As we began our drive back from the Kodagu Valley, we stopped a short while in Madikeri to walk around and buy some fruits. The Brits called it Mercara, this quaint town set in the heart of coffee country. The largest urban area in Kodagu district, Madikeri has a population of some 30,000 people. The district itself only has some 550,000 people in it, making it the least populous districts in India! A sex ratio of 1019 females per 1000 males and a literacy rate of 82%, Kodagu fares well in terms of indicators of development.
Madikeri felt larger than its 30,000 though, spread out as it is over an expanse of hills and valleys. It does have an ‘urban development authority’ though, so I am wondering where the towns ambitions lie!
What immediately caught my eye was that the town and indeed the district is well administrated-clean streets, organised markets, public transport on place, law and order visibly in place.
Largely, townspeople live in pukka homes with walls usually made of hollow concrete bricks or laterite stone and roofing of traditional or modern terracotta tiles. The more prosperous properties on the outskirts if the city have well tended gardens and exude a certain pride. Even the modest dwellings seemed well kept. A provincial town, Madikeri’s main market had large bunches of bananas being delivered to stores, a system of one way roads to manage traffic and an air of deliberate business. The historic Madikeri fort added to the charm as well.
As we headed on to Mysore and finally spent a couple hours in Bangalore’s traffic, I doubly appreciated the simplicity of Madikeri.
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