2017 – Our Travel Diary

As the year 2017 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on our travel through the year that was. And it indeed was the most exciting year when it comes to our travel. We did lots and lots of holidays in ‘travel 2017’ , as we like to call the epic travel year that it was for us. After having learnt how to successfully travel with a toddler, we had a good amount of travel in 2016Then we welcomed 2017 with a beautiful sunrise across the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram. There was no plan as such, but one by one the journeys unfolded. And eventually ‘travel 2017’ appeared to be the most fulfilling. Let us take you through a glimpse of our ‘travel 2017’.

Grindelwald , Travel 2017

Wandering through the streets of Grindelwald

Mahabalipuram – Travel 2017 Destination No #1

The beginning of the year happened in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. On 31st December 2016 and 1st of January 2017, we wandered through the streets of Mahabalipuram. Visiting it’s historical icons like the Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Krishna’s Butterball etc. along with the newer attractions like the India Sea Shell Museum, Light house Museum and Maritime Heritage Museum. And perhaps it’s truly believed that the way you start your year, the rest of the year unfolds in a similar manner.

Arjuna's Penance : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Arjuna’s Penance

Palampur – Travel 2017 Destination No #2

Before we even knew, we were off to our next destination. And it was none other than the fairytale village of Palampur in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The views of snow ladened himalayan peaks , beautiful green fields of Palampur and the winding Himalayan roads mesmerized us completely. And all that was topped with the unparalleled hospitality that we enjoyed at the Lodge at Wah as well as Norwood Greens homestay. Although we just spent a couple of days at Palampur, they were amongst the most beautiful of the days we spent traveling this year.

Things to do in Palampur

Wayanad – Travel 2017 Destination No #3

After having visited the northern Himalayan ranges, once again it was time to romance the southern hills. Soon we headed to Wayand. Although a little short of time on this trip, we couldn’t cover much on this trip. But we did visit the infamous Edakkal Caves. Apart from that we thoroughly enjoyed the greenery, the scenic forests , the tea plantations and everything else that Wayanad is famous for. But we do intend to return here for another beautiful stay. And when we do, we also intend to cover much more grounds.

Oxyfarm Resorts Wayanad

The beautiful surroundings of Wayanad

Coorg – Travel 2017 Destination No #4

Soon after returning from Wayand, we were delighted to receive an invite from Casa Coorg Homestay in Coorg. In this short weekend trip, we enjoyed our trip to Coorg thoroughly. Covering the Abbey falls, Coorg Fort, Monastery and a lot of places. We also did some shopping of spices and dry fruits from the markets of Madikeri. Thereafter we visited the beautiful golf course in Virajpet, very close to our homestay. And went out on evening walks in unknown trails along with our host dogs. Overall, a very relaxing and wonderful weekend that we spent at Coorg.

places to visit in Coorg

Europe – Travel 2017 Destination No #5 and our epic trip

Finally arrived the time for the most awaited trip of the year. Travel 2017 was finally going to get all the more exciting with a trip to Europe. This was the longest one that we took this year as well as overall in our journey as travelers. We did around 20 days trip to Europe covering Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice in ItalyAnd that was followed by visit to Engleberg and Mount Titlis, Lucerne, Grindelwald, Interlaken and Bern in Switzerland. Thereafter we went on to spend 3 days in Paris, made the most of our time visiting 2 parks in Disneyland, did a walking tour of Amsterdam and finally visited the  Keukenhof Tulip Gardens

Traveling to Europe with baby or kid

We had a lot of fun on this trip. That included designing and taking self walking tour in Florence, VeniceLucerne and Amsterdam. We also visited a Cheese Factory and Kambly Cookie Factory. Took Boat hop on hop off tour in Venice and played with snow in Mount Titlis. Then we visited the Lovure in Paris and spent an unforgettable evening visiting Eiffel Tower. Also, we traveled by buses, trains, metros and vans. We did crack the maze of Paris metro while there. All in all it was a super epic trip. We also learnt a lot during this trip. For instance, we became confident on this trip about taking long trips with our little one and wrote about traveling to Europe in particular with kids. And we tried a lot of different cuisines. Also we learnt how to pack efficiently for long trips, how to sustain long haul flights with little kids and how to stay healthy on long trips in foreign lands.

tour of florence

Kabini – Travel 2017 Destination No #6

After returning from Europe trip, we thought we had a really long vacation. And that we won’t need another one for quiet some time now. But soon we found ourselves on a lookout for the next destination. It was at this time that the Peepal Tree Boutique Homestay in Kabini extended their hospitality, inviting us to spend a weekend with them. And with delighted hearts, we said yes. Thereafter, we had a wonderful weekend at Kabini. We went to the river backwaters, did cycling along the fields, enjoyed homemade foods, took a bumpy and adventurous jeep ride to the villages and the meadows beyond and finally counted the stars on a clear night sky while we walked through the premises of Peepal Tree after a sumptuous dinner.

The Peepal Tree Kabini

A lovely morning view from our room window at The Peepal Tree Kabini

Kolar – Travel 2017 Destination No #7

Next we visited Kolar in a day trip. Travel 2017 continued on a roll while we had the most spontaneous day trip of the year with Kolar. Although Kolar is a district in the north of Bangalore best known for it’s once abundant gold mines. But our interest lay more in the ancient temples that the district and it’s villages are house to. During this day trip, we visited the Kolaramma Temple in Kolar, alongside the Someshwara Temple. Then we did the hike to the Antargange – the sacred stream which is believed to be the river Ganga from north India, traveling underground to south and emerging here.

Bangalore to Kolar

Someshwara Temple Kolar

There after we headed to Avani temple. This is the temple where Saint Valmiki is believed to have written the epic Ramayana. And this is also the place where Goddess Sita is supposed to have stayed after her self imposed exhile from Ayodhya. Her sons, Luv and Kush were also born here. We really liked the peaceful premises and surroundings of the temple. It kind of reminded us of the Temple of Lepakshi that we had visited years back. Finally, we ended the trip with a visit to Kotilingeshwara Temple.

Yercaud – Travel 2017 Destination No #8

Next was lined up the long weekend of August 15. And we were all determined to head somewhere next. Yercaud seemed to be the perfect destination. Closer to home, with a perfect monsoon climate. So, we decided to head here to spend the long weekend. Although, there was a little rush in Yercaud, pertaining to the long weekend. And we finalized our plan quiet late. So, we didn’t get a good stay here. However, we didn’t let it curb our travel 2017 enthusiasm by any means. We visited the Yercaud Lake, the valley view points, the Killiyur falls and many other interesting places on the first day of our visit.

On the second day, we relaxed, and headed to the Great Trails for a nice Lunch. They seem to have a really good property and next time we intend to stay there. On the third day, we started back to Bangalore post breakfast and reached back in time to avoid the mad traffic rush at the outskirts of Bangalore 🙂

Rajasthan – Travel 2017 Destination No #9

We had done a beautiful trip to Rajasthan in 2016, spanning over around 10 days. As a part of this trip, we covered 3 days in Jaipur, 4 days in Udaipur, doing day trips to Chittorgarh and Kumbalgarh , also seeing the world famous Jain Temple of Ranakpur. We visited lots of palaces & Forts including the Amer Fort, Nahargarh fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbalgarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Palace, Udaipur Palace and also museums like Bagore ki Haveli. As well as cultural places like The Shilpgram. We did crazy shopping here as well. But in the end we left carving for more and promised ourselves we will return soon.

Amer fort 12

A man playing a melodious chord at the fort entrance

And so we did. We decided to end the year 2017 in the colorful land of Rajasthan, visiting Jaisamler for 3 days and spending 2 days in Jodhpur. And we started the whole tour with an overnight stay under the cold winter night , gazing at the stars in Sheesh Mahal Desert Camp Jaisalmer.  We did a lot of activities in the Thar Desert today. There after we stayed the city of Jaisalmer, right inside the Jaisalmer fort exploring the Jaisalmer Fort, Bada Bagh, Jain Temples. We also did day trips to the haunted village of Kuldhara and to Khaba Fort from Jaisalmer. Thereafter we proceeded to enjoy the hospitality of Jaswant Niwas Homestay in Jodhpur. In the couple of days that we spent in this city, we visited Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Clock Tower, Umaid Bhavan and Mandore Gardens in Jodhpur .

In Conclusion there couldn’t have been a better end to the year 2017 and beginning to the year 2018. Just like we had an end to the year 2016, and had welcomed 2017.Overall, travel 2017 spanned over 9 different trips, covering 24 different places. It also saw our 25th travel anniversary (Yes, we completed 25 trips since we decided to become partners for life. ) . Now we are all excited for a new start in 2018, again, traveling as much as we can.

Although I would like to add a disclaimer here. We are not full time travelers, we do have our 9-5 jobs. And if it surprises you how we managed to travel so much in spite of our full time jobs, here’s a post I wrote on traveling along with holding full time job, that will help you understand the secret sauce behind our travel better. Thanks for reading and being a part of all our journeys through the year. Have a wonderful year 2018 ahead….

Enchanting Hill Stations in South India

We always loved hill stations and felt super energized whenever got a chance to visit any hill station. And, I must say, hill stations have unbeatable charm. Since they make one feel so close to nature. Also they bring new level of freshness and energy. So, in quest of satisfying our likeness of hill stations we have been to many hill stations in India. And it ranges from hill stations in North India to hill stations in South India.

KeralaMunnar3-min

This post I am dedicating to the most renowned hill stations in south India we have been to. In the lap of southern side of India there lies many world renowned hill stations. These hill stations in south India tend to be very green. The aroma and charm of these hill stations make their visitors to fall in instant love with them. Also, it creates kind of a bond which makes people to come on these hill stations again and again.

So now its time to compile my list and it goes as:

Munnar – a gem amongst the Hill Stations in South India

Munnar is one of the hill stations in south India, located in Idukki district of Kerala, one of the southern states in India. It is situated in the lush green mountain ranges of the Western Ghats. The name “Munnar” literally means “Three Rivers”. Munnar is very picturesque. As, it is covered in layers of green velvet formed by the numerous coffee estates. And it stretches across the long and wide range of mountains. And these mountains are marked with majestic waterfalls gushing through them, river, lake, flora, fauna and wildlife. One can reach Munnar most conveniently from Cochin, the capital of Kerala. And the drive from Cochin to Munnar is itself very scenic.

We visited Munnar in 2010. And ever since, it has been close to our heart. For me, it is one of the most beautiful hill stations in south India. We spent close to three days during our trip to Munnar. And all these three days filled us with lifetime of memory. During our stay in Munnar, we visited several sites and found each one of these to be so beautiful. So, here’s a list of places you can see while in Munnar and things you can do when in this beautiful small town.

Munnar, Kerala

Eravikulam National Park, Munnar

Attractions: My Top Picks

I will suggest these 6 must to see places in Munnar based on my experience. These are:

Coffee Plantations: Munnar has several coffee plantations across the hill station. As you pass through these or even across the road, soak in the aroma of coffee plants. Also, stop by for some memorable snaps.

Mattupetty Dam: A place to spot the most breathtaking scenery in Munnar

Eravikulam National park: Another must see in Munnar, Eravikulam National park is located on the high hills of Munnar. Actually, the highest peak of India after Himalayas is located inside this park.

Elephant Point: The elephant point is just another scenic point near the lake where elephants often venture in for water. Elephant rides are also offered in this spot

Plant Nurseries: There are many plant nurseries in and around Munnar. And, we happened to visit one after a day long site seeing. And it was very refreshing.

Natural Scenic Spots: These are abundant in Munnar and in course of your journey keep looking for them. Make a stop at these to enjoy the closeness of nature.

Munnar Kerala

Lush green mountains of Munnar

Best Time to Visit

June to September: Although this is the monsoon season in Munnar and many tourists may want to avoid Munnar during the monsoons. But this is a great time to visit the hill stations in south India, including Munnar. Particularly, if you’re looking for a quiet vacation and lots of greenery.

September to November and January to March: During these windows Munnar is comfortably cold. Also occasional rains will give you a misty experience.

Number of Days Required

I will suggest 3+ days. Ideally 4-5 days to spend in Munnar.

Ooty – the Queen of Hill Stations

Located at a distance of around 270 KM from Bangalore, Ooty is one of the hill stations in south India famously known as “Queen of Hill Stations”. It is also known as Udhagamandalam. And it is part of Indian state Tamilnadu. Ooty is part of Nilgiris hill range. And , whole Ooty is surrounded with green hills and magnificent valleys. Also, in most of the seasons you can witness sea of clouds in the valley rising up to cliff of hills. Further, during monsoon the aroma of Ooty even goes to another level which makes it a perfect destination to be at.

Read about our experience of Ooty during monsoon here. Also Ooty is considered as tea capital of India. Majority of Ooty’s landscape is covered under teal plantation. And, it plays a major role in making Ooty aesthetically beautiful. The greenery of tea plantation gives the kind of aroma and charm to Ooty which is unbeatable. Ooty is well connected via road and can easily be reached from Bangalore or Mysore or any other major nearby cities.

Ooty hotel sagar resort

Toy train passing through the valley, seen from the resort balcony in Ooty

Attractions: My Top Picks

Ooty Lake – A popular destination for picnicking, paddle boating and enjoying Ooty leisurely. It’s length is 2.5 KM and is spreads across the scenic beauty of Nilgiris.

Botanical Garden – Spread over a huge area of 22 hectares it is one of the most famous botanical gardens in India. It has more than 700 species of flowers and trees. It is a complete delight for nature lovers.

Nilgiris Mountain Railway – A world heritage site, runs to a length of 46 KM. It is a beautiful toy train journey which passes through tunnels, curves, bridges, valleys and beautiful scenery. Hence this journey will be something to be cherished for a lifetime.

Doddabetta Peak – Located at an altitude of 8,650 feet is the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills. And there is reserve forest area around this peak. View from this peak is breathtaking.

Coonoor – An adjacent hill station to Ooty, Coonor  is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty. It is well known for its lush green tea gardens. Also, it has many other tourist attractions.

6th Mile and 9th Mile –  Breathtaking view points. Featured in many Bollywood movies’ songs.

Dolphin’s Nose – A viewpoint situated more than 1,000 feet above sea level

Lamb’s Rock – Lamb’s Rock offers spectacular views of the lush forests around Ooty.

Best Time To Visit

March to June: To escape from scorching heat and enjoy a pleasant weather.

June to September: Monsoon season. If looking for a fresher and greener look of Ooty then this is the best time to visit.

No of Days Required

2-3 days should be enough.

Also, you can read about our experience at the Sagar Resort Ooty, which is perched atop a hill and has amazing views of the valleys.

Kodaikanal – the Princess of Hill Stations

Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the taluk division of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. While its name in the Tamil language means “The Gift of the Forest”. At the same time, Kodaikanal is referred to as the “Princess of Hill stations” as well. Although nearby hill stations in south India like Ooty and Munnar have become highly commercialized, Kodaikanal still enjoys the advantage of being a quaint hill station. As, it doesn’t have so much of foot fall. So, it retains all its essence.

Kodaikanal mostly comprises of a close community, a few beautiful schools, hospital, other basic infrastructure. And, on top of that, it has some beautiful visiting spots. And then, it’s economy is mostly driven by the hospitality industry. We got a chance to travel to Kodaikanal and got to spend amazing 3 days at Kodaikanal . Also reaching to Kodaikanal is very easy via road. And the condition of road leading to Kodaikanal is excellent. Plus, it is a very scenic drive, particularly from Bangalore to Kodaikanal.

Kodaikanal 11

Kodai Lake, Kodaikanal

Attractions: My Top Picks

Coaker’s Walk – It is a 1-kilometre paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. On a clear day one can view the deep valley and stunning panoramic view of the plains.

Kodai Lake – A big lake in between the Kodai town. The 5 kilometres path that skirts the periphery of this lovely lake is a favorite walk for the locals and tourists alike.

Bryant Park – It is a large botanical garden and is one of the most sought after tourist attraction in Kodaikanal.

Green Valley View – A magnificent spot in Kodaikanal. It offers a breathtaking view of the plains, deep valleys and hills.

Guna Cave & Pillar Rocks – Both are almost at the same place.

Best Time To Visit

Weather remains pleasant throughout the year.

June to September: This is monsoon season and there are chances of facing heavy rains during July and August. However, the beauty of rains and fresh air can be felt best during this period. Overall, September is a great month to travel as it doesn’t rain much and the weather is ideal for sightseeing.

Kodaikanal 9

Pillars rock, Kodaikanal

Number of Days Required

I will suggest to plan for 3-4 days.

Check out our post on the best places to stay in Kodaikanal.

Coorg – the green paradise

Coorg popularly known as Scotland of India is located at a distance of around 250 Km from Bangalore, Karnataka. Officially it is known as Kodagu. It is the most affluent hill station in Karnataka. Apart from being a famous hill station, Coorg is also the land of forests and wildlife. Overall, it is well known for its breathtakingly exotic scenery and lush greenery. Also, most of the years it observes good rainfall and this very characteristic is the boon for Coorg. This causes Coorg to be extremely green throughout the year. Further spices and coffee plantations add to a large extent to the landscape of Coorg. Madikeri is the region’s center point.

Coorg is truly meant for nature lovers who love to explore nature. Also, for those who enjoy some adrenaline rush and adventure, Coorg is again an ideal destination with its number of adventure sports.

places to visit in Coorg

Abbey Falls, Coorg

Attractions: My Top Picks

Golden Temple Monastery – It is a beautiful Monastery to visit on your way to Madikeri. The 40 feet long statues are the major attractions of the monastery. One can feel utter peace and solitude here.

Nisargadhama Island – Nisargadhama is a beautiful island formed on river Kaveri near Kushalnagar. The whole island is well groomed in the form of a picnic and recreational spot.

Madikeri Fort & Museum – Built for the first time in 17th Century and then rebuilt by Tipu Sultan in granite structure, this fort stands as a testimony to the glorious past of India

Abbey Falls – One of the most amazing attraction in Coorg, Abbey falls is located amidst dense rain forest. Also the small 10 minutes trek to the waterfalls is an experience in itself.

Talakaveri – Talakaveri is believed to be the origin of the river Kaveri. Also, there is a beautiful and ancient temple here.

Virajpet Golf Course – This golf course is privately maintained by the association of golfers in this region. It is neatly landscaped with ponds, trees, bougainvillea shrubs, and fields in between the golf platforms.

top places to see in coorg

Golf Course, Coorg

Best Time To Visit

Weather is pleasant throughout the year. So one can visit Coorg round the year.  While June to September is monsoon season with heavy rains during August and September. And October to March is the best time for adventure activities especially trekking. Further, March and April are the favored months to experience the valley shrouded in white flowers.

Number of Days Required

It all depends on your itinerary. But I consider 2-3 days should be good enough.

Also: checkout this beautiful homestay Casa Coorg for your stay at Coorg.

Wayanad – a breathtaking hill station of South India

Wayanad, the green paradise is nestled among the mountains of the Western Ghats. It is part of Indian state Kerala and located in greener part of Kerala. Wayanad is a picturesque plateau situated at a height from 700 meters to 2100 meters above the mean sea level. And it is one of the most popular tourist destination in Kerala and shares its border with both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states. Also it is a land of forests and the famous Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. Further, it is surrounded by the renowned wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Muthanga. Also, it is known for its cool highland climate, misty peaks and its virgin forests.

Wayanad is located at a distance of 280 Km from Bangalore and of 130 KM from Mysore. And it is well connected via roads from these two cities and other cities which surrounds Wayanad.

oxyfarm resorts wayanad

Attractions: My Top Picks

Edakkal Cave – Famous for its pictorial carvings and cave paintings, which are considered to be of 6000 B C. Check this post for further details.

Sulthan Bathery – It has many renowned and known places of worship which includes temples, churches, mosques.

Banasura Sagar Dam – This is the only earth dam in India and the second largest earth dam in Asia.

Kuruva island – The only island surrounded with naturally purified water source in Kerala.

Chembra Peak – This is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m above sea level and has a heart shaped lake.

Vythri – A small town and famous tourist destination in Wayand due to its all season attractive weather, greenery and the terrain.

Lakkidi – Lakkidi is the gateway of Wayanad district. Also, it is one of the highest locations in Wayanad and is situated 700 m above mean sea level.

Best Time To Visit

October- February: Winter season and this period of time is considered as the most preferred season to visit Wayanad.

Number of Days Required

3-4 days should be a good time.

Trip Expert 2017 Awards

Trip Expert Award Badge 2017

Please note that we have compiled this post as an opportunity provided by Ankit Agrawal from Travelosthan in the form of nomination for ‘Travel Expert Awards-2017’. Thank you Ankit and Tripscam for providing us this opportunity. And, definitely we feel honored with this nomination.

My Nominations For Trip Expert Awards-2017
  1. Deepak Acharya of Bon Voyage
  2. Mayuri of Sirimiri
  3. Meenakshi of Polkajunction

PS: Rules for Trip Expert 2017 Award

Hill Stations | South India | Munnar | Kodaikanal | Ooty | Coorg | Wayanad | Coonoor | Kodaikanal

Top places to visit in Coorg, Karnataka, India

Coorg or Kodagu district in Karnataka is well known for it’s beautiful landscapes, dense reserve forests, waterfalls and wildlife. Although, during our stay in South India, we have visited several weekend getaways and beautiful destinations over the weekend like Hampi, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Mysore, Munnar, Alleppey etc. However, a visit to Coorg was still awaited. Finally we visited here recently. And we found many interesting places to see in Coorg. Here’s the list of our favorites. Although due to crunch of time we had to skip a few of these, still the overall experience was awesome.

Top places to see in Coorg

Golden Temple Monastery

Golden Temple Monastery is a beautiful Monastery to visit on your way to Madikeri, Karnataka. Actually, there is almost a mini Tibet setup in this region. With different Monasteries, schools, medical establishment, shops and everything else that you will expect to be there for regular life to continue, this area has several Tibetan settlements. It is located almost 6km from the town of Kushalnagar, towards Mysore. After the Chinese takeover of Tibet, many refugees settled here. And the monastery was established in 1970s. The 40 feet long statues are the major attractions of the monastery.

Places to visit in Coorg

Inside the Monastery in Coorg

The campus is huge and sprawling. There is a main monastery, another monastery (which was under maintenance when we visited). And manicured gardens around. Apart from this, the campus is also lined up with residential lodges on either side where the students, workers and teachers reside. Like in any other buddhist establishment, you will find utter peace and solitude here. After having visited another beautiful Monastery on our trip to Palampur, this was our second visit to a buddhist monastery in the last couple of months. And both the experiences were equally beautiful. Although a section of the Golden temple Monastery was closed for renovation at the time of our visit, but we still found the rest of the place very enchanting. Thus, we will rank it as one of the top places to see in Coorg.

Nisargadhama

Nisargadhama is a beautiful island formed on river Kaveri near Kushalnagar. On our way from Golden temple monastery to Madikeri town, we passed by Nisargadhama. Although we very much wanted to stop here, but there was some construction going on. And due to it, the entrance was closed to public. (Sigh!!!). From what I have researched and heard from experience of other travelers, Nisargadhama is very well maintained oasis of green right in the middle of river Kaveri. The whole island is well groomed in the form of a picnic and recreational spot. Also, different pet animals, some deers, ducks etc. are also present on the island, particularly making it interesting for kids. A well built rope bridge leads to the island. One can easily spend half a day here enjoying picnic and endeavor with the flora and fauna in the middle of wilderness.

Top places to see in coorg

Madikeri Fort & Museum

After visiting the Golden temple monastery next we headed to Madikeri Town where our first stop was the Madikeri fort. Built for the first time in 17th Century and then rebuilt by Tipu Sultan in granite structure, this fort stands as a testimony to the glorious past of India. In the north east side of the fort are two big life size elephant statues in black. On one side to these elephants are fort sections that now have several government offices. And on the other side is the section which public can explore.

places to visit in Coorg

Stepping inside the later section led us to a small yet beautiful temple. And moving further, we entered into another section of the fort. Again, some government offices are stationed here. Although not half as massive as the forts of Rajasthan like Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh forts. Still, looking at parts of the fort you will get a feeling of how glorious they would have been in their prime. However, I was saddened by looking at the broken window glasses and moisture slowly eroding the walls of the fort. Clearly, there is a lack of maintenance. Hopefully, the government takes some steps to restore some sections of the fort. I am sure that will make madikeri fort one of the top places to see in Coorg.

top places to see in coorg

The museum in the premises of Madikeri fort

There is a beautiful little museum at the entrance of the campus of Madikeri fort. It is opened in one of the fort buildings. And it showcases several interesting pieces right from the stone carvings of very old times to the modern artifacts used at the times of General Cariappa. It has several invaluable manuscripts from the time of the old kings, written on palm leaves. Some weapons used during that era. Paintaings and intricate statues carved out of wood logs. An interesting corner of the fort. One of the top places to see in Coorg.

Abbey Falls

After visiting Madikeri fort, we had lunch at a Sagar Restaurant just opposite the fort. From there, we headed towards Abbey Falls, a picturesque waterfall setting further inside Coorg. As we arrived here, it was mid noon. We parked our vehicle and headed to the pathway that leads to the waterfalls. It is a mix of mud and concrete stairs that lead finally to a broader platform right in front of the waterfalls.

Not just are the Abbey waterfalls beautiful (as you can see in the snap below), but the small 10 minutes trek to the waterfalls is an experience in itself. The path leads through dense rainforests. And as you approach the waterfalls, you can hear the melody produced by the falls from a distance itself. As you approach nearer, the sound of waterfalls increases slowly, engulfing all the noise created by the tourists around. And all you hear is the song of nature – in Abbey waterfalls, in the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves around.

places to visit in Coorg

Talakaveri

Talakaveri is believed to be the origin of the river Kaveri. There is a beautiful and ancient temple here. It is dedicated to the Goddess Kaveriamma. And there are idols of some other Hindu deities also present in this temple. Also, there is a kund (big tank) of water here where devotees can take a dip into the water. Actually there is an interesting legend behind the origin of river Kaveri and Talakaveri. It goes like this:

The river Kaveri was held captive in a kamandal (A container used to hold sacred water) by the sage Agastya . The hindu lord Ganesha went on a quest to free the river. For this, he took the form of a crow. And while the sage was meditating, the crow perched on the kamandal. As the sage opened his eyes, he shooed away the crow. While the crow flew off, he made sure to tupple the Kamandal. As a result, water started flowing out of it, taking the form the river Kaveri. And yes, you guessed it right, the spot where it all happened, is known as Talakaveri!!

Virajpet Golf Course

From Abbey falls, we headed towards our homestay, casa coorg. Crossing the town of Madikeri, we moved towards Virajpet. The drive was ever refreshing through the forests of western ghats. Finally, we took a diversion from the main road. The path leading to casa coorg from the main road is a single lane road that winds through slightly hilly terrain. And on either side of the road stretches a beautiful golf course.

top places to see in coorg

By the time we reached here, we had no doubt left as to why Coorg is called the Scotland of India. This golf course is privately maintained by the association of golfers in this region. But I must say, it is so beautifully maintained. It is neatly landscaped with ponds, trees, bougainvillea shrubs, and fields in between the golf platforms. It gives a refreshing look to the whole area. It’s a pleasure walking on the road in this area early morning and evenings when the sun is mild and the wind is slightly cold – A walk to remember !! And we did take a walk in the whole area the next day in the evening, along with our newly formed friends from the resort – the owner’s pet dogs.

Nagarhole National Park

When we started our journey back to Bangalore from Virajpet, we crossed from the middle of Nagarhole. Although, we didn’t have time to take a safari in the park. (PS: safari timings are fixed and you should get in touch with the forest department if you tend to take one. Head here for the official site of nagarhole national park and safari timing details). But the morning fresh air, the dense forests on either side of the road and some of the wildlife that we encountered randomly more than made up for our missing the safari. We also saw an elephant base camp where several elephants were roaming around. And managed to capture some of the giant tuskers.

We want to return back to Nagarhole and take a safari through the wilderness. In fact there are resorts right inside the forest where one can stay as well. And we intend to do exactly that. I guess it deserves a dedicated weekend to explore the length and breadth of the flora and fauna at Nagarhole National Park.

places to visit in Coorg

Iruppu Falls

Another beautiful waterfalls in Coorg. It is located quiet close to Nagarhole National Park. The Lakshman Tirtha River which is a tributary of the river Kaveri starts from these falls. So, they are often called the Lakshman Tirtha Falls as well. The waterfalls are located quiet close to the highway, bordering the Kerala/Wayand border with Karnataka. And they are frequented by tourists from both Kodagu and Wayanad side. The waterfalls are quiet majestic during and right after the monsoons. On one side of the falls is the Shiva temple. Thus, the region attracts both nature enthusiasts as well as pilgrims with equal interests.

Planning an effective itinerary

Coorg is a big district in Karnataka, India. And hence, some of the above mentioned places are located at quiet some distance from one another. So, the most effective way to visit here is to club together the places which are located nearby. Also, there are different routes that can be taken from Bangalore or Mysore while traveling to Coorg. (1) Route 1 : The Madikeri route which ends up at Madikeri (2) Route 2: The Nagarhole route that passes through a stretch of the Nagarhole national park and ends at Virajpet side of Coorg.

If you are taking route 1, you can start early and visit Golden Temple, Nisargadham, Madikeri Fort, Abbey Falls and Talakaveri upon reaching Coorg the first day, in the order of mention. And then, on the second day you can visit Nagarhole National Park and Iruppu Falls. However, if you are taking route 2 then you can reverse the itinerary for the two days.

Where to stay in Coorg

There are numerous wonderful homestays all over Coorg. When we went here, we stayed at Casa Coorg Homestay which is owned by an ex Indian army couple. It was located near Virajpet in a very serene atmosphere. There are plenty of homestays along the Madikeri line as well, in case you prefer to stay closer to Madikeri town. Apart from the home stays there are plenty of top notch resorts including orange county and many others, and also numerous hotels in Coorg. However, we will strongly recommend staying in a homestay for the authentic local experience and homely atmosphere. It is economical as well on your pocket.

Top places to see in coorg

A glimpse of our homestay – casa coorg

Where to eat in Coorg

Coorg is famous for it’s non vegetarian food. But alas, being vegetarian, we can’t give you much guidance here. Enjoy the local cuisines, cooked at home, in case you have decided to stay at a homestay. Otherwise, while roaming out, there are plenty of restaurants in Madikeri, particularly around the main market. There is a nice Shanti Sagar restaurant right opposite Madikeri Fort where we had our own lunch on the first day of our visit to Coorg. There are lesser options towards Virajpet side, particularly for vegetarians. When driving from Bangalore or Mysore, you can have your breakfast at one of the multiple outlets along the highway.

Some more insider tips

  • Coorg experiences summer during the months of mid Feb – March. Apart from this, weather is mild and pleasant all through the year. It receives abundant rainfall. Rain starts in March itself and continues all the way till October. In the later months, post rain, the area becomes extremely beautiful pertaining to the new layer of green plantations and dense forests.
  • Homestays are speciality in Coorg. Although the concept is catching up in rest of India as well. The homestays of Coorg have been there for quiet a long time. Stay at one for authentic experience.
  • Coorg is famous for it’s coffee, spices, chocolate and dry fruits in Karnataka. So, if you want to shop for the same at lesser prices, head to the wholesale outlets across Coorg district.
  • Although you can do a weekend trip to Coorg from Bangalore or Mysore. But for a deeper experience and better covering the places, we will suggest at least 3-4 days to spend here.
  • When staying in remote areas, nearer to forests, inquire with your host before heading out, to ensure the safe trails. Because many areas, and sometimes even highways are visited by wild animals, particularly herds of elephants.
  • Wear comfortable shoes when you travel here since you will be doing some trekking through the hilly terrains here and there. Or even if you are just heading for a walk, it helps.
  • Carry an umbrella with you, as it rains quiet often in Coorg.
  • If you are headed to forest trails, beware of leaches. There are many in the denser regions, particularly in the rainy season. You can check with locals on how to keep them out of your way.

Coorg or Kodagu district in Karnataka, India | dense plantations | coffee estates | enchanting waterfalls | welcoming homestays | ancient temples | nagarhole wildlife sanctuary | a must visit in India | See the top places to visit in Coorg

 

A beautiful weekend at Casa Coorg Homestay

Casa Coorg Homestay is a beautiful homestay in Coorg that we spent our weekend at. Located amidst lush greenery, the homestay provides a very serene and relaxing environment for a weekend getaway. Although we have lived in Bangalore for almost a decade now. And we toured through so many weekend getaways around Bangalore including Ooty, Kodaikanal, B R Hills, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Mysore and Hampi to name a few. Ironically, we never happened to visit Coorg yet, which is located quiet close to Bangalore. Thanks to Casa Coorg Homestay for extending us an invitation that led to a wonderful weekend in Coorg.

Casa Coorg Homestay

The glimpse of Casa Coorg Homestay alongside it’s sideway

History of Casa Coorg Homestay

The Casa Coorg Homestay is run by a retired army couple. It was born a little over 5 years back. After the couple retired from their jobs, during which, they have stayed at many different locations in India. Finally they have settled in Coorg in a serene part of Virajpet, which they fondly call their own small slice of paradise. And rightly so. But in this case, they have opened their gates to the travelers from around the world, so that everyone can have a bit of this Paradise experience.

For those who are not aware of the geography of the region, Coorg / Kodagu is a district in Karnataka. It is very rich in flora and fauna, marked by wildlife sanctuaries like Nagarhole, numerous waterfalls and beautiful natural landscapes. Pertaining to it’s beautiful landscapes and surroundings, it is often referred to as the Scotland of India. Also, it has a pleasant climate all through the year. And it rains abundantly here. So, it is also fondly called Cherrapunji of Karnataka. (PS: Cherrapunji is a district in India that records highest rainfall).

Reaching Casa Coorg Homestay

We didn’t have much trouble locating Casa Coorg Homestay, as, it is located just 2km inside from the highway. The last 1.5km stretch to the homestay is marked by beautifully landscaped and well maintained golf course. Which makes the whole region so much more charming. Visitors are not allowed inside the golf course. But you can always take a walk on the road along the boundary of the golf course. And the walk is as refreshing and charming as ever.

Casa Coorg Homestay

A view of the beautiful golf course from across the road near Casa Coorg Homestay

A tour through Casa Coorg homestay

Entrance & Front Lawn

A sloping driveway from the main road leads to the front lawn of Casa Coorg Homestay, which looks nothing less than a beautiful small bungalow. There is a front entrance here, across a verandah, mostly used by the couple themselves and their staff. On one side of the driveway is the parking space. And near it is a beautiful landscaping including a swing. From near it, cobbled pathways lead to the back side of the resort.

Back side

Casa Coorg Homestay

The cobbled backyard pathway and Verandah leading to guest room

As we reached Casa Coorg Homestay, we were cheerfully greeted by the hosts. After unloading our luggage, we followed them through the cobbled pathway to reach the back side of the homestay. On the back side, there is a verandah overlooking greenery in the backyard and vast stretch of meadows beyond. This Verandah has entrance to one of the guest rooms.

There is another door besides the guest room door, from this Verandah, leading to the dining and living area. Further down the pathway, there is yet another guest room tucked neatly at the end. The Verandah of both the guest rooms have chairs and tables to sit and enjoy the serenity around. There are wind chimes hanging from the Verandah that sing melodiously as the crisp air rustles through them all through the day.

Guest rooms

The rooms are simple, elegant, airy and very spacious. As soon as you enter inside, you will feel right at home. They have spacious attached bathrooms. Drinking water is provided in re-fillable water bottles inside the room. A small token by Casa Coorg Homestay towards being environment friendly. After showing us our rooms, the hosts left us to get fresh, and decided to serve us some warm coffee. We found our seats around the beautiful verandah. And we watched the sun go down behind the mountains visible at a distance while we sipped our refreshing coffee. Thereafter we retired to our rooms to take some rest after a day that included a drive from Bangalore to Coorg and quiet some sight seeing in Coorg.

Casa Coorg Homestay

One of the guest bedrooms at Casa Coorg Homestay

The dining experience

In the evening, Colonel called us over for dinner. This is when we discovered that the hosts like to share the dining area with the guests. Guests are invited to have their meals here. And this is also the time when the hosts engage in conversation with the guests over the meals. The food is a blend of north and south Indian cuisines. Guests can specify their food preferences, aka, veg or non veg. Accordingly the hostess herself prepares the meals. Nevertheless, they are bound to be tasty and healthy too 🙂

Rest of our experience at Casa Coorg Homestay

A beautiful morning

After having our dinner, and a good conversation with the hosts over the dinner, we retired to our rooms for the night. Next day, we wanted to roam further and see more of Coorg. But as we woke up next morning to the melodious chirping of birds and rustling of the soft morning breeze against the trees in the backyard, our plans slowly changed to stay put in the homestay and enjoy the serene laid back environment.

We had a nice breakfast on one of the Verandahs. Post which, we sat in the open air for quiet a long time, having conversations with our family amidst the perfect green and peaceful atmosphere. A family gathering and heart to heart chats is something that becomes really difficult once we are back to our busy city lives. So, we really didn’t want to prioritize anything else over it. In the meanwhile, our little daughter was having a wonderful time roaming around the verandah and exploring the flora of Casa Coorg Homestay.

A lazy afternoon

Lunch is normally not provided at Casa Coorg Homestay. Because mostly, the visitors venture out to explore rest of the Coorg. So, while we decided to stay back, we didn’t want to really trouble the hosts with lunch preparation for us. Thus, we ventured out in the afternoon to have lunch outside. Post this, we had a lazy afternoon. But soon it was followed by a beautiful evening.

The beautiful evening

Did we tell you, we also made two awesome friends at Casa Coorg Homestay – a pair of very friendly pet dogs – simba and kuro , who were the center of attraction for our kid during this trip.

As the sun started drifting towards the west, we thought to venture out, and do a little trekking on the roads besides the golf course. And these new friends decided to accompany us on our walk as well, making it all the more memorable. After some initial pet animal spotting, like hens, cows and dogs, we ventured towards the golf course. A walk along it’s edge with the setting sun and cool breeze in the backdrop, turned out to be one of our most memorable walks that we took while in Coorg. The whole area is very off beat, peaceful, beautifully landscaped and neatly maintained. And the canine friends accompanying us showed us the way, and also kept other stray animals on the bay.

After a refreshing walk, we came back to the homestay. Only to discover more beauty. As we watched a beautiful sunset from the verandah of Casa Coorg Homestay. Later in the evening, we had yet another delicious dinner. So much so that my mother couldn’t keep herself from asking the host the details of a couple of recipes that we just had. And the hostess delightedly shared her cooking secrets with my mother.

Casa Coorg Homestay

A beautiful sunset from across the Verandah of Casa Coorg homestay

The next morning

After dinner and a nice conversation with the host, we retired to our beds. Next day morning, we started early on our way back to Bangalore. In conclusion, it was one of the most serene weekends that we got to spend in Coorg. If you are looking for a home away from home, amidst pure and peaceful environment, yet not very far from the bustling town and activity centers, Casa Coorg Homestay is just the perfect answer.

Crisp notes on visiting Casa Coorg Homestay

  1. Casa Coorg is located almost 6-7km from Virajpet town, in the lap of beautiful nature that Coorg boasts of
  2. Lunch is not provided in the stay plan here as most of the time the guests venture out during the day. If you have lunch requirement, you can discuss it beforehand with the hosts.
  3. The whole setup and the food is very homely.
  4. Internet connectivity is not available, something that the host is trying to get soon.
  5. Overall, the place is just wonderful to spend some time at peace with nature in a very fresh and beautiful surrounding. It particularly suites nature lovers, golfers (given that the golf course is just a stones throw away), bird watchers (numerous different species of birds can be seen right from the Verandah of Casa Coorg Homestay) or someone who simply wants to relax and rejuvenate in absolute peaceful homely atmosphere.
  6. The hospitality is wonderful.
  7. If you are not comfortable with pet dogs, not at all an issue. Let the owners know and they will ensure the pets don’t interfere with you. We, however, had a wonderful time playing with them. On the other hand, if you love pet dogs, you will have a gala time while staying in Casa Coorg homestay.

Official website of Casa Coorg

Trip advisor link of Casa Coorg

PSThough we were invited by Casa Coorg Homestay to stay over with them at Coorg, the views and opinions expressed here are solely our own and completely based out of our own experience during our stay here. 

Casa Coorg is a beautiful homestay in Coorg | Kodagu | Karnataka | India. a home away from home.