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Kodagu or Coorg

Kodagu or Coorg (in English), is the one of the smallest but most picturesque district of Karnataka State in Southern India. Kodagu lies on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. It occupies about 4100 sq. km. in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka and 30% of the district is forest area. It is situated in the south - western part of the state, bordering Kerala. Kodagu district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kannur district of Kerala state to the southwest and Wayanad district of Kerala to the south.

When India became independent in 1947, Kodagu also got rid off the rule of English. In 1950 as per the new Constitution Kodagu became a state. In 1956 when there was a state reorganization Kodagu was merged with Karnataka and became a new district of Karnataka state.

Kodagu district consists of three taluks namely Madikeri (also called Mercara in English), Somavarapet and Virajpet. Madikeri is also the district headquarters of Coorg. Madikeri or Mercara, a hill station is the headquarters of Kodagu district.

River Kaveri is principal river of Kodagu district, which rises at Talakaveri on the eastern side of the Western Ghats, and with its tributaries Hemavathi, Lakshmana Thirtha, Kakkabbe and Harangi or Survanavati, flows in an easterly direction and river Barapole flows towards west.

The climate of Kodagu is cool and pleasant. The district has very moist rainy monsoon climate. June, July and August are the months with heavy rainfall. Bhagamandala, Pullingoth and Makutta are three of the 14 heavy rainfall stations in India. Kodagu has an average temperature of about 15 C, the extremes being 11 C and 28 C. The hottest season is in April and May. Best season to visit Kodagu district is between November and May.

There are people of different castes like eravaru, kudiyaru, kurubas and tribals along with Kodavas (also called coorgis). Kodavas are the main ethnic group, Gowdas, Brahmins, Christians and Jains are other communities who live in Kodagu. Other communities have also been traditionally established in the district, including many recent migrants from neighbouring areas.

Kodavas are strikingly different from other Indian communities. Though they are nominally Hindu, Kodavas do not usually accept Brahmin priests, preferring that ceremonies are conducted by their own. The elders of the community play the role of the priests. The importance of fire god found in most of the Hindu rituals is predominantly absent in the Kodava culture. Usage of Slokas and Vedic chants is also not present.

Kodavas can be easily distinguished from other Dravidian cultures. Men wear a traditional Kupya which is a long, black, button less, short sleeved, V-neck coat, reaching below the knees and a chaley, a beautifully tasseled silken sash, at the waist. Women wear the sari in a distinct fashion where the pallu doesn't go over the shoulder but around the back over the other shoulder and a beautifully crafted pin on the right collar bone holds it in place. They have many distinctive practices such as carrying ceremonial knifes, and martial war dances. The culture also includes communal gatherings where drink, dance and special meat dishes seasoned with Garcinia are central attractions. Huttariya kunitha, bolukata, ummathata, kolata, olagathata and kathiyata are some of the folk dances of the corgis.

The Kodavas speak a Dravidian language, Kodava takk (Coorg language), it has no script of its own. The other Dravidian languages spoken here are Kannada, Malayalam and Tulu. Appaneravanda Appachakavi and Nadikeriyanda Chinnappa are the two important poets and writers of Kodava language.

The economy of Kodagu district is based on agriculture, plantations, and forestry. Kodagu is one of the more prosperous parts of Karnataka. This is based primarily on its production of coffee and other plantation products. Kodagu also grows copious amounts of cardamom, pepper, rice, ginger, oranges and many other cash crops albeit in lesser quantities. In recent years tourism of various types have started to become more important. In particular, plantation houses have been converted to take visitors, and walking and trekking holidays have become common.

Kodava Festivals: Kodavas celebrate three festivals namely Kailpoldhu, Kavery Shankaramana, and Puthari. Kailpoldhu is celebrated in the first week of September, all over Kodagu. Kavery Shankramana normally falls during mid October and Puthari festival falls in late November or early December. Puthari - means new rice, which signifies the harvesting of the new crop.

Kodagu Tourism: Kodagu is about 260 kms from Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka state. It is well connected by K.S.R.T.C and Private Buses from all over Karnataka, particularly from Bangalore, Mysore (120 Kms), Mangalore (120 Kms) & Hassan (125 Kms).

Places to visit in Kodagu:
  1. Talakaveri: Click here to read about Talakaveri

  2. Bhagamandala: Click here to read about Bhagamandala

  3. Kaveri Nisargadhama: is the wonderful picnic spot situated on the banks of River Kaveri, near Kushalnagar. The hanging bridge, pedal boat center, tree top shelters, elephant safari, deer park are the main attractions of Kaveri Nisargadhama.

  4. Harangi Reservoir

  5. Igguthappa Devara Betta: This is situated near Ayyangeri forest in "padithara valley". Igguthappa Devara Betta is a lofty peak and is a pilgrim centre for the Coorgs in particular and other Hindus in general. The deity Subrahmanya is called as "Iggutappa" by the kodavas.

  6. Nagarahole National Park: Click here to read about Nagarahole National Park

  7. Tadiandamol: Tadiandamol is the highest peak (5,724 ft) of the district and is situated near Nalknad Palace which is 40 kms away from Madikeri.

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