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Welcome to Coorg or Kodagu - The Scotland of India

If you are in South India, in the IT city of Bangalore and you would like a quick getaway to the hills, try the coffee country, Coorg. Nestled up in the hills of India, the winding roads take you through a maze of greenery. At every labyrinthine corner, you meet a collage of colours which explodes into shades of greens, browns and yellows. As we squint though the green fabric, we pass plantations of coffee, cardamom and pepper which merge with forests, foliage and fauna.

Coorg is locally known as Kodagu in India from the Kodavas who inhabit this region. Coorg was originally called Kodaimalenadu means 'dense forest on a steep hill' and is situated between 900 and 1525 m above sea level on the hilly Western Ghats, with the highest peaks rising almost 1750 m above sea level. As we go up the Western Ghats, we see the slopes carpeted by coffee plantations interspersed with pepper. It is an ode to nature and no wonder it has been attributed the sobriquet, Scotland of the East.

Coorg is the largest producer of Coffee in India. Pepper, Cardamom and oranges are grown extensively in this part. Coorg is one of the major places that get heavy rainfall in India. The yearly rainfall may exceed 160. In the dense jungle tract it reaches from 120 to 150; in. the bamboo district in the west from 60 to 100. Coorg, which is blessed with thick forest shelters Sandal wood, Rose wood and numerous variety of trees.

An interesting observation regarding Coorg is the most popular mode of conveyance used here. Apart from public transport, almost every household has a jeep. This sturdy vehicle is a constant companion to farmers on the rugged hilly terrain, and serves as a cargo carrier during the harvesting months, which typically fall between November and March. It is impossible to pass from one estate to another without spotting a jeep in Coorg.

The journey of coffee from a small seedling in a nursery to full bloom in an estate, from beautiful white flowers to the roasted coffee beans, has a lesson for all of us that of selflessness. Hence when you are in Coorg next, dont forget to admire this fascinating crop and sip on a hot cup of coffee.

There is a beeline of tourists who visit Coorg and the proof of it are the various boards of homestays which interrupt the seamless flow of greenery. The colonial bungalows, the sprawling estates, the charm of a plantation lifestyle has lured many tourists to Coorg who live in homestays and resorts that offer you a glimpse of the charming town and its cultural landscape. But there is more to Coorg than coffee as we discovered during our holiday. A heady mix of hidden myths and Indian legends, a vast history and cultural and spiritual influences add to the magic.

Coorg has a unique and traditional system of conservation. Devarkadus or sacred forests, a few acres large, surround many temples. These little patches of forests, where no hunting or chopping trees are allowed, enhance the ecology of the estate zones and provide safe haven to small animals like wild boar and deer.

The largest river here, River Cauvery, which the local people worship, rises on the eastern side of the Western Ghats. Its tributaries drain the greater part of Coorg. Besides these there are several large streams that take their rise in Coorg. The loftiest peak, Tadiandamol, has an altitude of 5729 ft.; Pushpagiri, another peak, is 5626 ft. high. Coorg has an average temperature of about 60 F; the extremes being 52 and 82.

Coorg holds a Guinness record for the largest family sports tournament in the world. Every year the kodava families play each other for the Family Cup and over 300 family teams participate in it. Some of the teams even include women players, who have the choice to play either for their husband or their father team. All the participants aging from 6 to 60 are related by blood.


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