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Coorg : Karnataka

The mountainous Kodagu (or Coorg) region is home to the Kodava people and refugee Tibetans. The geography and cool climate make it a fantastic area for trekking, bird-watching and generally refreshing the soul. Winding roads ramble over forested hills and past spice and coffee plantations, which burst into fragrant white blossoms in March and April. The best season for trekking is October to March. You should hire a guide who will arrange food, transport and accommodation; see right for recommendations. Most treks last two to three days, but longer treks are possible; the most popular treks are to the peaks of Tadiyendamol (1745m) and Pushpagiri (1712m), and to smaller Kotebetta. Kodagu was a state in its own right until 1956, when it merged with Karnataka. Local politicians, tired of seeing little financial assistance from Bengaluru for infrastructure and social services, are pushing for statehood to be restored, or at least for more local autonomy. The region’s capital and transport hub is Madikeri, but for the authentic Kodagu experience it’s best to base yourself on one the many estates that take in guests. Owners can arrange plantation tours and guides for hiking routes. Avoid weekends, when places get booked up by Bengaluru’s IT and call-centre crowd.