A land situated in the south west of India, blessed with natures splendour. Ageless monuments, world heritage sites, lush green forests, amazing wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, romantic hill stations, timeless temples, pristine beaches, vibrant art & culture.
Madikeri is the picturesque capital of Kodagu (also called Coorg) the land of coffee, cardamom, colonels and the Cauvery. The capital of Kodagu district is located in a beautiful hilly setting surrounded by the forested slopes of the Western Ghats. Here, time seems to have stopped. Dotted with a cluster of red-roofed dwellings and a bustling bazaar, the town, situated at an elevation of 1525m, has a charming old-world look. Madikeri provides access to some excellent picnic spots. Not much is known about the early history of Kodagu. From 1600 A.D. onwards, the Lingayat rajas ruled over Kodagu and established their capital at Madikeri where they built a mud fort. The Kodavas, as the people of Kodagu are called, troubled the Mysore rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan through sporadic rebellions. Finally, in 1785 A.D., Tipu marched into Kodagu with a large army and devastated the little kingdom. Four years later, with the help of the British, Kodagu regained its independence and Raja Veerarajendra set about the task of reconstruction. In 1834 A.D., the British took over power in Kodagu.
Nestled in the Baba Budan hills, Chikmagalur is a calm, serene town full of surprises with hills, valleys, streams and coffee plantations. Coffee seed was planted here for the first time in India. Chikmagalur is a trekker's delight due to its rugged mountain trails, numerous hills, valleys and fresh water streams. Explore the rare wildlife sanctuary, ancient temples and forts. Take a stroll through the coffee plantations or catch a magnificent sunset. Experience the best of Western Ghats in Chikmagalur. For an enriching experience on the world of coffee, visit the Coffee Museum.
If you enjoy spectacular sunsets, sparkling streams, verdant village vistas, and an unspoilt rustic ambience, Agumbe is the place for you. Situated at an elevation of 826m in Shimoga district, Agumbe provided the perfect setting for R. K. Narayan to film his novel Malgudi Days. Agumbe and its environs are full of exciting trekking routes. Forested trails lead from here to a jungle pond called EmkalKere, a hillock called NishaniGudda, and to Barkana Falls. Agumbe is also known as the Cherrapunji of South India. You can also stop by the 14th century temple with Hoysala-style sculptures dedicated to Lord Gopalakrishna. The sunset as seen from Agumbe is a spectacular sight and many visitors come here to watch it, especially between November and January. A microwave tower, a significant landmark of Agumbe, is located at this point. Permission for trekking must be obtained from the Forest Department. Contact DFO, Shimoga Division, or Range Forest Officer, Megaravalli, Agumbe Range.
The picturesque hill station of Kemmangundi is located at a height of 1434m above sea level. This was the summer retreat of KrishnarajaWodeyar IV. Ringed by the Baba Budangiri Range and blessed with silver cascades, mountain streams and lush vegetation, Kemmangundi's beautifully laid-out ornamental gardens, enchanting mountains and valley views are a treat to the eye. The spectacular sunset view from the Raj Bhavan is a photographer's delight. For the adventurous at heart, Kemmangundi offers many peaks to scale and intricate jungle paths to explore.
Located on Theerthahalli-Agumbe road, about 12km from Theerthahalli, Kundadri Hill is a gigantic monolithic rock formation. Surrounded by dense evergreen forests, it is a lovely place for trekking. A rough, stone-paved path leads to a Jain temple perched atop the hill. Camping in the open at Kundadri Hills on a full moon night is an exhilarating experience.
This popular weekend getaway is just 60km from Bangalore. The bracing air and serene environs of Nandi Hills, perched at a height of 1455m above sea level, provided Tipu Sultan and the British with an idyllic summer retreat. Here, you can take leisurely strolls or experience the spine-chilling thrills of paragliding. Two ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva grace the hill, one at the foot and the other at the peak. Nandi Hills shot into prominence during the visits of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1960s and the heads of SAARC countries in the 1980s.
Bear witness to nature's headlong tumble as the Sharavati river makes a spectacular drop of 253m in four distinct cascades - known locally as Raja, Rani, Rover, and Rocket - to create the highest falls in Asia. The falls are at their best during the monsoon, with arching rainbows colouring the mist. When the sluice gates of the upstream Linganamakki Dam are closed, it is worth taking a walk right down to the bottom of the gorge.
Heggarne, a dreamy hamlet in Uttara Kannada district, is just 35km from Siddapur. A further 5km trek from Heggarne through dense forests brings you to the picturesque Unchalli Falls. The sound of the cataract hurtling down the hilly tract shatters the silence of the forests, and the sight of the falls is unforgettable.Also known as Lushington Falls, these falls were first discovered by J. D. Lushington, the Uttara Kannada District Collector, during the British rule. The cascade is also called KeppaJoga because of the deafening sound it makes.
The mesmerisingMagod Falls are located 80km from Karwar. Here, the Bedthiriver takes two distinct leaps to hurtle from a height of 650ft. into a rocky ravine. The thickly wooded countryside, the roar of gushing water, and a beautiful view combine to make this spot an ideal choice for outings.
Hebbe Falls is located at a distance of 8km from Kemmanagundi. An exhilarating trek along a steep and narrow path leads to these sprightly falls. Surrounded by dense forests and coffee plantations, Hebbe falls gushes down from a height of 250 feet in two stages to form DoddaHebbe (Big Falls) and ChikkaHebbe (Small Falls). Don't miss a refreshing dip in the herb-infused water.
Discover nature’s handiwork in the form of this tiny island-town, 65km east of Mysore. Forested hills and lush green valleys cradle a small hamlet and two fine temples. Together, they provide a startlingly calm setting for the Cauvery River as it plummets from a height of 75m into a deep, rocky gorge with a deafening roar, to form two picturesque falls, Barachukki and Gaganachukki. When the Cauvery is in spate, watching the river crash into a cloud of foaming spray can be an exhilarating experience. During the monsoon ( June-September), the falls are at their impressive best. Downstream from the falls is Asia’s first hydroelectric project, established in 1902.
Nestling beside the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarahole) Iruppu Falls presents a stunning sight during the monsoon. From their humble origins in the Brahmagiri Range, the falls plunge 170ft. in two distinct stages. They come down to earth to flow as LakshmanaTheertha (Sacred River of Lakshmana.) The ceaseless music of the falls and the hush of the densely wooded forest surrounding them makes this a great picnic spot. A forest trail leads from these falls to the Brahmagiri Peak in Southern Kodagu. En route to the falls, the Rameshwara Temple attracts a large number of pilgrims during the festival of Shivaratri.
With gentle waves, miles of golden sand, a tranquil ambience, and acres of emerald foliage, Karwar has all the makings of a perfect holiday destination. The captivating landscape is ringed with rugged hill ranges, thick woods, and mysteriously deep valleys. This paradise inspired the great Indian muse Rabindranath Tagore to pen his first play. Since then, this little town has continued to inspire all its visitors.TheSadashivgad Hill Fort with a Durga Temple, the unique octagonal church, the 300-year old Venkatrama Temple with ochre paintings, and the Naganatha Temple, where an ant hill is worshipped, are sure to make a lasting impression. Devbagh is the most enchanting of the five islands along the Karwar coast. Visits to Anjidev Island are restricted.
4km from the mainland, this tortoise-shaped island is renowned for the hilltop Narasimha Temple, which attracts thousands of devotees during the annual jatra held on PushyaPurnima every year in early January. Kurumgad is steeped in history, complete with the remains of a fort with cannon holes. Enjoy the panoramic view of the sea, sand, and the neighbouring islands from the tableland of the island, or indulge in activities such as trekking, fishing, dolphin and seal-spotting, boat rides to neighbouring islands, diving, snorkelling, treasure hunts, guided tours, or star-gazing.
With its narrow streets, traditional houses and temples, the nondescript town of Gokarna has become the favourite haunt of Hindu pilgrims, Sanskrit scholars and beach buffs. Locals believe that Gokarna derives its name from a legend in which Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow. Literally meaning 'cow's ear,' this village is formed by the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers. Adventurous travellers must be prepared for a bit of cliff-scrambling in this coastal town. Om beach, one of Gokarna's five famed beaches, takes the shape of an 'Om,' a spiritual symbol. The other beaches, wedged between gigantic cliffs that protrude like delicate fingers into the sea are Gokarna, Kudle, Half Moon, and Paradise.
The drive up the winding path that leads to Gokarna is a scenic delight with rocky mountains and the Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Here, you can experience the famed Karnataka hospitality in friendly guesthouses run by local families.
Take in the spectacular views at Marawanthe, a seaside town where the West Coast Highway cruises alongside the Arabian Sea on one side, with the picturesque Kodachadri Hills forming a backdrop to the Sauparnika river on the other. Marawanthe wears the look of a fairyland at sunset when the sky turns crimson and the golden rays of the sun are reflected in the sea as well as the river. Water sports promise an action-filled holiday. Visit Baindur, a hamlet 45km from Marawanthe with a lovely beach close by. Near Baindur is the scenic Ottinane with its overhanging cliffs, an ideal place for viewing the sunset. A further drive will take you to the BelakaTheertha Falls near Baindur.
ST. MARY’S ISLAND:
About 6km from the Malpe coast into the Arabian Sea, one gets to see the palm-fringed St. Mary’s Island which bears the cross that Vasco Da Gama placed when he landed here in 1498. The island is 300m long and 100m wide. It is famous for its unique salt rock formations. Due to this geological importance, St. Mary’s Island is declared as a National Geological Monument.
Murudeshwar will help you rediscover your love for solitude. Seat yourself at a vantage point on a hillock and watch the relentless waves crash against the rock. Murudeshwar will woo you with its beaches,Shiva Temple and the tallest Shiva statue in India.
At the mouth of the Malpe river, about 6km from Udupi, is the natural harbour of Malpe, an important fishing centre that enriches Karnataka's coastline with its fabulous beach. The endless stretch of golden sand, graciously swaying palm trees, clear blue sky, and the gentle murmur of the sea set the perfect mood for an idyllic holiday. Across the bay is the island of Darya Bahadurgarh. Be sure to visit the Balarama Temple and Malpe's oldest tile factory, set up by the Basel Mission.
Situated 12km south of Udupi, on the coastal belt that passes through the West Coast National Highway, Kaup has a lovely beach, a ruined fort and an old 100ft. high lighthouse. The two temples of Goddess Mariamma in Kaup are famous. The Jain basadis here are in ruins, but are worth a visit.
Ensconced on the coast, this maritime city makes a pleasant and convenient stop between Goa and Kerala. With its narrow, winding streets fringed with coconut palms, quaint houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, beautiful beaches, temples and churches, and the aroma of spicy coconut curries, it has preserved its old-world charm. Mangalore was a major seaport and ship-building centre in Hyder Ali's time. Today it is a business and commercial centre and Karnataka's major port for the export of coffee, spices and cashew.
The Someshwar Temple overlooking a rocky promontory, the ancient 10th century Mangala Devi Temple dedicated to the Goddess Mangala Devi, and the 11th century KadriManjunatha Temple with its exquisite bronze images of Lokeshwara co-exist with splendid churches and mosques. Among the more remarkable mosques are the JummaMasjid in Bunder, built centuries ago by the Arabs, and the Idgah Mosque at Lighthouse Hill whose construction is attributed to Tipu Sultan at the end of the 18th century. The St. Aloysius College Chapel with its magnificent Biblical frescoes adorning the walls and ceilings is worth a peek. Equally impressive is the ShreemanthiBai Memorial Government Museum with its wonderful collection of objets-de-art, archaeology, ethnology, porcelain, and wooden carvings. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the PilikulaNisagardhama, a sprawling 300-acre park, 12km from Mangalore, which has boating facilities, wildlife safari, mini aquariums and a science centre.