Situated At: 5,000 Ft. above Sea Level
Attractions: Abbey Falls, Irupu Falls, and Harangi
Best Season: October to April
Madikeri is a picturesque, charming town situated at an elevation of over 5,000-ft (1,525 m) above sea level. The cool bracing wind whips the hair about your face as you ramble along streets that dip and rise delightfully.
Breathtaking views surprise you unexpectedly. Beautiful women smile at you from pretty cottages as you sniff appreciatively the heady fragrance of coffee blossoms.
Madikeri is the headquarters of Kodagu (formerly Coorg). Dubbed as the Scotland of India, Kodagu is home to the colourful, robust, martial race - the Kodavas. Said to be the descendents of the Greeks, the Kodavas are fiercely independent.
Either Tipu Sultan or the British never conquered them. And so to this day, all Kodavas retain the privilege of carrying firearms without a license. Kodagu is famous for the generals it has produced for the Indian Army. The women are known for their beauty.
But what the Kodavas are really famous for is their hospitality. Madikeri is a great place to walk as winding lanes meander off the main street. Mountain trails promise visual delights. And the Tadiyendamol, the tallest peak in the area, stands patiently, waiting to be climbed.
Madikeri Fort: In the centre of Madikeri, this 19th century fort was once the scene of many a fierce battle. Today, it houses a temple, a chapel, the prison, and a small museum. The fort also offers a panoramic view of Madikeri from its walls.
Raja's Seat: According to legend, the kings of Kodagu spent their evenings here, enjoying the spectacular sunsets from the top of a hill.
Omkareshwara Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple built in 1820 AD is a mix of Islamic and Gothic styles of architecture.
Bhagamandala Temple (36 kms): Built in the Kerala style at the confluence of three rivers (Cauvery, Kanika and Sujyothi), this temple houses a variety of smaller shrines dedicated to various gods.
Talacauvery (44 kms): This is the source of the holy river Cauvery, captured in a small well less than a meter square.
In October on Sankaramana day, thousands gather to see a miracle - the sudden bubbling and frothing of the small well, symbolizing the appearance of the Goddess Cauvery.
Abbey Falls: Just a few kilometers outside Madikeri, these falls cascade down in steps to flow as a small river. It is a great place for picnics.
Iruppu Falls: Another beautiful picnic spot, the Irupu Falls are on the way to Kutta from Gonikoppal.
Harangi: A reservoir near Kushalnagar, this is a picturesque spot.
Horticulture Research Centre (24 kms): Situated in Chettahalli, the reseach centre specializes in improving the local flora like pepper, mango, pears, peaches, guavas, oranges, bananas and pineapples. It also has a nursery and sells plants.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport Mangalore is connected by Indian Airlines and private airlines with major cities in India.
Rail: The nearest railheads Mysore and Mangalore are well connected by rail with major cities and towns in India.
Road: Regular buses operate between Madikeri and Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Hassan, Arsikere, madikeri, Chikmagalur, Cannanore and Tellicherry.
Shopping: Kodagu is a coffee country. The coffee estates here produce some of the world's best coffee. So don't forget to take some home. You could also buy honey, cardamom, pepper and oranges (in season).
Languages: Kannada, Kodava dialect, Hindi, English.