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Coorg (Kodagu) Information

Kodagu is also called as Coorg.  Kodagu is located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. It occupies an area of 4,102 square kilometres in the Western Ghats of south western Karnataka.  Coorg is well known in the world for coffee and its "brave warriors".

The main agricultural produce of the region is coffee and rice while orange groves are also found in plenty.  This district became part of Karnataka in 1956.  The headquarters Mercara which has been re-christened as Madikeri lies at an altitude of 3781 ft above sea level. Spanning over an area of 4102 sq km the district has a population of 4,89,000 as per 2001 census.

Kodagu offers an interesting variety of landscape.  The inhabitants of the district called the Kodabas are a race of soldiers.  The dialect of these people is slightly different from that of others in other parts of Karnataka though the language is one and the same.

Merkara or Madikeri, the district headquarters had been the capital of the Helari Kings.  This place gains historic importance from the monuments it holds.  The meeting point of Cauvery and Kanike.  Bagamandala has a famous Siva Temple.  The Abbey Falls makes a fine picnic spot. Talacauvery, the legendary place from where the sacred river Cauvery originates, has a rare temple dedicated to Goddess Cauvery.  The bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nagarhole Wildlife sanctuary unfold the hidden beauties of nature with the former one having been declared a ‘Tiger Project’ in 1973.

  Coorg or Kodagu is chiefly populated by its native ethnic group Kodavas. Besides, other communities that reside in Kodagu District are Kodava Heggade, Kodagu Gowda and Muslims while the minor tribes that dwell in Coorg include Airi, Meda, Male-Kudiya, Kembatti, Maringi, Kapal, Kolla, Kavadi, Kurubas, Koleya, Koyava, Kanya, Kudiyas, Banna, Ganiga, Golla, Thatta, Yeravas, Malaya, etc. Chief languages spoken in Coorg are Kodava, Are Bhashe, Kannada, Tamil, English and Hindi. The natives of Coorg also known by the epithet Kshatriyas are ancestor worshippers and follow the martial tradition. They worship arms. Some of the other minor tribes of Coorg find their origin in farm Laborers and Hunter Gatherer Foresters. There are also many families of the Brahmin community, most of who were brought here by the rulers for the purpose of offering poojas at various temples.


Sri Ohmkareswara Temple dedicated to Lord Siva here blends the architecture of Gothic and Islamic styles.  It was built in the year 1820 by Lingaraja II.

Situated at an altitude of 3781ft above the sea level and about 250km from Bengalooru, Marcara has some interesting historic monuments.  Atop a scenic hill stands the fort which was built by the kings of Kodagu and then repaired by Tipu in 1781 and from then on known as Jafarbad.  The fort encompasses a church which houses the state archaeological museum, and a beautiful place built by Lingaraja II in 1812. When the British took over the territory the fort, the palace and its apartments were all transformed into district offices.  Two magnificent mortar elephant figures can also be seen inside the fort.

Another piece of attraction is the famous Raja’s Seat located at the vantage point atop the hill, from where the members of the royal family used to relish the natural beauties of the valley during the Sunrise and the Sunset.  This spot also offer a thrilling view of the lush green coffee and paddy plantations.

 The tombs of the Kodagu kings Lingaraja and Doddaveera Rajendra which reflect the Indo-Sarcenic style are also found here.

Abbeys Falls

This beautiful picnic spot is situated about 3 km from Madikeri.  Here a ravishing rivulet gives rise to sizzling waterfalls which attracts a number of tourists.

Bhagamandala Siva Temple

About 35km from Madikeri and 288km from Bengalooru, situated at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery and Kanike.  Bhagamandala hosts the architecturally beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Siva, with copper plated gabled roofs.  The extraordinary carpentry and the exquisite paintings take the visitors by surprise.  There are also idols of Lord Ganapathy, Lord Vishnu and Lord Subramanya.

Bhagamandala also has an important apiary for breeding bees which make sizable contributions to the repute of the famous Kodagu honey.


About 48km from Madikeri, in the ranges of Kodanda, this spot is where the holy river Cauvery has Her founts. The legend has it that Lopamudra, the daughter of Lord Brahma, the creator, was given in marriage to the mythical sage Agasthya, by her foster father, another mythical sage, Kabhir Muni.  Sorrowed by the marriage, Lopamudra turned herself into water and sought asylum in the ‘Kunda’ or the mountain cauldron.  It is believed by the faithful that she still dwells in the ‘Kunda’ in which an amazing phenomenon occurs on the 17th of October every year without fail.  The placid waters of the pond turn vibrant in the form on bubbling spring on the day, bearing testimony to the belief.  There is also a larger pool nearby in which a dip is considered sacred.

A flight of rock cut steps meanders up the sacred Brahmagiri Hill, on the top of which a beautiful temple is dedicated to Goddess Cauvery where the Goddess is worshipped with alacrity.  This region also has puranic references.  The ‘Panda Brothers’ of the great epic ‘The Mahabharatha’ are said to have sojourned here.  The hill offers a wonderful view of sylvan beauty.

Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary

About 80km from Mysooru, at an altitude of about 1022 to 1454.5m above sea level, this verdant sylvan region on the beautiful Nilgiri hills became the venue of a ‘Tiger Project’ in 1973 under the WWF scheme and was named ‘Venugopal Tiger Project’.  This picturesque region abounds in flora and fauna.  Elephants, bison’s, sambar, deer, tigers, panthers, cheetahs and bears grace the sanctuary.  Besides, fascinating birds can also be seen here.  This sanctuary also offers elephant and jeep safari.

In the 400 sq km lush expanse of the beautiful landscape adjacent to Mudhumalai forest of Tamil Nadu and Wynad of Kerala, there are sumptuous plantations of sandalwood, mahogany, ebony teak, bamboo, teak and deodar trees.  The beautiful Mayar River acts as a boundary between the two.  The maharajas of Mysooru had this region as their venue for the big game, hunting.  Though it can be visited throughout the year the tourist season falls between November and May while the period between January and May is all the more enchanting.  For accommodation, visit and safari, contact Forest Officer, Forest Department, Woodyard, Ashokpuram, Mysooru (or) Asst.  Director, Bandipur NP, Bandipur.

Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary

The beautiful river kabini which jinks joufully through the picturesque region lends it the name Nagarhole, through its serpent-like zigzag. ‘Nagar’ means serpent and ‘hole’ means river.  In the olden days it was the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Mysooruy. This sanctuary which spreads over 572 sq km falling partly in the Mysoory district and located at an altitude of 780m above sea level offers shelter to a number of wildlife beings such as the elephants, bison’s, panthers, foxes, deers and tigers.  A large number of reptiles and fascinating birds can also be seen here.  This region also has a plenty of coffee plantations.  There are jeeps and minibuses which offer a thrilling browse, ‘Safari’, through the sanctuary.  This sanctuary is situated 67km from Mercara and 91km from Mysooru.

Accommodations are available.  There are available.  There are 4 forest lodges at the entrance.  ‘Karapur Tented Camp’ is situated about 6 km inside the park and offers both boarding and lodging.