High up in the clouds

High up in the clouds


High up in the clouds

Mandalpatti, an offbeat holiday destination located near Kodagu, has something to offer for everyone who visits: solitude for those seeking peace, adventure for the adventurous and picturesque places for the photographers. And, if you have ever dreamt of floating among the clouds and thought that you have to go up 30,000 feet in an aircraft for that, you guessed it wrong. Mandalpatti offers a more exhilarating option at a height of just 673 metres. By visiting this place early in the morning, one can witness fluffy cottony thick clouds cascading over the hills.

Its unhindered solitude, uninterrupted flow of fresh, clean and cool air give a new meaning to the terms bliss, peace and infinity. The breathtaking views of the mountain ranges, multi-hued sun rising over the mist-laden peaks, dew-drops on the touch-me-not plants and the brown earthy paths leaves one mesmerised. The very first feeling you experience when you reach Mandalpatti is that of freedom —from clutter, pollution and congestion!

Reaching Mandalpatti
Situated in the Pushpagiri Hill Range, Mandalpatti is around 30 km from Madikeri town and is enroute to Abbi Falls. The road meanders through many scenic coffee plantations and valleys. There are not many buses to Mandalpatti. It is better to go in a four-wheel jeep.

You may also park the vehicle at the parking lot near the hill and hire a jeep from there.
At the Panchayat junction on the road, one has the option of turning right and trek or hiring a jeep that goes down an old, bumpy road. The other option is to continue on the tarred road on the leftside and reach Mandalpatti checkpost. Pay the parking fees here and travel for three km on rough pebble and boulder strewn mud tracks with no trace of bitumen. While the ride may not be comfortable, the scenic views make up for it.

After a couple of adventurous uphill drives, one reaches the base of the watchtower hill. It is called so as the Forest Department has set up a watch tower atop the hill. A small pond is nestled here in a groove surrounded by lichen laden trees. There is a Forest Department camp office here, which takes the details of visitors and collects an entrance fee of Rs 20 per person. The forest guards secure the area for tourists and prevent illegal activities around this place.

Further down the watch tower, on its opposite side, is a small waterfall. This is located in a secluded place and is almost inaccessible due to its distance from the view point. Please exercise all safety measures while trekking to the water fall. Inform the Forest Department staff before you begin your trek to the waterfall and always go in groups. Also ensure that you visit it during daytime only.

Once you reach the peak of the hill, soak in the magical aura of far-stretching mountains carpeted with different shades of green; rolling clouds and vistas, vales and dales; inhale the cool nip in the air and enjoy the feeling of being in the heaven of earth.

Listen to the song of the clouds and the music of the cool breeze through the green canopy of the hills. Kumaraparvata hills and the famous Kotebetta temple can be seen from the view point here. It is also said that the rulers of Kodagu used to come here on horse carriages and relax in the lap of nature.

The views from the hill are just mesmerising. Enjoy a picnic in the scenic hills by packing a thermos of hot Coorg coffee and have a true picnic breakfast just like Enid Blyton’s popular quintet, Famous Five and relive your childhood (however, remember to clean up and discard the waste in the dustbin).

Best time to visit
The best time to visit Mandalpatti is just before sunrise or sunset. As there are no places to stay at Mandalpatti, book a suitable accommodation for your stay in Madikeri, the nearest town. Leave Madikeri early in the morning to see the splendor of nature. Though one can visit it later during the day, keep in mind that the scenery changes to more of haze and walking around becomes slightly tedious as it gets hotter. The best season to visit is just after the monsoon and when the cold winter sets in.

The Pushpagiri Forest range is open from sunrise to sunset. Camping during the night in this region is not permitted due to security reasons. If you are trekking, it is advisable to carry sufficient water and food as there are limited outlets selling them on the way.

Though some of the movies have been shot here, Mandalpatti remains unexplored compared to other places in the district. It is this charm that beckons the adventurous to explore nature’s splendor and realise its immense beauty.