"Madikeri" Madikeri by tayloretc
Madikeri Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 144 photos
Bangaloreans have been making this hill station a weekend getaway since forever, but it’s just now becoming known further abroad. Geographically Madikeri is in Coorg (Kodagu), in the south-west corner of Karnataka. In reality, it’s a million miles from the rest of southern India.
It’s a pretty town, quiet except for songbirds and incessant calls to prayer from the mosque, the temple, and the church. The center of town is a demi-ring main road with spurs up and down the central fort-hill, overcrowded with the usual small-town India shops and snack stalls. Residential areas are spread loosely over a couple of hills and valleys, and look vaguely Mediterranean, with huge weird plants and flower gardens everywhere. There doesn’t appear to be much to keep the locals employed besides the weekend tourists and the coffee estates (supposed to be among the best in the world; I don’t like coffee, so I have no idea). Once outside of town and beyond the coffee estates everything is heavily forested for miles and miles. There’s a distinct lack of dust in the air and garbage on the roads.
Part of the lack of industry – and dust and dirt – could be a lack of easy ways in and out. There are no airports or railway stations closer than 3 hours rough driving in any direction. The main road from Mysore (where I came in by train, 120 km away), was half “in construction,” alternating half a kilometer on one side, then the other, and in places meaning we were following the equipment leveling the dirt we were driving over. My driver said the road might be finished in 4 or 5 years. In Indian terms, that means probably within this lifetime. Probably definitely within this lifetime or the next. Most certainly no later than the lifetime after that.
I’m staying in a home-stay, popular in the area and findable for outsiders if you look hard enough or insist on it from your travel agent. (A number of places in town can arrange them as well.) There aren’t many hotels here, so a lot of people with larger houses rent out rooms with a bath to people escaping the heat of the rest of the country. I have a private entrance and breakfast with the lady of the house in her own dining room, and get to play with her dog on a garden patio full of hibiscus and roses. (Note, though, that there are other types of “home-stays,” so go have a look before you hand money over.)
The downside is the weekends. There’s a massive influx of families and tour buses and trekking groups. I won’t say that Indian groups on holiday are per-person louder or more unruly than anyone else, but there seem to be a lot more of them staying in one room, and it adds up. Everyone leaves again on Sunday afternoon, though, and the sleepy pace resumes.
My travel guides call Kodagu “the Scotland of India.” I don’t know about that – it’s hilly and foggy, yes, but I remember Scotland being more barren, more craggy, than here. And there are no sheep. And a decent single malt is damn hard to come by. (Update: there are a few good ones available!)
What do you get in this Scotland of India? Well, if your life is centered around material things, not much. Aside from coffee, there’s no local specialty art & crafts item to buy*. Consumables are adequate at best, and restaurants and accommodation are good, but not great**. But, if you love the outdoors, appreciate small gestures of human kindness and minimal gestures generally, and see beauty in little things, your time here will be rewarded.
Personally, I love that there’s a brand of umbrellas here called Sunbrand, even though the only time they’re needed is during the 4 months of downpour when umbrellas are useless; that all the driving schools in town are located just opposite the gates to the hospital; and that at least two Muslim women wear brilliantly-colored saris under their pardeh (jilbab). And I am positively giddy that between regularly scheduled programs I could watch 20 minutes of goats, and I think they’re talking about goat husbandry, but the music and artistic yet tasteful slow motion footage make it hard to tell. (To be fair, I think it’s a Kerala channel.)
Kodagu has a long history of independence and a cultural background distinct from the neighboring parts of Karnataka and Kerala – read up on it before you come, people here are proud of their heritage and will be pleased you took the effort.
*Update: there are agricultural specialties here (coffee and spices), and a couple of items unique to the region. See Things to Buy.
**This is changing as the area is becoming better known. Already there are a couple of high-end hotels and resorts nearby, and there are more being built.
This is a resort about 5 km from Madikeri – a short auto ride or a pleasant walk from the center of town. There's a very... more travel advice
Kushalnagar is about a 45 minute drive from Madikeri towards Bangalore. The Golden Temple is part of a large complex of... more travel advice
tayloretc's Related Pages
Madikeri Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "COORG-The Land of the Kadagu Kodavas"
- "Madikeri- Capital of Coorg"
- "Coorg - Southern Delight"
- "Madikeri, the capital of Coorg or Kodagu district"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Madikeri
- Hotels in Madikeri
- Transportation in Madikeri
- Restaurants in Madikeri
- Shopping in Madikeri
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Madikeri
- 17 Reviews
- 44 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 3 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (15)
Have you been to Madikeri?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Madikeri
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Chennai (Madras) Intro, 47 reviews, 68 photos, 8 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination State of Uttar Pradesh Intro, 1 review, 80 photos, 10 travelogues
- Quebec Intro, 7 reviews, 65 photos, 9 travelogues
- Donji Milanovac Intro, 16 reviews, 53 photos, 4 travelogues
- Madikeri Intro, 17 reviews, 44 photos, 3 travelogues
- Barnstable Intro, 10 reviews, 48 photos, 4 travelogues
- Bitola Intro, 1 review, 55 photos, 7 travelogues
- New Delhi Intro, 4 reviews, 46 photos, 5 travelogues
- Penang Intro, 11 reviews, 38 photos, 1 travelogue
- Bogazkale Intro, 49 photos, 6 travelogues