• backpacking coorg bylakuppe chikli hole mandalpatti

Backpacking Coorg | Chikli Hole, Bylakuppe & Mandalpatti

Coorg is amazing. It’s literally this jungle land full of nature worshiping warriors that make homemade wine and devour pork curry in their spare time. I mean, there’s more to it than that but I think that’s the big take away I got while backpacking Coorg with goMowgli. This post shares just SOME of what we did in our first two days in Coorg. Looking back, I can’t believe how much we saw and how varied the area is. Check this post for a guide on all the things to do in Coorg.

If you’re a traveler coming through the South, or particularly in Karnataka you can goMowgli about these tours. If you’re not interested in tours, these are available to public as they are outdoorsy places and town tours but transportation was sort of lacking in most of these areas.

Chikli Holé

backpacking coorg chikli hole

We started our day off right bathing elephants at the Dubare Elephant Camp and then headed to Chikli Holé for an afternoon walk around the gorgeous lake.

As I tweeted and posted on the Werkenntwen Instagram probably too much, I was ECSTATIC to see cows in India eating actual grass. I’m a huge animal lover which can really be hard in India where animal rights is sort of a new thing. I was feeling all kinds of bubbly when I saw these huge healthy cows roaming around the country side rather than eating plastic bags in the divider of a busy highway.

backpacking coorg chikli hole

backpacking coorg chikli hole

backpacking coorg chikli hole

backpacking coorg chikli holeFrom here we kept going further to a very hidden little Shiva temple. The car met us and we drove up. I hadn’t realized prior to this that at temples the center is drawing in energy, so when you walk clockwise, you get positive energy from the temple. We talked a little bit about the “vehicles” of the gods- as each one has one. Most famously, Shiva’s is the bull. You may have also learned in your India travels that Ganesh’s is a rat.

backpacking coorg chikli hole

backpacking coorg chikli hole

backpacking coorg chikli holeWe were blessed with sandalwood (very famous in Coorg, Mysore, etc) and a woman offered us some food on the way out (you can’t eat in the temple of course).

Bylakuppe – Hidden Tibetan Town

Umm, momos’ momo’s momo’s!! I could eat them all day every day. So obviously, the tour guides were thinking, “let’s take Rachel to get momo’s or else her mind will be on them all day and she will walk around glazed-over”. I’m obsessed.

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnataka

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnatakaWe went to Potala Kitchen Family Restaurant and I devoured the best fried beef momo’s of my life along with some steamed chicken ones, flat noodle soup (thenthuk), and veggie spring rolls.

We toured the town and learned some more about what the Tibetan people are doing in India (for more information on that, see my post on the Tibetan orphanage in McLeod Ganj). India and Tibet were always tight friends, and actually Karnataka was the first state to invite refugees to stay and give them land to grow crops on. Because of that, there is a huge Tibetan community in this town of Karnataka. They keep their traditions alive well which is very apparent here.

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnataka

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnataka

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnatakaWe looked through the markets, I watched some guy cut hair really well, watched some traditional thanga paintings be done then we lastly went to the temple which was huge and absolutely stunning.

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnataka

backpacking coorg bylakuppe tibetan karnatakaFun facts I learned here: Buddhism was a comprise because ritualistic over the top Hinduism and strict “don’t kill a living thing” Jainism. Also, back in the day, Hindu’s used to keep all their money in temples instead of banks so obviously when they were invaded, all the town people’s money was taken!

Dhyan’s Den – A Kodova Homestay

Gearing up for another day of adventure in Coorg, we stayed at this amazing homestay near Madikeri where the “mom” cooked us scrumptious meals like pandi curry with rice rotis, made us homemade guava jam, AND we tasted all her homemade wines!

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

As part of the goMowgli tour they bring you here, although as always with hop on hop off buses you can choose to stay anywhere you want and they’ll take you as close as they can. There were dorm and private room options. I went for a private room, but this is a shot of a cozy “dorm”. Not exactly a dorm, huh!? The price here of 1,200 rs includes your dinner and breakfast as well as all you can drink Coorgi coffee, your Mandalpatti 4WD tour, and the wine tasting!

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorgThey have a coffee plantation here (Coorg is FAMOUS for coffee) so we took a little tour, but let’s be honest I was just obsessed with the families cute dogs! She made us all kinds of sweets with our coffees but even after all this time in India, I haven’t found one Indian sweet I like except peanut jaggery.

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

The wine tasting was right up Hailey’s alley- she’s a wine lover. We tried pineapple, betel nut, jackfruit, passionfruit, grape (my favorite because it tasted like juice!) and so many more until we finally couldn’t try another one.

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorgIt was a late night of meeting family friends, learning culture of Kodovas (they are warriors and sometimes men will carry knives with traditional outfits). We were also informed that only 1 km away a tiger had been spotted the year prior- how exciting!

4WD in Mandalpatti & Madikeri

After some tasty coffee from their one plantation, we were off to take a really cool jeep ride in Mandalpatti in the Western Ghats. This is something that you should definitely do if you’re in this area. This was included in the price of the homestay we were at, but even if you stay somewhere else- you could pop on over, join the rest of the group and pay for this extra.

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd a shot from the goPro out of the jeep

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd


backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd I should have zoomed more, but there were so many cows chilling out on this hill. 

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd look at the freakin’ cow bell!

backpacking coorg mandalpatti 4wd the final view point

It’s expensive if you just rock up and try to barter with locals as only intense jeeps can make the trip so better that you sort this out with your homestay- or be lazier like me and let goMowgli sort it out while I watch The Fault in Our Stars on my laptop. Perks of being on a tour!

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Dhyan's Den kodova homestay coorg

Madikeri City

If you’re in Coorg, most likely you’ll find yourself in Madikeri at some point. FYI these horse photos most likely weren’t even taken there- they were en route in some town I can’t remember but I just had to share them!

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeriThese were from Dasara celebrations

I learned quite a lot about this city but a few things hat stuck out were the walls that had a tunnel under and the story of how it came to be. The Maharaja (who knew maha meant great and raja means king in Hindi!?) wanted to kill by beheading his architect to keep all his castle secrets, so the sneaky architect wrangled two more weeks of work in an agreement and spent the time building a tunnel to escape. Where he got out, a turtle (I have no clue why a turtle) was places where he exited to remember the story. Where the guards used to stand was a tiny space so they wouldn’t lay down and sleep.

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeri

backpacking coorg madikeri

A great little lunch spot was Raintree where I had some yummy chinese chicken garlic dry and naan. The local museum inside an old Catholic church was actually really cool. Usually museums bore me a bit in India because I’m so disconnected from the stories of Indian past, but seriously this little one was neat!

They even had a stuffed cheetah which are extinct in India now and yes, before PETA people freak, it was very old and nobody is running around killing other endangered animals for museum purposes. I loved the old knifes the Kodova used and the stamps or seals the kings put on their letters which was intricate maps of the town.

These places are just the start of what all Coorg had to offer. I have much more coming about this awesome GREEN place.


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Laura November 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    That homemade jam looks so good! Sounds like you ate (and drank) well on this trip. I’d definitely be interested in looking up GoMowgli on a visit to India – one thing I love about tours over going it alone is how much you can learn about the place you’re touring.

    • Rachel Jones November 17, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      The jam was tasty but SO SO sweet I could barely eat a spoonful while it was hot and she was having us try it. I think Coorg was the coolest bit of the whole trip and totally think that people should check it out, you included! :)

  2. Shashank Rao November 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I hope you visited Tala Cauvery.. The birth place of the River Cauvery.

  3. Tushar November 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    I am poor reader but I like watching photos and what I like the most:
    veggie spring rolls and I wish steamed chicken momos. Courier possible?

  4. Ali November 18, 2014 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Oh ma god this looks AMAZING, your photos are beautiful! I love how the horses are donned with the colourful accessories, so pretty!

    21 year old travel blogger

  5. Tim | UrbanDuniya November 18, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I always wanted to go to Coorg – you’re tickling my itchy feet here!!!

    • Rachel Jones November 18, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Ahhh Coorg was SO SO good, exceeded all expectations.

  6. Justine November 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Wow, this seems like such an awesome tour. I imagine it was nice having the tour guides sort everything out while you got to sit back and relax ;) All of that homemade food looks SO amazing. The homemade wine sounds really crazy! Those are some super exotic flavors. Did you like it? Your photos are great, btw!

    • Rachel Jones November 20, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

      It was so nice, I hadn’t done a tour before and especially in India it was nice to not have worries. I didn’t love the wine lol it was very strong!

  7. Tom Bradshaw November 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Got to see some amazing photographs Rachel. I heard so many good things about Coorg-bylakuppe specially the momo’s , home made wine and Tebetian temples . Thanks for sharing.

  8. itsgoa November 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. chaw siew ling September 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Hello there! was wondering when you did the booking for Dhyan’s den ,did you have to make any payment for deposit prior to staying there ? :) because i emailed to them and they asked me to pay an advance amount of rs. 2000.

    • Rachel Jones September 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      gomowgli arranged it for me and yes I think they did book ahead. It’s not unusual in India to pay advance & they are trustworthy people

  10. Kylee February 6, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    how many days altogether were you in coorg? could you describe your timeline there a bit more? Thanks so much for all that you share!

  11. Katie January 28, 2019 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel! Are there any tour companies that you would recommend who are doing something similar to goMowgli who are in operation? Keen to do this tour!
    Thanks, Katie

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