Set amidst verdant valleys, imposing mountains and wildlife sanctuaries, the Chikmagalore – Sakaleshpur - Coorg region is one of the last remaining bastions of an era gone by. This eco-tourism region is one among the eight highly bio-diversified zones in the world, and several places here have been recognised by the UNESCO as world heritage centres. Historic and religious places and coffee plantations have made this zone one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world. Vanadurgi western ghats trails offer unique hospitality services with plantation experience by utilising the above facilities. Further, it is affiliated with resorts, plantation clubs and home-stays at various locations of Coorg, Sakaleshpur and Chikmagalore region.
Coorg, also known as Kodagu, with its beautiful rainforests and eco-tourism hot spots, is a popular tourist destination in Karnataka. The district’s Brahmagiri, Talakaveri and Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuaries, and the Nagarhole National Park, carry the UNESCO world heritage tag. The forests of Coorg are home to elephants, jackals, tigers, panthers, gaur, muntjac, sambar, spotted deer, mongoose, civet cat, hyena, and to reptiles like king cobra, krait, python, viper, tortoise, monitor lizard and toads.
The main river of the district is Kaveri, and there are many small rivers flowing all over Coorg. Abbey Falls, located at 5 km from Madakeri, Mallalli Falls near Somavarpet, Iruppu Falls near the Brahmagiri range bordering Kerala, are a few interesting waterfalls. Tadiandamol near Nalakad Palace is the highest peak of the district, at 5,724 ft msl. Kaveri Nisargadhama near Kushalnagar has a pedal boat centre, tree top shelters, elephant safari and deer park as its many attractions. The elephant camp of the Forest Department, on the banks of River Laksmanathirtha, is another big attraction.
Coorg has many religious places too. Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement near Kushalanagar is the largest Tibetan settlement in India. The Omkareshwara Temple, built by Lingarajendra II in 1820, has a linga that is said to be brought from Kashi. Talakaveri is where the sacred River Kaveri originates. Bhagamandala is on the banks of the confluence of three rivers, Kaveri, Kannike and the subterranean Sujyoti, popularly known as ‘Triveni Sangama’. Bhagandeshwara Temple is located here, where four temples dedicated to the lords Shiva, Subramanya, Vishnu and Ganapathi are found. Kodagu is also famous for its culture, and the community who speaks Kodava takk, a Dravidian language.
A pleasant little hilly region that is just a 3-hour-drive from Bangalore, Sakaleshpur is an interesting, easily accessible place. The town lies at 1,000 metres elevation, located on the Bangalore-Mangalore highway. The climate of Sakaleshpur is cool, pleasant and very moist in rainy season. It has a cool and salubrious climate throughout the year. Sakaleshpur is the land of coffee, pepper, oranges and cardamom.
Sakaleshpur is in Hassan district, bordering Coorg, Chikmagalore and South Canara districts. Over 17 tourism attractions are in short distance from Sakaleshpur. Sakleshwar is biodiversity-rich, and is a trekkers’ paradise. The Bisle Ghat or Bisle reserve forest trek, Kumara Parvatha trek and Sakaleshpur-Mangalore railway line trekking promise scenic beauty. The Manjarabad Fort is located just outside of Sakaleshpur on National Highway 48. The fort is reputed to have been constructed by Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, as a strategic defensive location.
Belur, Halebidu, Dharmasthala and Subramanya are located very close to Sakaleshpur. The Channakeshava Temple in Belur, built by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, is the finest example of Hoysala architecture. Gorur Dam, constructed across River Hemavathy, forms a reservoir called the Hemavathi Reservoir. Dwara Samudra served as the rich capital of the Hoysala kingdom. Halebidu is home to the very impressive Hoysaleshwara Temple. Shravanabelagola is a popular Jain pilgrim centre with the monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, a Jain saint.
Chikmagalore is dotted with many holy spots and eco-tourism attractions. The Kudremukh National Park is one of the largest game sanctuaries in India, and carries the UNESCO world heritage tag. The district is also home to a number of rivers, originating in the hills, which flow in all the seasons. Gangamoola is a sacred place where the three main rivers, Tunga, Bhadra and Netravathi, originate. Lakya Dam is built on Bhadra River at Kudremukh. The forests of Chikmagalore are home to a variety of wildlife like gaur, elephants, tigers, leopards, sambar, chital spotted deer, boar, porcupine, muntjac; birds like the peacock, parrot, partridge, pigeon, munia and bee eaters; and reptiles like the king cobra and Indian rock pythons.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is at north-west of Chikmagalore town. The sanctuary is surrounded by Baba Budangiri, Mullayanagiri, Hebbe Giri and Gange Giri. Mullayanagiri, at 1,930 metres, is the highest mountain peak range of Karnataka, followed by Baba Budangiri at 1,895 metres above sea level. Bhadra River flows through the district with the Bhadra reservoir dam constructed for irrigation. Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudanswamy’s darga on Baba Budangiri is respected by both Hindus and Muslims. Ballala Rayana Durga, the ancient ruins of the Hoysala fort, is located on top of a hill.
Sringeri is a Hindu religious centre situated on the banks of River Tunga. The Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetam here was founded by Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the promoter of Advaita philosophy. The Vidya Shankara Temple here has some features that are unique in design and execution. Horanadu is a place of charming natural scenery with the ancient temple of Goddess Annapoorneshwari. Sri Kalaseshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is nearby at Kalasa. The Amrithapura Temple near Tarikere is an excellent example of Hoysala style. The Veeranarayana Temple of Belavadi has rich historical references. Kigga, Devanur, Hiremagalur, Hariharapura, Kandya, Marle, Simhanagadde, Shakatapuram and Somapura are well-known pilgrim centres. p>