Monday, April 15, 2024

India’s Scotland

Written By Maya Ameen (Grade 7)


I travelled to Scotland by road. Just kidding, I meant the “Scotland of India” a.k.a Coorg.

What is Coorg?

Coorg is a hill station situated on the border of Kerala and Karnataka present in the Western Ghats. It is officially known as Kodagu. Most of Coorg is filled with hills along with forests and plantations of coffee, spices, tea etc. It also has reserve forests and sanctuaries to protect the flora and fauna from woodcutters and poachers.

The sunrise from my room window

It receives abundant rainfall and this has resulted in the growth of many forests and grasslands. The best time to visit Coorg is July to September.

Coorg is a rural area and is mostly dependent on forestry, agriculture and plantations. Most of the coffee we export and consume is from Coorg. Rice and other products also come from Coorg.


Now that you have a basic idea of what Coorg is, let me take you to the places I visited in late September of this year.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

This place is on the outskirts of Mysore enroute to Coorg. This sanctuary consists of many exotic, migratory birds and beautiful butterflies. There is also a deep lake where they take you on the boat and there are many birds of the same feather but, beware that there are many crocodiles basking in the sun and camouflaging themselves with the surroundings and I found three of them. However, I can assure you that there is nothing you should be scared of as crocodiles tend to be in the sun longer than your boatride. 

Namdroling Monastery

This Buddhist monastery is one of the four monasteries present in India (Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and Darjeeling). It is famed for its architecture, painting etc. It is also famous for hosting many ceremonies out of which the grandest ceremony is the Tibetan New Year which mostly happens between February and March. The monastery hosts traditional Lama Dances, oversized Thangka hanging from the sides of its buildings, as well as solemn processions throughout the monastery grounds spanning approximately two weeks.

Interior of the Namdroling Buddhist Monastery

Raja’s seat

Raja’s seat is one of the most famous tourist spots in Madikeri, Coorg. This is the best place to view the sunset as it creates beautiful patterns which you don’t want to miss. It is built on a high-level ground with a commanding view of the cliffs and valleys to the west. This was the favourite spot for the king’s recreational activities.

Talakaveri or Talacauvery

This is a religious site where pilgrims bathe in the bank underneath. Why? Because from this bank rose the “Ganga of the South”. The Kaveri River which travels through the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu is the longest river in South India, running almost 800 km before it meets the sea.

Triveni Sangam

If you look in Google Maps and search Kaveri River, it would show that the river begins from this place. But the Kaveri river begins on Talakaveri, right?

The Kaveri river that we know has three tributaries – Kaveri, Kannike and the invisible Sujyoti. These join at this place like the north Indian counterpart Allahabad where the Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati join.

Kote Honolulu Dam

This destination is near Triveni Sangam. This was made to slow down the Kaveri River. The dam is shallow at the beginning. But don’t expect that, going forward also increases the depth and the deepest point is 7 ft below the free surface of the Kaveri River.

Nisargadhama Stores

This is a shop patronised by the government where fresh stuff famous in Coorg is available for sale. Coffee, spices, honey, etc., taste much better than their cousins that we get in the supermarket. The shopkeeper showed us the types of honey depending on which flower nectar did it come from. He also gave a lot of information on how spices were grown in Coorg.

Jolly Ride

This activity is conducted by a man named Prakash who has made a record of selling more honey than anyone in 2021 for the last 50 years. He took us to a small rainforest where we saw many plants that we can’t find in the city. The ride was awesome but don’t lose your grip, as it was very steep and bumpy too.

Gen. Thimayya Museum

This museum is only closed on Tuesdays and we missed the sign on the board. This place honours the warrior Gen. Thimayya. It also shows real-life tanks, fighter jets and artillery. 

NalkaNadu Palace 

This place is in ruins but don’t judge a book by its cover. The palace is built in an Indo-Islamic style where you can see the dome structure where a few of the spies’ names were written. You can also see the secret passage where legend has it that when the king was losing the battle, he told his wife to escape into the passage and she did so and ran into the jungle nearby.

Dome and the Nandi in one place

Mandalpatti Jeep Ride

This is a jeep ride that will take you to one of the peaks in Coorg. The scenery along the road is very beautiful. You can pack a camera and a pain spray in your bag as your back aches when you complete this ride. But this is the tip of the iceberg, you will see what I mean in the next place that you don’t want to miss.

Mandalpatti

This is the second-highest peak in Coorg. In the morning by 7 am, you can see the dew formed on your face and the leaves. I touched a cumulus cloud when it approached me. By 8, you will see that Mandalpatti isn’t one hill, it’s a range. Take a map with you as Google Maps doesn’t work at that height and you might get lost. Luckily for us, a man told us the right way and we didn’t get lost but the driver was so impatient that he fined us Rs. 500 extra.

Dew on leaves, isn’t it beautiful?

Abbi Kote falls 

Downhill when you reach the road, you will see the Abbi Kote Falls. The water gushes and you can walk around it and sit on one of the large rocks present. Some of the rocks are very slippery, so be careful.

Quarry Adventure

This place is full of adventures for kids over 12 years old. My mother didn’t allow me because she was scared when the instructor named the activities. I won’t mention all of them here but I will tell you that you need some experience and a lot of courage to do any of them.

Omkareshwar temple

The Omkareshwar Temple is one of the unique temples in India where you can find domes and minarets too. There is also a fish pond where there is Common Crap (catla catla). The paintings present are beautifully depicted and the colours are very vivid.

16. Abbi Ella Falls

This falls is on a side of a road where the Kannike (mentioned before) can be seen. Many extraordinary pictures can be taken as it makes a unique angle with the road.  

17. Dubare Elephant Camp

This special elephant camp is set up near the Dubare Elephant Reserve. This is due to the rise in human injuries, crop damage and the risk of elephants getting poached for their precious tusks (ivory). You are allowed to feed, touch, bathe and get a shower from the elephants. You can also get a blessing from an elephant which is good according to some beliefs.

BONUS

Tadiandamol – The highest peak in Coorg and the third in Karnataka. I couldn’t go there as there was no jeep ride by the time we reached there.


Featured Image Courtesy –



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