The hill region of Kodagu, formerly known as Coorg, lies 100km west of Mysuru in the Western Ghats, its eastern fringes merging with the Mysore plateau. India’s leading coffee-producing region, Kodagu is also the birthplace of the River Kaveri and home to the martial Kodavas, whose customs, language and appearance set them apart from their neighbours. Its rugged mountain terrain is interspersed with cardamom valleys and fields of lush paddy, as well as coffee plantations, making it one of south India’s most beautiful areas. Yet much has changed since Dervla Murphy spent a few months here with her daughter in the 1970s (the subject of her classic travelogue, On a Shoestring to Coorg) and was entranced by the landscape. Homestays have given tourism in Kodagu a big boost, and larger hotel chains and resorts have moved in to cater to weekend visitors, making the main towns feel much more crowded. Nonetheless, the countryside is still idyllic and the climate refreshingly cool even in summer.

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