1. Irupu Falls
The Rameshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated on the banks of the Lakshmana Tirtha River on the way to the Irupu falls. This temple attracts a large number of pilgrims during the festival of Shivarathri. The temple is also the site for a Santhe (village market) on Sundays.
The falls are perennial and reduce in summer but falls majestically during the rains. All the flora and fauna of Western ghats(elephants, bison etc) can be see in the Brahamagiri range. If you are fortunate, you can catch a glimpse of the endangered Malabar Blue Bandit butterfly near the falls. A forest path leads from these falls to the Brahmagiri Peak. To climb the hill, one needs permission from the Forest Department.
You need to buy tickets to enter the falls area. Plastics and food stuff is banned so leave them behind in your transport. You probably need to carry a change of clothes as the temptation to get into the water increases on a hot day.
2. Dubare Elephant Camp
The Dubare elephant camp is on the banks of Kaveri and has plenty of elephants that have been trained under naturalists. Historically, Dubare has been an important camp and the elephants for the famous Mysore Dasara are trained here. With logging operations being stopped, the Forest Department needed a place for all their elephants. And Dubare was the logical answer. The camp is a unique project in that it makes an invaluable contribution to the cause of understanding and conserving elephants
A Naturalist is supposed to assist visitors with explanations of elephant history, ecology and biology. But the place is crowded with more visitors than the place can absorb. And no Naturalists were spotted. Only Forest Department guards busy selling tickets. The elephant ‘ride’ is a ride in itself as the whole thing – getting on board, ride and getting down is over in 3 minutes. The rides are supposed to close at 12.30 pm but the boatwallahs keep ferrying passengers up to 2.00 pm without informing them that the rides are closed.
Day visitors need to pay for the elephant rides and for the river crossing. Snacks, lunch and tea available at the embarking bank but hygiene’s questionable. And forget the toilets, they stink. Once done, head to the Tibetan Monastery for clean toilets.
3. Nalknad Palace
Dodda Veerarajendra built the Nalknad Palace in 1792 to serve as his base that later became the summer home of the Kodava kings. The name comes from four villages in the surrounding and hence named Nalakunadu. Nalaku is four and nadu is kingdom that was finally shortened to Nalknad in true SMS style. Dodda V was probably not into architecture and the two-storey building with a conical roof does not impress one as a palace but more as a large home. But it has some interesting wooden friezes and murals.
Above the Nalknad Palace is the Palace Estate traditional Coorgi cuisine. Breakfast and lunch is served here for visitors. It’s advisable to call and make reservations to ensure that the hosts take good care of you.
4. Valnur Fishing Camp
Valnur Fishing Camp is on the banks of the Kaveri River in between Kushalnagar and Madikeri. This appears to be a favourite destination for anglers. Fishermen can try their hand at catching the elusive Mahseer, a huge fresh water carp that can reach up to 9 feet and weigh around 50 kgs. The Coorg Wildlife Society at Madikeri issues fishing permits and provides guides at all times except during the breeding season in the monsoons. One has to make arrangements in advance. Valnur is also a bird-watcher's paradise with myriad species to be sighted.
Coorg Wildlife Society, PB No. 111, Near Chain Gate, Madikeri, Kodagu 571 201 Telephone: 08272-223505.
Nisargadhama is a small (64 acres, to be precise) but beautiful island amidst the Kaveri is 2 kms from Kushalnagar. The access is by a hanging bridge and not for the faint hearted. This is a good picnic spot set among thick bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak
The other attractions offered are elephant rides, boating, deer park, children's park and orchidarium in the resort. You can wet your feet in the river at a few shallow and safe points designated. As you would have already guessed, being a decent spot, all tourists head for this place. So don’t expect privacy.
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