On the Cauvery trail

On the Cauvery trail


On the Cauvery trail

The Kogadu district is full of breath-taking scenes of majestic hills, valleys and waterfalls, invigorating climate throughout the year, eye-filling coffee, pepper and cardamom estates dotting its undulating roads, all of which combine to make it a nature lover’s paradise. There are also a number of pilgrim centres in Kodagu, which warm the cockles of the devoted.

If you are travelling from Bangalore via Hunusur to reach Madikeri, you leave behind all the stifling heat and dust the moment you cross Kushalanagar. The landscape changes quite dramatically as you notice a lot of greenery, low-hanging clouds kissing the hills and the temperature dropping significantly. The spring in the air instantly has a soothing effect on your mood too.

Lots to explore

Unlike in the past, Madikeri has many interesting places to stay as a number of home-stays have sprung up in the heart of the coffee land. But of all the places, I would recommend Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation’s (KSTDC) Hotel Mayura Valley View, which is in the heart of the city. Located on a hillock next to the Raja Seat, the panoramic view from the Valley View is unbeatable. From the balcony of your room, you can savour the magnificent sight of green valleys and the hill ranges as far as the eye can see.

After night fall, the magical lights of Madikeri town create a veritable galaxy of stars on earth which vie for attention with the mystical sky above. The Valley View, with 36 spacious rooms, including six air-conditioned and 17 deluxe-type rooms, reasonably good service and excellent food to boot, offers a pleasant stay for the visitors.

Madikeri offers many interesting sights, including the Raja Seat, The Fort, the 18th century Omkareshwara temple and the Abbi Falls. But, the visit is incomplete without a trip to Talacauvery, the place where the beautiful river Cauvery takes birth. On the way to Talacauvery, 48 km from Madikeri, the first stop is Bhagamandala, some 8 km ahead where you catch the first glimpse of free-flowing Cauvery, turning up as a large stream. The knee-deep water surrounded by green canopy is inviting enough to have a bath or at least to dip your hands and splash some cool water on the face for a refreshing experience.

Bhagamandala is also the sangam of three small tributaries of Cauvery and offers an ideal location for devout Hindus to perform rituals for the departed near and dear ones, as priests available here readily offer their services. One can also visit the well-maintained Bhagandeshwara temple before proceeding to Talacauvery. Talacauvery, which is visited by thousands of people from time immemorial on the occasion of Tula Sankramana — the appointed day and the minute the Cauvery makes her presence felt every year, as per the calculation made in the Hindu calendar — is a serene abode for devotees as well as non-believers. Unlike in the past when the place was rather dirty and underdeveloped, the government has over the years turned Talacauvery into a presentable pilgrim centre, which now appears spic-and-span, thanks to elaborate granite steps leading up to the river pond.

While visiting Madikeri district, if one happens to have an acquaintance there, it is worth visiting one of the Coorgi homes in order to experience the unique lifestyle of the ‘Kodavas’. These houses, sparsely located amidst coffee estates, are invariably heritage homes built during the pre-independence era, with high-ceilings, lots of Teakwood used for doors and windows and spacious rooms.

Following the Cauvery trail while returning back, the Krishnarajasagar dam with its magnificent Brindavan Gardens is as alluring as ever. One can never get tired of the illuminated gardens and its different fountains, which can take you completely by surprise with a sudden splash of water, as and when the wind changes its direction.

The garden is usually choc-a-bloc with people and the best way to enjoy its beauty leisurely and in full measure, is to stay at KSTDC’s guest house, which is located within the garden’s compound, says the corporation’s general manager B Prabhudev. If you stay overnight, you will be in no great hurry to get back to the parking bay, jousting with the crowd. And after a pleasant night’s stay, in the morning, the whole garden with its chirping birds, will be at your disposal! In the daylight, the whole range of flora opens up a different vista to the eyes.

The next stop on the Cauvery trail should be at Srirangapatna, where KSTDC’s Hotel Mayura River View offers great facilities. The hotel, with excellent accommodation and food, is built amidst sylvan surroundings on the banks of the river. Apart from boating and canoeing facilities, which are manned by trained guards, one can even get into the free-flowing river (even non-swimmers) and experience the joy of playing in the water with gay abandon. Children and adults alike will simply love this place. Srirangapatna also offers some interesting sights like the 10th century Ranganatha temple, Tipu Sultan Palace, the Daria Daulat and the famous Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, which is hardly 5 kms away.

In fact, Srirangapatna, which is just a 150-minute drive from Bangalore is an ideal one-stop vacation for a day or two, as you will get a lot of time to spend in the midst of nature without wasting too much time and energy on travelling. KSTDC offers online booking of all its facilities across the state on its websites www.karnatakaholidays.net and www.karnatakatourism.org. Happy holidays!

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