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KODAGU COORG

Kodagu also known by its anglicised name of Coorg is a district in Karnataka and occupies about 4,100 square kilometers of land in the Western Ghats of Southwestern Karnataka. As of 2001, the population was 548,561, with some 13.74% of the population residing in the district's urban centers.

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Kodagu's capital is Madikeri. The district is bordered by the Dakshina Kannada District to the Northwest, the Hassan District to the North, the Mysore District to the East, the Kannur District of Kerala State to the Southwest, and the Wayanad District of Kerala to the South.

Talakaveri:
Talakaveri is the place where the River Kaveri originates. The temple on the riverbanks here is dedicated to lord Brahma, and is one of only two temples dedicated to Brahma in India and Southeast Asia.

Nisargadhama:
A beautiful island and picnic spot near Kushalanagara, formed by the river Kaveri.

Iruppu Falls:
A sacred spot in south Kodagu in the Brahmagiri hill range. The Lakshmana Tirtha River flows nearby. Legend says that Rama and Lakshmana passed this way while searching for Sita. Sri Rama asked Lakshmana to fetch some drinking water for him. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being the river Lakshmanatirtha. The river descends into a cataract known as the Iruppu Falls. This place is said to possess the power to cleanse one's sins and is visited by thousands of devotees on Shivaratri day.

Abbey Falls:
a scenic waterfall 5 km from Madikeri.

Dubare:
mainly an elephant-capturing and training camp of the Forest Department at the edge of Dubare forest; on the bank of the river Kaveri along the Kushalanagara - Siddapur road.

Nagarhole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park):
Nagarhole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park) is an ideal habitat for wildlife. It contains varied and rare kind of animal species. Apart from the elephants and tiger there are panther, chital, sambar, sloth bear and Indian wild dogs (dhole). Animals like Bonner Macaque, gaur, Nilgiri Langur (adjoining areas), Dhole, Smooth-coated Otter, Common Palm Civet, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Tiger, Wild Boar, Chital, Gaur, Indian Palm Squirrel, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Liontail Macaque, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Indian Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyaena, Rusty-spotted Cat, Ratel, Indian Spotted Chevrotain, Sambar, Nilgiri Tahr (adjoining areas). Indian Porcupine, Hanuman Langur, Bengal Fox, Eurasian Otter, Small Indian Civet, Ruddy Mongoose, Leopard Cat, Leopard, Indian Muntjac, Four-horned Antelope, Indian Pangolin, Indian Hare, Red Giant Flying squirrel, Indian Giant Squirrel are found in the park. While in reptiles several species of lizards, Cobras, crocodiles, kraits, pythons and vipers might catch your eye.

Among the 250 bird species found here, the prominent ones are the common babbler, bee-eater, bulbul, dove, moorhens, Brahmini kites, crested hoopoe and serpant, Malabar pied Hornbills, alexandrine, peacock, paradise fly catcher, minivets, woodpecker, warbler, great Indian reed, eagle, crested hawk, golden-back parakeet, and the southern tree pie.

The park is centred around a perennial water reservoir. Kabini, a tributary of the Cauvery river runs through the 675 sq.km of the park. The Kabini Dam at Karapur separates Bandipur from the Nagarhole and the other rivers are Lakshmana, Teentha, Hebballa, Saruthi.

The park is open throughout the year and the best season to visit is between October and April. The monsoon season is from June to September; followed by winters till January; and then summer from February to May. Dry, hot season (March-May end) is the time when wild animals can be spotted in large numbers near sources of water. The wildlife preserve is inhabited by the humans too there are the honey-gatherers, hill tribes and the bird trappers.

Forest Department arranges Elephant and Jeep safari's to view the park. Tourists have to get the entry permit costing Rs.15 from the entrance of the park. Charges for boat rides, jeep or elephant safaris and accommodation are additional.

Coorg Trekking Places: Other places in Nagarhole are Brahmagiri Mountains good for adventurous trekking and Madikere 93 km away is famous for orange and coffee plantations.

Bhagamandala:
situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Kaveri and the Kanika. A third river, the Sujyothi, is said to join from underground.

But the best thing to do is to experience the real coorg, their unique cuisine and their culture is by far the biggest attraction and to stay there at a home stay, you will find many established homestays like Sparkle, Irpu home stay, south side, etc

Horticultural station Chettalli, a spot for the visitrrs and see plenty of verities of fruit and flowers and can be future spot for nature tourism

Coffee Research sub station chettalli place of Research of coffee, soil, coffee diseases etc.is also a place for the visiters to know more about coffee.

Festivals
The Kodavas are traditionally warriors and agriculturists. Most of their rituals, traditions and festivities center around their agriculture and military prowess. Originally most of their lives were spent in the field: cultivating and harvesting, waging war, hunting for food and guarding their fields from the depredations of wild animals. It is in these contexts that weaponry became an integral part of the culture, with deep emotional and religious significance.

There are three main festivals: the Festival of Arms or Kailpodhu, Kaveri Shankaramana and the harvest thanksgiving at Puttari (puthari). These three festivals occur between September and December.

Kailpodhu
Kailpodhu is celebrated on the 3rd of September. Officially, the festival begins on the 18th day after the sun enters the Simha Raasi (the Western sign of Leo). Kail means weapon or armory and Pold means festival. The day signifies the completion of "nati" - meaning the transplantation of the rice (paddy) crop.

The festival signifies the day when men should prepare to guard their crop from wild boars and other animals, since during the preceding months, in which the family were engaged in the fields, all weapons were normally deposited in the "Kanni Kombare", or the prayer room. Hence on the day of Kailpoldu, the weapons are taken out of the Pooja room, cleaned and decorated with flowers. They are then kept in the "Nellakki Nadubadec", the central hall of the house and the place of community worship. Each member of the family has a bath, after which they worship the weapons. Feasting and drinking follow. The eldest member of the family hands a gun to the senior member of the family, signifying the commencement of the festivities. The whole family assembles in the "Mand" (open ground), where physical contests and sports, including marksmanship, are conducted. In the past the hunting and cooking of wild game was part of the celebration, but today shooting skills are tested by firing at a coconut tied onto the branch of a tall tree.

Traditional rural sports, like grabbing a coconut from the hands of a group of 8-10 people (thenge porata), throwing a stone the size of a cricket ball at a coconut from a distance of 10-15 paces (thenge eed), lifting a stone ball of 30-40cm lying at one's feet and throwing it backwards over the shoulders, etc., are now conducted in community groups called Kodava Samajas in towns and cities.

Kaveri Sankramana
The Kaveri Sankramana festival normally takes place in mid-October. It is associated with the river Kaveri, which flows through the district from its source at Talakaveri.

At a predetermined time, when the sun enters Tula Rasi (Tula sankramana), a fountain from a small tank fills the larger holy tank at Talakaveri. Thousands of people gather to dip in this holy water. The water is collected in bottles and reaches every home throughout Kodagu. This holy water is called Theertha, and is preserved in all Kodava homes. A spoonful of this water is fed to the dying, in the belief that they will attain moksha (spiritual emancipation) and gain entry to heaven.

On this day, married women wearing new silk saris perform puja to a vegetable, symbolizing the goddess Kaveri. The vegetable is usually a cucumber or a coconut, wrapped in a piece of red silk cloth and decorated with flowers and jewels (mainly 'Pathak' (Kodava Mangalasuthra)). This is called the Kanni Puje. Kanni refers to the goddess Parvati, who incarnated as Kaveri. Three sets of betel leaves and areca nut are kept in front of the goddess with bunches of glass bangles. All the members of the family pray to the goddess by throwing rice and prostrating themselves before the image. The elder members of the family ceremonially bless the younger. Then an older married woman draws water from the well and starts cooking. The menu of the day is dosa and vegetable curry (usually pumpkin curry (kumbala kari) ) and payasa (sweet dish). Nothing but vegetarian food is cooked on this day, and this is the only festival among the Kodavas where only vegetarian food is had and served.

Puttari
Puttari means "new rice" and is the rice harvest festival (also called huttari in the adjacent Kannada-speaking country). This takes place in late November or early December. Celebrations and preparations for this festival start a week in advance.

On the day of Puttari, the whole family assembles in their ain mane (the common family house), which is decorated with flowers and green mango and banana leaves. Specific foods are prepared: thambuttu, puttari, kari and poli poli. Then the eldest member of the family hands a sickle to the head of the family and one of the women leads a procession to the paddy fields with a lit lamp in her hands. The path leading to the field is decorated. A gunshot is fired to mark the beginning of the harvest, with chanting of "Poli Poli Deva" (prosperity) by all present. Then the symbolic harvesting of the crop begins. The rice is cut and stacked and tied in odd numbers and is carried home to be offered to the gods. The younger generation then lite firecrackers and revel, symbolizing prosperity. Groups of youngsters visit neighboring houses and show off their dancing skills and are given monetary gifts. A week later, this money is pooled and the entire village celebrates a communal dinner. All family members gather for this meal. Dinner normally consists of meat dishes, such as pork, and fish curry. Alcoholic beverages are also served at such feasts.

BSNL Std code of Kushalnagara Coorg is 08274.

Igguthappa

Igguthappa is an important deity for the people of Kodagu, especially of the Kodava people and Kodagu Arebhashe gowdas, and is known as their Lord of rains and crops. He is also their Maha Guru (chief preceptor). His main shrine, known as Paadi Igguthappa, is in Kakkabe, Kodagu, Karnataka. The temple, located atop a hill in a forested area in Kakkabe, has been in existence since 1153.

Igguthappa is known as a rain god. As Kodavas and Kodagu Arebhashe gowdas were agriculturists they used to pray Lord Igguthappa for rains so that they could get good crops. Huthari, the harvest festival in Kodagu, is normally celebrated 90 days after Onam around the end of November or in early December. Every year, paddy is first harvested in fields belonging to Lord Igguthappa. As a mark of respect during the harvest festival of Huthri only after the first crop for the year is offered to Lord Igguthappa the celebrations begin all over Kodagu district. Hence people of Kodagu celebrate the festival the following day. In addition, an annual prayer festival, called the Kaladcha, is also held at the Padi Igguthappa Temple in March.

Paadi Igguthappa temple became a prominent place of worship during King Lingarajendra's reign. Lingarajendra had ordered his Dewan Apparanda Bopu to get an idol of an elephant made out of the silver coins. The coins weighed about three kilograms. On the back of the idol is inscribed in Halegannada (old Kannada), the year in which it was dedicated to Igguthappa for favours granted to Lingarajendra. This exquisite silver elephant is used daily in the poojas performed at the temple. In 1835, the year after Linga Rajendra's son Chikka Veerarajendra was deposed by the British, Dewan Apparanda Bopu took it on himself to renovate the temple. The structure was reconstructed and was fitted with tiles replacing the earlier thatched roof.

Padi Sri Igguthappa Temple

The people of Coorg worship and strongly believe in two main dieties. One is Goddess Kaveri and the second one is Padi Sri Igguthappa Deva of the four lands. When people from Padi, Nelaji, Peroor and other places get together to celebrate the Malma festival, it is here from the Padi temple, that the Holy Procession of Sri Igguthappa Deva begins, with all the traditional rituals and celebrations.

Legend has it that, in the olden days, somewhere in the state of Kerala, 7 children - 6 boys and a girl, took birth from a golden conch, because of the holy and magical powers of the God. The details about their parents, family, native etc are unknown. These 7 people, having taken the human form beacause of some divine power, are famous as the 'Evvamakka Devaru', meaning Children of God, in Kodava folklore. The eldest became famous as Kankratappa, second one was Thiruchambarappa, third was Bendru Kolappa, fourth was Igguthappa, fifth was Paaloorappa, sixth was Thirunelli Pemmayya and their sister was Thangamma, who later became famous as Pannangaala Thamme.

Igguthappa Deva made Malma his headquarters and spread his divine power and knowledge in Padi, Nelaji and Peroor. Since then, this place became famous as Igguthappa Kshetra. Sri Igguthappa Deva is in the form of Shiva Linga here, along with the Nagarike (Snake Hood covering). Hence it is also known as Igguthappa Mahadeva, Subrahmanya, Subbaraaya, Eeshwara Igguthappa etc. Sri Igguthappa Deva is one of the most worshipped and a favourite deity among the people of Coorg.

Sri Igguthappa temple has its own elaborate history. In 1810, Lingarajendra Urs ruled the region of Coorg. One day when he had gone hunting and he couldn't find any prey. The frustrated King decided to punish his minister who suggested them to go to that place. The minister then prayed to Sri Igguthappa and the animals suddenly came into view. Then, Lingarajendra hunted down 34 elephants, 8 tigers and lion cubs. Having realised that all this was because of Sri Igguthappa, he donated a silver elephant as a sign of his gratitude.

State Protected Monuments in Kodagu

State Protected Monuments officially reported by Archeological Survey of India in Kodagu, Karnataka is listed below

State Protected Monuments in Kodagu
  • Raja's Tombs
  • Nalakanadu Palace

Adventure Activities in Coorg

Coorg Adventure Activities can range from paragliding, trekking, sky adventures, quad biking. Coorg Adventure Packages camps/trip can be organized from Bangalore.

Coorg Hawk Adventures Park (Bota Farm)
Near Golden Temple,
Koppa, Kushalnagar (Coorg) 571234.
Phone Number: 9845937143, 9482781199, 9886900433

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
Telephone Exchange Building,
Kushalnagar, Coorg - 571234
Phone Number: +(91)-8276-274250

KSTDC Coorg Tour Packages

► Bangalore Coorg Travel Packages

Temples in Coorg Kodagu Madkeri

Bhagandeshwara Temple is a popular tourist destination and it is the confluence of three rivers, Sujyothi, Kanike and Cauvery.

Distance from Kodagu to Dandeli National Park is 494.2 km and takes around 9 h 47 min via NH66.