Day 1 – On the way to Coorg

Date: 25-Dec-15
As we decided, we started from home at 4 AM on the Christmas day. Bangalore was decorated with colorful lights to celebrate Christmas and to welcome New Year. There was decent number of vehicles on roads at this early hour of the day, due to late night Christmas Eve parties and also because of people moving out of town for long vacation.

Coorg

Shettihalli Church and in and around Coorg

Our first destination for the day was Shettihalli Church which is in Hassan district. After Nelamangala, we took a diversion to Bangalore-Mangalore national highway (NH48). Our Nano went in full zoom on this well maintained highway. After Chennarayapattana, just 1 km before the next toll gate, we took a left turn towards Devihalli. We took this road to avoid the toll and to experience the village roads. This road was a single road and was not well maintained in few places. We followed Google maps to reach Shettihalli and we reached there at 8 AM.

Shettihalli Church
  • Timings – Open throughout the day (Avoid visiting this place in dark as the place is deserted and looks haunted)
  • Entrance fee – none

Both of us wanted to visit this 155 year old church from a long time and finally the day came. This Rosary Church was built on the banks of the river Hemavathi (Hassan district) by French missionaries during the year 1860 and now we can find only the ruins. When the Gorur dam was constructed during 1960 for river Hemavathi, 28 nearby villages had to be relocated to nearby villages which included Shettihalli as well. During relocation, this church was left behind. Since then, every year, this church submerges in water during every monsoon and emerges out once the water level decreases.

Shettihalli Church

Shettihalli Church

We parked our car a bit far from the church since the road in front of us was not so good. (But, through some other route, you can bring your vehicle near the church.) We had to walk for about 10-15 minutes to reach the church. When we visited, the church was not submerged in the water and it looked amazing as we were approaching. The ruins of the church make us feel that the church must have been a beautiful huge monument once upon a time. At the same time, it screams of the dark past. This church is a perfect destination for photography. One can sit for hours together enjoying the calm and peaceful nature here.

Gorur Dam

Our next stop was Gorur dam (Hassan district) which is around 17 km from Shettihalli. The Gorur dam was visible from the road that we took and it looked gigantic. We noticed that none of the dam gates were opened, so we decided not to go near the dam and instead we took photos of the dam from far and proceeded from there.

Kaveri Nisargadhama
  • Timings – 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee – 10 Rs/person, 25 Rs/person for elephant ride and 100 Rs/person for boating
  • Parking fee – 20 Rs (for Car)
Kaveri Nisargadhama

Kaveri Nisargadhama

From Gorur, we took the road towards Kushal Nagar, Coorg. On the way, we had tasty breakfast at a small hotel called Sri Ramakrishna in Konanur. From Konanur, we took the Konanur-Makutta highway to reach our first destination in Coorg i.e Kaveri Nisargadhama. This is a 64-acre island formed by river Kaveri in Kushal Nagar. We reached Nisargadhama at around 10.45 AM. Looking at the crowd in Nisargadhama, we understood the amount of crowd that we might need to face during next three days.

Nisargadhama has huge number of variety of trees. One interesting thing we found was the trees painted with animal pictures. They looked funny and at the same time creative. The island is connected by a beautiful hanging bridge constructed over the river Kaveri. The deer park inside Nisargadhama houses many deers and gives us a very closer view of these innocent animals. One can go for elephant rides and for boating in this island. There is a safe place to get down and play in Kaveri river. The nature walk in this serene place is truly a refreshing experience. After spending some time, we left the place at around 11.45 AM.

Bylakuppe Golden Temple
  • Timings – 7 AM to 8 PM
  • Entrance fee – none
  • Parking fee – 20 Rs (for car)

Our next stop was Bylakuppe which is around 7 km from Nisargadhama. This town is home for large number of Tibetan settlements. Wherever you go, you can find people belonging to Buddhist community in this area. The place is very well maintained. The major attraction of Bylakuppe is Buddhist monasteries. The most popular among these monasteries is Namdroling Monastery, popularly known as Golden temple.

Bylekuppe Golden Temple

Bylekuppe Golden Temple

This monastery is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Inside the monastery, there are huge statues of Padmasmbhava, Buddha, and Amitayus which are examples of absolute perfection. The colorful paintings on the walls and ceiling are spectacular. When we visited the place, it was extremely crowded. Yet, it was very peaceful inside the temple. We had heard that the monks would do prayers inside the monastery every day which is a “must-watch” event. Somewhere, we had read that the prayer timing is 1 PM. But, unfortunately, on the day we visited, the prayer did not happen even till 1.30 PM. We left the place disappointed after waiting for an hour.
There are few hotels outside the monastery premises, but we had our not-so-good lunch at Athithi hotel. Post lunch, at 2.45 PM, we started towards Abbi Falls.

Abbi Falls
  • Timings – 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee – none
  • Parking fee – 20 Rs (for car)

We reached Abbi Falls at 3.30 PM. The parking lot was filled with vehicles. From the parking lot, we need to walk for around 15 minutes in the middle of coffee estates to get the beautiful view of Abbi Falls. We felt happy to see considerable amount of water in the falls. During monsoon this falls is absolute treat for eyes. In front of the falls, there is a hanging bridge which gives perfect view of the falls, but unluckily, the entry was restricted on the bridge when we visited. Since the place was crowded, we did not spend much time and decided to return at 4 PM.

Abbi Falls

Abbi Falls

Madikeri Fort
  • Timings – 10 AM to 5.30 PM (closed on Mondays)
  • Entrance fee – none

We reached Madikeri fort which is at the center of Madikeri town at around 4.30 PM. Madikeri fort was built during 17th century and it houses Madikeri Deputy Commissioner’s office, a museum, St. Mark’s church, and so on. Madikeri town looks amazing from this fort.

More information on Madikeri fort can be found here.

Madikeri Fort

Madikeri Fort

Madikeri fort was our last destination for the day. We started from the fort at 5 PM and headed towards Coorg guest house which was in a place called Srimangala (around 72 km from Madikeri). It took us around 2.5 hrs to reach the guest house (which included a tea break in Virajpet). The journey from Madikeri to Srimanagala was one of the finest journeys we ever had. Unlike I imagined, the roads were extremely good and were scenic throughout. We traveled via Madikeri > Virajpet > Gonikoppal to reach the guest house at 7.30 PM.
Coorg guest house is far from the tourist attractions of Coorg. The room that we got was neat and well maintained. Only basic amenities were present in the room. What made us happy about the guest house was the hospitality shown by the guest house authorities. They made us feel at home.

The total toll fee that we paid during our journey is as follows:

Toll Plaza Name Fee (Single journey, Car)
Bangalore-Nelamangala Toll 20
Doddakarenahalli (Devihalli toll) 41
Karbylu (Bellur Cross) (Devihalli toll) 41
Kirasave (Devihalli Toll) 40
Total 142
  • Route Traveled: BTM Layout > Yashwantpur > Nelamangala > Chennarayapattana > Devihalli > Shettihalli Church > Gorur > Konanur > Kaveri Nisargadhama > Bylekuppe > Abbi Falls > Madikeri Fort > Coorg Guest House (Srimangala)
  • Photos: Day 1 – On the Way to Coorg Photos

See also:

Route Map:

11 Responses

  1. Sims says:

    Nice experience. Shettihalli Church is in my to visit list from a long while. This reminds to plan a visit soon.
    Sims ~ http://travelsoiled.wordpress.com/

  2. arunprasadhm says:

    Did not know about this church. Need to visit some day. Bylakuppe is a beautiful place. Our visit http://aruntravelpics.blogspot.com/2014/12/bylakuppe-golden-temple.html

  3. Truly a beautiful destination of Tourist Interest.. A nice Presentation!

  4. dNambiar says:

    Abbi Falls is the one in the middle of a plantation?

    I never got to see the fort during my trips to Coorg 🙁 I’ve been telling myself that next time it’s going to be there and Mandalpatti. 🙂

    For a while now, I’ve been coming across pics of Shettihalli church and they seem to be inviting me to the ruins. 😉 The ruins look great! Lovely images. 🙂

  5. Rajiv Verma says:

    I had wanted to visit the Shettihalli Church since a while now but sadly, haven’t been able to yet. Good to see it here until then.

    Why don’t you post bigger photos? Would make the viewing experience even better 🙂

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