If you are tired of hearing about the touristy Munnar, Ooty, Kodaikanal or Thekkady in South India and want to try something unexplored while feeling at home then head to Coorg, Karnataka. You will find lush coffee and tea plantations, rice paddy farms, roadside cafes, breathtaking monasteries, finger licking authentic Coorgi cuisine passed down from generations and warm-hearted locals. What’s more it even has a Elephant camp located in its vicinity which your kids will love!
Within 3-4 hours from Mangalore you can reach this quaint hill station after crossing lush green paddy fields, farm lands and colourful little houses. Coorg, also called Kodagu by locals is like the hidden paradise no one knows of and has so much more to offer, beyond its coffee, cardamom, and pepper and betelnut estates and is the best holiday destination you can choose for your family.
What to eat:The famous Coorgi cuisine known worldwide comprises of home-grown rice(much tastier than basmati rice),liquor, pork, chicken, beef, akki otti(rice chapatis), puttu(steamed rice cake made of cardamom, creamy coconut and lightly sweetened milk )coconut infused curries and delicious chutneys made out of raw mango, saunf etc.
Where to stay:There is no dearth of hotels and resorts in Coorg from Rs. 8,000 to RS.25, 000 per day but if you really want to experience authentic Coorgi experience amidst the farms then homestay is the best option. You will get to stay with a local family, who will feed you with mouth-watering and authentic homemade Coorgi food and personal touch to your stay. You will be surrounded by your hosts very own farm or vegetable garden where you learn more about organic farming with them. Homestays charge a mere Rs. 1500-5000 per day and the experience you have will last you a lifetime!
Things to see/do: You can go and explore the rice/beetelnut/coconut or coffee farms/estates owned by your homestay host along with them. You will get to learn how they do the farming and you can also help them at it, if you are interested. Those who are interested in a bit of adventure can also hire a cycle and explore the little villages around Coorg.
Coorg or Kodagu has a large population of Buddhist people hence you will find a number of beautiful monasteries one of which is “The golden temple” built in 1963.You will be taken aback in awe as you enter the Golden Temple, which is built with minute detailing and love and is very different in comparison to the monasteries in Sikkim, Ladakh or Himachal.
You will get to see a large statue of Buddha, intricate murals and lots of Tangkha paintings once you are inside the monastery. Because of the number of Buddhist settled here, there are a number of authentic Tibetan and Chinese food restaurants that have sprung up in Coorg. A must try is their mouth-watering Momo’s, Thukpa’s, Thenthuk etc.
Best time to go:It is best to go to Coorg between October to March where the climate will be cooler and enchanting. If you love trying something different you can also head to Coorg in Monsoons.
Other Attractions around: Dubare Elephant camp, a half an hour ride away is another attraction that you must not miss.You will get to bath and feed the Indian Elephants and also take pictures with them. It’s a complete win win situation for your little ones
Location: Around 150 km from Mangalore and 260 km from Bangalore
How to reach: By bus or car from Mysore. Closest airport is in Bangalore; the airport in Coimbatore in neighboring Tamil Nadu is another alternative.
Cost: Homestays ranging from Rs.1, 000 to Rs.5,000 per day.
Resorts starting from Rs. 5,000 to 25,000 per day
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