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Second trip to Coorg: Madikeri, Omkareshwara temple and atop many hills

Date: April 2009

After my first trip to the hilly district in 2008, I returned to Coorg for a second trip with my then office photography club – Shutterbugs. We hired a Chevrolet Tavera taxi and left Bangalore city Friday night after work.

Coorg Shutterbugs trip on the way Anto
We'd stop on the way to give our driver a coffee break, because we were worried about him dozing off at the wheel
Highway to Coorg at night
Not that we managed to sleep sitting inside the crammed vehicle
Coorg Shutterbugs trip homestay Anto
We arrived at our homestay in Madikeri town around 6am
Homestay Madikeri Coorg Shutterbugs trip
Don't ask me for a name, for this massive hut belong to a relative of one our office mates. We still had to pay for it though.

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First trip to Coorg: Thadiyandamol, Talakaveri and Abbey Falls

Date: October 2008

This is actually a continuation of a travelogue in which we had first stopped at Bylakuppe. Post-lunch, we then drove to Coorg district and straight to our homestay at the foot of Thadiyandamol, the highest peak in Coorg. This place took some finding but once we eventually did, Ramesh struggled a bit to get his car in. It had rained earlier that day, so the soil was moist and muddy, making the car’s wheels to spin as Ramesh tried to get some grip.

Mud tracks road Coorg India
The number of attempts Ramesh took (Photograph by Ramesh)
Muddy entrance to Palace Estate Coorg
This was in 2008, I don't know if the condition of this path is the same even to this day
Loi at Palace Estate driveway Coorg
The car eventually got in
Palace Estate homestay Thadiyandamol Coorg
The homestay we were staying at was called Palace Estate
Palace Estate homestay Coorg India
Our room was in that portion of the house with the yellow wall
Views from Palace Estate Thadiyandamol Coorg
The views were nice

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Photos from my Bylakuppe trips (and Nisargadhama Wildlife Reserve)

Since I’m done with my recent travelogues, I decided to go back through my photo collection and share my older travel experiences. I’ve traveled quite a bit down and around South India, and though I may not be able to recount my experience exactly, I’ll try my best to re-trace the steps.

I’m starting off with Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement in Karnataka state and around 3hrs drive from Bangalore city. I’ve been to Bylakuppe twice —  first, in 2008, en route to Coorg and the second time, with AOL India’s Shutterbugs group.

First visit to Bylakuppe (October 2008)

It’s kind of weird to be traveling for an hour or two through Karnataka’s smaller towns, seeing the locals and sign boards in Kannada and then suddenly seeing a lot of Tibetans and Buddhist monks in one large piece of land off Mysore road.

We were en route to Coorg and had heard of Bylakuppe from friends, so we decided to make it the lunch stop in our journey. It was noon by the time we arrived and we decided to quickly check out the Namdroling Monastery – also known as the Golden Temple – before having lunch.

Bylakuppe Golden Temple entrance Namdroling Monastery
Namdroling Monastery

I don’t remember which day it exactly was but when we arrived at the Golden Temple, the monks were on a break (I guess) as few were seen inside the temples and halls.

From inside the Golden Temple:

Bylakuppe Golden temple empty Namdroling Monastery
No prayers were happening at Namdroling Monastery at this time

Bylakuppe Golden Temple BuddhaBylakuppe Golden Temple roofGolden temple Buddha statueBylakuppe Golden temple window painting

A few from just outside the Golden Temple…

Bylakuppe temple buddhist kids playingBylakuppe temple monk shadeBylakuppe buddhist hostel… before lunch.

Bylakuppe lunchBylakuppe restaurant flyBylakuppe monk lunch

I forgot the name of the restaurant we had lunch from but it was a garden restaurant on the road that leads to the Golden Temple. Don’t expect anything fancy in Bylakuppe, most restaurants (and there are only a few) serve simple Tibetan dishes. You do get South Indian food just outside the Golden Temple and the standard “fried rice” fare is available at some restaurants. But don’t go asking around for Chinese food! Tibetans hate them!

If you are wondering what we had, it was thukpa (noodle soup; veg & beef) and tingmo (steamed rice bread).

It was shocking how cheap it all was. Three of us ate all that for less than Rs. 100!

On the way out, we checked out the other places of interest in Bylakuppe (or at least the places that looked interesting to us)

Bylakuppe Nalanda Institute gate
Bylakuppe Nalanda International Institute

Bylakuppe corn fieldsBylakuppe Nalanda InstituteBylakuppe Ramesh Loi car

After this, we headed back to the highway for Coorg.

Second visit to Bylakuppe (March 2009)

My second visit to Bylakuppe was with my office photography club called Shutterbugs. It was a weekend trip, leaving on a Saturday morning, spending the night at Kushal Nagar and heading back the next day. Fortunately, this time, we arrived at the Golden Temple when prayers were in full force.

Bylakuppe temple Buddhist blowhornsBylakuppe temple Buddhist studyingBylakuppe temple Buddhist study roomBylakuppe temple Buddhist studyingBylakuppe temple Buddhist prayerBylakuppe temple Buddhist prayerBylakuppe temple shutterbugs

Since we had all day to spend in Bylakuppe, I got a chance to go around the whole vicinity this time around and explore the place better.

Bylakuppe Buddhist lone kidBylakuppe temple Buddhist treeBylakuppe temple pagodasBylakuppe temple Buddhist kidBylakuppe temple BuddhistsBylakuppe Golden templeBylakuppe temple Buddhist touristsBylakuppe model townshipBylakuppe temple Buddhist kidsBylakuppe garden geese swanBylakuppe temple fountain

Bylakuppe Golden temple

As the day darkened, we headed to Kushal Nagar which is pretty much the largest town in the area and took rooms at a cheap lodge. We set out again the next day, rather early, for Nisargadhama which was fairly close by.

NisargadhamaNisargadhama hanging bridgeNisargadhama monkeys treesNisargadhama monkey plateNisargadhama monkeys fightingNisargadhama monkeyNisargadhama monkey benchNisargadhama KaveriNisargadhama tree river streamAfter Nisargadhama, we headed back on to Mysore Road for Bangalore, stopping for lunch at Hotel Mayura River View in Srirangapatna — a very nice (& affordable) restaurant by the river banks.

Hotel Mayura River View KaveriHotel Mayura River View KaveriHotel Mayura River View KaveriAs I sat there by the river, the setting oddly got me thinking about ‘Jungle Book’.

Camera used: Canon 450D w/ 18-55mm kit lens

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