Coorg is one of our favourite towns and with exams done for kids, where else would we go. Coorg is about 580Kms from Chennai with beautiful roads and views. So off we went driving with a full car - 5 adults and 3 kids...where do we keep the luggage??
Day 1: Drive from Chennai to Bengaluru
We left home at 630AM and were going to halt in Bengaluru at my cousins's house who lives in the east part of Bengaluru which meant we took the Chittoor road to Bengaluru. Not the best road but considering where they live, it is the best option!!
Post a quick stop for breakfast at HSB, we reached their house by lunch time. Chilled and relaxed evening.
Day 2: Drive from Bengaluru to Coorg via Kushalnagar
Another early morning drive...after all we didn't want to be stuck in the horrible Bengaluru traffic. We left home at 600AM and drove right through the city and crossed the notorious "Yeswanthpur" junction in 45 minutes, a record any which way you look at it.
We took the NH 75 which meant a stop over at one of our favorite restaurants enroute - Swathi Delicacy. It is a great place and serves great South & North Indian dishes, has ample parking and clean toilets.
With stomachs full, our next stop was Kushal Nagar. First stop Namdroling Monastery or Golden Temple as it is famously known. It is the largest teaching monastery of a sect of Tibetan Buddhism. There are about 5000 Lamas studying here. The monastery was built in the 60s but recently has been renovated. While it is fantastic to see a Tibetan monastery down south, just wish the crowds would be quieter. There are enough signs regarding silence but is largely ignored. Sad. A beautiful piece of Tibet in Southern India.
Our next stop was Nisargadhama Reserve. This is a 64 acre island, formed by Cauvery river, with lush foliage and is accessible through a hanging rope bridge. The place is just a big park and is there is nothing much here.
Final stop before heading to our hotel was Dubare Elephant camp. The elephants here were once used for logging which is now banned and these retired elephants are used to give rides to visitors. The camp is well maintained. Since it is summer, we could walk through the river....when the river is full, boats take you to the camp. This is an absolute must visit while in Coorg.
A full day comes to an end and we closed the day with a swim in the Club Mahindra Virajpet resort.
Day 3: Relax at the Club Mahindra Virajpet resort
After a long day on Day 1, we decided to just chill and enjoy the lovely facilities at the Club Mahindra resort in Virajpet. The resort is very new - just 5 years old. We had booked 2 studios and they were adjacent like we asked for. The rooms are spacious and the kitchenette is basic but good. At last resorts are getting a microwave and dishes. The club is buzzing with activities the whole day. The 7pm activities were fun and involved everyone. The club house is big and the pool is awesome. There is also the adventure park where you have some fun walks. We also used the spa which is good.
The restaurant has standard Mahindra fare. What we would like is to have some local flavours - in both the foods and activities. We couldn't get any Pandi curry or Neer dosa or Akki rotis in the menu. Come on aren't we in coorg!!
The kids had great fun in the "adventure park" where they did their monkey business and we also spent time chilling by the lovely pool.
Day 4: Talakaveri and Madikeri
Talakaveri is only 52kms from the resort but with the winding roads, it takes about 90 minutes. We left the resort by 7AM, to beat the traffic and also the heat. We had breakfast at the Maurya in Bhagamandala is the only one that looked decent and the food didn't disappoint.
First Stop, Talakaveri. This is Cauvery river's origin and is a keenly visited site. There's also a temple associated with it. For those interested in getting a view from the top, a steep walk awaits. Last time I visited with shorts, there wasn't an issue but this time, I had to pay INR 10 and coverup!! Guess they need money to spruce the place up.
It only takes 20 minutes to see the site and were we glad we came in early....As we left the entire place was filled up with cars. Get early and enjoy the place. Next stop is Sri Bhagandeshwara temple which has idols of Shiva, Subramanya and Ganesha. The place gets its name from this temple; a good temple with easy parking.
Madikeri is where we were heading for lunch and shopping and sightseeing. Madikeri is about 46Kms from Tala Kaveri and takes about 80 minutes or so. What better place to stop than at Coorg Cuisine (click for detailed review), the best restaurant in town. There are quite a few places to see in Madikeri - Omkareshwara temple,
One of the best place to view sunset is Raja's Seat. This lovely spot was a favourite place of recreation for the Rajas and hence associated with them. It is built on a high level ground with a commanding view of the cliffs and valleys to the west.
Virajpet, Madikeri and Talakaveri make a triangle and we were back that evening at our resort.
Day 5: Drive from Virajpet to Chennai
We are going to drive home straight, covering almost 600kms...left the resort at 6AM.
This time the route was going to be Virajpet - Mysore Bypass - Nice Road - Hosur - Kanchipuram - Home. The roads were fantastic and we made great time despite 3 stops - breakfast at maddur (had to have maddur vada), coffee at Shoolagiri with a fuel stop and then lunch at Murugan Idli Shop (beyond Kaveripakkam).....reached home by 4PM.
We will be back again to Coorg, perhaps post the rains.