At the fag end of last year, to be precise during the last week of 2010 Me, wife and parents travelled in south western Karnataka and parts of north Kerala. Writing everything in one post will be impossible and will not make for good reading. I will split my travelogue based on the places we travelled during that week. In this entry I will talk about Madikeri.
The date was 25 December 2010 the birthday of Jesus, this was also the day our week long trip started. It was another foggy, chilly morning in Bangalore. We were ready to start by 7.30 AM. We hit the road soon having ensured that we were geared up for the entire trip. The best way to reach Madikeri is to take the Bangalore – Mysore road. I expected to hit a lot of traffic on that morning as many would be trying to get away from Bangalore and the traffic did not disappoint me !!!
After about 15-20 minutes of driving through the traffic, the vehicles became sparse and I started to burn the rubber as I drove at a steady speed of around 80 km/h. On the way we passed the towns of Bidadi, Ramanagar and Channapatna without much vehicular movement in those towns. After Channapatna town before a town called Maddur are some of the best places for having breakfast ( I have personally got bored of Lokaruchi which is between Ramanagara and Channapatna, its still good, but…). Instead of our usual place for breakfast when on this road which is a Shivalli Hotel, we decided to go further ahead to Adiga’s which has recently opened. This place is not easy to miss as the building where this place is housed resembles a Cambodian temple !!! After waiting for a few minutes we managed to find a place to sit down and gulped some hot idlis, dosas and some coffee. After finishing breakfast we drove through the towns of Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna, again with not much traffic in those towns.
To go to Madikeri you need to take the road towards Hunsur. After crossing Srirangapatna there are two options. Option 1 – Proceed on the same road, you will hit Mysore Ring road, take a right turn there and you will hit Hunsur road from there. There are boards, so one doesn’t have to worry. This is a slightly longer route to reach Hunsur road. Option 2 – After Srirangapatna take the road that goes to Ranganatittu – KRS (This road is a 270 deg turn at a round about immediately after the bridge over Cauvery). Instead of taking turns to reach either of the places proceed straight on this road. After about 10 kms you will pass a railway over bridge. After this bridge there is a fork, bear right on this fork and you will reach Hunsur road in about 3-4kms. We took Option2. Once on Hunsur road its a straight road to Madikeri. After Hunsur there is a fork, bear right on the fork to go to Madikeri, the left of the fork will take you to Virajpet. This stretch of road is excellent through out, a pleasure to drive.
On this road we crossed the towns of Hunsur and Periyapatna. We had decided to to visit the Tibetan Monastery at Baylukuppe near the town of Kushalnagar. The approach to this monastery is nice with directions through out to reach it. However you need to look out for a board on the Madikeri road just before the town of Kushalnagar. The name of the place is, Normdoling Monastery. It about 7 kms from the main road. We reached there just after noon. There was a significant amount of crowd there. Having said that, the place is so huge that you dont really notice that there are so many people there !!! We went around the place looking at the 3 huge gold plated statues of Buddha and other monks. There are some nice halls where you can sit peacefully for a while and relax. Those halls have some very nice paintings on those walls and its worth spending some time there. We spent about an hour and half here. I had visited this place before, but parents had not seen this place. They liked the place and some memories from college were refreshed for me, we had visited this place about 10 yrs back !!!
We decided to have lunch @ Kushalnagar and headed towards Madikeri. The roads were excellent until we reached the town, the roads are pathetic. Pathetic is a light word to use, its that bad. I pity the people who use these roads daily 😦 We reached the Homestay that we had booked, Alpen Glow comfortably, settled into our rooms and freshened up. In the evening we took a walk through the town and retired for the day. One point to note was, Madikeri although we expected it to be cold, it was nowhere near the chill of Bangalore, which was kind of strange.
The next day we decided to visit Dubare, Nisargadhama and Abbey falls. We started early in the morning and headed to Dubare. Dubare is an elephant training camp on the banks of Cauvery. From Madikeri town we took the Siddapur road and deviations along the way to reach Dubare. This is a shorter route of about 28 km, passing through some coffee estates. There is another longer route which is to take the Kushalnagar road and take a deviation just before the town, this is while going from Madikeri. The same turn will be after Kushalnagar if you are coming from Bangalore. The approach to Dubare is extremely tricky, the road is very very narrow and if you there on a crowded day , like we did you should rive carefully as there is continuos movement of vehicles up and down on that road. I was surprised that this was the only approach road to Dubare, given that its a pretty famous. It is famous because of the elephants housed there, its an elephant training camp. If you get there really early, that is before 9 am you will be allowed to bathe the elephants and see them play in water. We were just able to see the elephants bathe in water. We hardly spent some time there, as it was very crowded and went to Nisargadhama.
Nisargadhama is an island situated on the Cauvery river. It has basically Bamboo vegetation and houses some deers in a deer park. It also has an elephant ride which one can take if interested. One can spend time relaxing by the river, which we did. Once finished, we saw that we had time on our hands before lunch and headed for Abbey Falls. One can reach the falls by taking a deviation before reaching the Madikeri town. It s about 8 km from that point. There are directions all the way to reach the falls. Its a fall situated in a private estate, its worth watching once. However if you are short of time, you can give this a miss. After finishing with the falls, we noticed that there is Raja’s tomb situated on the way back and spent about half an hour there. If maintained well, its a good place however its in shambles and not well maintained which was kind of sad to see. It was well past 3 PM now and we had lunch at a hotel in the town and went to our homestay and relaxed for a while. Our hosts suggested that we visit a shiva temple in the town called Omkareshwara temple. Its a nice temple with a huge kalyani (water tank) situated right in front of it. Its a nice place and had very less people so we spent some time there, it was relaxing. From here we proceeded to Raja’s seat as it was on the way back to our homestay. To our surprise we found that most of the crowd was heading out and went in there just to take a walk there. Actually if one goes there before sunset and the weather is clear its a nice place to see sunset and spend the evening. We had a pleasant surprise when we went there. It was the musical fountain :-). Someone had mentioned that it was not working and darn lucky we were that it was working and spent a worthy 30 minutes there. It brought back memories of the one ar Brindavan Gardens and also brought back memories of having gone there :-). After the musical fountain show, we went to our homestay finished dinner and hit the sack.
This was our third day in Madikeri, we checked out from our homestay and headed towards Bhagamandala and TalaCauvery. We had kept these two places for the last day as this was enroute our next destination Bekal in Kerala. In order to reach Bhagamandala one has to take the Mangalore road from Madikeri and after about 3 km, bear left on a fork. There are clear directions to reach both Bhagamandala and TalaCauvery.
Bhagamandala is about 35km from Madikeri. The roads are decent and it takes about 45 min to reach Bhagamandala. Bhagamandala is a small town where Cauvery is joined by its tributaries Kannike and Sujyoti (the invisible one whose mystery remains unknown to date). There is also a Bhagandeshwara temple there. This temple’s architecture resembles the ones in Kerala with short doors, dwarf temple structures and deities also being small in size. From here Talacauvery is about 8 kms. The roads are good, but they are winding roads that takes you to the top. If you get there on a crowded day finding parking can be tricky and you may end up parking your vehicle quite some way off from the actual temple. TalaCauvery is the origin of the river Cauvery and there is a small temple and kalyani (water body) there. We spent some time there. There are some breathtaking views of the Coorg from there. If one can climb about 400 steps and get to the top of a hill right next to TalaCauvery, one can get better views :-). We did not go there as we were already late and were headed to Bekal. Not knowing the condition of the road ahead we wanted to have some time on hand, so we left TalaCauvery at around 12.30 PM.
This is about Madikeri, after having spent 3 days and 3 wonderful days we headed to Bekal !!! That’s the next post 🙂