Coorg Valley

Introduction

Coorg, also known by its local name Kodagu, is a district of Karnataka. The region spans about 4,100 square kilometres on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats of Southwestern Karnataka. It is a hilly region with its highest peak, Tadiandamol, rising to 1,750 meters above sea level.

Coorg is an important wildlife destination with its own distinct identity as a major tourist attraction with its coffee and spices plantations and wide and exotic flora and fauna. It has also its own unique longstanding social and cultural heritage. Its proximity to a major National Park at Nagarhole (Karnataka) and the Wayanad wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) make it an exciting destination.

According to ancient Indian treatises, this land was called Krodadesa which later became Kodagu. It is derived from ‘kod' which means give and ‘avva’ meaning mother, in reference to River Cauvery that sustains life in this region.

The beautiful landscape of Coorg is a combination of shallow valleys, gentle slopes and intermingled swamps. The trees are spread widely opening up patches of grassland. Big timber trees like rosewood, mathi and teak dominate the areas of the forests where the undergrowth is dense and rainfall is high. The areas of the forests that are drier provide a home for the shorter trees like the flame of the forest, bamboo, Indian laburnum, and dindalu. The land of Coorg is carpeted with every possible shade of green and adorned with a gossamer stole of transparent white mist.

The topography of Coorg is ornamented with grassy downs, paddy fields, sloping glades, waterfalls and deep ravines. The British started coffee cultivation on a large scale in the region and soon the local residents followed suit. Providing the largest contribution of coffee in the country, Coorg is renowned for its ‘monsoon-fed coffee’, shade-grown under giant rosewood, wild fig, and jackfruit trees that not only nurture but also infuse the bean with their unique aroma and flavour. These fruit-laden trees are also home to numerous birds and other wildlife such as the great Indian pied hornbill and the Malabar giant squirrel.

While coffee is what it is most known for, Coorg is also famous for its spices. Pepper, cloves, cardamom, kokum, and cinchona are just some of the spices that are grown here and have made the Malabar spice route a tale of legends. The Coorg pepper has been considered the best in the world since ancient times.

It is no surprise that this green and verdant region is home to protected wildlife areas. It has three wildlife sanctuaries namely, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary, and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary; and one national park - Nagarahole National Park. Visitors can keep their eyes peeled for sightings of the elusive tiger or elephants. Herds of deer and troops of primates entertain you on your safari.

Winter months are from December to February when night temperatures fall to 13°C and it is pleasant during the day. March to May are the summer months with temperatures going up to 35°C, but it is a good time to visit as the rest of the country reels in much higher temperatures. July through November the rainfall is intense. The yearly rainfall usually exceeds 160 in in some areas. If you plan to visit during this time, be aware that you may not be able to do much apart from relax in your hotel.

Tourism Activities

- Plantation walk
- Nature walk
- Bird watching
- Coracle ride
- Village visit
- Bylekuppe Tibetan settlement
- Worker's trail
- Wildlife safari

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