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June 4, 2009 11:20 IST

Image: The panoramic views will leave you spellbound.
Photographs: Ayyappa Bani Ayyappa Bani

If you want to revel in the beauty of nature, Madikeri is where you should head. The greenery, mist clouds, beautiful blue sky, fresh air and panoramic views besides some tourist places spots, are best enjoyed in winter.

We started from Bangalore early in the morning and stopped off at Ranganthittu, the Golden Temple, Nisargadhama and Dubare along the way. We reached Madikeri a few minutes before sunset and stayed in Udupi hotel which is located near the city bus stand. The food and hospitality was good considering it's a budget hotel.

The next day we set off for the point of origin of the Cauveri river and Abbe Falls.

On a natural high

Image: The sunset at Raja's Seat

About 40 km away from Madikeri city, Talcauveri is located amid green mountains and blue peaks.

A strong steady wind forces you to be cautious when venturing beyond the fenced area. This is a great place to take in the scenery and snap some gorgeous pictures.

There is a steep mountain adjacent to this holy place and you can climb the stairs for a fantastic panoramic view.

Serenading the setting sun

Image: The cool spray of the musical fountain is a treat.

Raja's Seat, literally meaning Seat of the King, is located at the western end of Madikeri where Muddu Raja, the king who founded the city, is said to have watched the sun set.

This spot is worth a visit thanks to its view and vast greenery.

There is also a musical fountain to entertain tourists. For visitors who have come to enjoy the sunset, the cool rhythmic sprays of water set to the music are a real treat.

A wild encounter

Image: Guests can interact with the animals at Dubare

Located on the banks of the Cauvery, Dubare has an elephant training camp that has been set up by the forest department.

Crossing the river by speedboat to visit the camp is quite an experience and I enjoyed it. Once at the camp, we got to see how wild elephants are trained. Guests can also help bathe the elephants. If that's too hands-on for you, you could opt for an elephant ride instead.

Taking in the green

Image: Nisargadhama is a great place to take in the cool green environs

Cauveri Nisargadhama is a popular picnic spot and is located 35 km from Madikeri. The government of Karnataka has undertaken the maintenance of the spot, and visitors can take in the beautiful forested environs.

Bird spotting

Image: A bird-watcher's paradise
If bird-watching interests you, you might want to drop in at Ranganthittu. This bird sanctuary lies on the way from Bangalore to Madikeri, near Mysore, and hosts a variety of migratory birds from different countries that come to visit the Cauveri.

A Tibetan experience

Image: The golden idols are quite impressive.
There is a Tibetan camp near Kushalnagar that is definitely worth a visit. When I entered the camp it felt like I was entering a different country. There are a number of beautifully decorated Buddhist monasteries and visitors can watch the residents offer their prayers here.