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 . 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.
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.
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 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.
From 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.
We 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.
We 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.
We 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.
Fun 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!
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!
They 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.
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.
It 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.
a shot from the goPro out of the jeep
I should have zoomed more, but there were so many cows chilling out on this hill.
look at the freakin’ cow bell!
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!
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!
These 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.
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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