Prepare to experience a wonderful adventure when you combine a trip to Nishani Motte Peak in Coorg with various wildlife excursions and safaris suitable for the most fervent nature fan and photographers. This peak stands nestled in the midst of thick forest foliage near Brahmagiri and Bhagamandala. Several attractive and intriguing trails lead the way to the top of the hill. This adventure lasts for approximately 14 to 16 kilometers, but the distance will feel less as you journey through unique wilderness and nearby coffee plantations that add their invigorating scent to the air.
Wildlife safaris are a bit like entering a contest with the prize being a rare sighting of your favorite animal such as a river otter or elusive tiger. We cannot guarantee you will see exactly what you want, but we can assure you that you will never forget what you see! Each experience is different and full of wonderful sights that you will remember your whole life through. These are not just consolation prizes but valuable rewards all their own.
Nature, after all, does not present itself for our pleasure. All aspects of it work and interact together like moving bricks in a magical castle. The web of life has many plants, animals, birds, and insects within it, and they move on their own time, not ours. When you understand this, you can begin to appreciate the wildlife all around you.
Accommodations — Vivanta by Taj Madikeri — 5-Star Hotel
The first day begins with travel from the Bangalore International Airport to Coorg, where you settle into the hotel and rest for the morning to recover from your trip. The drive is about 240 kilometers.
Coorg lies deep in Karnataka, a southern Indian state that has been referred to as “India’s Garden of Eden.” Surely this is the place to go to experience nature’s glory. The capital, Madikeri, epitomizes the feel of small-town life with warm welcomes and new friendships at every stop.
Afternoon Coffee Plantation Tour
Visit The Giving Tree in the southern region of Coorg to take a guided tour of a working coffee plantation. In this hour-long walk, you can collect beans, listen to engaging and informative talks, learn about other crop trees like passion fruit creepers and avocados, and explore how a large farm and farmhouse operates in India. Meet the host’s many animals, feed them by hand, and take a moment to try your hand at fishing. After the walk, return to the house for fresh fruit juice and brewed coffee. Keep your eyes open for a multitude of butterflies that live in the area. You can even buy some coffee to take back with you if the wonderful memories are not enough.
The nearby rice paddies will provide more farmland education and interest if you go at the time of year they are flooded with water and actively growing. It is a thrill to see how the rice goes from a simple seed to one of the most commonly eaten foods on Earth
The second day includes a trek down the trail to Nishani Motte, which is one of the less commonly used trails in the Coorg region. It begins at the base in dense shola forests that alternate with grassy meadows as the land rises. Keep hiking upward at a moderate incline until you reach the ridge walk. This path and the final peak gives you the best vantage point to see the entire valley below. Across the green fields you can see the Brahamagiri Mountain Range. The diverse ecosystem types of forest, field, and summit make the hike even more interesting.
As you take a moment to pause at the apex of the trek, look afar to see the Karnataka and Kerala mountains. Your adrenaline will be pumping as you stand atop the ridge and see things far below. However, the cool breezes and fresh air will soon relax you once again. Then you will be ready for the downhill trek back to the entrance.
Learn more about this trip in the article Trekking in Nishani Motte Wildlife Reserve in Coorge.
Once back at the hotel in Coorg, you can choose to take part in a planned dinner that combines delicious and nutritious foods. Afterward, come outside again to enjoy a cozy campfire and shared stories about what you experienced so far on your journey.
This southern India nature tour travel opportunity focuses on forging a stronger connection with nature while leaving your everyday urban or suburban life behind. Then, at the end of the trip when you return to your normal world, you can carry a piece of beautiful nature inside you wherever you go.
The third day gives you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the extensive amenities of this 5-star hotel. After the rigorous trek the day before, you might like a spa experience or a soothing massage. Take a dip in the hotel’s pristine pool as well.
For those who want adventure instead of relaxation, consider one of the following activities.
Coorg and the surrounding areas are full of experiences waiting to be had. You are free to arrange your own tours and walks, bird-watching hours, and excursions to local waterfalls and more. Would you enjoy any of these activities?
Stroll through the local marketplace and see the unique products sold in the area directly from the plantations. Purchase a few local handcrafted items as souvenirs
Begin the next morning with a journey to the Kabini River wild wetlands along its banks where animals come to drink and birds fish for their suppers. In the hot summer months, the water level reduces and grassy banks attract grazing animals.
Nature is not the only thing to entice you out. You can “Discover a Piece of Tibet in South India” with an excursion to the Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe. This temple represents the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is actually the largest teaching center for it in the entire world.
Built in 1970, the monastery construction happened near the edge of Coorg on land given to the Tibetan refugees by the Maharaja of Mysore. These people fled from Tibet after a 1959 uprising to attempt to push out Chinese forces. The refugees tried to build themselves a home away from home and succeed in Bylakuppe and Dharamsala. These towns and other settlements in between were mostly occupied during the 1960s.
Now, when you visit the Namdroling Monastery, you will walk past Tibetan monks all decked out in red robes. They debate and argue, strike poses and sometimes scream in their vigorous conversations with each other. Even if their behavior seems shocking to you, understand that the Vajrayana Buddhist teachings actually have strict rules about debate that are always followed. To get away from the noise, peek in the Golden Temple to view the magnificent three golden Buddha statues.
When you have seen enough, get back in the vehicles for a quick drive to the Kabini River. The resort will help you check in and get settled, offers a delicious lunch, and gives you time to reset before the afternoon activity of a Kabini River boating safari.
Here is more information on Baort Safari in Kabini River
Experience Culture Activities at the Hotel in the Evenings
After dinner, gather with others to witness a Kurubu tribal dance performed by professionals who have studied and practiced the traditional steps. This will happen outside near a campfire just as the dance would have been performed many years ago. Although traditionally a festival dance, the troupe is happy to present it to visitors to entertain and education them. Through the power of the dance, the tribal gods are asked to visit and bless everyone involved.
Also, visit the hotel lounge to watch a film presentation about the local ecosystems and mysterious nature in all its glory
Morning Nature Walk with Expert Guides
Duration – 1.5 hours
Time – 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM
Read more information about the Guided Morning Walk in Kabini in out other article.
Suggested Morning Activities for Free Time
Kabini Coracle Ride – 20 minutes
For the adventurous visitors, a ride in a small round coracle boat is something not to be missed. These ecologically sound boats are piloted with paddles in any direction you choose at any time. Since the boats are perfectly round like a large bowl, it can feel rather odd to figure out which way to turn next. They do allows you, however, to get closer to the shoreline and the animals that congregate near it than the long boats do. Just remember to balance well!
Try out your physical prowess and luck by hopping aboard a coracle and trying to pilot it along the river edge without tipping over the getting everyone wet.
Bicycle Rides In Kabini
The resort has bicycles for four adults and two children on hand and available to borrow at any time. Bicycle riding is an excellent way to explore the surrounding landscape and town and see how people who live in the area go about their normal lives. The bicycles are also suitable for dirt jungle roads if you would rather explore more nature than built-up areas.
Kayak Excursions In Kabini
Explore the waterways on your own or with a friend in a kayak. They are easier to maneuver than a coracle so you can explore more and get some nice upper-body exercise. Discover the wildlife from a distance when you paddle around the reservoir. Find the perfect position to snap a picture of wading and flying birds along the lush green shores.
After Lunch we will go for 4-Wheel Afternoon Safari in the Nagarhole National Park
Drive Back to the Resort Hotel and Stay Overnight
Optional Night Tour
Experience nocturnal adventure with a Kabini adventure after the sun goes down. All of the animals and birds you saw during the day talked themselves out of sight, and now a new world emerges. Grab your flashlight stay close as you explore the nighttime world around this teaming river.
Follow the guiding naturalists to the riverbanks to discover the unseen world of creatures that lives, eats, and does everything but sleep after the sun goes down. You will see lizards and spiders, moths and beetles, and owls soaring silently overhead. There are even plants that bloom at night to entice the nocturnal pollinators to look more closely.
Adventurous nature lovers will enjoy this nighttime ramble down the banks of the Kabini River. Not only is it a very unusual exploration, but it can teach much about the smaller parts of the food web that many people never think about.
The following day starts a new adventure to the hill station of Ooty directly after eating breakfast. This station is one of three in the Nilgiri Hill biome, which has been recognized by UNESCO. This will be your home for the next two nights so you have plenty of time to enjoy the views across the lower planes and tea plantations that surround this elevated spot.
After lunch and a bit of leisure time, the group will board a small train to take a ride on the tracks from Ooty to nearby Coonoor. This Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British forces in 1899 and still uses genuine steam locomotives. It is considered by some to be a toy train since it is quite small and placed no role in the overall transportation system of the area. In fact, this railway was added to the UNESCO world heritage designation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 2005.
Your journey on the Nilgiri passenger train goes approximately 46 miles through a series of gauges, bridges, and curves that travel in and around tea plantations. It will chug uphill for over three hours and then go back downhill a little more quickly. Besides being a historical railway ride of interest, it also features Asia’s steepest track at 8.33% grade.
Board vehicles to drive back to Ooty and the quaint hillside train station.
After this lengthy sightseeing tour riding on the steam locomotive train, you will then continue to a native village for the Toda tribe. This glimpse into the past will help you understand how the indigenous people lived here many years ago and still do in some places. The village consists of cylindrical bamboo huts. The people who live here frequently where cotton shawls and herd water buffalo.
Enjoy the rest of your free time in various leisure activities or pure relaxation.
Overnight trips to Ooty are also available.
The next day brings you into contact with the tribal village called Kokkal Kota. It is situated in the middle of past tea plantations approximately 16 kilometers away from Ooty. The surrounding landscape is lush with agriculture.
Your next step on this trekking tour of the countryside is a stop at the mostly-empty Pathor Village. Although few people live or visit here today, the magnificent views are definitely worth the trip. You can experience the glorious panorama of wilderness and villages in front of you including Masinagudi, Bokkapuram, and the Mudumalai Sanctuary. After taking in your fill of these unforgettable vistas, the hike continues through the forest to Todas, which features vast tracks of cultivated land. The fields allow you to look up far at the landscape surrounding this unique area of the country.
At last, the Glenmorgan Trek heads up to the hills to experience the unique sight and smell of Eucalyptus thickets and other high country plants. Experience the Nilgiris from above on your way to the Pykara Junction where you can meet up with the vehicles that will bring your touring group back down 25 kilometers to Ooty and your comfortable hotel.
Take These Things With You:
Doddabetta, which is the tallest mountain in the Nilgiris, stance nine kilometers away from Ooty. On its peak is a large telescope that allows you to look out over the blue mountains and the fields and forests below.
Back in Ooty, there are still plenty of things to do if you are not too tired. Consider a trip to the botanical rose gardens near the center of town. They contain many beautiful flowers from the local land and around the globe. Roses grow wonderfully in the warm mountain climate. This botanical garden is considered a high point of the southern Asian gardening world and has more roses than almost any other place in all of India.
If you have had enough trekking and hiking about want a more leisurely day, consider staying in Ooty and strolling through the village and marketplace. You can find delicious homemade chocolates and marshmallows, creamy artisan cheeses, and a selection of unique spices like not to make, cardamom, fresh pepper, and cloves. Consider purchasing a small bottle of eucalyptus, citronella, or camphor oils to invigorate your senses and possibly repel mosquitoes. These oils are also used in traditional medicines of the area. Round out your day by savoring a cup of delicious local tea served piping hot. Local favorites include chocolate tea, jasmine, cardamom, and masala.
Pollachi is not a popular spot for tourists to flock to. It is not a grand city with many cultural attractions. Instead, this country town in Tamil Nadu is the site of a large cattle market frequented by locals from this and surrounding districts. We included in our itinerary because it is a wonderful representation of pristine rural life in southern India. It is conveniently positioned as a stopover point on the overall journey, and gives comfortable accommodations at either the Banyan Tree Farm Stay or the Coco Lagoon.
These lodging sites make excursions to both the Annamalai and Parabikulam Tiger Reserves quite convenient. They also lie close to various tribal villages and give visitors a chance to tour the countryside on nature walks, birdwatching tours, and bicycle excursions. You can even take a class in a local cooking techniques.
Experience something different during the Pollachi stay at this agricultural village that may be off the beaten track for regular tourists but offers a wealth of interest and education for all.
Arrive at the Pollachi farm stay location, and take some time to relax and enjoy leisure activities. Several optional tours are available.
Overnight stay in Pollachi.
This day allows you to choose from two options for treks into glorious nature areas teeming with life and new locations to explore and discover. From Pollachi you can go to either the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve or the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, which is sometimes called TopSlip. They are both unique, ecologically important, have diverse landscapes, and a vast selection of plant and animal life. On either tour you get to explore the Western parts of the Ghat mountain range.
OPTION 1 — Anamalai Tiger Reserve Trek
Against a backdrop of dense rain forest foliage, the path winding through the Anamalai Tiger Reserve invites you to explore hidden places and unforgettable vistas within this lush green world. Anyone who loves nature or hiking through it will thrill to experience all the wonderful things found within. The tour itself gives you the opportunity to contribute financially to its preservation as well. This one day hike will allow you to see various exotic birds and animals along the way.
Discover more about the Annamalai Tiger Reserve Trekking Trail in a more detailed article.
OPTION 2 — Parambikulam Tiger Reserve Trek
In the southern side of Kerala’s Ghat mountain range lies the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. Its 280 square kilometers of space contains the Sholayar and Thekkedy rivers as well as other smaller ones. One thing that makes this reserve unique among other wildlife sanctuaries in the area is the preponderance of teak trees that are grown on plantations within. This was originally a wild grown tree only, and this reserve holds the largest one around. It is called the Kannimari tree and should be a must-see on your list of things to visit during the Parambikulam trek.
Other popular trees and plants in the area include sandalwood, rosewood, and bamboo. The reserve features elephants, sloth bears, tigers, deer, small mammals, and more than 140 species of birds.
Learn more about the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve Trekking Trail in this article.
Overnight stay in Pollachi.
After a delicious breakfast, boards of your goals once more for a scenic drive to the Munnar hill station in the Western Ghat mountains. Munnar sits at an altitude of 1500 meters, which gives visitors an excellent vantage point to see the surrounding tea plantations. The land descending from the mountains roles in waves of emerald green covered in various types of tea. In the morning, shimmering mists cover the land, and cool breezes sweep down from the mountain tops. This was a popular location for British colonists to use as a summer vacation spot.
Lunch will be served before our group sets out again to the Eravikulam National Park. It was created by the government in 1978 as a way to give important natural protection to the endangered mountain goat (Nilgiri tahr) who lives in that area. Through the conservation efforts, there are about 700 to 800 goats that live in the park. Other residents include the around-dwelling marten, small-clawed otter, ruddy mongoose, and dusky-striped squirrel. Leopards and tigers stop their prey inside its borders while Indian guar or bison and Nilgiri langurs also make their home there.
The park rises to 2700 meters above sea level. Its landscape consists of a series of rocky outcroppings jutting from grassy meadows and lush shola forests.
Anamudi, the highest mountain south of the Himalayas in India is found in this national park. It is 2695 meters tall and offers tall cliffs and rocky escarpments that contribute to a unique microclimate in the area. Not only does this supports the wild goats, but it also allows a unique selection of balsam and rare orchids to grow. Perhaps the most unique and stunning example of flora in the area is the Neelakurinji. This plant covers the hillsides with blue flowers, but it only blossoms once every 12 years. Seeing this event is surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This park is closed to visitors during the goat calving time in February and March.
Nearby Shola National Parks and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary are open
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary lies just 45 kilometers from Munnar and 17 kilometers north of Marayoor. Multiple maintained trails give the perfect opportunity for wilderness treks through the exotic landscape. You can enjoy the various sights and sounds of wild animals as you journey through the thick forest.
As the group continues on underneath the tall trees, your guide will help you catch glimpses of the animals and interesting plants that live there. Possible sightings include the grizzled giant squirrel, wild boar, jungle cats, and wild goats. You may even catch sight of the “white bison of Manjampatti,” which is an albino guar said to roam these woods. Bird species include herons and egrets by the water, and orioles, bulbuls, parakeets, and more flying about from branch to branch overhead. The clean air and pleasant weather will hurry your footsteps toward the majestic Thoovanam Waterfall in the center of the jungle.
Get additional information about Trekking Trail to Thoovanam Waterfalls in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, by reading our special article.
The next destination on the Indian itinerary is Madurai, which is one of the earliest settled cities in the entire country. It thrums with diverse cultures and groups that fill southern India’s history and future.
Hotel check-in occurs shortly after arrival in Madurai.
Enjoy a delicious lunch before hitting the road again to visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of India’s grandest religious structures. Within the various building’s walls rests over 30,000 sculptures of Hindu stories. Twelve huge gopuram pillars showcase expert engravings of gods, goddesses, and the demons that challenge them. If these examples are not magnificent enough, you soon enter the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, which is a long gallery filled with pillars featuring lifelike bas relief and three-dimensional carvings climbing and cavorting up them.
Steep yourself in even more culture as the sun goes down. A night ceremony at the famous temple is something you cannot miss. A bronze statue of Shiva is carried aloft through throngs of people. His destination is the goddess of Love’s bedchamber. The air is filled with prayers, chants, and temple music.
The final day of your southern India adventure ends with a ride to the Madurai Airport and a short flight to Chennai. From there, you may choose to travel on or return home
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Chennai ➜Kanchipuram ➜Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) ➜Pondicherry (Puducherry) ➜Tanjore (Thanjavur) ➜Trichy (Tiruchirapalli)➜ Chettinad Region➜ Madurai ➜ Munnar ➜Thekkady (Periyar) ➜Alleppey (Houseboat) ➜Kumarakom ➜ Mararikulam Beach ➜Kochi ➜Chennai
Chennai ➜Mahabalipuram ➜Kanchipuram ➜Puducherry ➜Thanjavur ➜ Chettinad ➜Madurai ➜Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Alleppey Backwaters ➜ Kochi (Cochin) ➜Ooty➜Bandipur National Park ➜Mysore (Mysuru)➜ Shravanabelagola ➜ Belur and Halebidu ➜ Ancient City of Hampi ➜Badami via Aihole and Pattadakal➜ Goa
Kochi (Cochin) ➜ Houseboat through Backwaters ➜ – Kumarakom➜ Kovalam Beach ➜ Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Madurai (Meenakshi Temple) ➜ Munnar (Tea Plantations) ➜ Mararikulam Beach