After a hectic Placement season, I planned to visit Coorg in February 2018. But why Coorg? With its lure of coffee plantations, affordable homestays, and the wild Western ghats treks, I knew Coorg had to be my relaxing trip.
In this blog, I would like to share my 3-day experience in Coorg.
Coorg is well known for its great homestays. If you are visiting Coorg, don’t book a guest house or a hotel. I had my stay booked from booking.com at Honey Palace homestay. The place is very cheap and the owner is very nice. They provided home food at a very affordable price. The place is near the market, bus stop, and Raja’s Seat. Madikeri is the best place to stay because from here you can catch local buses to any place in Coorg.
I reached Madikeri around 12 PM. After freshening up, I wanted to rent a bike and headed to Royal brothers’ office. Royal brothers are the only bike-renting place in Coorg. The first place I visited was Abbi Falls.
It was about 8 km from my stay. Well for me it was nothing more than an ordinary waterfall. There were cemented stairs to go up to the waterfall. We were not allowed to enter in the waterfall, which is understandable. The sound of the flowing water made my day. However, people around there were more interested in capturing these moments in their cameras instead of enjoying it first hand. Being an avid traveller, my excitement was just reaching it’s pinnacle. The best part of my trip was yet to come and it didn’t take long before I encountered it. My decision to explore more led me to one of the most beautiful parts of Abbi Falls. There is an open field at Abbi falls entrance, downhill from which there is an amazing coffee plantation. Workers here were very generous. They gave me a free tour of the whole area. The path to Abbi was also breathtaking. If you like to ride bikes in mountains, you will surely enjoy this ride.
The next place lined up was the famous Raja’s Seat.
This place was the best “tourist” place of Coorg. This is the place to go to enjoy the sunset and a beautiful evening of Coorg. Even here, you will find a small trail which leads you to a peaceful place, where you can just sit and enjoy the mind-blowing sunset alone.
Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better. - Henry Rollins
I was too hungry so I went to coorg cuisine for dinner. I always wanted to taste the famous Kodagu cuisine and this was the perfect place for that. You must have the special halwa here.
I woke up at 5 AM because I wanted to enjoy early morning ride in the mountainous region. On Day 2, I aimed to cover places far from Madikeri.
Bylakuppe, little Tibet in South India
It was about 36-40 km from my stay. It was a mind-blowing experience of riding early morning such a long way in beautiful terrains. I visited the Namdroling monastery, spent some time there. I read about delicious momos in the article by Rachel Jones. So, I visited Patola family kitchen and ate some fried momos with delicious chatni and Veg spring rolls.
I also visited Nisargdhama and Chikli Holé.
After that amazing lunch, I returned back to Madikeri and in the evening went to Raja’s Seat to find some alone time and wrote poems with the beautiful sunset in the backdrop. When I returned back, lady at the homestay cooked delicious food for all everyone staying there. We all met and discussed what we did in Coorg and what our further plans were. That’s where I met Yuan.
I slept early because next day, Yuan and I had planned to leave for Thadiyandamol Peak Trek.
Day 3 (Thadiyandamol Peak Trek)
Thadiyandamol is the highest peak in Coorg at an elevation of 1750 meters. The mountain has patches of Shola forests in the valleys.
In the morning, we had neer dosa at the homestay, which is one of the must-try dishes of Coorg. To get to the base of the peak, we took a local bus heading towards Kakkabe village.
This is the most appropriate map of Thadiyandamol Trek, I got this from here.
The bus drops you at Point A. We didn’t spend any time at the base and started walking as soon as we got off the bus. Another option is to hire a jeep from Point A to Point B. You will find shops between Point A and Point B, to buy food or water. Also, there are many homestays in-between like Honey Valley Homestay is located at Point B, so you can arrive in the afternoon here and stay in one of the homestays and start trekking early morning from there.
After trekking sometimes from Point B, we reached forest camp where we paid a small fee. At forest camp, the tree shade suddenly ended as we took a turn that brought us to the edge of the hill we were on.
Night stays are not allowed at Thadiyandamol peak, so you cannot take any tents or sleeping bags with you.
If you bring any, you can keep it at forest camp and take it back while returning.
After trekking around 2.6 km you will find a big rock.
From here, the track becomes rocky, muddy and much steeper. You will feel like you are climbing infinite stairs.
Thadiyandamol is an easy trek even for beginners as we pretty much kept walking along the trails we could see and, it being a long weekend, we often passed people who were returning from the peak.
After climbing this trail, I was totally exhausted but the views up at the peak were simply a delight for the eyes. I thought “yeah this is it, we finally did it”, because a lot of people were there. We clicked some photos, drank water and ate bananas.
But soon, Yuan revealed to me that there is still some distance left. I don’t think I can capture those moments of thrill when you step over a leg of the journey to reach the momentary peak only to find out that this isn’t the final peak and you have to keep going. For me, it kept happening as after each small hill I climbed, I could see another one in front where the trails continued! It was both exciting and fussy that every time we thought we had accomplished the peak, we could see a new one in front.
But, at last, we decided to go ahead. After this, we encountered Shola forest. Inside Shola forest, It was feeling like heaven. Temperature and forest beauty was telling my soul to live here forever. After 5-10 min of the climb, we cleared forest and again entered open field area.
As we went in February, we didn’t face any leeches but if you are going after April, you should definitely take care of them. Try to avoid sitting on rocks especially in the forest area. As soon as drizzling starts in Coorg, Leeches becomes pain in the ass everywhere in Coorg.
After more than 4 hours of climbing up towards the peak, we reached our peak finally! We met another group of trekkers who were resting at the peak.
We spent 1-2 hours at the peak, clicked lots of photos, had some water and bananas.
While descending, we had no water left. That was most problematic. Yuan was an experienced trekker and I was trekking the first time, he was literally running. I fell 2-3 times, hoped for some magical rain so that I could have some water but we finally reached forest camp. We marked ourselves as returned, had a lot of water, chatted with fellow trekkers. Believe me, coming down was more tiring for me. We finally reached our bus stop in one and half hour.
We boarded a bus for Madikeri and reached our homestay by 6:30 PM.
I was tired as hell, smelly and wanted to get back to Hyderabad as soon as possible. But I was not in the condition of having a long journey. We ate dinner, talked about India, Europe etc.
After completing this trek, I would say Thadiyandamol trek is best for beginners. If I am successful in motivating you guys and you are planning to go for it, carry leech protection and enough water (at least 3L) because there is no water source in the whole track. You will find water at Forest camp only.
Well coming to the end, this day was my birthday. I made a pact that “every birthday I will do some adventurous activity” and successfully completed for this year.
I left for Hyderabad next day early morning.
Coorg is a great place to spend weekends. Coorg, being a district, has a lot of beautiful villages. Madikeri being a town and most connected part of Coorg has loads of crowd. I recommend living in the nearby villages so you can enjoy the best of Coorg.