Relaxation for the body and rejuvenation for the soul
When one hears the word ‘hill station’, Madikeri is one place that comes to mind. Lush greenery, lofty hillocks and lovely weather are not enough to describe this town, that is a part of the Kodagu or Coorg district. It sits on the eastern part of the Western Ghats, aptly known as the ‘Scotland of India’.
Madikeri, being 260 km from Bangalore, constitutes a very unique culture and people. The people of this hill town speak Kodava Takk, a language special to only the ‘kodavas’ or ‘coorgis’ as they are known.
Madikeri is home to coffee, rice and spice plantations. Visit the Raja’s seat which overlooks the green sea of fields and the hills that carve into the sky. Visit the source of the Cauvery in Talakaveri. The same Cauvery waters flow down to form Abbey Falls, a small yet powerful waterfall that splashes onto your face. Ride an elephant in Dubare or take a dip in Cauvery Nisargadhama. Enjoy nature's beauty and her gifts the best in Madikeri!
History and Culture
The people of Madikeri, the Kodavas, historically started as an agricultural tribe. It is an old tale that the first king of Kodagu was Chandra Varma, a warrior who married his sons to the Raja of Vidarbha and thus began the Kodava race. They were ruled by Indian kings and the British colonists alike until India gained independence in 1947. It was in 1956 that the state of Kodagu merged with Karnataka (then Mysore).
The Kodavas are descendants of warriors. Their ceremonial attire speaks for the same. The men wear a long, black vest over a white ensemble, held by a maroon and gold sash around the waist and a silver dagger tucked into it. This is called a Kupya. The women pleat the Indian garb- the sari, in a very unique way. They also cover their heads with a scarf.
They worship the river Cauvery and celebrate a festival in its honour- Kaveri Sankramana. They dress a vegetable up in silk cloth as a representation on Cauvery and perform puja to it. They also take a dip in the holy river on this day. Puttari is another popular festival to celebrate the beginning of the rice harvest season. It is commemorated with a gunshot and all the members of the family dine together.
Top things do in Madikeri
How to reach
Madikeri is accessible best by road through the major cities of Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore. It can also be reached by train or by air but not as easily.
How to Reach by Flight
Mangalore International Airport which is 143km away connects to major cities in the country and other Gulf countries.
How to Reach by Train
Madikeri does not have a railway station. The nearest railway stations are 110km away at Kasargod, Thalassery and Hassan. The most accessible railway stations are in Mysore and Mangalore, around 140km away.
How to Reach by Bus
Buses from Mysore, Bangalore, Mangalore and Kozhikode directly go to the Madikeri bus station.
How to Reach by Road
Madikeri can be easily reached via roads since it lies on a state highway. It is 140km from major cities like Mysore and Mangalore. Bangalore, the state capital, is 252km away.
How to travel within
There are no buses within the city. Best way to travel is on foot, by hiring a taxicab or a car.
Kodava cuisine in Madikeri is well-known across the country for its rice and pork dishes. People here are mostly non-vegetarians. Koolu, which is boiled rice is eaten along with Kanjee, a rice gruel is their staple diet. In their everyday meals, they also include Meat, Fish and Pork which are heavily spiced, owed to the spice plantations. Heavy use of coconut and jackfruit can also be noticed in their food.
Some of the best places to eat in Madikeri:
- Coorg Cuisine
- Tiger Tiger
- East End Hotel
- Barbeque Bay Restaurant
- Zaffron (veg)
Madikeri is also known for its variety of homemade chocolates and wine. One can get different types of fruit wines like orange, rice, banana and other ingredients like jamun, ginger, pepper and others. Chocolates are found in the form of white chocolates, dark chocolates, ones with raisins, ones with almonds and many more.
- Start the day at Dubare Elephant Camp (30km from Madikeri) at 9am. Learn about elephants while bathing them in a rare oppurtunity from an ecologist.
- Head to Cauvery Nisargadhama next to enjoy fun activities like elephant rides, ziplining and boating along with marvelous views of nature and river Cauvery in the early afternoon.
- After lunch, spend time in the Golden halls of Namdroling Monastery. Take in the peaceful vibes and enrich your mind with an experience of Tibetan architechture.
- Drive to Abbey falls, back to Madikeri in the late afternoons and enjoy Cauvery in a different form.
- End the day with a walk around the Madikeri fort and watching the sun set from Raja's seat.