MANDALPATTI IN COORG: AMAZING SUNSET, TREKKING, ADVENTURE & MORE
By Aishwarya Belliappa
The word Coorg or Kodagu conjures up images of green hills, beautiful people and the famous “pandi curry”. For me it brings back a flood of memories – comfort of home, the pampering, endless rains and the hills that were explored during the long summer holidays.
The opportunities were diverse for the young and restless who had plenty of time at hand. Going on picnics was one of our favorite activities especially when cousins were in town. With a bagful of goodies and the mind full of adventure, we would set out to explore various spots. One such spot that has been a favorite is Mandalpatti, a hill range nestled in the Pushpagiri reserve forest.
Going there, by no means was a great feat to talk about and the walk up could be achieved in little more than an hour’s time. What fascinated most of us was the drive to get there. The uneven roads and the steep climbs ensured that nothing but a vehicle with 4X4 drive was used. As the vehicle was driven higher we jolted along at the back, often giggling as our heads touched the roof. We would crane our necks to look at the hills and the valleys when they were pointed out to us.
While the jeep ride satisfied the thrill-seeking heart, walking along the tracks satisfied the soul. The mesmerizing views took our breath away with every turn unveiling new rows of hills. The birds whistled as if responding to our tunes, the butterflies and dragonflies flew around, tempting us to go after them. While all these actions were underway, the background remained stunning with the green hills following us all along.
And when we finally reached the destination, we were rewarded with a 360 degree view of Pushpagiri. Add to that a spectacular sunset over the Western Ghats range; a deep orange glow quickly spreading the skies. In minutes, darkness would creep up from the valley and the sky would resemble blazing coals. This particular nature’s wonder sets this hillock apart from the others around Kodagu.
Mandalpatti which was relatively unknown a decade ago, is slowly turning into a tourist hub. Situated about 20 km from Madikeri, one can easily drive up till the base of this hill range. In the current state of the roads post the base point, it would be advisable to hire a jeep or walk. Unless you have a 4X4 drive, you will not be able to get past the first two km. In order to enjoy the sunset and still have time to explore the hills, it is advisable to reach the base camp by 5 PM if you are planning on driving up. Be sure to carry some water and snacks. While you have a wonderful time, do ensure that you bring back your trash and dispose it off responsibly.
HOW TO REACH MANDALPATTI:
From Madikeri, there are two routes to Mandalpatti – one is the Abbey Falls route (around 20 km from Madikeri), and the other one which goes via Makkandur (around 35 km from Madikeri). Though short, the Abbey Falls route is a bit treacherous, whereas the Makkandur route is better and more scenic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aishwarya Belliappa is a nature lover who enjoys exploring unbeaten tracks. Being close to nature has helped her appreciate it and her curiosity to learn about nature’s ways has taken her to many destinations, including peaks of the Himalayas, the seas of Andaman and the exotic land of Burma.