If you’re intrigued by the romance of the Raj era, you still have a chance to relive it in the grandeur of tea and coffee plantation bungalows. Affluent British and Indians would escape the summer heat and head to their holiday homes in places like Shimla, Coorg and Ooty and spend the summer socializing and living the high life.
Unfortunately, most of us corporate mortals are far from having the luxury of owning our own plantation bungalows as holiday homes. However, we can pretend otherwise and rent one for a few days of total relaxation. A weekend trip from Bangalore, Coorg is the perfect option for your next holiday.
Getting to Coorg
If you’re intrigued by the romance of the Raj era, you still have a chance to relive it in the grandeur of tea and coffee plantation bungalows.
Getting to Coorg is not a pleasurable experience as the roads are not very well maintained. The total drive of 230kms can take anything between 5 to 7 hours. But once you’re there, it’s an experience you are sure to remember.
Staying at Coorg
Many plantation owners rent out rooms to tourists in Coorg.
Coorg is one of the few places in India where the concept of Bed&Breakfast inns is popular. Besides resorts and hotels, you will also find many plantation owners who rent out rooms to guests.
One of the most recommended ones in the area is The Palace Estate. Spread over acres of land, the estate has multiple rooms available at a very affordable range of Rs.2000-5000. Unfortunately, the estate is quite a distance from Bangalore and in the interiors of Coorg, thus demands a longer break.
Another option is the uber Orange County Resort. A high end property, it is self sufficient with a swimming pool, restaurants and other amenities. With a price tag of Rs.17000 per night, if you like luxury, this is where you should stay.
Last, you must check out Tata Plantations. Tata Coffee has developed this innovative concept by buying and refurbishing old colonial bungalows within their estates in Coorg and now rent out rooms to guests. At a reasonable Rs.6500 per night for the high end heritage room, this is a great option for medium-budget vacations.
‘Plantation Trails’ as it is called, has numerous bungalows in this region. The Woshully Bungalow comes especially recommended. Located in the heart of Tata’s 2000 acre coffee estate, this 110 year old bungalow is something like a movie set. With a grand formal drawing room, a stately dining room, a cozy TV room and 3 guest rooms, the bungalow comes with its own butler to serve you as if you were royalty.
What to do in Coorg:
Coorgi food is delicious and under-represented outside the region. You are sure to relish the local delicacies that you will get a chance to enjoy here.
If sightseeing is on your mind, a drive of one hour will take you to the Dubare elephant camp, the Buddhist Golden Temple and a few waterfalls.
Most plantations offer a lovely one hour plantation walk or a 45 minute plantation jeep tour. But your vacation in Coorg should be all about relaxation and taking time to rejuvenate away from the cacophony of city life.
View from Raja’s Seat
As the name suggests, the kings sat here and watched the sunsets. The view from Raja’s seat is astoundingly beautiful as you take in acres and acres of green valleys and mist covered mighty hills.
Built in 1820, this temple has a ‘shivalinga’ near the entrance. According to a legend, the King unjustly ordered death of a pious Brahmin. The priest’s spirit began haunting the King. Thereafter, the King built this temple to appease the priest’s spirit.
Abbey Falls in full flow
The most popular waterfall of this region is hardly 5 km drive from the main town. The powerful sprays from the falls can get you drenched within no time.
Thalakkaveri temple in Coorg
Located 44 kms from Madikeri, this is the birthplace of river Cauvery. Apart from being a pilgrimage spot, it is also known for its natural beauty.
Nisargadhama hanging bridge
A 64-acre island, in the middle of the river Cauvery, it can be accessed through a hanging bridge. It’s covered with thick bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees. Boating in the river, deer park and children’s park are some of the attractions of this park.
Namrodoling monastery in Bylakuppe
Bylakuppe near Kushalanagar is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in south India. There are several monasteries here where you can find beautiful gold-coated Buddhist statues.
Dubare Reserve Forest and Elephant Camp
Baby elephant playing with the mother at Dubare Elephant Camp
A popular tourist attraction of Coorg is the elephant camp at Dubare. Not only, you can watch elephants taking a bath in the Cauvery, but can also take a joy ride on an elephant.
Things to do in Coorg
Apart from the above tourist attractions, you can also visit coffee plantations. Coorg is known for its coffee, and its a visual treat to know how coffee is made, roasted and grinded.
Coorg is also popular with trekkers as there are many hills and jungles to trek.
White river rafting is popular near Dubare Elephant camp.
For wildlife enthusiasts, there are many options like Pushpagiri, Brahmagiri, Talacauvery wildlife sanctuaries. However, it’s advisable to visit Nagarhole (Rajiv Gandhi) National Park for spotting some of the wildest beasts like tigers, leopards, wild dogs, jungle cats, striped hyenas, jackals and other animals like gaurs, deer, sambars, antelopes, wild boars, sloth bears, etc.
Do not forget to buy organic coffees, locally made chocolates and spices in Coorg.