Off we go to Madikeri!
Madikeri is a hill station town (1,061m above sea level) in Karnataka state of India. Located between Mysore and Manglore cities (about 130km from both), it can be reached only by bus, train stations are about 120km away (Hassan, Kasaragod, Kanhangad, Kannur, Thalassery). The climate is amazing between December and March, almost no rain and sunny warm weather with chilled evenings.
“Scotland of India” – true that is.
I arrived to Madikeri from Manglore by bus, after spending about two months in hot areas of India, Madikeri came right in time. The road was not bad at all, and after we started going up the hills, the forest area appeared, at that point i understood why they call that region “Scotland of India”. (The photos are from my first trekking day).
After arriving to the central bus station of Madikeri, a rickshaw driver approached me and offered accommodation. I think paid about 500INR (8.5 dollars) for a basic room with a t.v and hot shower (Fort view hotel). Since i came at evening time, i did not do much that day, i went out for a walk around and i was surprised to find that the temperature was pretty low, compared to other places i went to before Madikeri. I ate a nice local dinner in a dhaba (remember the local restaurants?), watched a movie before bed and fell asleep.
Around Coorg region
At the morning i went to a local traveling agency, they arranged a trekking trip for the next day (2 days, 1 night) and explained how to get around the Coorg region by local busses, Madikeri is the headquarters of Coorg.
I took a local bus to get to Cauvery Nishargadhama (an island formed by river Kaveri), where i was the only tourist walking around, i met many locals and saw nature at it’s best. The island is pretty small, took me around two hours to walk around and explore it all.
So after leaving, i had to hitchhike to Kushalnagar town, which is only a few km away, the Indian people are always happy to stop and help a traveler, so i got there pretty fast. There i had to hitchhike again, this time on the back seat of a buddhist monk’s motorbike, he took me straight to Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement near the city. I drank some great coffee in a local coffee shop and saw the Golden Temple (it was the first time in my trip that i saw the Buddhist culture).
Back to town
So that was full day number one, i came back to Madikeri in 4-5pm and went to the local dhaba again, food and coffee. Coffee guys, why i mentioned that in the in title, there are bazillions of coffee plantations in southern India (India is number 6 on the “list of coffee production of the world”), chai is not that popular in that part of India, people binge on coffee, hell yeah, it is cheap and tastes great, not to miss!
What else happened that night, oh yeah, i saw a cool ceremony of a business opening, some local guru came on a luxury car to give his blessing to a shop, there were many people dancing, singing and just having fun, i joined them and we partied for a few hours. I had to go to sleep after a while, my trekking was scheduled for the next day.
Trekking, bribes and coffee in Madikeri
I came early to the agency and there i met my guide, it was only two of us (actually during my stay in Madikeri i only saw one other traveler), i left my big bag in the agency and off we went. We rode on a local bus, after about thirty minutes of riding we got off in some village and started walking. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
Trekking through the forest and the hills was amazing, i saw plantations, snakes, plants, bugs, weasel poo coffee and more amazing stuff. After about six hours of trekking we reached the house of the guide, i stayed overnight with his family, we ate local food and drank coffee from his own plantation, at the middle of the night i went out to smoke a fat blunt of weed, being high in the middle of nowhere, damn, these feelings, you have to be there to understand the energy.
The second day of the trekking was very interesting, that is where the bribe comes in, in fact, it was the second time i had to bribe in India (I will write about the first, it was fucking hilarious, but not this time). So me and the guide went for another walk around the forest, while walking i saw some barbed wire fence, he explained that behind the fence lies the forbidden part of the forest and that you have to get a permission in order to get in. Of course i asked him about the permission, he told me that it takes about a week to get it, i was kinda sad. Then i thought about bribing again, so we went to the official entrance and i gave 200INR (3 dollars~) to each guard, there were two of them.
The thing about that part of the forest is that there are no passages, you have to cut your way through, the guide had a machete, he was cutting the passage. After about fifteen minutes into the forbidden forest, i lost direction, i had no fucking idea where we were. For about six hours we were cutting our way through, finding small rivers, amazing trees and we even came across lost ruins of an old house, the guide said that he had never seen it before, bullshit or not, that was exciting. After getting out we had lunch and trekked back to the village where we started, from there i went back to Madikeri with my guide. These pics are from the forbidden forest area.
I spent one more day in Madikeri, just chilling out (puff puff, coffee, books), from there i went to Ooty, another hill station in Tamil Nadu state of India. Thx for reading friends!