Coorg or Kodagu is a district in Karnataka frequented often by Bangalore dwellers in an attempt to escape the stifling urban life. More so if it is the monsoons. While Bangalore becomes messy and muddy, the hills become mistier and more charming.
We were supposed to start at 7 AM. At 6.30 AM the zoom car (car rental agency) guy diligently rang the bell to drop off the car. My cousin (who had herself planned this) got very irritated with this disturbance. She went down inspected the car and came back saying that it was very dirty therefore she had asked for a replacement car. In hindsight this seems to be a perfect excuse she made up to sleep some more.
Finally with the replaced car we started at 10.30 AM. It took us a while to get out the city owing to the massive traffic. However once on the highway the roads were very good and we could make good pace. Lunch was idli and vadas at a modest roadside eatery.
We reached our Homestay – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g2559924-d1584940-Reviews-Chilipili_Estate_Stay-Hoskeri_Village_Kodagu_Coorg_Karnataka.html – at around 6 PM in the evening. Recently with the tourist market opening up many homestay options have sprouted in Coorg. This one was quite nice. We had an entire cottage to ourselves. It is in the middle of a coffee plantation owned by the same person. Right outside our cottages they have a beautiful garden with many types of flowers and exotic plants. The garden then further becomes denser to almost a forest and the coffee plantations beyond that. Very green, very soothing. They also have their own vegetable garden which is used in the food that is served to the guests. Very organic. We had an arrangement of breakfast, snacks and dinner. As soon as we reached we were greeted with fresh coffee and chicken pakoras. After a long drive it is just what we needed.
We spent the evening listening to the rain outside and ‘adda’ (chat) with coffee on the verandah of the cottage. Dinner was elaborate. Rice, roti, dal, egg curry, pandi (pork) curry. The region is known for its distinctive cuisine. The spices are mildly flavored and therefore the dishes retain the authentic taste of the meat. The other must try is the mutton stew. We tried it the following day at “Coorg Cuisine” at Madikeri for lunch. It was ‘finger licking’ good.
Next morning we went sight-seeing. The views are brilliant all around – misty hills, lush green landscapes and occasional rains adds to the beauty. We got all excited and even went off-roading for a while on the clay roads between the coffee plantations. It was a narrow lane with occasional cluster of trees between the coffee estates on both sides. The only prayer we had on our minds is not to have another car from the other direction. But thankfully such deadlock situation did not occur.
- Raja Seat – This is the most popular tourist spot in Coorg. A view point overlooking the vast stretch of greenery with mountains in the distance. Back in the day this was where the Kings loved to spend time with their queens enjoying the view. Hence the name
- Abbey falls – A spectacular waterfall on the river Kaveri. The waterfall is accessed with a stepped lane (about 1.5 km) from the main road. Around all sides are tall trees vined on the stems. The only sound is that of birds and crickets chirping. Experience nature closely, that is if you are lucky enough to have less crowds.
- Taj Hotels – Okay so we cannot afford a stay here. But you can always go for a cup of coffee. We had read some great reviews of the view and hence decided to drop in. At the time we were here the fog was quite thick with no visibility of the hills beyond. However the beautiful set up, infinity pool and misty atmosphere was still worth it
Sunday morning we started back for Bangalore after breakfast. We stopped at the Namdroling Monastery. It is a Buddhist monastery. The artwork or murals inside the monastery are quite stunning sometimes spanning from floor to the ceiling. The ceilings are ornately decorated. There are about 1000 monks living there we learned.