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Old 1st June 2006, 15:09   #1
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Default Weekend Travelogue: Trip to Madikeri

Bangalore – Srirangapatnam – Hunsur – Gonikoppal – Virajpet – Madikeri – Kushalnagar - Hunsur - Bangalore

Members – Me and family on Alto LXi

Coorg trip was long due after an unsuccessful try in Jan. This time my parents-in-laws came to visit us. So I decided to take them to Coorg. I started booking hotels 10days in advance but to my surprise no vacants rooms / resorts available this time too. Finally booked a decent one (Hotel Brahmagiri Comforts). So, the day before the journey, went to Shell pump for a tank full and had a check in my tyres.

Day 1 (26th May, 2006): We get up early at 4AM. After the regular bath and stuffs, we start our journey at 5:45AM. Within 30min we were past Kengeri and roads became total deserted. The weather are usual very pleasant, also the beautiful FM songs adding aura to the drive. The speedo now touching 100-120kmph. By 6:45AM we were into Kamat Lokaruchi for tea and breakfast. I had initially planned to try out Indradhanush but had to stop in Kamat as my father-in-law was eager for a hot tea and a nice smoke. My decision to stop again at Kamat paid off!!!

After a sumptuous breakfast with dosas and vadas and hot tea, we proceeded towards Channapatna. Within a few kms and just before Channapatna, I see a huge road block. How come this jam from no where, there must be some accident. We changed lane and after moving in a snailpace, see a huge truck loaded with sacks (some chemicals I suppose) fully turned turtle upside down and totally blocking the lane from Blr to Mysore. My God, how can this happen? I guess truck suddenly steered away to give way for some oncoming obstruction and lost balance. Anyway, it was a huge jam and we could come out only after 45min. It was already 8AM when we were approaching Channapatna and speeded away after that.

There is right turn after Srirangapatnam towards Hunsur (arrow points to BEML) just adjacent to a temple. Immediately there is a railway crossing and the road is almost empty throughout. After 20 odd kms from there, is a turn for KRS dam. We planed to do that while return. After that the road meets up with SH88 to Hunsur. The road is not smooth but there were not potholes. The weather was at its peak, no sun atall, nice breeze and cloudy atmosphere. It was about 9:30AM that we find road side vendors in line selling mangoes. Yum Yum !! we decided to stop for mangoes. Man, I have never tasted such a sweet mango in south India. The mangoes were big and damn sweet and the price Rs20/kg. It can’t be better than that. My pop-in-law bought 5 kgs but we ate away 4-5 huge ones before entering the car. It was truly amazing. The taste reminded me of langda and himsagar mangoes from Bengal.

mangoes, mangoes & mangoes (a few kms from Srirangapatnam)


We proceeded further towards Hunsur. Here the construction work for 4-laning is going on. There were numorous diversions. Wherever the road work is complete, it is treat to drive. The construction work is on till Piriyapatna.

After Hunsur there is a diversion, left one goes to Virajpet and right one to piriyapatna (original Madikeri road). I decided to take the Virajpet road to avoid diversions. After a 10km not so smooth drive, we entered forests and the road improved. The scenic beauty kept on increasing. It was green all around. We had a brief halt in dense vegetation before Gonikoppal for some snacks. This time we relished with the home made sweet bundis, payesh (kheer in hindi), bread and egg boil and ofcourse I drank lots of water as I was driving.

A small break before Gonikoppal


After Gonikkopal the road till Madikeri was a treat, very smooth, winding up like a snake thru the dense greeneries. I was maintaining a nice 50-60kmph speed. Also there were small drizzles too. Reached Madikeri by 2PM and retired for the day in the hotel. Also it started to rain heavily as soon as we reached hotel. People were in no mood to go out, so I decided no matter what, next coorg trip will be with friends (I mean the younger lot) and we will cover entire coorg district. We decided to watch the cricket match between Ind-WI instead.
Madikeri is about 1525m above sea level. This is the district headquarters of Coorg.

Day 2 (27th May, 2006): It was shivering cold in the night. Morning was misty and light drizzle. We left hotel and reached hotel east end for breakfast. As expected, it was damn tasty. Rain never stopped that entire day. Thank GOD, we carried 2 umbrellas from home. After a sumptuous breakfast we headed for Raja’s Seat about 2km from hotel East End. Weather was so breathtaking that we felt like spending entire day there. The view from there is spectacular. Now I realized why this is called the “Scotland of India”. It was raining heavily and was shivering cold. We used the umbrellas to great use. According to legend, the kings of Kodagu / Coorg spent their evenings here.

Raja's Seat


We left Raja’s Seat at 12:20PM and headed towards the Omkareshwar temple. That was about a km from Raja’s seat. The temple was huge and also housed a big pond with big rahu & Catla fishes swimming around. Another unique thing about this temple was its architecture; it appeared like a Masjid (Islamic & Gothic styles of Architecture). This Shiva temple was built by Late Linga Raja of Coorg and the sacred shiva linga was brought and installed from Kashi.

Omkareshwar Temple


From temple we headed straight to Hotel East End for lunch at 1PM. The lunch was damn tasty too. We had paneer-butter-masala, Kadhai Chicken, dal fry, rice, kulchha. It was already 2PM but no stoppage of rain. I wondered whether we can go to Abbi Falls as I knew the roads is very steep. I enquired with the hotel manager but he told me to go ahead as the roads are good even though steep. Ok Chalo, lets take this chance. My car’s wiper never stopped in Coorg district. It was rains, drizzles throughout. It was very dark too even at 2:30PM.

We headed towards Abbi Falls which about 9km from there in that heavy rain. It was a very steep downwards roads towards the falls but the roads were smooth but narrow too. While going as it was very dark and I didn’t have any fog lights. I decided that I will not apply breaks at all so I drove down the incline at 2nd gear slowly. It was dense forest all around full of coffee, cardamom & pepper plantations. Initially I was scared as the road was deserted and in addition the heavy rains (water gushing down at the end of the road) and darkness. But after driving down a km, I saw a quails and an indica coming up. That meant the road ahead is fine and tourists are there in the falls. Then I increased the speed for the next 2-3kms and reached the falls. Reached there at 3:10PM (Off, 40mins for 9kms)

We were back to full tempo on reaching the falls. Good parking space!!! As the fall is inside a private coffee garden, we need to travel down some stairs further inside the plantation. While walking down, we saw a big tree fallen on our path and blocked our road. My parents-in-laws dropped the idea of climbing the branches and continuing but we (me and wife) had other ideas. We decided to go ahead (why not!! Whats the use of the sports shoes we were wearing)…we slowly climbed the bigger branches; it was slippery as it is raining. We crossed and went to fall. This reminded me of a smaller Kempty Fall (in Mussorie). It had a hanging bridge too. We did some photography and spent few time and then moved back.

Abbi Falls


The return climb up was nice as we started to sweat even in that chilling weather. Had a 10min break and a hot coffee and headed back home. The return was fast as it was drizzling and also we knew the roads better. It took us only 15min to head back to hotel. On the way we dropped the two ladies for shopping at the city centre and headed towards the hotel. We had a nice day in rain. Evening spent in hotel. Also it rained heavily in the night so our plan for dinner in hotel east end dropped.

Day 3 (28th May, 2006): Time return. We packup, take a nice hot bath, checkout the hotel and head towards Hotel East end for breakfast at 8:30AM. It was heavy drizzle, foggy everywhere. I planned to return via Kushalnagar. Had a nice breakfast of masala dosas and coffees and continued in the same road towards Kushalnagar. It was raining when we started back and within no time we were inside the dense coffee forests.

Road before Kushalnagar


Within no time we reached Suntikoppa. The older people were more interested in reaching than to explore places like bylakuppe, harangi dam. So I dropped all plans thinking that we will do these anyway in the next trip. I decided to take them to KRS so that I can avoid reaching Bangalore outskirts in the evening. With all hide-seek with rains we reached piriyapatna. Roads were ok not great though. Also wife bought 2 huge jackfruits (abt 5kgs may be). I started to tell my wife, “Yaar, Alto na hua hummer ho gaya, raste mein jo bhi mila kharid lo”. Still they bought another 5 kg mangoes from the same place and dumped in the boot. I was worrying abt my JBLs. Maan!! The boot was fully loaded with luggages, wet jackets, wet umbrellas, shoes and now these jackfruits and another 5kgs mangoes to follow soon and ofcourse the four adults Anyway, the car responded very well.

After Piriyapatna came the difficult patch, the construction site kuchha road and full rains, full of clay. We took gr8 care in crossing those stretches. At one instance, a bus coming in the opposite direction at high speed just went past me and displaced all mud of windscreen and one side of the car. For a while, I couldn’t see anything ahead!! Could see only when the wiper removed the clay. Nice experience. (SUV experience in an Alto, Good). But the roads which were completed were a treat to drive. May be in next 2-3 months this road will be done and will be a great drive to Coorg via Piriyapatna.

We reached a huge and beautiful hotel (Heritage Hotel) about 4 kms before KRS (Krishnaraj sagar dam), had a nice lunch and then proceeded towards brindaven garden.

Brindavan Garden & KRS Dam


We spent about 3hours in garden till about 6PM. Jungles Lodges is coming up with a beautiful heritage resort there. Sat there for a while and saw the beautiful dam and garden from there. Nice view.

We started for the return journey at around 6PM, a small tea break at Lokaruchi and back to Bangalore by 9:30PM. Also stopped to do a tankfull again from Shell, VM Road while returning. The car drank 29.13 ltrs of petrol for 565kms. Decent mileage considering 4 adults, luggages and hilly roads.
I am looking fwd for another journey to coorg with more time so that I can cover Nisargadhama, Talcauvery etc. May be in this year end when the roads will be complete.

Signing off
Abhijit Kumar Roy
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Old 1st June 2006, 16:05   #2
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nice writeup there Abhi...looks like u had a great time..
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Old 1st June 2006, 16:29   #3
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Wow! Great report with all the tiny details, very useful for future travellers. Too bad it rained so much.

Now tell me which roads did you enjoy driving most? Mysore roads or Coorg roads?

I actually lived in Gonikoppal for 3 years when I was a kid (10-13 years). Ok, don't envy me now.

Here are snaps of Raja Seat during summer, I see it is fully misty and almost invisible during your visit.


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Old 1st June 2006, 16:44   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy
Bangalore – Srirangapatnam – Hunsur – Gonikoppal – Virajpet – Madikeri – Kushalnagar - Hunsur - Bangalore
I found Mysore- Hunsur - Madikeri route too bad, infact i would rate it as the worst road i have ever driven.

I was told bangalore-sakleshpur-coorg is best route...

here are a couple that i took at raja's seat



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Old 1st June 2006, 17:11   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
Wow! Great report with all the tiny details, very useful for future travellers. Too bad it rained so much.

Now tell me which roads did you enjoy driving most? Mysore roads or Coorg roads?
Thanks !!! I definitely liked the coorg roads... Once the construction work goes over, it will a dream then... I never like Mysore road, it is more scary now... Also I felt some problem with banking, very sharp turns... Don't know why many people go mad seeing the road... just because they have a sedan, they can just press the pedal... and relax...
it is always scary when 10 cars on a line all doing a 80+kmph and some of them still want to overtake the other... thats what happened to mysore road...hope the expressway gets done soon...
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Old 1st June 2006, 18:29   #6
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Nice writr up Akroy. The place is so tempting !! will be visiting coorg shortly !!
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Old 1st June 2006, 19:02   #7
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Quite a detailed and good report I must say. I did do Coorg about 3 and half years back when we went to Orange County in Sidapur, which I think is about 30kms before Madikeri.

When we went, it was via Periyapatna. SO there is another way to Madikeri.

Didnt you visit the Tibetean monstery? We did not go too, I believe its quite an experience.
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Old 2nd June 2006, 17:38   #8
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Most folks think Madikeri or Virajpet is Coorg. Take my advice if you really want to venture to the deep interiors and really experience Rainforests and Nature.

Bangalore-Srirangapatna-Hunsur-Gonikoppa-Virajpet-Kadnur-Kakkabe

Kakkabe is one the most exotic parts in Coorg and recieves the highest rainfall. Is is the base of Tadiandamol, the highest peak in the Western Ghats and you can stay at these places (google them): Misty Woods, Honey Valley, Kings Cottage (range: Rs700-4000). Ask in Kakkabe for details. If you have a decent offroader (Scorpio, Judo, Jeep, Sumo etc,) you can take the Tadiandamol road right into the Rainforests and fantastic waterfalls everywhere (if its pouring). You can also trek to the peak of the mountain if you're upto it !

Mark my words all ye who visit...you will come back here to thank me. You can contact me for details on the trip.

Last edited by NIP : 2nd June 2006 at 17:56.
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Old 15th June 2006, 21:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NIP
Most folks think Madikeri or Virajpet is Coorg. Take my advice if you really want to venture to the deep interiors and really experience Rainforests and Nature.

Bangalore-Srirangapatna-Hunsur-Gonikoppa-Virajpet-Kadnur-Kakkabe

Kakkabe is one the most exotic parts in Coorg and recieves the highest rainfall. Is is the base of Tadiandamol, the highest peak in the Western Ghats and you can stay at these places (google them): Misty Woods, Honey Valley, Kings Cottage (range: Rs700-4000). Ask in Kakkabe for details. If you have a decent offroader (Scorpio, Judo, Jeep, Sumo etc,) you can take the Tadiandamol road right into the Rainforests and fantastic waterfalls everywhere (if its pouring). You can also trek to the peak of the mountain if you're upto it !

.

The route would be better if it is Madikeri -> napoklu -> kakkabe. Thadiandamol is breathtakingly awesome peak . The best in south India! . Everyone should visit and probabaly Trek!.
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Old 27th June 2006, 07:09   #10
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Madikeri route is best avoided for at least another year till the roads are better. Even people driving to Madikeri these days prefer the Hunsur-Virajpet-Madikeri route as the roads are much better and faster.
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Old 28th June 2006, 17:23   #11
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Nice and detailed report.

I had been to Coorg for New Year celebrations on 31-Dec-2004. Our Indica (a rented one - didnt have a car then) broke down at 9:30 PM on the road towards Hunsur near a village. Had my kid with me then. But managed to get help from the villagers and reached Hunsur by 11 PM.
Left for Coorg next day morning and reached by 1-2 PM (via Kushalnagar). Reaching there itself was quite an adventure.

Abbey falls - they allowed us to go in the water till 12 PM. After that, the officials there shoo everybody away. Water not very clear, but there were enuf water in the falls even in Dec-end. Rains I guess, are a year-round activity in Coorg.

Tip - Its best to buy a local map as soon as you land in Coorg. I bought one on the last day and wished I had bought it earlier.

We have an office trip to Orange County, Coorg from 6 Jul to 8 Jul and theme is fun ! Heavy rains is a concern. The entire Orange County has been booked by our company. Hope to post some pics and a report then.

Meanwhile, any idea about Orange County ? heard you can get tents to stay in there, in addition to the regular cottages.
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Old 13th July 2006, 18:11   #12
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yea sure...you can rent the tents at 'The Camp' for a mere 15k per night...you should stretch your legs out and book a tent for a week !!
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Old 13th July 2006, 19:18   #13
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Hey NIP,

Your words acted like a prophecy. I actually got a tent at Orange County !

It was awesome man. Its one of those luxury tents with an AC inside - also a small fridge, the latest bathroom accessories, etc
The Orange County guys told me that its the best place to be in. The tent opened onto a nice blue swimming pool and a green-colored lake. Bure bliss !

And you are right about the price tag - about 15 K per day !! But then, my company was picking up the tab. So who cares !
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Old 6th August 2006, 12:22   #14
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sure 'The Camp' is luxury five star accomodation...but its not the real coorg experience. you can have a similar 'pure bliss' feeling in the leela at bangalore itself if u really wanna see the real coorg...message me and i'll tell u how to go about it...!
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Old 8th November 2007, 14:47   #15
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Hi guys and NIP in speacial.,

I had been to Madikeri on a 3-day trip from Nov1-Nov3. And yes i had been to Chelavira falls the awesome, exp i had , its hard to xplain in words. I have tried to put everything in a nutshell in my Travelogue i have posted here. If you get time, plz do read it.
And yes NIP, i would like to thank you for suggesting such a wonderful place of bliss, tranquility and oblivion to us. Me and my friends thoroughly njoyed not only the falls but also the fact that there were no one near the falls and it was only 4 of us and the magnificient falls.

Certainly and most likely i will be there again on my next visit to Coorg. No doubt abt that. As for ppl who are planning to get there u can read my travelogue or NIP's or just put a personal msg to me , i will be more than happy to help u get there which is a place not to be missed in a lifetime.

REgards
Manjunath
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