With an illustrious history of epical Kings and Wars, a diverse set of landscapes from forests and beaches and an exciting cosmopolitan culture in the cities, Karnataka is one of the most thrilling destinations to visit. An array of activities to choose from, take your pick from wildlife, adventure, photography, festivals or just relaxing in coffee plantations. To take a break from your travels, visit the capital city, Bangalore, for a taste of an easy urban culture of music and pubs. The energy here is contagious!
Places like Coorg which have established itself well on the travel circuit have also stood the test of time with the success of homestays. Plantation life in some of the most exquisite homestays is something one should add on the itinerary for sure.
The Nilgiris Mountains are home to endemic species of plants and animals and is a favourite 'green destination' for many. Watch the clouds fill up the soft valleys as you meander through coffee and tea plantations.
Mysore, Karnataka is located 140 Kms from Bangalore, which is the state's capital. Coorg lies 252 kms from Banglaore and is perched at a height of 1525 m above sea level. It is nestled in the Western Ghats and lies on Karnataka's southwestern end.
In 1120 AD, King Veera Ballalla ruled South India and he constructed a town called, Benda Kalooru. In 1537, Kempe Gowda gave it its modern shape. In 1759 it came under the rule of Hyder Ali and his kingdom of Mysore. After Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan came to power and brought much glory to the kingdom.
Kodavas or Coorgs are not natives of India and the origin of this martial race has always been shrouded in mystery. The proud community has many important traditions but is plagued by the problem of inbreeding. The history of Coorg dates back to as early as 888 AD. And it was ruled by many dynasties like the Gangas of Talakad, Kadambas, Cholas, Kongalvas, Changalvas, Hoysalas and Nayakas.
Mysore's most prominent dynasty was the Wodeyar but for a while in the 18th century it was also under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan. The Vijayanagara Empire fell in 1565 and the Kingdom of Mysore slowly became an independent state under Narasaraja Wodeyar in 1637. In 1799, Tipu Sultan's death led to the Kingdom falling into the hands of the British and their allies. In 1831, Bangalore replaced Mysore's position as the administrative centre only to regain it in 1881 and so it remained till 1947.
In Mysore, the most important festival is the 10-day Dasara festival, which attracts the highest number of visitors. It falls either in September or October. Bangalore's most important festivals are Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Christmas, Eid, which are celebrated nationally at the same time. In Coorg, festivals are centered on agriculture and military activities. The Festival of Arms is held between June to September and the Cauvery Shankaramana is held in October. Puthar, the harvest festival is celebrated in November or December with song and dance.
The Kodavas pride themselves on being foodies and Coorg is a heaven for likeminded people. It is famous for unique non-vegetarians dishes. Spices like pepper, red chilly and ingredients like bamboo shoot are a big part of every dish. Coffee produced in Coorg is absolutely unforgettable. In Bangalore, one finds a fusion of flavours from the world over. Pub culture prevails and hence finger food and beer rule the evening. In Mysore, South Indian dishes dominate the menu but restaurants and cafes dedicated to flavours of the world are easy to find.
Kannada is the local language but English is very common.