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Old 23rd April 2009, 14:05   #1
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Default A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg

The compulsion to take a vacation to a lonely place was so overwhelming that I decided during a week to drive down to Coorg with my family in my car (a 2007 New Honda City ZX). We were toggling between going to Coorg or Coonoor when my wife settled the argument by saying that Coonoor is already visited.

One more deciding factor in we choosing Coorg is that whenever our friends and relatives discuss about Coorg, we shamefully accept that we have never visited the place known as the "Scotland of India". Invariably our friends used to look down on us as if we have landed up from Mars or belong to a unique species.

Day - 1

So, on a Saturday morning (11th of April 2009) we set off for Coorg. The plan was to leave by 5pm to avoid the expected traffic due to the long Easter weekend but eventually left by 6.30am from my house at RBI Layout, JP Nagar 7th Phase. Reached Nice Road via Kanakpura Road and noticed lots of cars and bikes with people carrying huge backpacks indicating weekend trips. Started pushing the pedal once I touched Mysore Road and reached Maddur by 7.30pm (85kms) for breakfast. There are lots of eating places on the highway at Maddur where you can try their delicious Maddur Vada or Masala Dose. We had our breakfast at a place called Maddur Tiffins.

Left Maddur at 8.15pm and we set ourselves a target to touch Kushal Nagar before 11am. An important point to consider is that, we do not have to touch Mysore to reach Kushal Nagar. Immediately after you leave Srirangapatna (there is a huge signboard thanking visitors for visiting Srirangapatna), you get a turn on your right called the Hunsur Road which bypasses Mysore City and touches SH-88 that takes you to Kushal Nagar.
We reached Kushal Nagar much ahead of our target by reaching at 10.30am (232 kms). We were stopped once on the way before we touched SH-88 by Election officials checking for liquor crates and cash. Once they took a peep inside our car and saw my wife and child, they started smiling and started asking where we are headed.

We decided to visit the Golden Temple (at Namdroling Tibetan Monastery) at Bylekuppe near Kushal Nagar on our way to Madikeri because we wanted to do Dubare Elephant Camp on our return.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-entrance2goldentemple.jpg

We were wonderstruck at the monastery and were left wondering whether this really is a place of refugees because the place was swamped with money displayed so blatantly in the form of Golden statutes of Buddha and luxuriously designed domes and staying quarters.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-3buddhas.jpg

After our sojourn at the temple, we decided to do a quick visit to the Tibetan run stores outside the temple but were sufficiently warned by our hosts at Madikeri to do lot of bargaining before concluding a sale. As warned, prices were quoted out of this world and I was wonderstruck at some of the customers bargaining with the shop owners. There was one interesting bargaining going on in front of a store by a customer bargaining for a leather bag. The shop owner quoted Rs.600 and the customer started at Rs.200. I was about to vacate the place fearing a riot but witnessed the shop owner lowering his quote to Rs.400 all of a sudden. Finally the bargain was struck at Rs.300 and I was gaping at the old man (the customer) with awe and at the same time I was thinking about what could happen to gullible customers who are not aware about this place. We picked up a Chinese Doll at Rs.250 (initial price quoted was Rs.400) as a memento from the Tibetan colony.

We wanted to have lunch at Kushal Nagar and was again stopped by Election officials for the same reasons mentioned earlier. We took the opportunity and asked them to recommend some good hotels and they came out with two names : Hotel Adithi and Hotel Kannika International. We fell for the International name and went to Kannika Intl. There was nothing international about the hotel but the food was decent. Three plates of North Indian Meals along with a starter and some bottles of mineral water costed us just around Rs.250 bucks.

We left Kushal Nagar at 1.45pm and crossed Sunticoppa (16kms from Kushal Nagar) on the Madikeri Road. We took a fork on the road to the right at Sunticoppa with a Karnataka Bank on the right which is a deviation from the Madikeri Road since our cottage was located at a place called Madapur. Madapur town is located 11kms from Sunticoppa. We continued for six kms from Madapur and reached the estate known as Bellarimotte Estate at 2.45pm (272 kms).

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-estateroad.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-estateroute.jpg

The estate spans around 375-400 acres of sheer bliss consisting of coffee plantations, peppercorns, ginger, paddy etc., with a small stream running in the middle of the estate. We were welcomed at the estate with a glass of lime juice by two of the best people whom you can meet. Sudhir and Malavika Appachu are estate owners and not traditional hoteliers but are so warm and hospitable that your entire stay is made very comfortable. Sudhir owns and oversees around 95 acres of Bellarimotte estate with the remaining being looked at by his cousins.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-streamestate.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-mycartheestate.jpg

Since all of us were tired after the ride, we decided to spend the evening at the stream in the estate itself. We had a sumptuous dinner at 8pm where we were pampered with legendary Kodavu hospitality. Since all of us were vegetarians, the hosts took care of the finer details and dished out some of the finest vegetarian dishes cooked by the hostess herself.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-ourcottage.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-viewfromcottage.jpg

Day - 2

You wake up to the chirping and tweeting of bird calls in the estate and I woke up at 7.30am and just relaxed outside the cottage for 30 minutes listening to the abundance beauty, nature offers to the discerning traveler.

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Sudhir, the host met us with the morning coffee at 8am and gave us a list of places to visit and the relevant directions. The plan was to visit Talacauvery, Bhagamandala, Raja’s Seat at Madikeri, Madikeri Town and Abbi Falls.

By the time all of us got ready, it was already 10.30am. We left the cottage and proceeded towards Talacauvery. Talacauvery is approximately 70kms from Madapur (50kms from Madikeri) and is situated amongst the Brahmagiri mountains.

We touched Bhagamadala (approx 35 kms from Madikeri) where one can witness a holy confluence of three rivers Cauvery, Kannika and Sujyothi.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-bhagamandala.jpg

Only Cauvery and Kannika are visible while Sujyothi is a mythical river which is believed to join the confluence under the ground.

Lots of visitors to Bhagamandala perform rites for their ancestors before proceeding to Talacauvery and take a holy plunge in the Triveni Sangama (the confluence of the three rivers). Within a short distance from the sangama, there is a famous temple known as Sri Bhagandeshwara temple, where Bhagandeshwara (Ishwara), Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapati are worshipped. This place is also known as Bhagundeshwara Kshetra, from which the name Bhagamandala is derived.

We then proceeded to Talacauvery situated at the eastern slopes of Brahmagiri mountains at 1350 metres altitude (approx 10kms from Bhagamandala). The initial sight of the temple blew my breath away with the temple covered partially in mist giving a divine out-of-the-world divine sight. The birthplace of the river Cauvery is situated around a small spring called Gundige which is in turn connected to a small pond besides it. The water from the pond goes underground and comes out after a kilometer down the hill. A big tank is constructed near the Gundige where devotees can bath before offering prayers. Some of the holy water is also carried home by devotees.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-talacauvery.jpg

Legend has it that every year on Tulasankramana day (approximately around October 17th) Goddess Parvati appears in the Gundige as the sacred Theerthodbhava. The origin of the Cauvery is attributed to the Sage Agasthya who brought the river in his kamandala from heaven to quench the thirst of the people in dakshin Karnataka. When Agasthya decided to do meditation at Brahmagiri hills, Lord Ganesha in the form of a bird came and knocked down the kamandala making the river Cauvery to make Brahmagiri as its origin of birth.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-talacauvery1.jpg

My wife and son climbed the steps that lead upto the nearby Brahmagiri peak from the temple. One can have a good view (as per my wife) of the misty blue Brahmagiri hills.

We came back to Bhagamandala by 3.30pm by which most of the hotels were closed. We managed to locate one restaurant which was about to close but agreed to serve us looking at our famished faces!!

We drove back to Raja’s seat situated at Madikeri. The place took its name after kings of yore watched sunsets with their consorts from a brick and mortar structure with four pillars situated in Madikeri.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-rajaseat.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-rajaseatview.jpg

The spot offers a breathtaking view of towering hills, green valleys, studded with paddy fields. But the principal attraction for my little son was to take a ride in the Toy train situated around the park. He took a packet of delicious bhel and took the ride (3 times – Rs.5 per ride which takes you around the park twice).

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-toytrain.jpg

It started to rain and we aborted the plan to go to the famous Omkareshwara temple situated at Madikeri town.

While on our way back to the cottage at Madapur, I couldn’t resist visiting Abbi falls since by the time we reached the place where they had a sign board for Abbi Falls on the Madikeri Road, the rain had stopped by then.
Abbi Falls is situated in a private estate 7 kms from Madikeri Town. It seems that it is worth a sight during monsoon when you get to see the falls in full flow. Unfortunately, when we went and on account of summer there was little water but the place resembles something out of a Jurassic Park with a hanging bridge overlooking the falls. Cars can reach the entrance to the falls from where you have to take downhill walk of 500 metres on slightly paved steps. Benches for the elderly (or the less than fit individuals) has been constructed to catch some breath while climbing up the steps from the waterfall to the main road.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-abbifallsentrance.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-abbifalls.jpg

It gets pretty dark when you have to drive in Madikeri and we kept asking people whom we met on the way whether we were proceeding on the right direction. It was a relief when we reached the cottage at 7.30pm and I took a final stock at the distance I covered on Day two. We had done close to 156kms on Day 2.

Day - 3

We proceeded to check out at 9.30am after having a lip smacking treat of akki rotis, onion chutney, dosas and drum stick sambar. The hosts were kind enough to give us a sample of their coffee (Arabica variety) which is grown at their estate. Since Vishu was nearing (April 14th), they gave us some jackfruits (not the ripe one but the ones that are used for making sabji) which are again grown at their estate. Since my son had expressed his desire to see a real gun, the hosts were kind enough to show us their precious possessions with one of the gun even dating back to the British era. We left envying their lifestyle and promised to return once again to their estate.

Before we started for Sunticoppa, the host took us to a place not discovered yet in Coorg called MakkaluKalluBetta. It is on top of a hill adjoining Bellarimotte estate and has got a breathtaking view of Coorg. It has also a small shrine consisting of small stones kept at the place by devotees when they pray for their wishes to be fulfilled. The place is especially visited by childless couples and hence the name MakkaluKalluBetta.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-makkalukallubetta.jpg

We took a deviation after Sunticoppa to reach Dubare Elephant Camp. But by the time we reached the camp at 11.45am, the elephants have been taken back to their shelters and there were no rides or feeding activities. It seems we have to visit the place between 9 to 10.30am to enjoy the place in full flow. But the boat ride to the camp was great with river rafting activities also being conducted in the river which runs along the camp. We took a stroll around the camp and my son had a whale of a time swimming in the river which is very shallow at some places.

A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-dubarecamp.jpg
A rejuvenating road trip from Bangalore to Coorg-elephantdubare.jpg

We left the place around 1.30pm and reached Kushalnagar for lunch at Hotel Adithi. The hotel charges around Rs.50 for a buffet lunch (which is the only item served during lunch hours) and left for Bangalore at 2.30pm.

Picked up a ripe jackfruit for Vishu which was being sold on the roadside on the way (by the way April 14th is the new year for Tamils and Malayalis and also for some other communities that I don’t remember and is generally referred as Vishu by Malayalis) We also managed to pluck a bunch of flowers called “Kanikonna Puvu”(Indian Laburnum) which is a special offering during the Vishu festival.

All of a sudden, I remembered Ranganthittu Bird sanctuary and decided to visit the place. We reached there at 4.30 and took a boat ride around the lake where we witnessed birds from Siberia, Africa and even the North Americas. Imagine these folks come around from so far and zero in onto our place at Ranganthittu.

We left the bird sanctuary at 5.30pm and decided to reach Bangalore without stopping anywhere for a break. While on the run, we were witness to a couple of races being performed on the road between a Skoda, a Lancer and a New Honda City. In the bargain to watch the fun, didn’t realize that I was also pushing the speedometer close to 120kms/hr and that too at fading light. Better sense prevailed and I opted out of the race and managed to reach Raja Rajeshwari Nagar Arch at 7.30pm (I missed the Nice road entry when I took a call from my office from my desperate colleague and got a nice firing from my wife for missing the road which would have taken me straight onto Kanakpura Road and then to JP Nagar 7th Phase). As a result it took me 1 hour extra for navigating through the outer ring road and doing a circus around Deve Gowda petrol pump since there was an underpass work which is currently being constructed and which prevented us from making a direct entry to Kanakpura Road. By the time, we reached our house at JP Nagar 7th Phase (RBI Layout) it was 8.30pm. Even though the city traffic was tiring, we felt rejuvenated after getting lost in a land aptly known as the “Scotland of India”.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 14:49   #2
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A very nice travelogue, and thank you for giving me more options for another trip to Coorg
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Old 23rd April 2009, 15:25   #3
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A great way to start your account at TeamBHP. Your travelogue made for a great read. Will PM you for details on your stay, when I travel to Coorg next.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 16:29   #4
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Nice travelogue coupled with pics. Last I visited Coorg was around 5 years back. Have to make it in near some time though. BTW where did you stay and what are the rates of the homestay?
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Old 23rd April 2009, 18:25   #5
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Thanks for yoru comments.

The details of the homestay is as follows:

HomeStay Name : Bellarimotte Estate
Host Name : Sudhir and Malavika Appachu
Contact Details : 08276-204349/98808-18038/94804-99550

The directions to Bellarimotte Estate:

First landmark on the way to Madikeri is Kushalnagar and 16kms from Kushalnagar is Sunticoppa on the Madikeri Road.

At Sunticoppa, you get a fork on the road with a Karnataka Bank on the right. Take that right and continue down the road for 11 kms, keeping to the left (there are many rights/forks on the road.)

Once you get to Madapur town, take a right at the Syndicate Bank.

Continue down the road for six kms, once again ignoring all the many turn-offs on the right hand side.

Six kms from Madapur is where the host will meet you.

Believe me, the directions and the kms mentioned are spot on because, I was closely observing my odometer and when they say for example, 16kms it is exactly 16kms.

The rates that are charged for a stay is Rs.3000/- per night for a couple consisting of one room and attached bathroom. The rate is inclusive of breakfast. For lunch or dinner, they charge you Rs.150 for veg and Rs.175 for non-veg per person.

Let me know if you need any further details and I will be glad to provide you the same. It is really worth the stay if you want to experience a homestay which is completely different from a traditional hotel experience and believe me the location is mindblowing.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 22:07   #6
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3k per room for a night even during this recession time? Isn't it on a expensive side (in my opinion).
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Old 23rd April 2009, 22:58   #7
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Nice Travelogue and pics, thanks for sharing the details with us !
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Old 23rd April 2009, 23:13   #8
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Nice and wonderful pics. Thanks for sharing .

@null 3k is for homestay I guess ,since its not a hotel .
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Old 24th April 2009, 17:51   #9
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In my opinion and research, I found out that all affiliated (like Mahindra affiliated) and recognised homestays charge around Rs.3000 per night. There are places where you get Rs.1200 to Rs.1500 per night but some of my friends did not have good feedback about them because of the shabby maintenance or the room being part of a small house. The place where I stayed, you get a cottage for yourselves, a private stream behind your stay, fabulous hospitality by the hosts, great food and of course safety since it is within the private confines of a well known estate in Coorg.
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Old 29th April 2009, 14:03   #10
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Well written with some good snaps.. Little stream in the estate is very tempting..Thanks for details on the home stay
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Old 1st May 2009, 09:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sridharganesan View Post
In my opinion and research, I found out that all affiliated (like Mahindra affiliated) and recognised homestays charge around Rs.3000 per night. There are places where you get Rs.1200 to Rs.1500 per night but some of my friends did not have good feedback about them because of the shabby maintenance or the room being part of a small house. The place where I stayed, you get a cottage for yourselves, a private stream behind your stay, fabulous hospitality by the hosts, great food and of course safety since it is within the private confines of a well known estate in Coorg.
That is the reason a lot of tbhpians use the forum to get details of good places at lower costs.
Whatever was offered to you there,you could have got the same for almost half the cost elsewhere.
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Old 6th May 2009, 22:09   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princezahed View Post
That is the reason a lot of tbhpians use the forum to get details of good places at lower costs.
Whatever was offered to you there,you could have got the same for almost half the cost elsewhere.
Agreed on your point of using the forum to take advantage of member's experience. BUt I am not sure whether I would have got the same experience at half the cost...that my dear Prince, is a debatable point....But I will take your advice and will ping my fellow BHPians when I undertake mynext road trip.

Thanks,
Sridhar
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Old 6th May 2009, 22:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sridharganesan View Post
Agreed on your point of using the forum to take advantage of member's experience. BUt I am not sure whether I would have got the same experience at half the cost...that my dear Prince, is a debatable point....But I will take your advice and will ping my fellow BHPians when I undertake mynext road trip.

Thanks,
Sridhar
Well,am not sure iam allowed to post,but I would have hosted your family for free in Coorg at our estate if it was just about the experience.
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Old 6th May 2009, 23:00   #14
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I know the people you've mentioned personally very well indeed and have known them/ their families for many years.

And going by their background and quality of home upkeep/ maintenance/ quality standards, I d say you got a good deal.

Yes, I am glad that you had a first class experience - their standards are very good and they will not compromise on quality of "guest experience" when they are hosting you at what is effectively their own home!

I will tell them about your comments when I meet them next.

cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridharganesan View Post
Thanks for yoru comments.

The details of the homestay is as follows:

HomeStay Name : Bellarimotte Estate
Host Name : Sudhir and Malavika Appachu
Contact Details : 08276-204349/98808-18038/94804-99550

The directions to Bellarimotte Estate:

First landmark on the way to Madikeri is Kushalnagar and 16kms from Kushalnagar is Sunticoppa on the Madikeri Road.

At Sunticoppa, you get a fork on the road with a Karnataka Bank on the right. Take that right and continue down the road for 11 kms, keeping to the left (there are many rights/forks on the road.)

Once you get to Madapur town, take a right at the Syndicate Bank.

Continue down the road for six kms, once again ignoring all the many turn-offs on the right hand side.

Six kms from Madapur is where the host will meet you.

Believe me, the directions and the kms mentioned are spot on because, I was closely observing my odometer and when they say for example, 16kms it is exactly 16kms.

The rates that are charged for a stay is Rs.3000/- per night for a couple consisting of one room and attached bathroom. The rate is inclusive of breakfast. For lunch or dinner, they charge you Rs.150 for veg and Rs.175 for non-veg per person.

Let me know if you need any further details and I will be glad to provide you the same. It is really worth the stay if you want to experience a homestay which is completely different from a traditional hotel experience and believe me the location is mindblowing.
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Old 7th May 2009, 09:02   #15
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Nice travelogue and pics sridharganesan !!
Somehow initially you wrote pm instead of am and got me confused.

Nice update about the homestay. It reminds me of my 2 trips there. There is always something new in Coorg everytime I visit.

Abhi
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