This chapter paints a vivid picture of Coorg, a small district in Karnataka, India. Positioned between Mysore and Mangalore, Coorg is described as a heavenly land of rolling hills, abundant rainforests, and vibrant wildlife. The district is known for its evergreen forests, fragrant spices, and thriving coffee plantations. The region experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, adding to its lush beauty.
The people of Coorg are depicted as fiercely independent, possibly of Greek or Arabic descent. According to one story, a part of Alexander the Great's army settled in Coorg, intermarrying with the locals. This has influenced the martial traditions, marriage customs, and religious practices of the Coorgi people, setting them apart from the Hindu mainstream. The theory of Arab origin is supported by their traditional attire, the kuppia, resembling the kuffia worn by Arabs and Kurds.
Coorgi homes are known for their hospitality and their pride in recounting tales of valour exhibited by their sons and fathers. The Coorg Regiment, with its decorated history, and the renowned General Cariappa, who hailed from Coorg, exemplify the district's tradition of bravery. The Kodavus, as the people of Coorg are known, have the unique privilege of carrying firearms without a license in India.
The chapter also highlights the natural features of Coorg, such as the Kaveri River teeming with Mahaseer fish and the playful interactions between kingfishers, squirrels, langurs, and the river. Coorg offers a range of adventure activities like river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, and mountain biking, attracting enthusiasts seeking high-energy adventures. The region's walking trails and misty landscape, particularly from the Brahmagiri hills, provide breathtaking panoramic views.
Additionally, visitors to Coorg can explore the Nisargadhama island, accessed via a rope bridge, and encounter surprises like encounters with Buddhist monks from the nearby Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe.
Overall, this chapter provides a comprehensive overview of Coorg, capturing its natural beauty, cultural heritage, traditions, and adventurous spirit that attracts visitors to experience the heart and soul of India in this captivating district.