Deciding to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore, we planned a trip to Virajpet, in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. We made reservations at a resort, which was not exactly in Virajpet, but close to it, and hence, any place we visited during our vacation, we went via Virajpet.Virajpet (or the lengthier version Virarajendrapete) is town founded by and named after Dodda Virarajendra, who ruled Kodagu from 1780-1809. Kodagu itself, dubbed Coorg by the British, is often called the ‘Scotland of India’ for its misty hills. It is a district well known for its coffee and spice plantations.Virajpet can only be reached by road, and that is how we went. To avoid traffic, instead of taking the Mysore route, we took the route less travelled, through the interiors of rural southern Karnataka.
Though the roads are in quite bad shape at several places, the view makes up for it. Initially, along our way, we were surrounded on either side by fields ofpaddy and corn, and we even saw corn kernels laid out by the roadside to dry. As we drew closer to Coorg, first we saw smaller hills, with wind mills atop them. Slowly, as the hills grew larger, the other plants and crops gave way to coffee plantations. In fact, most of the winding roads through Coorg present that view- lush coffee plantations, interspersed with tall trees with pepper vines coiling around them.One of the places we visited in Coorg was the Talakaveri, a sacred place, believed to be the birth place of the river Kaveri. It is situated at the top of Brahmagiri hill, and there is a temple there. The road to get there is full of hairpin bends, and every now and then after a bend, we were presented with breath-taking views of the landscape below. We reached our destination around 5 o’clock in the evening, just an hour before closing time. We could not figure out why we had encountered such a thin crowd, both at the Talakaveri and en route. The temple was engulfed in mist, and wrapped in silence. We saw the sacred pool, and could hear the sound of streams rushing downhill from around the us. It was a tranquil experience.On the drive back, we realized why most people, save for the experienced locals stay off the roads in the evening. As the sun began to set, the famous Coorg mist began to settle, and even before we were halfway back to our resort, the mist was so dense that visibility was low and driving was extremely hard.
Another highlight of our trip was a visit to Iruppu Falls. The falls are somewhere between the Nagarhole forest and Virajpet. After parking at the assigned spot, and paying a tourist entry fee, we had to trek and climb up several flights of stairs to reach the waterfall. The journey to the falls is an experience in itself- with the intermingled sounds of birds and crickets chirping and water flowing over rocks and fallen branches, and sights of brightly coloured flowering plants. The waterfall at the top makes the climb worthwhile. Through the stairs and some conveniently placed metal ramps, one can easily reach and stand directly under the water fall. This is probably due to the legend about the stream originated from Lakshmana’s arrow, to provide water to Lord Rama, making the waterfall a popular pilgrimage site during ShivarathriOn the way back to Bangalore, we decided to drive through the Nagarhole tiger reserve. The 35-kilometre drive through the protected forest is supposed to offer sightings of elephants, deer and very rarely, of tigers as well.
In actuality, we came across several herds of deer, and the occasional monkey. We did glimpse a few exotic birds that we didn’t know enough to recognize by name.Overall, it was a very satisfying trip, and we would definitely recommend Coorg as an ideal get-away spot for anyone looking to vacation in South India. The only thing to keep in mind besides being prepared for the bad roads is food- finding good restaurants outside of the major towns is difficult, so it is always wise plan before hand for meal times. It goes without saying, always have a camera at hand, because around every corner is a sight worth capturing.
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