Kodagu  District

The small but compact district of Kodagu is unique in many respects; its breath taking nature undulations originates at Talacauvery impassable hills and valleys, overflowing rivers including the holy Cauvery which its inhabitants famed alike for their warlike and peaceful pursuits.  Inhabited by several tribes like Bettakurubas, Jenukurubas, Kembattis, Kudiyar, Kaniyark.  The district is proud of a rare Kodava Community which has produced warrior like Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, Gen. Thimmaiah and sportsmen and equally industrious Vakkaligas and Kodagu Gowdas.  There are people who speak languages like Kannada, Kodava, Malayalam, Tulu, Konkani and many other tribal dialects.  Kodagu is an anthropological gallery subjected to the rule of Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar rulers and their feudatories like the Kongalvas and the Chengalvas, each ruling dynasty has enlarged agricultural activities and religious and cultural life by building forts, temples and bastis.
The Kodagu Rajas who ruled since the seventeenth century, Hyder- Tipu interregnum and the rule of British have contributed in their own way to enrich the economic and cultural life of the district.  The Kodagu Rajas built many Lingayat Mathas and the famous Omkareshwara temple.  Hyder and Tipu raised mosques at Madikeri and Nanjarayapatna.  Christians constructed churches at Virajpet and Madikeri.  The temples  at  the holy places like Talacauvery, Bhagamandala and Padi have been built   and expanded during various regimes.  The Madikeri fort and the two tombs of the Rajas were erected in Indo-Sarscenic style.  The British created a road network and bridges across rivers and rivulets and introduced coffee plantations.  The Cauvery creates an enchanting island at Nanjarayapatana. Orange  Cardamom, pepper and other  subsidiary producers have added to the prosperity of Kodagu; many valleys have lush green paddy fields.
Life in Kodagu whether in a town like Madikeri, Virajpet or Somwarpet, or any village or amidst coffee plantation or forest resort is something new, making tourists not only enjoy what they see but also enliven their heart and mind as they see a strange new World with its many peculiarities.  Pollibetta has a self range for the lovers of sport.  The district is advanced with high literacy rate and with schools and colleges spread all over.  Total area of the district is 4,102 sq km and its population is 5,45,322 (2001 census).
Madikeri rarely  touches the temperature of 30oC, during  summer.  At Madikeri, maximum temperature during April May 28-30oC and minimum 18-23oC  During December/January it is 14oC maximum, 9oC minimum.
South west monsoon begins during  the first week of June and reaches peak during the second week of July and wane after the third week of August.  Sun rarely pierces through the thick clouds, to glimpse the rich flora and fauna.


Madikeri is the headquarters of the Kodagu district.  This is situated at a distance of about 260 km from Bangalore via Mysore.  It is also approachable by road from Mangalore and Hassan.  The distance from Mysore is 120 km, from  Mangalore.  134 km and Hassan 138 km.  The prominent structure is the palace.  This palace is a very beautiful structure, which is greatly influenced by European architecture.  British  records  mention that this was renovated in 1933, covering it with a tile roof and adding a clock and a portico.  There is a huge seal of the royal family at the entrance and the walls have many old paintings with European influence.

The palace now serves as a building for housing many offices under the Deputy Commissioner.  It is two storeyed.  There are two beautiful life like figures of elephants here.  There is a temple of Kote Ganapathi at the eastern gateway of the fortress.

Fort, Palace
Built on high grounds with a unique blend of traditional  and modern styles of architecture.  The Madikeri Fort looms large over the town.  Built during the reign of the Haleri Kinds, it was rebuilt in the early 19th Century.  In the centre of the Fort is the Palace.

Archaeology Museum

An Anglican Church situated in side the fort was built in 1855 by Ror A Fennel.  The church which is in Gothic style of architecture is a beautiful structure, decorated by stained glass Windows.  This is presently under the control of State Archaeology Department.  It houses various antiques of Kodagu region like hero stones, images, weapons and materials of Kodava life like their traditional dresses etc.

Raja Seat

One of the most enchanting places in Madikeri is the Raja's seat, where one can have exquisite views of the sun rise and sunset.  This is called Raja's seat because the Coorg Rajas were known to visit the spot together with their consorts to watch the beauty of nature.  It is a fine park now.  To the left on the way to Raja's seat is a pavilion where the mortal remains (ashes) of Mahatma Gandhi is kept.

Hill ranges, clad in green rising up to play with silken clouds of myriad hues- that's the view from the Rajas seat which literally means "Seat of the Kings".  Feast your eyes on an endless expense of sun- kissed greenery.

Omkareshwara Temple

This was built by Lingarajendra II in 1820.  The legend behind the construction of this temple tells that this was built by the kind to get rid of the sins he believed that he had committed by killing an innocent Brahmin.  It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.  The Shivalinga is said to have been brought from Kashi and installed here.
This temple is a quaint mix of Islamic and Gothic style.  The gold leaf inscription atop accessed through a narrow flight of interesting steps used by the kind are all worth noticing.  The annual Teppothsava or "Boat festivals" is a memorable event.

The Abbi falls

A spectacular cascade near  Madikeri is the Abbi falls which is about five km on the Madikeri - Galibeedu Road.  'Abbi'  itself means a waterfall in the Kodava language.  This was formerly called Jessy Falls by the British in memory of Jessy, the daughter of Madikeri's first Chaplain.  This falls hurls down in two stages to a depth of about 70 ft into a rocky valley.  This turns into a torrent during monsoon rains.  There is the facility of walking upto the falls by cement steps built through the efforts of Dharmaveera, a former Governor of Karnataka.  Enroute to this falls one has to go through private coffee estates.  The foggy spray issuing forth from the stream flowing over a precipe makes a spectacular sight when viewed from a convenient spot.  This is one of the most interesting tourist destinations in the  district.


Balamuri, in Madikeri taluk is about 18 km from the headquarters.  It is a noted pilgrim  centre of the Kodavas.  It is called Balamuri because the Cauvery river takes  a crescent -  like curve to the right here.  This  place is a famous Shaiva centre from ancient times  and is referred to as Valampuri in many old records.  This place is also called as 'Anugraha Kshetra' as a legendary Kodava king Devakantharaja was blessed by  Cauvery at this place.  There is a temple of Agasthyeswara, which is visited by thousands of  devotees.  There is a huge Banalinga in this temple  that is believed to have been installed  by sage Agasthya.  The annual fair  takes place in the solar month of Kumbha for a span of three days.  There is a belief among the people that  those who are unable to go to Talacauvery for a dip on Tulasankramana day can have a dip in this place which yields the same merit.  On the other bank of the river is a small Eswara temple ascribed to sage Kanva.  This place is very near to Murnad and is approachable by bus from Madikeri.

Gadduge (Raja's Tomb)

This Gadduge is in the Indo-Sarcenic style that was popular then.  It is an impressive structure with a dome and is open in the forenoon and in the evening.  There are two royal tombs in this place.  In one of them Veerarajendra and his wife Maha Devammaji were buried.  The other tomb is that of Lingarajendra, the former's younger  brother.  It was built by his son Chikkaveerarajendra.  There are smaller tombs of priest Rudrappa and officers like Biddanda Bopu and Somayya.  They are impressive domed structures with windows made out of bronze.
The best season to visit Madikeri is between the months of  October and January.  The day of Vijayadashami is celebrated with great  pomp and show.  There are many travellers Bungalow, Government guest house and hotels.  The surrounding villages have cool coffee plantations.  Mahatma Gandhi had stayed at Krishnaraja Villa in Madikeri during his one day visit in the year 1934.  Sharat Chandra Bose had a visit here in 1942 and he was lodged in the  Macpherson Bungalow.


One of the prominent pilgrimage centre in Kodagu. Talacauvery is the place of origin of the river Cauvery amidst enchanting hilly settings. It is eight kms from Bhagamandala and 46 km from Madikeri. Nestling at the foot of the Brahmagiri and surrounded by jungle clad hills on all sides. Talacauvery has a mythological back - ground. It is connected to all parts of Kodagu with good motorable roads. The Cauvery is variously called as Lokapavanee, Lopamudra, Dakshina Ganga. Talacauvery, is also called Modal 'Cauvery' at this place.
River Cauvery is treated as the mother Goddess by the Kodavas. The place is on the Brahmagiri range known as Agnigiri, Vayugiri and Gangagiri in the puranas. It originates from a one metre pit, "Brahma Kundike". According to local legends Kavera Muni pleased Lord Brahma by his unflinching penance at Brahmagiri. He was blessed with a daughter Cauvery. She was married to Sage Agastya. Once Agastya left Cauvery in his water pitcher (Kamandala) and went on a mission. Cauvery overflowed from the vessel from here forming a river. At the place of origin of the river is a small mantapa known as Jyothi Mantapa which has an eternal lamp burning. In its front is the Kundike. Further up is a renovated temple Agastyesware which as a Linga believed to have been installed by sage Agastya. There is an Aswath (Pipal) tree, where it is believed Agastya Worshipped Lord Aswatha Narayana. There is also a shrine of Ganesha. The height of Brahmagiri hill is about 300 ft with 500 steps. On the top of the hill there are three Yagnakundas said to have been used by the seven sages (Saptarishis). One can have a magnificent view of the sunset from here


A very famous pilgrim centre, not only for the Kodavas but also for all Hindus, Bhagamandala is in Madikeri taluk and can be reached from both Madikeri (29 km) and Virajpet (50 km). This place is at the point confluence of river Cauvery and Kannika and a subterranean flow Sujyoti and hence known as 'Thriveni Sangama'. The famous Bhagamandala temple complex which is one of the most beautiful structures in Kodagu district which is located in the lush green hilly surroundings. Though attributed to the Cholas, this structure resembles Kerala architecture. It was highly patronised by king Dodda Virarajendra of Kodagu. The Linga of this temple is believed to be an installation by sage Bhaganda.This place was occupied by Tipu who renamed it as 'Afzalbad' and he used the temple as a fortified place. But in 1790 Dodda Virarajendra regained this territory from Tipu. The place has a temple of Bhagandeswara (Shiva) and subsidiary shrines of Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapathi, all built within a large prakara or enclosure. The wall ceilings and other decorative parts of the temple are filled with several hundred big and small wooden figures, artistically wrought and tastefully painted. They include Purana episodes and figures of gods and goddesses. The ceiling has a fine figures of eight Dikpalaks. All lovers of wooden art (Kashatashilpa) Must visit this wonderful place. It is open in the forenoon and also in the evenings.
The most celebrated festival here is the Hutari Festival. During this festival newly cut ears of grain are brought and worshipped in the Vasantha Mantapa of the temple. A month long fair is held after Tulasankramana. During this period lakhs of devotees rush to Bhagamandala for a dip in the holy river Cauvery. Shivaratri is also a festival celebrated here. Kashinatha of the Konkani Brahmins and Rama Mandira are also found here.
This place which is famous for honey production has a bee rearing museum called "Madhuvana" There is a traveller's bungalow, to accommodate tourists. There are many buses from the taluk headquarters.

Padi Igguthappa temple

A holy place to the Kodavas is the Igguthappa temple, just two km from Kakkabbe, standing on a hillock the base of which can be reached by a motorable road.  The Igguthappa or Subramanya temple is surrounded by dense green forest and is to be reached by a steep flight of steps.  The square temple has an entrance with a balpeetha on the ground and on its inner ceiling, at cardinal points, the eight Dikpalakas are engraved on wood and colourfully painted together with various geometrical patterns,  The temple is square in shape with a square garbhagriha, built of latenite covered with a circular Shikhara.
The main deity, Lord Igguthappa is installed on an ancient panipeetha.  To its rights is a silver elephant, on back of which an inscription is engraved.  It states that the silver elephant was donated in 1810 by Kodagu  Raja Lingarajendra after his hunting down 34 elephants and killing eight tigers and lion cubs near the Nalknadu palace.  One Apparanda Bopu renovated the temple in 1834- 35.  The inclined roof of the temple is covered with copper plates.  One can see enchanting scene of lush green forest and valleys from his hillock, and the Tadiandamol peak.  After Holy festival, in March, special jatra of Igguthappa takes place.  Igguthappa is worshipped by the Kodavas not only at this place, but also at Perur Padi and Nelji Padi in Madikeri taluk.  The temple is open in the forenoon and the evening and the visitors are provided food in the noon after pooja.

Nalknad Palace

On the tip of a hillock is the Nalknad Palace to be approached from Kakkabe, (in Madikeri taluk), five km from this worship, which is to be reached via Murnad or Bhagamandala.  Dodda Veerarajendra built this palace in 1792 A.D at a place which falls in the jurisdiction of the old division of Nalknad.  Veeraraja escaped from Tipu Sultan's prison at Piriyapatna and took refuge at Kurchi village, he shifted his family to Yavakapadi village in Padinalknad.  Later on his hillock surrounded by dense jungle he built this place in the area at the foot of the high hill of Tadiyandamol providing safety.  This palace is an elegant two storeyed structure with elaborate wooden carvings and painting decorating it.  In front of the palace there is a small but elegant square mantapa, which was erected in 1796 in which the marriage of Mahadevammaji was celebrated.  Behind the palace are dark rooms which were used apparently to lodge prisoners.  This historic building has been repaired by the Kodagu princesses who were married to Tipu.  The wall paintings of the royal possession had been restored and it depicts the kind riding an elephant and is surrounded by bodyguards, orchestra and other retinue.

Chelavara Falls

The Chelavara falls, height of this falls is 50 m (160 ft) 3 kms from Cheyyandane and 14 kms from Madikeri.


Thadiyandamol is the high peak in Kodagu district in Virajpet Taluk and it is a good trekking spot.  It is 45 kms from Madikeri and 3 kms from Nalknadu Palace.



Harangi is an ideal picnic spot in Somwarpet taluk, situated at a distance of eight kms from Kushalnagar.  This can be reached by bus from Edavanad via Kaju.  This place has a dam built across the river Cauvery and a vast reservoir.  The whole surrounding is enchanting.  There is a temple and Basava on the riverbank enshrining a Linga and also a shrine of Kannambadiyamma.  Near the reservoir is an elegant statue of Goddess Cauvery which is regularly worshipped.  There is a travellers' bungalow at this place, which provides accommodation for tourists.  There is the Chikkamatha of the Veerashaiva on the brink of the forest nearby. Ignu is another interesting spot very near Harangi.  This was probably an ancient agrahara.  There is an ancient Eswara temple here with fine images of Dwarapalaks (Doorkeepers).

Doddamalte (Honnammanakere)

Dodda malte in Somwarpet taluk is a place of great antiquity, inhabited since pre-historic times.  This is situated about six- kms from Somwarpet.  This town is made famous by the Honnammanakere, the biggest tank in the whole of Kodagu.  This covers an area of 16.2 acres and is a 15th century construction.  An epigraphical record attributes the tank to a Changalva King Annadani.  There is a dilapidated temple of Siddeswara at its outskirts built in the Chola Ganga style and also a modern temple of Basava on the tank bun.  On the left bank of the Honnamma tank in the morebetta, which is full of dolmens of megalithic settlers at the place.  The Changalva king appears to have effected its restoration.


A busy trade centre in Somwarpet taluk, Kushalnagar is the gate way to Kodagu district.  This  place on the left bank of the Cauvery is the first town an one enters Kodagu from Mysore.  The original name of the place was Mullusoge.  Hyder called it as Kushalnagar because of its dry climate, and later the British named it as Fraserpet.  In the post-Independent period, it regained the name Kushalnagar.    The salubrious climate had attracted the British officers to the place.  There is an Anjaneya Temple,
St. Sebastian Church and Jamia masjid in the town.


Which is one of the famous tourist spot of the state.  When Cauvery enters Mysore, just two kms away from Kushalnagar it created an island called Suntigulti.  This place had to be reached by undergoing the thrilling experience of crossing  a hanging bridge.  On this island the State Forest Department has created a Deer park called Nisargadhama.  There are many cottages put up here for tourists with eating facilities.  This is a beautiful spot for whose who wish to enjoy a quiet holiday amidst natural surroundings.  Boating in the river is a special pleasure.  The  sound of chirping birds and the swinging Cauvery around is soothing to the soul.  There are a number of buses to reach the spot from Mysore and Bangalore and also Somwarpet and Madikeri.  Rainy season must be avoided by the visitors.


One of the most ancient Jaina centres of Kodagu, Mulluru is in Somwarpet taluk.  This place seems to have been the capital of the Kongalvas, who were the subordinates of the Cholas.  Situated at a distance of about 25 km from Somwarpet on the Shanivarasanthe-Banavara road on a right deviation, Mullur can only be reached from a narrow road.  There are three basadis of Parswanatha, Shanthinatha and Chandranatha.  The Parswanatha basadi was built by Poccahha, the queen of King Kongalva II in the mid 11th century.  This is recorded in an inscription engraved on the Navaranga wall.  It is in the Ganga- Chola style.  The original structure must have been of the 10th century which was renovated during the 12th century.  The main deity is a Chola sculpture seated in meditation.  The Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar rulers also seem to have contributed for its extension.
The Chandranatha which is built around 1058 AD is also in Ganga-Chola style.  Here also the main deity is seated in meditative posture.  Now these basadis are under the control of Archaeological  Survey of India and are very well maintained.  It appears to have been a very great centre of Jaina learning with many ascetics having lived here.  There are many inscriptions here.


Known formerly as Holesalli, Nanjarajapattana is a historic place, 17 kms from Kushalnagar on the left bank of the Cauvery. Chengalva ruler Nanjaraja built a palace here during the 16th Century and called it Nanjarajapattana.
There are the temples of Nanjundesware and Veerabhadra here. The Veerabhadra temple actually is in Hoysala style. The Kodagu Rajas might have renovated it. There is a separate mantapa with engravings of Nandi, Garuda, Musicians playing instruments. The Shivalinga here is believed to be brought from Varanasi. The Nanjundeswara temple is being renovated and Jatra here takes place 15 days after Ugadi.
The Cauvery here splits and creates two circular islets. Across the river is the dargah of Hazarat - Mastan Sab where Urus takes place annually.The local mosque at Nanjarajapattanna is ascribed to Tipu Sultan.
The area has captivating natural beauty. The river bank is an enchanting picnic spot. Across the river is a big island amidst the silver flow and is 11 acres in area, and there is a branch of the Murughrajendraswamy Matha. It cannot be reached in the rainy season.


Just about 18 kms from Kushalnagar is a natural island with approximately 11 acres of land. The island has a wonderful wreath of water and trees around. The cool and gurgling waters of the river offer a pleasant and refreshing view. The Dubare Forest area is maintained by the forest department that runs an elephant training camp here. People visiting the place enjoy the unusual experience of watching routine of 12 tamed elephants their herd-behaviour, their intake of enormous 'ragi balls' made specially for them by mahouts.

Mallahalli falls

One can reach Mallahalli falls from Madikeri via  Somwarpet by bus (40 kms).  Somwarpet to Kumarahalli by bus 24 kms

Trekking at Pushpagiri hill

Which is 1750 mtrs above sea level is best suited for trekking expedition. Madikeri to Somwarpet by bus 40 kms. Somwarpet to Kumarahalli by bus 24 kms. Kumarahalli to Heggada mane 4 kms. Trek (Shantha Mallikarjuna Temple) to Pushpagiri and back 16 kms Kotebetta hill (1620 mtrs). Madikeri to Madapura by bus 20 kms. Madapura to Shirangalli by bus 6 kms. Trek to Kotebetta and back 14 kms.


Virajpet is one of the important trade centres which is a taluk headquarter situated at a distance  of about 32 kms from Madikeri.  The original name of this place was Veerarajpet named after Doddaveerarajendra  who built this town in 1792.  It is at the centre of the district, connected to many places with motorable roads.   Many Roman Catholics (Konkani) who were imprisoned  by Tipu Sultan escaped and took shelter here.  The unique feature of the town is the cosmopolitan character.  Craftsmen and traders from various other places were invited by this prince and separate residential areas were provided for them like in Telugu street for the Devanga weavers,  Bengali street for Bengali Muslims and so on.   Lingayats from Piriyapatna came here for trade.  This town is situated at the foot of the Eswara temple.   Among the churches,  St. Anne Church is impressive and is the oldest built in Gothic style during the 18th century.  Every year on the 11th of February, a holy feast is celebrated known as the candle feast.  This church runs a number of educational institutions and orphanages in and around King George V in 1911.  The Bismillah Shah Vali Makan is believed to be 200 years old and the oldest Mosque in town.  This is in Indo- Saracenic style.  There is a Dargah connected to it where the annual urus is celebrated during the month of Rajjab.  The Azam-e-Masjid in the Bengali Mohalla is claimed to be the biggest in the entire Kodagu.  This place is a busy trade centre.  There are roads connecting to major cities of Karnataka as well as Kerala.  It is in this taluk that the Kodava are concentrated.  It has a high hill in the middle of the town and there is a Ayyappa temple half way.  The place also has a spiritual centre called Cauvery Ashram.

St. Anne's Church

A Roman Catholic Church, built in Gothic style in 1792, under the direction of Father Gullian.  A copper roof, decorated interiors and statues from Bible along with 180 ft. Church make this conspicuous monument.

Clock tower

Situated on the elevated and central part of the town, another noted spot of Virajpet.  Built in 1911, by Mukkatira Aiyappa.

Irpu falls

Irpu is a sacred pilgrim centre of Virajpet taluk, which is surrounded by beautiful green-clothed hills. This is about 45 kms from Virajpet under the jurisdiction of Kurchi village. This place can be reached either through Kurchi Village by deviating to left or from the Kutta-Srimangala road and proceeding further five kms on a mud track. Here is the Rameswara temple of legend and antiquary. It is believed that Lord Rama installed the Rameswara Linga. There is a river Lakshmana Thirtha, which forms a waterfall. This river takes birth in the Brahmagiri hills. This temple is in Kerala style with a circular frontage.
To the Northwest of the temple is the famous Irpu Falls created by the Lakshmana Thirtha, which jumps down the ravine in two stages from a height of 170 feet. This falls be reached through steep climbing path of about one km from the temple but is approachable only during summer.
This river flows northwest and joins another river called Ramathirtha and changes its course towards the north east to join the Cauvery in the Mysore district. The best season to visit this place is between October and November. The annual fair of Ramathirtha is held on Shivaratri day. Dining arrangements can be had here and the temple is open in the forenoon and the evening.


Nagarahole is one of the most popular and important National Parks and Wild Life sanctuaries of India.This is situated at a distance of 69 kms from Virajpet. It is equi- distant from Madikeri and Mysore around 96 km from each place. A stream, which take its birth in the jungle of Nalkeri and passes through this jungle in a serpentine course hence it was named Nagarahole. This was one of the favourite hunting grounds for the royal families of Kodagu and Mysore. They were later joined by British officers. This was exclusively reserved for them, but in 1955, this was converted into a wild life reserve and was expanded gradually. By 1988 it was extended to include a few places of Mysore with a total area of 1,215 sq km. Nagarahole with its rich flora and fauna has not become a favourite spot for Indian and Foreign tourists. Good transport facilities connect Nagarahole, with Bangalore, Mysore and Madikeri. Two well-furnished rest houses, Cauvery and Gangothri, have been built by the forest department and dormitories and twenty beds are provided for students. At Murkal, close to Nagarahole, the forest department has another rest house. Tourists are taken into the forest in special vans between 6.00 and 10.00 a.m. and between 5.00 and 6.00 p.m. which is the ideal time to witness the freely roaming wild animals by the forest dept. Summer is the ideal season to visit the sanctuary. For a stay at the guest- house and assured accommodation prior permission from the forest department at Bangalore or Mysore is necessary. The cottage home of the Palecanda family, which is close by, has a good private collection of antiquities. Tourists are not permitted to visit after dusk.
Animals that are seen are deers, jackals, bisons, elephants, gaurs, sambar, leopards, porcupines snakes and a variety of birds. The Brahmagiri, Pushpagiri and Talacauvery are the other wildlife sanctuaries in the district.