Why cricketer Robin Uthappa bats for his hometown Coorg
From homestays in lush plantations, fresh spices and scenic waterfalls to mesmeric Buddhist townships, Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa invites you to soak in the wonders of Coorg (Kodagu) in Karnataka
While I was born in Bangalore, my mother is from Kerala and my father is from Coorg. He still owns a plantation there, and Coorg is the place I keep going back to unwind. Being at my father’s plantation amidst the greenery helps me to relax my mind. We also have dogs, cats, rabbits and ducks. Coorg is such a beautiful place to go to at anytime of the year, especially post July till February.
The Namdroling Monastery at Kushalnagar in Coorg
It is cold, misty, and during the flowering season the place is in bloom with white flowers peeking through green leaves. It is cooler than Bangalore too. One can also visit Coorg during the rice harvest festival of Puttari or during Diwali to be a part of local celebrations.
The interiors of the Namdroling Monastery
What to eat
The food offerings for non-vegetarians are more compared to their vegetarian counterparts. The best places to eat are the ones prepared at homestays. Some of the dishes include local dry chicken, Pandi Curry which is a pork curry, a variety of chicken curries such as pepper chicken curry, all of this can be eaten with bread, especially with rice flour roti. There are several rice-based dishes in our cuisine such as Paputtu, which is like idli but triangular. This moist dish is garnished with coconut and has a little sugar in it. Another sweet rice preparation is Kadmbuttu, and there is Payasam too.
Coorg has several plantations that grow coffee (in pic), pepper and other spices
Where to go
The temperature is perfect for travelling, as it is cold and nippy till almost 11.30am-12 noon, and post 4 pm, it gets cold again. Talakaveri is the source of river Kaveri. There is also a temple at this source which several people visit to worship. Madikeri has several good resorts and homestays that offer great opportunities to simply explore the area as well as discover the plantations.
Elephants get cheeky at the elephant camp at Dubare
Coorg is a fantastic place to go birdwatching. I always wake up to the sound of birds at home. The Tibetan colony at Kushalnagar, which is the first town you come across when you enter Coorg is a great stopover. You can eat at homes of locals who prepare Tibetan delicacies and also visit the Namdroling monastery, which is majestic. For wildlife-lovers there is Nagarhole National Park and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. A sweet location to visit is the elephant camp at Dubare where you can feed the animals too. The Abbey Falls located a little away from Madikeri is one of my favourite places to visit.
Robin Uthappa at Harangi Dam backwaters. Pic courtesy/ Nimish jain
What to buy
You will find the best honey in the country in Coorg; I can vouch for it. Coorg is a great place to shop for natural
produce. You can buy good quality pepper, a variety of rice, coffee and vanilla pods too.
From Mumbai 1,019 km
HOW TO REACH:
By Flight The nearest domestic airport is the Mangaluru International Airport, about 160 km away.
By Train The nearest railway station is in Mysuru, which is about 95 km away.
By Road If you want to take the bus, there are state-run KSRTC deluxe buses, which run daily from Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mangaluru. The drive to Coorg is an experience in itself with the mist and greenery. The journey from Bengaluru to Coorg is a smooth drive that takes about four and a half hours.