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Old 8th January 2012, 00:04   #1
HKP
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Default A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Route Plan:

Start : Old Airport Road Bangalore- Bylakuppe-Kushalnagar-Madikeri-Tala Kaveri-Madikeri-Nisargadhama-Mysore-End: Old Airport Road Bangalore Approx-750 KMs

Background:

Year end and holidays were approaching and it was time to decide our vacation spot. Kodai, Coorg, Munnar & Kanyakumari were considered. Kodai got ruled out as there are no Trains till there and buses are not preferred mode of transport for the wife. I was not ready to drive such long distance either. Munnar and Kanyakumari got eliminated due to problems in TN-Kerala border related to Mullaperiyar issue. Coorg has always been in the list every year, but never selected as it was like ĎSo near, we could go anytimeí kind of reason. But this time we decided, we will drive to Coorg.

Our ride was my Black Hyundai i20. She is been with us from April 2011 and has been good to us so far.

Kids

Travelling with kids is a lot of fun and at the same time quite a pain too. They are so unpredictable and sensitive to the atmosphere and the journey becomes thrilling and sometimes challenging. So naturally, my vacation plans are more to Child friendly places and we choose or avoid places, restaurants, hotels and attractions based on how we get the feel of the child friendliness of the same. If you are reading this and you donít have children of your own or in your family, you may feel this as a little overstretched statement. I wonít blame you; itís something we learn by experience only. Just wait for your turn!!

I have ĎChild Seatsí in the car for both the kids. For the 6 yr old, its booster seat with back rest and for the 2.5 yr old itís a toddler seat with seat belts. Thanks to their American early childhood life, both the girls are used to the ĎChild seatsí and sitting on the back seat alone. Child seats are bought in Bangalore using Craigslist site (in case you want to know). On long journeys, I fit the Twin screen DVD player on to the back seat and believe me, this is such a great gadget for parents as Barbie, Tinker bell and Dora will take care of the entertainment needs of the kids for many hours.

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DAY 1:

We planned to start as early as possible. With 2 little ones, this was going to be a challenge. By the time we started out it was 7 AM. It was a cold morning with a bit of fog. After making sure that all the bags and stuff are packed and the house is locked properly, I started driving. Bangalore traffic was just starting and without much hassle we hit the KR market Fly over by 7:30. From then the traffic was moving slow due to the Flyover construction and soon we were on the Mysore road and I moved on to the 5th gear of driving pleasure.

Now, coming back to the journey, our breakfast stop was the ĎKamat Lokaruchií after Ramanagara.
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Itís on the right side just after Ramanagara town limits. I have been to the place a couple of times, its good but being the only decent breakfast place within the first 50 Kms, the crowd is too much and people keep waiting for you to finish for the seats. Anyways, we had our Dosas, Special Idly and Puris and the hot coffee quickly. They have clean restrooms and we need to make sure the kids use it as for a long distance there is nothing else other than the country roads!!

Journey continued and the roads were still kind of empty. The garden plants on the median have grown wild and large and some turnings you donít have a clear view of people who are trying to cross from the other side. It could be dangerous and I usually keep my vehicle on the middle of the road unless someone has to overtake me or I have to do the same.
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By 10:00 AM we were on the roundabout near Srirangapatanam. From here we take a right and join the Hunsur road and suddenly the road quality comes down to village roads. A few kilometers and then there is a bypass to state highway that goes to Madikeri.

Madikeri road is good again though not as wide as Mysore road. As we moved on, we started feeling that we are in Coorg.
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The hills and the greenery started appearing and the weather was chill. Each town is marked with a sigh board on the highway so you know which place you have just reached.
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Our next stop was approaching, Bylakuppe the largest Tibetan settlement in India. I am still wondering how these Monks and settlers reached so far down and found such a beautiful place to settle. Once you see Bylakuppe sign board, just watch the left side for the big board with says ĎGolden Templeí and just take the narrow road. As you drive forward, you see the monks and Tibetans flying on their mopeds and pulsars. There are many settlements numbered and marked. Keep going up the twisty and curvy narrow road you will reach what is called as a Golden Temple. There is a parking lot and usually is packed with tourists. The Golden temple was not visible still, I asked someone and they directed me inside a monastery compound and we followed everyone. The temple is majestic and worth a visit if you have not seen. A giant picture of Dalai Lama greets you at the entrance.
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Entry is free and you are allowed to take photographs inside the temple. We shopped around a bit for a souvenir and some woolen clothes there and it was quite reasonable prices considering that tourist places usually have premium pricing.

By around noon we started back and headed on the Madikeri direction again. We stopped at a restaurant called Shanti Bites near Kushal Nagar. Itís a Kerala style restaurant and too crowded again. Luckily we got seats and had some ghee rice and chicken curry and noodles (as usual) for kids. Food is ok and there are not many good places to eat on the way according to some people with whom I was chatting there.

After lunch the journey continued and the next stop was our hotel in Madikeri. The roads were becoming narrower as we approached Madikeri and some places they were filling pot holes. Madikeri town is pretty small and you could just stop on the road side and ask anyone for directions. Around 3 PM will reached the hotel and checked in and kids wanted to stretch out for some time. So we all decides to take a small nap and woke up by 5:30 or so. After a quick Tea and snacks we were out again and decided to go to Rajaís Seat in Madikeri. I left the car in the hotel and took an auto ride, itís quite near by the time we reached there the sun was setting. There are a lot of school excursion groups and tourists and the place is quite packed. The view of sunset was excellent but the whole experience was not very pleasant as the school kids and the crowd was kind of loud and hyper, making the small place dusty and uncomfortable for families with small children. The entry fee was Rs 5 per adult and parking fee is Rs 25 per car.
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There is a small musical fountain show after sunset and a toy train ride. Train is pretty old and not very well maintained but kids always love these trains. Just opposite to the car parking area on a service road there is a souvenir shop managed by some charity and we picked up something that has Coorgís emblem on it.

In Madikeri most of the shops will close by 8 PM or earlier itself. We headed back to the hotel and chose to eat dinner in the restaurant downstairs. As we were all tired, we hit the bed just after that. Itís supposed to be very cold and we had carried all woolen clothes and things. But somehow we did not feel it as cold as we were feeling in Bangalore! I donít know why, may be December end in Bangalore was also very chill with temperatures coming down to 8-10 Degrees these days.

DAY 2:

Itís a vacation so we donít want to wake up kids and plan anything early. So we all were up and eating breakfast leisurely inside the room at 9 AM on the day two. Destination for the day was Tala Kaveri which is around 45 KMs from Madikeri. After breakfast and a hot cup of Coorg coffee, we came down to ask the directions to this place. We had to find the Mangalore road and take a deviation to Tala Kaveri. It was quite easy to find but the road was pathetic initially. After we took the deviation to Tala Kaveri, the road became better and as we went on it was getting only better. This is one beautiful stretch across many small villages.

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There are many small shops selling Coorg honey and spices on the way. We could also see some houses advertising Coorgi food too. The road was not crowded in the morning and we reached the Tala Kaveri temple parking within an hour or so. This place is beautiful with a great view of surrounding Brahmagiri hills. Temple was not crowded and we could walk around and sit inside and it was a very peaceful place, just like how we wish all our temples to be.
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The river Kaveri (or Cauvery as spelled in many places in Coorg) is said to be originating from this place. There is a small pond and a wishing well but you donít see any stream flowing out though. Another attraction is climbing around 300 + steps on to the hill top to have a view of the mountain range. It is a very steep climb and if you donít have a healthy heart and strong knees, please donít attempt it.
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My 6 year old climbed without any help. Younger one had to be carried up half the way. I was really gasping for breath after carrying the child up the stairs on such a steep ascend. We sat there for quite some time and the view was really great.
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By the time we came down the hill the crowd was increasing. The parking was getting filled up and itís quite a tricky place to park as its on an elevation. A lot of taxis and Innovaís were parked everywhere and soon we started our journey back. The traffic was more this time and we stopped a couple of times to catch the view of those majestic mountains and to some of those spice shops on the way.
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Wife did not like anything as these shops were reusing old soft drinks bottle for honey and she felt it may be unhygienic or so. I kept my mouth shut like a Ďpeace loving husband on a beautiful vacation morningí and moved on with the journey. We stopped on a Coorgi Food place on the way but decided to move on and try the same in Madikeri town. This was a decision we regretted soon after. We reached Madikeri by lunch time and went straight to hotel and parked the car. Then we got down and walked to the town and decided to check out some spice shops nearby. The shop was good and the guys were good in explaining whenever we had some questions.

There are a lot of homemade wines available in these shops. Beetel nut wine, Sugar cane wine, Fig wine, gooseberry wine, apple wine and grape wine and each of them bottled and priced Rs 150 each. I got a sugar cane wine and grape wine and wife picked up coffee powder, cardamom and a lot of spice boxes for our self and also to gift to the relatives. We checked with them if they can recommend any place to eat authentic corgi food and they told a place nearby. When we reached there, it was closed but only take away was available, on top of that there were not many items available also. We decided to try the famous Coorg style Pork curry and took one to the hotel and ordered the lunch to the room. Pork curry was good but very little in quantity for us. After lunch we took a nap as kids were tired and by the time we woke up it was 5 PM or so. We decides to go to Rajaís seat again as it was the only thing available at that time. On the way back we tried a vegetarian restaurant and it was real pathetic food. Soon we were back in room and there was some time to watch TV and then we all decided to end the second day of our vacation.

Day 3:

Our last day of the vacation and we checked out from the hotel by 9:30 AM. Soon we were out of Madikeri and heading towards our next destination ĖThe Nisargadhama. On the way just after the Madikeri town, we found some orange seller on the road side and picked up the Coorg oranges. They are pretty small in size and do not look very attractive. But the taste is real good and feels very natural like how oranges were some years back when there were no genetically modified ones in the market. Another thing wife insisted on picking up was one of those cane baskets being sold again on the road side. They are a good bargain and look good too for a laundry basket or kitchen storage etc.

Soon we reached Nisargadhama and parked the car and headed towards the ticket counter. This place has a river and elephant ride and a deer park and has a bamboo forest. Another attraction was walking on the hanging bridge and donít miss to see those huge fishes in the river flowing under. There are lot of nooks and corners where they have kept park benches and fixed swings. The elephant ride was a very short affair but kids loved it a lot.Name:  IMG_5480.JPG
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The river is very shallow and you could carefully walk across on the rocks. The water is cold and very relaxing on your feet. You just wish you could sit there for the whole day.
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Soon we end the visit and head back towards Mysore. On the way we stopped at Coorg cafť near Hunsur for lunch. The food is decent and the place is also very neat. Anyone going after Hunsur, usually stops here for lunch as there are not many good restaurants around here.

We headed towards Mysore and the plan was to visit the zoo. As we got into the city, I saw a Shell petrol station and decided to fill the tank. The zoo is quite inside the city and directions are everywhere. As we neared the zoo parking we were shocked to see the crowd, it was jam packed and so was the parking. Traffic cops were literally shouting at people to move out and keep the road clear. But the crowd was going on increasing. So we changed the plan and decided to come for a visit some time later just for the Zoo. I hear that Mysore zoo is one of the best and has decent facilities. We need to plan a visit on a weekend sometime.

So soon we are back on Bangalore highway and zipping through Mandya, Ramnagagar and many small towns on the way. The tender coconut sellers are seen at many places and there is no reason for not stopping there.

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Traffic is heavy when the towns are nearing and as we reached Bangalore it was moving very slow. Luckily the kids were sleeping throughout and we did not have any trouble till we reached home.

Overall a short vacation and most importantly a much laid back and relaxed one just like Coorg and its nice people.

\\\hkp
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Old 8th January 2012, 14:27   #2
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Short and Crisp!! Personally am planning a trip to Coorg from Mangalore. Got a few pointers from here. Loved the pic of the dad and daughters on the mountain top.
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Old 9th January 2012, 06:25   #3
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Nice crisp TL, refreshed my memories of Nisargadhama elephant ride 3 years back.

Which resort/hotel you stayed in, a small review of the place would help other travelers.

When we went there we stayed in Heritage Resort Coorg. Found it to be a decent place with good food and natural surroundings. Would surely recommend anyone looking for good place to stay.
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Old 9th January 2012, 07:56   #4
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Nice report, and a lovely shot of the Kopatti betta hills. next time you or any T-BHPians are in the Talacauvery area - PM me before you leave. You should at least drop in for a coffee/juice at our place.
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Old 12th January 2012, 08:46   #5
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmeister View Post
Loved the pic of the dad and daughters on the mountain top.
Thanks man...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Which resort/hotel you stayed in, a small review of the place would help other travelers.
As mentioned, we did not go for a resort. Went for a regular hotel in madikeri. My review is posted in Trip Advisor with a title "Satisfactory".

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenx View Post
next time you or any T-BHPians are in the Talacauvery area - PM me before you leave. You should at least drop in for a coffee/juice at our place.
oops..we would have loved to. Sure next time. Your place is really beautiful sir.

\\\\hkp
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Old 12th January 2012, 16:00   #6
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKP View Post
The river Kaveri (or Cauvery as spelled in many places in Coorg) is said to be originating from this place.

There is a small pond and a wishing well but you donít see any stream flowing out though.

Another attraction is climbing around 300 + steps on to the hill top to have a view of the mountain range.
Cauvery ( spelling ) - the legacy that the British have left !

Yes, Cauvery river is said to flow underground from this pond to the temple town of Bhagamandala. You would have seen the temple / town on the way.

The hill top you climbed is Brahmagiri peak. Yes, its tough with kids !

A very crisp and precise travelogue. enjoyed. adorable kids too !!
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Old 12th January 2012, 17:23   #7
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Nice writup. It has motivated me for a drive to Madikeri.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 18:19   #8
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

HKP,

Me and my Wife tripped to Coorg this past weekend (I will post the thread shortly). Your thread was helpful on several accounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKP View Post
We stopped at a restaurant called Shanti Bites near Kushal Nagar. Itís a Kerala style restaurant and too crowded again ... Food is ok and there are not many good places to eat on the way
This is place is right outside the entrance to Kaveri Nisargadhama. We lunched there after our visit to Nisargadhama.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKP View Post
Itís supposed to be very cold and we had carried all woolen clothes and things. But somehow we did not feel it as cold as we were feeling in Bangalore!
+1. It wasn't as cold as expected, but rather warm in Madikeri. Nevertheless, the nights still did not warrant AC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HKP View Post
...we stopped at Coorg cafť near Hunsur for lunch. The food is decent and the place is also very neat.
+1 again! Cafť Coorg, which has an uncanny resemblance to a large Cafť Coffee Day, though unrelated otherwise, is a nice place to lunch at. They have decent washrooms too.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 18:41   #9
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Nice report. Esp. the Nisargadhama pic reminded me of my trip with the family. My son & I spent hours feeding the deer with cucumbers. Hope they didn't have indigestion later on.

I highly recommend staying over at The Nest (www.coorgthenest.com). Excellent homestay, superb attention to detail, brilliant ambience and customer focus and of course, amazing food.
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Old 27th February 2012, 10:20   #10
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKP View Post
We stopped at a restaurant called Shanti Bites near Kushal Nagar. Itís a Kerala style restaurant and too crowded again.\\\hkp
OT: This restaurant's name always brings a smile whenever I pass by, have this habit of translating names to Kannada.

Nice write up HKP, next time try West End for Pandi Curry (Pork Curry) in terms of quantity and quality, its a strictly take away only for outsiders though it has seats

Regards
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Old 27th February 2012, 17:41   #11
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Default Re: A drive to Coorg with Kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
OT: This restaurant's name always brings a smile whenever I pass by, have this habit of translating names to Kannada.
Regards
good one..Didn't think of that.

\\\hkp
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