful official. More than seeing the waterfall, the fun is in reaching it. You have to traverse winding and steep pathways to reach the venue. On the way you meander through cardamom and coffee plantations. This short journey to the waterfall is exciting and sets the context for the rest of the adventure activity.
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Image Credits- Sri Harsha- Flickr
There are many points to view the waterfall in its true glory. There is a hanging bridge built for this purpose. Visitors can view the waterfall from this bridge. It is also a perfect perch point for taking amazing photographs. If you walk on the bridge, you will eventually reach the Kali Mata temple. It is unsafe to go near the cascade as it is powerful.
This place is worth visiting many times over. Around the falls there are many trekking trails. You can camp on the fringes of the waterfall region for some time. But it is unusual to be camping here overnight, leave alone several days. The region surrounding the Abbey Falls are perfect spots for vacationing.
4. Talacauvery & Bhagamandala
Talacauvery and Bhagamandala are spoken of in the same breath when it comes to Madikeri tourist places. Talacauvery is located in the Brahmagiri Range. Perched at an altitude of more than 2000 metres above sea level, this place is like a slice of heaven. When up in the hills, the view that you get is truly amazing and leaves you spellbound. These verdant hills are visited by the locals as well international visitors. It is not a surprise to see many repeat visitors at this place.
Talacauvery temples are famous attractions. Belonging to an illustrious past, they were part of glorious kingdoms. There is a holy river that flows through this place. Pilgrims take a dip in this river that is said to have mystical powers. Taking a dip in these waters is believed to rid you of physical and mental ailments.
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You visit Bhagmandala to see the confluence of many rivers into what is known as the Triveni Sangam. Three rivers flowing through this region meet here. Talacauvery is located at about 6 to 8 km from this place. People who visit Bhagmandala always visit Talacauvery.
Talacauvery is the place where the Kaveri River has its tributary. The stature of this place as a tributary of this river is what prompted people to build temples here. The river has religious connotation for Hindus. The Goddess Cauveramma is the river goddess. Said to be capable of healing physical and mental maladies, the goddess is prayed to fervently when at the river. There are temples here dedicated to the goddess. There are temples of other gods as well.
5. Cauvery Nisargadhama
Image Credit: Saroj Kumar
Cauvery Nisargadhama is an island formed by the Kaveri River. On first impressions, this place looks nothing less than paradise. Its beauty is on par with some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Blessed with rich biodiversity, the island is covered with thick forests.
As you approach the island, thick bamboo grooves greet you. These plants are conspicuous by their presence throughout the island. Teak and Rosewood are found in abundance as well. Spread over an area of 64 acres, there are plenty of things to see and do here. A deer park on this island gives you a real-time view of deer at close range. These beautiful animals enchant you with their aura.
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On offer are also elephant rides. There is no better way to scale the length and breadth of this island than sitting on this majestic creature. Boat rides allow you to see the island from the river. If you feel like staying here, then there are different types of accommodation on offer. A unique one is the tree-top home. Built of bamboo, the house is placed atop a tree. You can live like a bird in its nest in such homes. This is a perfect way to replicate that experience.
The sandy beds of the river bank are an ideal location to spend idle time in luxury. You feel a sense of calm when watching the river flow undeterred past you. The Cauvery Nisargadhama is one such place that you will never feel like leaving. The place beckons you to visit it even if you are thousands of miles away.
6. Golden Temple, Bylekuppe
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Bylekuppe in Coorg has a bustling Buddhist population. There are hundreds and thousands of Tibetans here. Given this aspect of this place, it is not a surprise to see many monasteries here. The monasteries are teeming with tourists visiting Madikeri tourist places. Apart from being places of religion and spirituality are also places where spiritual learning is imparted.
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The Golden Temple is one such monastery. The structure and architecture of this temple will not cease to amaze you. The temple is like no other. The architecture is unique and typical of a Buddhist monastery. But its presence amidst numerous South Indian temples makes it an odd one out – quite pleasantly so.
Image Credit- Lingeshwaran Marimuthukumar- Flickr
Visiting Bylekuppe could give you an impression that you have visited a town in Sikkim. This aspect makes this place a different one amongst places to see in Madikeri. Tibetan flags have been erected at various places here. The flags are unique in appearance. Their multicolored appearance is intriguing and splendid. Tibetans live in normal homes like others but their homes have Buddhist shrines. These small shrines are used as places of worship. You can visit one such home with permission.
Tibetans flock to the Golden Temple in large numbers. There are plenty of these people here. Part of the Namdroling Monastery, there is enough to see around the temple as well. There are several restaurants that serve authentic Tibetan food.
Image Credit: RahulR
There are plenty of shops that sell Tibetan merchandise. You can go back home with some interesting Tibetan gifts for your near and dear ones. Malaya is one such Tibetan restaurant that is popular in this region.
The Golden Temple is a unique experience. You come here to witness Buddhist culture in the heart of a land that embraces Hinduism. So it is a pleasant thought to imbibe the best tenets of both religions.
7. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Image Credits- Sjanasundaran P T- Flickr
On the Northern part of Coorg, there are many places to see in Madikeri. But the most prominent among them is the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. This reserve is situated next to Mandalpatty. Located in the Western Ghats, the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect habitat for wildlife and birds. The forest is mainly comprised of evergreen and semi-evergreen trees. This aspect makes it a pristine and salubrious place. The sanctuary is located at an elevation as well. At more than 1700 metres above sea level, this place has serene climatic conditions that make for a hill station.
The Pushpagiri Peak is the highest mountain here. The Kumarparvatha is located here. This is essentially a mountain but a famous one. Thousands of trekkers from Bangalore and other cities of India visit this place to conquer the mountain. The trek here is considered to be difficult.
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Wild animals won’t intimidate you unless you go astray and venture on your own. It is safe to stay in groups. Do not carry smelly items in your bag like perfume. Avoid foods that dispense attractive smells. These smells could attract predators. The wildlife sanctuary is an abode for Asiatic elephants. You might see one occasionally in the bushes far away. You have to keep your distance with these animals.
Walking through the jungle is an exciting experience. Camping is forbidden here as staying overnight is risky. The months between November and March are ideal times to visit this sanctuary. You may not be allowed to enter alone. This sanctuary is ideal for one day treks spanning three to four hours. Trekking and scaling mountains during dawn or dusk is not advisable.
8. Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp
Image Credit- Athichart Pluemprem- Flickr
The forest department manages and administers this reserve forest and elephant camp. Dubare is home to more than a hundred elephants. These elephants are trained and deployed for various activities. One popular activity that elephants are used for is the Dussehra Festival. When you visit the Dubare Reserve Forest you can visit the elephant training centre in this region.
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Image Credits- Anne Roberts- Flickr
Naturalists provide information on how elephants are trained here. They also explain the behaviour and characteristics of elephants. After visiting the elephant camp, you can go on a jeep safari through the forest. There are plenty of wild animals in the forest. You can spot barking deer, gaurs, bison and jackals. If you are lucky you could see leopards, but these animals are generally stealthy and do not appear in the open. The best time to see animals is during dawn or dusk. These are the times when animals come out in the open. There is a river that runs here. On the banks of this river, you can witness plenty of wildlife activity. This is evident during the summer season.
As much as Dubare is famed for its wildlife and elephants, it is a place where you find plenty of exotic birds. If you are a bird lover, then coming here will fulfill your need to see and experience some of the most beautiful creatures on this planet. Apart from partridges and woodpeckers, there are innumerable peacocks. These birds prance around undeterred by the ways of the wild. They are beautifully dressed in their feathers and make for an amazing sight.
9. Iruppu Falls
Image Credit: Dhruvaraj S
This cascade is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the district and an important one among Madikeri tourist places. The Iruppu Falls are considered a holy place. It is located in the Brahmagiri hill range.
There is a legend behind the discovery of this cascade. Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana passed through this region in search of water. They were looking for Lord Rama’s wife Sita. Lord Rama was thirsty and asked Lakshmana to look for water. Lakshmana simply shot an arrow and it fell on the ground with enough force. The force created a gaping hole in the ground and oozed water. The river water came out of the ground. Therefore, the river was discovered in this manner.
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The river then created the Iruppu Falls. You can also take a dip in the pond at the falls. The water has a height of 60 metres. Although not the tallest waterfall, the water makes a thundering splash when it falls to the ground. The falls are generally noisy, but the sounds are pleasing to the ears.
Image Credit: Rameshng
The gushing waters complement the surroundings. The peaceful and lush surroundings stay quiet and give audience to the orchestra of the waterfall. It could seem that the only activity in this forest is at the waterfall. You can hear the sonorous sounds of water gushing out and splashing into the pond miles away.
The waterfall is alternatively called Lakshmana Teertha, given that Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana created the waterfall by discovering the river. Rameshwara Temple is situated in the vicinity. When you visit the Iruppu Falls, do not forget to visit this place. The temple is full of pilgrims during Shivaratri. You have to visit this place during this time. The forest could seem invaded by human beings. Suddenly the quietness of the forest is disturbed by human babble.
10. Madikeri Fort
Of places to see in Madikeri, the Madikeri Fort is a popular attraction in Madikeri. This is a 17th century fort and was rebuilt by Tipu Sultan after being initially built by Muddu Raja. Initially it was built mainly of mud. Tipu Sultan converted it into a strong granite fort with the ability to withstand attacks from the enemy.
There is a palace inside the fort that was the place where the king used to reside and conduct meetings with his ministers. Over the years, different rulers have marked their presence here. Tipu Sultan was the most famous among them. After Tipu Sultan, numerous other rulers of Madikeri ruled this region from this fort.
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The palace has elements of European architecture making it a unique experience of all tourist places. There are underground escape routes in this fort. No one knows about these routes expect for some very important people who manage and administer the fort.
There is also a museum on location that houses important artifacts of a bygone era. The museum is part of a chapel that the British built. Weaponry, costumes and historical books are displayed in the museum. It is a must-watch for those who want to know how the world has progressed from those medieval times.
11. Brahmagiri Hill Trek
Image Credits- Anoop Madhavan- Flickr
The Brahmagiri hill range is set at an altitude of more than 6000 metres. This aspect makes it one of the climatically serene places in this region and the best among places to see in Madikeri. It is due to this fact that trekking here is an exhilarating experience.
The hill region has impressive trekking trails. At numerous points on the trekking trail, you could be forced to stop and stare at the beautiful scenery. Located in the Western Ghats, Brahmagiri Hill is covered with thick forests. The hill region is located at the border between the Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka. To reach here, you have to reach Coorg initially, and then come here.
The trekking trails on the hill are not just impressive. They are adventurous and probably one of the best in the country. The scenic delights on offer are truly out of the world. Once you conquer the hill, you feel like doing it all over again. The trek to the top is tiresome. But once on the hill an insatiable curiosity takes over. You complete the trek purely out of curiosity. You are prodded by nature to reach the top. In fact all along the trek you would be oblivious to your tired legs. The scenic delights make you forget everything. You are in a state of hypnosis.
Image Credits- Indi Samarajiva- Flickr
The amazing biodiversity will never cease to enchant you. Some of the trails take you through the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to wild elephants. But none of these creatures are in your path when you trek through these nature walks. Most wild animals keep away from places of human activity. On the trek you can also see rivers. The banks of these rivers are ideal destinations for resting. You may not be able to stay overnight on these banks. During the night, wild animals could visit these regions.
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The hill region is full of evergreen and semi-evergreen trees, making it the most picturesque of all Madikeri tourist places. The trees are the home to some of the most exotic and rare species of birds. If you are a bird lover, then you can hire an ornithologist who will accompany you on these expeditions.
You get deep insights on the ways and behaviours of these birds. Their lifestyle is simple yet sophisticated. Their beautiful appearance will make you yearn for a life that is simple but beautiful. The entire region looks straight out of a photography manual. For photography lovers, they will be lost for choices. There are so many snapshots to capture.
The Brahmagiri hill trek is one of the most famous treks in the country. You have to do this trek at least once in your lifetime.
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