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

 

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59 Responses

  1. Coorg has always been there on my bucketlist but never really got the opportunity to visit the place. Getting to know that there are a lot of things to do in and around coorg, makes me want to visit this hamlet asap. Am sure the place would be more magical during the monsoons.

    • You are right. Not that it is less magical anytime of the year, but it’s charm reaches a different level right after monsoon with the new vegetations and denser forests

  2. This place is quite close to Bangalore. This will make a great road trip to remember.

  3. Karnataka is a beautiful place. The deer laying down peacefully in the grass reminds me of Bambi.

  4. Coorg brings back so many memories to me, for it has been the place that I have visited with my friends, alone and with family so many times and have loved the place every time. The only place I have been unlucky is Abbey Falls, since I have not seen flowing in all glow until now!

    • Even we have been wondering what it would be to look at the Abbey falls when they are in full volume. We want to find out, by visiting Coorg right after the monsoons

  5. Oh I have heard a lot about coorg but I must say that I didn’t know that there are so many sites to visit. Planning to visit Bangalore and Mysore next year, maybe visit Coorg too as you post have shared some all muse see sites. Thanks in advance…

    • Coorg is even nearer to mysore compared to the distance from Bangalore to Coorg. So, you can plan to visit here from Mysore.

  6. Thankyou for sharing these beautiful destinations!

  7. I think I would just get lost somewhere near the waterfall and never be found again. It looks like a great place to do some yoga.

    • Exactly. Once you reach near it, you feel like getting submerged into it

  8. Wow, what a lovely place. I need to visit it. Coorg has all I love: wonderful nature (the river, waterfalls, forests), sacred place (the monastery) and history! Coorg is definitely “my cup of tea”!

  9. These list are awesome, so many beautiful places to go. I bookmark this for my future travel plan.

  10. Andrea Broom

    there is so much to do in India, I had no idea and how beautiful the country is. Its amazing 🙂

    • This is just a very small fraction of everything that is there to see and experience in India

  11. India is one of my favorite places I’ve travelled to, so sad I didn’t make it here though!

    • Thats great to know Michelle. I know India is so vast and has so much to offer. Hopefully you will get to come here again and that time you can cover Coorg and other amazing destinations in South India

  12. There is just so much to do in Coorg, one visit does not do justice. Good list of thinga to do and luckily over years have managed all. The one thing I missed and would want to do next time is River rafting in Barapole. It is suppose to be quite an experience.

    • Yes Ami, have heard of it but we also couldn’t do it this time. And you are right, Coorg needs multiple visits. We plan to return here again post monsoons to experience even denser forests and more volume in the waterfalls

  13. Coorg looks so heavenly fresh and green in your pictures. I myself found Monasteries so peaceful and there is some different aura in the Monastery environment which tries to capture me.The route to and waterfall itself looks so awesome. This is a very well compiled up detailed guide on Coorg. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Suruchi. Indeed Coorg has it all – lovely landscapes, dense forests, enchanting waterfalls, peaceful monasteries to satisfy your spiritual side, coffee plantations and estates where you can even stay, lots of things to shop for and many adventure activities as well to try 🙂 A complete package!!

  14. This looks beyond dreamy! I can’t image how it must be living there.
    Maybe I should try it, hehe.

  15. siddharthandshruti

    We have been to Coorg before and loved it. It is such a lovely place. Next time we go we have to check out the golf course. Didn’t know there was one.

    • Many will not know about it since it’s on the other side of Wayanad that people don’t visit often.

  16. The national parks looks like so much fun to see different animals. That is too bad you didn’t have time for a safari but very cool you still managed to see an elephant. Have you ever seen an elephant before?

    • We have seen elephants many a times before..since our childhood. But somehow, the lure of wildlife never evades human beings 🙂 So, we feel equally excited to spot one any day

  17. I’m visiting India next year, just not sure if we’re going to South!

    • India is full of wonderful places all over. And of course, as I keep saying to our readers, one trip is not enough to cover it all. I hope where ever you are headed, you will have a great holiday

  18. gobeyondbounds

    The Golden Temple Monastery looks beautiful and very peaceful what a great way to start a journey. Coorg is heavenly with an abundance of greens, we loved visiting the coffee plantations there. We would love to stay at a homestay it would be an amazing experience. Hope to visit soon.

    • You are right. the place is so surreal. I have heard from friends and colleagues that it gets all the more beautiful post monsoons with all the fresh layers of greenery. So, we want to visit again in the post monsoon season

  19. Abbey Falls looks beautiful! And how cool that you got to see elephants. What an amazing place to explore, there is so much to see and do!

    • There are many things to see and do here Maggie, and all absolutely beautiful

  20. Sophi Wanderer

    wow, never heard about this place of India. this definitely is a gem of India. I would love visit this someday!

  21. The drive from Bangalore to Madikeri is amazing. In the last couple of years we have been to Coorg many a times. The Non Veg food in Coorg is simply amazing. Abbey falls is also beautiful, the first time I say it was in summers when it didn’t have much water.

  22. The more I read your blog, the more i’m tempted to visit the country soon! I’m mostly excited to see the Abbey Falls. It looks very refreshing.

    • It is really refreshing. Hope we will soon inspire you enough for packing your bags and visiting India Jane. And we do know you will have a very wonderful time here

  23. The Golden Temple Monastery is really fascinating. We didn’t know about the Tibetan community there, but we’d love to visit it. It’s so great that the refugees were able to find a home there where they could live and worship in freedom. Of course, there are so many other irresistible places in Coorg too. What a wonderful area. Thanks for covering it so well.

    • Thank you! Indeed it’s a very nice thing to know that the refugees found settlement here. They got a home again and they are happily living here at peace

  24. Coorg is more stunning than I imagined. I would definitely do a homestay at Casa Coorg and visit The Golden Temple monastery with the 40 foot long golden Buddhas. They’re so striking. The legend of Abbey Falls is also interesting and how the river got started!

    • Same with us. We had never imagined it to be this beautiful so we never prioritized it until now. We were so delighted after our trip, we want to go here again

  25. Coorg looks like a wonderful place to visit. Planning for India is so difficult. Just when you think you have an idea of what you want to see/do more places come to my attention.

    • ha ha.. India indeed is vast. Just like Europe, no one trip to India can be sufficient. You need to make multiple trips or backpack for years around India to cover all that it has to offer. And I am not sure if then also you will be able to cover everything

  26. The Golden Temple Monastery looks absolutely stunning, I’d love to check that out one day. Plus, Abbey Falls looks like another great place to add to the list. I’m a sucker for gorgeous waterfalls 🙂

    • Both of these are really beautiful places. We had a wonderful time here.

  27. The waterfall looks so amazing! I’ve started my own little secret wishlists of waterfalls to visit and I think Abbey Falls will be on it. Love the sound of the monastery as well!

  28. Coorg looks like a fabulous destination in India. Love the sound of Golden Temple Monastery, the national parks and of course Abbey Falls! Thanks for all the great tips will bookmark this one!
    Kristie

    • Thanks Kristie. Coorg is a beautiful weekend getaway and natural retreat for the city dwellers around. If you happen to visit South India, do spend some time here

  29. Coorg is such a beautiful destination in Karnataka, no wonder it is many times compared to Scotland. But there are many other things as you have listed out to experience in Coorg. Still remember our visit of some years ago when we had a great time at all these places. Need to plan another visit soon.

    • You are right. After visiting here we wondered how come we didn’t visit this gem of a place for so long while we have been in Bangalore

  30. Nice list of things to do and see. The Abbey Falls would be at the top of my wishlist — they are beautiful, and if you are allowed to get in the water, that would be so refreshing!

    • guess getting into the water is not possible here since the curves are dangerous and there is no possible route. But still it’s a delight to watch and refreshing to just stand near it

  31. The culture and the nature of India are really inviting. I really want to go grab my bags and go to your country!

    • You are most welcome. Do let us know, when you visit and in case you need anything. We can also help you connect with locals that will make your journey all the more memorable. And we will await to hear your experience

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