The history of Madikeri is related to the history of Kodagu. Kodagu became the part of British India after 1834.
The history of Madikeri is related to the history of Kodagu. From the 2nd to 6th century AD, the northern part of Kodagu was ruled by Kadambas. The southern part of Kodagu was ruled by Gangas from 4th to 11th century. After defeating the Gangas in the 11th century, Cholas became the rulers of Kodagu. In the 12th century, Cholas lost Kodagu to the Hoysalas. Kodagu fell to the Vijayanagar kings in the 14th century. After their fall, the local chieftains (Palegars) started ruling their areas directly. These were defeated by the Haleri kings who ruled Kodagu from 1600-1834 AD. Haleri kings made the place Haleri, near Madikeri as their capital. Mudduraja, the third king among the Haleri kings started levelling the land around Madikeri and built a fort in the year 1681. This place was named as Muddurajakeri which later became Madikeri. Kodagu became part of British India after 1834.
The traditional sari is worn here in reverse, and you can still see older women wearing it in the traditional Kodagu style.
Madikeri lies on the Karnataka State Highway 88 that runs from Mysore to Mangalore. It is 120 km west of Mysore and 136 km southeast of Mangalore. From Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka, take the State Highway 17 (Bangalore-Mysore highway) and take a deviation just after the town of Srirangapatna to join State Highway 88 towards Madikeri. From Bangalore, Madikeri is at a distance of 252 km. The nearby towns are Hassan (115 km) in Karnataka and Cannanore and Tellicherry in Kerala (each around 115 km away).
Madikeri does not have a railway station. The nearest railheads are in Hassan, Kasaragod, Cannanore and Tellicherry (each of which are almost equidistant 115 km away). Mysore and Mangalore have railway stations with very good rail connectivity and are good alternatives to reach Madikeri.
Madikeri does not have an airport. The nearest airports are in Mangalore (136 km away) and Calicut (180 km). Bangalore Airport is an alternative. However, Kannur International Airport, which started services in 2018, is now the closest airport to Madikeri.
Taxis and autorickshaws are available at reasonable rates. Local buses are not available in plenty. Walking may look tedious inside the town but once you are one km away from the main road it is a very pleasant experience with the smell of coffee piercing your nose.
- 1 Abbey Falls. Beautiful falls 7-9 km from Madikeri (depends where you are). Abbey means "falls" in Kannda. The falls are inside a coffee plantation. Abbey Falls is a breathtaking waterfall where the Kaveri river cascades down a rockface. A hanging bridge has now been built across the gorge here offering a good view of the falls. A rickshaw to the falls and back with half an hour stop is ₹150, but if you would like to take a swim at the pool, then a longer stay is advised. Negotiate the price beforehand, aim for around ₹200 for a 2-hr stay.
- 2 Dubbare Elephant camp (accessed from the road connecting Madikeri and Kushalnaga, turn off 3 km from Kushal Nagar and then travel 10 km on that deviation). The road in passes through scenic rice fields and coffee estates. Activities include boat rides, rafting and the cauvery. Crossing the river to take you to the camp is quite adventurous.
- Kushal Nagar. The largest Tibetan settlement in Southern India and monastery locally called "Golden Temple", in Bylakuppe, near Kushal Nagar. There are 2 monasteries nearby, one old and the other is new. Don't miss the new, on the way, while going towards old one. You can shop for Tibetan and Chinese handicrafts, decorative and religious items.
- 3 Nisargadhama (3 km from Kushalnagar). A beautiful picnic spot called Nisargadhama. Park is not too great, has some bamboo "machans" on trees, but the best part of it is the river is on the back-side. If you want to go for elephant ride at Nisarga Dhama, please remember to buy ride-tickets along with your entry-ticket before you get in. They do not sell ride-tickets inside; it is a 0.5-km walk back to ticket counter if you forget.
- 4 Omkareshwara Temple. A complex of two temples and a stunning pond in the middle of Medikeri.
- Raja's Seat. Legend says that the local rajas used to watch the sun set from here. There is a nice garden and a beautiful panoramic view to the valley. In the middle of Madikeri, ask for directions from the point you are in and walk (or take a rickshaw). It's a fantastic scene during sun rise or sunset.
- 5 Talakaveri (Tala Kaveri) (42 km from Madikeri). The source of the Cauvery river. The river is famous for annually over flowing the banks here on 17 or 18 October. It is an important pilgrimage site for Hindu people. Cauvery river starts here. You can see a very beautiful view of western ghats by climbing the Brahmagiri Hill. Can be reached by bus.
- General Thimmayya Museum, Madikeri town (1 km.). 10AM-1:30PM and 3-6PM. One of the best war museums in India inaugurated by the President himself. Huge cement shoe and other attractions. Very good place for seeing a traditional Kodagu House with stunning interiors. Regular TV show. ₹15.
6 Madikeri Fort. This 19th century fort, in the centre of Madikeri, houses a Ganesha temple, a chapel, a district prison and a small museum. The fort offers a beautiful view of Madikeri. Mercara, the headquarters of Kodagu district, was founded by Prince Mudduraja of the Haleri Dynasty in 1681 CE, and was named after him as Muddurajanakeri -- which became "Muddukayray" and Madikeri over time.
Mudduraja built a mud fort and a palace inside the fort, in the last quarter of the 17th century. This fort was later rebuilt of granite masonry, after it was captured by the "Tiger of Mysore" Tipu Sultan. Tipu named it Jaffarabad. In 1790, Doddaveer Rajendra took possession of the fort, and in April 1834, the British took control of it.
Built on an elevated area, the fort has been described as an "irregular hexagon" on plan, almost confirming to the shape of the hilltop. There are six circular bastions at the angles, the entrance on the east is intricate and circuitious and guarded by three successive gates.
Majestically looking over the area are two life-sized elephants made of mortar in the north-east corner of the entrance. A small but imposing church at the south-east corner was built in 1855 and is home to an archaeological museum (photography prohibited inside). The palace, renovated by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II in 1812-1814, accommodates government offices.
- Toy Train for Children, Near Rajadarshan Hotel (2 km).
- Valley Watch, Raja Seat Mandap (2 km).
- Brahmagiri. Wild life sanctuary near Nagarahole National Park. Trekking distance 24 km to and from (80 km from Madikeri).
- Igguthappa Kundu. Trekking distance 12 km to and from (40 km from Madikeri).
- KoteBetta (5400 ft). Trekking distance 14 km to and from (22 km from Madikeri).
- Nishanimotte. Trekking distance 12 km to and from (6 km from Madikeri).
- Pushpagiri (5626 ft). Trekkers can cross to Subramanya, in Dakshina Kannada district from Pushpagiri Range.
- Thadiyandamole (5729 ft). Micro hotspot of bio-diversity in South India, the Trekkers paradise. Breathtaking views of Arabian sea and Kerala coast.
Madikeri is famous for coffee and pork, you can also try for good quality liquor which suites the local condition
- Family Bakery, Near Telephone Exchange (1 km).
- Mahesha Bakery, Near Private Bus stand (1 km).
Madikeri is famous for pork. It is one of the few places in India where pork is a delicacy.
Vegetarians may like Kanika International in Kushal Nagar. However it is at the foothills of Madikeri & one may not like it as there is no good view of the hills there.
- Athithi Pure Vegetarian, Near Police Station (1 km).
- Coorg Cuisine, Near Post Office (1 km).
- Popular Woodlands Vegetarian, Near KSRTC (0 km).
- Pranam Restaurant, Junior College Road (1 km).
- Raintree Restaurants, 13/41, Pension Ln (Behind Town hall), ☏ . Multi-cuisine fine dining restaurant.
- Red Fern Restaurant, Near Omkareshwara Temple (1 km), ☏ .
- Shanthi Bites, Opp Nisargadam, B.M. Road Kushal Nagar, Coorg (26 km), ☏ . 10AM to 10AM. A variety of tasty dishes of south-north Indian, European, Chinese and Tibetan styles are available.
- Neel Sagar Restaurant, Madikeri Junction. Quality vegetarian food.
- Chinnamma Restaurant, Near Police Station. Vegetarian options.
- Fish Curry Rice, Kushalnagar, opp Government Engineering college, ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. serves excellent Mangalorean cuisine, alongside north Indian and Chinese dishes. Must-try dishes are prawns ghee roast with neer dosa, tandoori chicken, schezwan fried rice, mushroom masala and paneer butter masala with naan.
- Khadeeja Cafe, Near Private Bus Station. Parottas, Pathiris, Fish fry, Biriyani and other Kerala items.
- Shanthi Sagar Restaurant, near Police Station. Opp. Fort. A/c family hall with views
Spice shop at entrance.
Most hotels come with attached bars. There are several liquor shops attached throughout the city.
- Church side bar, Near Police station (1 km).
- West End Bar, Near KSRTC (0 km).
- Hotel Fort View, Kohinoor Rd (opposite State Bank of India), ☏ . Double deluxe room (with TV and non-attached bathroom/toilet) ₹300-500.
- Home Stay-Alath Cad. A homestay with a small stream within its compound and an impressive coffee and pepper plantation.
- Kaveri Lodge, Near Private Bus Stand (0.2 km).
- Madikeri Heritage, Near Bus Station (0 km).
- Popular Lodge, Opp. KSRTC, ☏ . ₹700.
- Tourist Lodge, Mangalore Road, ☏ . ₹800.
- Vinayaka Lodge, Near Bus Stand (0 km).
- Ganesh Jeeva Lodge, Suntikoppa (15 km on Mysore Road), ☏ . Clean rooms on the first floor with balcony, bath and TV. ₹400.
- Cauvery Nisarga Dhama (28 km from Madikeri and 3 km from Kushalnagar). Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Built upon an island with the river flowing around it. Peaceful ambience. Food not so great. You may need to shell out ₹200 extra as a sign of goodwill. ₹650.
- Kedakal Estate, Kedakal Post, North Coorguntikoppa (Go past Suntikoppa for about 5 km towards Madikeri, it is on the left hand side), ☏ , . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. A boutique homestay in a 1880s bungalow and nestled amongst a coffee plantation. A 4-bedroom bungalow of which 3 are dedicated to guests. Large pool, jacuzzi and quad bikes.
- Kushal Home Stay (near Madikeri bus stand), ☏ . Double room with TV approx ₹1,500-2,500 (prices vary with season).
- Mercara Inn (near Madikeri bus stand), ☏ . Double room with TV approx ₹700.
- Raja Darshan, Near Raja Seat (2 km). 2000.
- Windflower Resorts and Spa, Survey No. 201/P1, Kedakal Village, ☏ , fax: . ₹21,000.