Friday, April 30, 2010

The Kaveri Nisargadhama (Coorg Exclusive - Part 3)

The experience on day 1, when we thorougly enjoyed the twisty trail (read the post here) and later the beautiful Raja seat and children's park (Read the Madikeri post here), were enough for us to set the expectations of the day sky high. The real cool climate ensured a very good sleep at night and we could not get up at 6.00am as planned. It was almost eight when everyone was ready for the days sojourn.

But first things first, we had breakfast from Hotel Hilltown and found out that the food there is simply superb. On one side of the restaurant there was a big board with photos of all the picnic spots around Coorg. The breakfast proved an ideal time for us to discuss on the plans for the day.

The options were

1. Iruppu falls - 60 kms away from Madikeri - towards the Kutta route. It was on the way which we came. So decided to explore it on our way back, if time permits. Had we known this earlier, we would have checked it on our way to Madikeri.

2. Kaveri Nisargadhama - An island, 30 kms from Madikeri and the pictures were quite tempting too. Location is in the Mysore route.

3. Golden Temple, at Kushal nagar, where there are budhist monastries and the picture of the temple was awesome too. This place is after Kaveri Nisargadhama in the Mysore route.

4. Dubare forest - Which is also in the Mysore route 25kms from Madikeri.

5. Abbey falls - 9 km from Madikeri, which we didn't check out yesterday.

So we charted out a plan as follows.

First visit, Kaveri Nisargadhama then Golden temple and Dubarey forest, return to Madikeri by 3 pm, check out from hotel, do some shopping, then have a quick visit to Abbey falls, and start return journey by 5pm.

All plans set, we started our journey, passed Madikeri Town and took the route to Mysore. A little after 1km saw a junction with two roads, one to the right and one straight. There was a sign board on the right road which mentioned many places and distances to them. But the straight had just one board pointing to Mysore and the road was big too. So we had no doubt on which road to take.

The road was wide, but some construction was happening on one side, the ambience exquisite.

We moved another 2kms and suddenly saw a road closed sign. Do we have to go back?. A police man was diverting traffic to a nearby side road and we confirmed with him whether could reach our destination - Kaveri Nisargadhama, by taking this route, to which he replied in the positive.

The roads eventhough narrow, was really beautiful with long trees on both sides.

There was no traffic on these roads, weather was cool and we were gliding along.

We lost track of the distance travelled, since all of us were busy in singing songs all the while enjoying the winding roads, but no towns were in sight even now.

We had travelled a distance of 30kms from Madikeri, when we reached this open place.

The distance to our destination being 30km we were expecting to reach there in short time.

I spotted a beautiful bridge some distance away and instantly ensured that the light reflected from it fell on my CCD sensors. 

That could be the Kaveri Nisargadhama, our intended destination. Moved further ahead and reached the bridge which we saw from distance.It was not Kaveri Nisargadhama, but we to stop there coz I don't think any one who loves the nature can resist stopping on top of this bridge. 

If the view on one side of the bridge was superb

The view on the other side seemed to be competing with the opposite one.

The river, the sprawling lawns around, the trees in the background and the Mountains far away all formed the right mix of ingredients for that perfect ambience and we ended up spending about half an hour on this bridge and went on a shooting spree, occassionally modelling in front of this landscape too.

We were even tempted to go down the bridge towards those sprawling lawns, but then our plans may not work out. Also we were aiming for a return trip today evening. It is now 11am and we have still not reached our first destination. So we decided to bid adieu to this beautiful landscape.

Roads suddenly became narrow and there was no sign of our Kaveri Nisargadhama even after 40km from our starting point a good 10km more than what we had expected. We were nearing a small junction.

On enquiry we found that we have to travel another 10km to reach our destination. Even though this amused us coz we have to travel almost 20km more than what the sign board mentioned at Madikeri. We might have chosen the wrong route, but then who cares, we were treated by brilliant landscape all the way.

Just after this junction, the roads suddenly became very wide and seems to be recently laid.

Naturally the speed of the vehicle increased as the vehicle seemed to grip really well in this road even at turns. The sign boards were pointing to Mysore, so it seemed to be Mysore highway and the distance was about 80kms. 

All of us were truly absorbed in the drive that we missed our destination on the way and proceeded further ahead, until on enquiry we found that we are 4km ahead. So we turned back, drove slowly and found the sign board pointing to Kaveri Nisargadhama. The place seemed to be a highway side restaurant and nothing more. We entered the parking lot, took the entry ticket and enquired about the activities here to the person at the ticket counter who elaborated the facilities clearly.
Time was 11.30 am when we reached here.

The entry to Kaveri Nisargadhama was very inviting.

There was a hanging bridge at the entrance itself which took us to the island..

The walk through this bridge was quite interesting, kids were enjoying too as it was shaking as we move ahead.
We could get a good view of the Kaveri river with a thick cover of lush greenery on both sides.

There was boating facility in the Kaveri river underneath.

When we looked closely down we could see lot of fishes moving ahead in formation. They seem to be quite big fishes coz we could see them even from this much height and the patterns which they formed was interesting too.

We could spot a small deity on the other side of the bridge which was really shining because of its gold plating and the green background, thanks to the lawns.

As we crossed the bridge we got a closer view of the diety.

Once in this place, it seemed to be quite huge, and there were many side roads, one leading to the boating point, one to a viewing deck made of wood, one to a river and one to a deer park.

We opted to do away with the boating and went straight to the viewing deck. The viewing deck made of wood looked a bit dangerous. The kids and lady folks did not venture getting into the deck. Once on top of it, one gets a feeling of flying on top of the river flowing below.

Soon we found ourselves walking amidst the bamboo trees towards the deer park.

On our way we spend sometime near a kids park, to feed the hungry stomachs with some snacks as it was almost lunch time in our normal routines. There were plenty of monkey's around to give us company. There some really scary monkeys too who were bold enough to snatch the eatables, especially from kids.

We continued our walk towards the deer park. Suddenly we saw some movement at a distance. A huge elephant appeared from behind the bamboo trees

There were 6 people on top of elephant. They were enjoying an elephant ride through these beautiful surroundings. We saw the raised platform from where the people get on top of the elephant. 

We did not opt for the elephant ride, rather sat and enjoyed the majestic animal from a distance.

The deer park was also nearby, kids enjoyed watching the sedate but beautiful animals roaming around.

This island seems to be a very sprawling one and the really cool climate and the breeze flowing across made walking around a very easy business without getting exhausted and it was a real welcome change from the humid summer back in my home state.

We were soon walking towards the river point. This island is surrounded by river Kaveri and some points the river is very shallow where visitors are allowed to enter.

On our way saw a bamboo house on top of a bamboo groove. It had a fairly good height. But that was not going to deter me or my wife from climbing up. We soon found ourselves in top of the woods and had a nice time enjoying a different perspective of the surroundings.

We also decided to have a photo shoot in various poses over this tree house. The climb up and down through the shaking wooden ladder was a little fearful, but we tried our level best to hide the fear factor while posing

A short walk from this bamboo house and we reached the Kaveri river smoothly flowing across grazing the rocks and tempting all of us to lay our feet on it.

All of us stepped into the river. The bottom profile was rocky and hence sligtly slippery, but there was no depth at all. Moved to the centre point and the view was amazing. Sat on one of the rocks in the middle and this is what you get to see in your front.

The two trees bending over seemed to enhance the total ambience.

The view towards the other side was equally enterprising.

Undoubtedly this is the most beautiful location of the whole island.
We sat there for almost an hour enjoying the water gushing through our feets. Kids also enjoyed this place too much as they really like to play in water and the narrow depth ensured that we could allow them to play fearlessly.

It was almost 2 pm when we decided to move on from the midst of Kaveri river, for this place had some kind of attraction which was not letting us to go. Neverthless we made our walk back through the bamboo groves and big teak trees.

During our walk back our main discussion centered around the slippage in our planned schedule. We had planned to be back at our hotel after visiting this place and golden temple by 2pm. It is already 2pm and we are still at Kaveri Nisarghadama enjoying the ice creams in the cool atmosphere after having a nice walk in beautiful surroundings for the last 3 hours. Meanwhile some one suggested on extending the stay to tomorrow, since we came to relax and not to rush things around and nobody had any objections to that since this place has created an impact on us and we were rather reluctant to go.

Called up Hotel hilltown and asked whether we can stay till tomorrow afternoon, which they readily agreed. So that means we get one more day at Coorg and were feeling very happy, since we need not hurry up things. We did not even have our lunch till this time, but the intake of snacks and the catchy environment ensured that we forgot our hunger.

Slowly we started our journey to the next location - The Golden Temple at Kushal Nagar (To be continued in Part 4)

Quick Facts

Name of Place:  
Kaveri Nisargadhama

80 kms from Mysore in the Mysore - Madikeri Highway.
30 kms from Madikeri, in the Mysore route

Travel plan:
Check out this place on your way to Madikeri, if you are coming from Bangalore. this is just after Kushal Nagar. Easy to miss the board. Hence keep an eye on the left side after Kushal Nagar.

Time needed for a visit:
Ideally you can spend one full day here. A minimum of 3 hours is needed.

Food is available inside the island and also there is restaurant near the parking lot

There is a govt owned guest house in the island. Else opt for a stay in Madikeri - the hill station in Coorg.

The story so far

Part 1 - A tale of a twisty trail ( The road trip through beautiful Wayanad to Madikeri)

Part 2 - Explore Madikeri ( The raja seat and children's park at Madikeri)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coorg Exclusive (Part 2) - Explore Madikeri

All the travellers were feeling quite fresh even though the journey (Click here to read more about the journey  in part1 of this post - A tale of a twisty trail) took longer than expected. The climate was really cool, a welcome change from the harsh summer conditions back home in Kerala. One of the reasons why we chose this destination was the climate and this place did not let us down.

The parking lot of the hotel was neatly maintained with a nice little open restaurant on one side.

We had not so high expectations of the hotel, but wanted it to be neat. It was a sudden booking and we did not get any time to enquire about this hotel. A view of the hotel from the parking lot.

Not bad, but nothing much to boast also. Once inside the launch we felt ok, coz everything was neat. The check in process was very smooth and we did not have to wait at all. The keys of the 3 rooms which we had booked were handed over immediately and we were guided to the rooms which luckily were on adjacent rooms. It was a delux family room and at a rate of Rs 1000 ( $ 20) it was a good deal.

A view of the restaurant inside the hotel.

There is one more restaurant inside the hotel.

We were not in a mood to take rest and everyone was ready to have the first outing at Coorg even though it was already 5.30pm. The cool climate seems to have rejuvenated all our bodies. 

I had a discussion with the front office guy who was really helpful and explained the available options in detail. From him I came to know that Madikeri is one of the most hilly terrain of Coorg. The picnic spots of Coorg are pretty spread out. Our plan was to check out some nearby picnic spots.

The places to visit in Madikeri are

1. A mueseum which is housed in a Palace. Open till 5 pm only, so we cannot go there

2. Raja seat, A view point at Madikeri, Open till late in the night
3. Childrens park at Raja Seat.
4. Light and Sound show at Raja seat, normally starts at 7.30 pm.
5. Abbey falls, which is just 8 km away from Madikeri, but entrance is only till 5pm. So ruled that out.

The only option available for today is a visit to Raja Seat so that we can enjoy options 2, 3 and 4 above.

Quickly we were back in our carriage and we were driving in the direction of Raja seat. The town roads of Madikeri contained only two junctions and where ever you have to go, just reach the juction and ask, people are very happy to help, and they talk English, Hindi and Malayalam well.

On our way to "Raja Seat" saw the mueseum, which is an ancient building housed at an elevated location.

We reached Raja Seat in a matter of few minutes. This place is called Raja's seat, since during ancient times, the King (Raja) had a Royal Seat here at the view point which offers a marvelous view. Paid the parking fees and had a look around to decide where to go first. The kids were the first to react when they found the sound of a train whistling away through a near by track with a full load of children and they wanted to have a ride in it. So we had no other option, but to move inside the park. There is no entry fee for the park.

We also decided to have a ride in the toy train

The train is quite colorful and reminded me of the train at Ooty.

The train made a full round inside the park and also passed through a tunnel. All of us enjoyed the ride just as like the kids with the cool air flowing against us. After all rides like these brings back the children in us and it is nice feeling too (Who wouldn't like to back to childhood once again?)

During the ride, my kids spotted the children's park and they had no doubt on where we are going once the ride is over. The whole gang marched towards the park, with my son leading the pack.

May be because it is children's park, all of us suddenly transformed into kids and was seen playing in the park.

My son wanted to fly from top of a children's maze and just like any other parent I too wish him to fly high in his chosen path when he grows up.

We all were having so much fun at this park, that we forgot to keep track of time and it was already 6.30 when we decided to take a visit to Raja's seat viewpoint. Light was already fading and we wondered whether we will get a clear view from the view point. Even if we get a view or not, we are not going to be disappointed, since we had a good time at the park and this is for what we came here and we don't have any target to visit each and every picnic spot.

There is an nominal entry fee (Rs. 5 per person) for entering the park which houses Raja seat. This entry ticket is valid for viewing the light and sound show tooo.

Seen here the entrance to the Raja seat park

There was a neatly maintained lawn and towards one end there was a monument like structure too.

A close up view of the beautiful monument. This monument symbolizes the royal seat.

We walked towards the edge of the garden to have a view from the view point. By this time we could here some grinding noise from the skies, it was getting dark and seems like clouds were engulfing us.

There were many seats towards the edge of the park and some beautiful trees too.

Once at the edge, it was a wonderful view of the valley down. But thanks to the clouds we were not getting a clear view and my camera was having a real busy time because of the way I was changing its settings to get the best pic out of this cloud cover.

We could even walk down through the small roads seen here.

But before we could proceed any further we could see a shiny nerve like thingy in the sky in front of us followed by the roar of a thunder. Kids were afraid and we also felt it a little bit dangerous as we were on a very elevated place. So the next thing we did was to run out of the park and some how got inside our vehicle. By this time there was a heavy downpour. Rains was a welcome change for us and while running back we all got drenched in water and we enjoyed every bit of that too. We would have let ourselves drenched in that downpour, but for the lightning and thunder, some of which seems to come very near us.

We waited inside the vehicle for sometime but it seems that the downpour is not going to stop. So we decided to have some food from a nearby hotel. We had some real good Ghee roast from a good vegetarian restaurant. We spend around 1 hour in this restaurant. Even then rain was not subsiding. The only option left was to get back to our hotel as the people at the hotel told that light and sound show will not happen today due to the rains.

Once back at the hotel, we had a good time together cracking jokes and creating all kinds stories which will only evolve when everyone is together. We had a preview of what happened on that day by having a look at the photos which I took. Before we went to bed we had a discussion on where to go tomorrow. We planned to go Kaveri Nisargadhama which is a good 30 away from Madikeri, and then to Golden Temple after which we will come back, check out the hotel room, roam around till evening and return to home in the evening (something which we could not think of, coz we started enjoying this cool climate). But as is the usual case everything won't work out as per the plan and it happened in our case tooo, luckily it was something good for us and something we all longed for...

Soon we snored away to glory after a long and exciting day during which we enjoyed the Twisty trail and then a small but enjoyable visit to Raja Seat.

This town has some speciality even though it is not outright a beautiful place. It had some kind of calmness around which has its influence on the people coming here too. The local people are very happy to help. Everything in this town seems to be quiet relaxed.

We have started experiencing Coorg and a good bond was beginning to develop.

 More destinations at Coorg in my next post . Click here to read Part 3 - The Kaveri Nisargadhama

Some quick facts

Name of Place:

50 Kms from Virajpet, or 100 kms from Mysore.

A cool place, with a cool climate

Raja seat which is in heart of this town offers
- A superb view point which offers great view of the Coorg valley
- A well maintained garden
- A childrens park with enough gadgets to keep the kids and "kids at heart" busy.
- Light and sound show at Raja seat (if there is no rain)

There is an old palace which houses a Mueseum

Abbey falls which is about 9kms from Madikeri.

Good vegetarian restaurants available

Hotel hilltown is a clean place. One can opt this if they are going to be outdoors all the time and will be coming back to the rooms only at night for sleeping.
You get some good home stay options too, but check out the place before opting for it. You can get three bedroom houses starting at Rs 1500 per day.
When ever you chose a home stay, it is better to be in and around Madikeri, since this place seems to have the best of the climate of  all Coorg.

Related Posts
Coorg Exclusive Part 1 - A Tale of a twisty trail
Coorg Exclusive Part 3 - The Kaveri Nisargadhama


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