Thursday, July 02, 2009

Coorg Calling

I started my day with some steaming hot Coorg Coffee. The coffee powder was quite old and I didn’t think it would taste quite the same as the nectar they serve in Coorg. Yet we had to open and use it yesterday since we ran out of coffee powder. And even after all these days, it tasted just like the heaven that Coorg is. And it made me long to go there…a feeling not unlike homesickness. And I would understand that given that it is the place I have visited most in Karnataka and always come back with good memories from.

Incidentally, just yesterday evening Tigerstone suggested I read this article on The India Tube (which is a great site btw…I loved some of the articles there), which is about a visit to Coorg too. I think all of these occurrences are signs that I must go to Kodava country again given that the last visit was more than a year ago (what a shame!).

The last time I visited Coorg was with my friends and my sister last year in May. It was the Labour Day weekend. We did not have an elaborate plan but just wanted to escape the city and unwind somewhere pristine and nice. And for the ease of accessibility and familiarity we chose Madikeri. Our homestay was not so great but since our plan was last minute we really had no choice. Anyway all other aspects of the trip were fun with a visit to Abbey Falls, Dubbare Elephant Camp and the Tibetan Monastery in Kushalnagar.

The highlight of the trip was falling sick after eating Dosas for breakfast…I never fall sick on my trips and consider myself to be quite tough in terms of immunity. But the Dosas got me. Anyway, we had some great food otherwise at some local places (including the roadside corner on the way to the bus-stop where they serve awesome omelette and Neer Dosa). The best part was witnessing sunset from Raja Seat. All in all, quite a memorable time.

My visit to Coorg before that was when I went on a GetOff rafting trip with 23 other people, none of whom I knew even remotely. I had found GetOff on the Internet and jumped at the idea of a rafting adventure on the river Barapole. So there I was, taking off on a two-day trip with a set of complete strangers whom I saw for the first time only when we all congregated at the Town Hall at 6 in the morning on a sleepy Saturday. Even when I look back on it now it doesn’t sound half as crazy to me although many of you will disagree…somehow in my gut I knew I had no reason to fear. And if there are a few decisions that I thank myself for making more often than I can imagine, going on that trip was one of them.

I travelled with a set of the most amazingly zealous people I had met up until that point in life and each one of them was a gem. I came back with some great friends and a bagful of lovely memories, not to forget the adventure of being on the Barapole river itself and learning to raft. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. We had a nice song session by the bonfire in the evening and some of us talked till late in the night. That didn’t stop us from getting up in time on Sunday and enjoying a walk through the Brahmagiri Hills to Iruppu Falls. I saw my first snake in the wild that day and the whole trip was just awesome!

The second time I went to Coorg was to usher in the New Year 2007. It was a flash-trip really with us reaching our homestay – a beautiful bungalow in the middle of a coffee estate - in Virajpet late in the evening. We dug into delectable dinner soon and the bonfire followed almost immediately. Our hosts were the most gracious family and amidst some Kodava folk dance and music we welcomed the New Year. They had even arranged for a cake and some fireworks. Once the celebration died down the conversations began and continued till the wee hours of the morning as the fog closed in around us through the night until it had engulfed the whole place. The morning was decorated with a walk amidst the coffee and pepper plants and observing coffee fruits (for the first time!). And before we knew it we were heading back. Yet, my very first New Year celebration after moving out of my hometown is an event I’ll remember for a very very long time.

My love-at-first-sight kind of an encounter with Coorg took place just three months into moving to Bangalore. I had heard a whole lot about the place (I still can’t recollect how) and when my cousin asked if I would like to join him and his family on a trip to the place I nearly jumped. It was a 3-day Dussehra weekend and we were on a KSTDC Package Tour. It was the first time I saw the Cauvery roll and rumble at Nisargdhama, visited a Tibetan Monastery, saw the Triveni Sangam at Thalakaveri and witnessed the beauty of cloud-covered mountaintops in the Scotland of India. Walking through clouds in Coorg, it felt like a homecoming of sorts and hence I say that what I am feeling right now is not very different from homesickness.

So maybe I should go home for once…It’s Coorg Calling. So when’s the next free weekend?

9 Thinkers Pondered:

eye-in-sty-in said...

u make me miss the joys of trekking n camping!!! wonderfully written! would have joined you if the distance was not a barrier! (that is....if u dint mind the company)

Sowmya said...

I can see Coorg as I read this post. Fortunately my aunt is married to a doc from Virajpet. He owns a small coffee estate, which we have had the good fortune to visit. He happens to be an ornithologist....they call him Dr Salim Ali of Coorg... watching all the birds through his binoculars, listening to their calling sounds... I think it's time I paid a visit too...

Thanks for the post that brought back so many memories...

Priya Iyer said...

we went to coorg recently and i totally loved the experience..

btw, you and i seem to have very similar thoughts about books, exploring places, people and life in general... :)

Anupama said...

Hey Spike!

You should write about your treks and trips so we could pick up recommendations, but honestly there is nothing more rejuvenating than a good trek! And as true of most treks and trips...the more, the merrier :) Would have been nice to have you join the gang...thanks for the comment :)

Hey Sowmya,

Yeah I agree...Coorg is a great place for birding...in fact any place in the Western Ghats is equally nice for spotting some interesting varieties...I can still vividly picture the Krestels hunting in the mountains around Sakleshpur...thanks for the comment :)

Hey Priya!

Isn't Coorg one of the loveliest?

And yes, even I feel the string of similarity running through every time I read a post from you especially when you write about books and people...the way you feel...and I thouroughly enjoy reading your blog :)...thanks for the comment

Satish said...

Coorg is a lovely place to visit....

One more place that i would suggest in Coorg is Tadiandamol, which translated means "Highest Point". It is claimed to be the highest point in Coorg. The trek to the top is one of the most amazing experiences that you would come across.

At the base of the hill is Nalaknad( which means 4 villages) Palace which was used by erstwhile king in his exile.


Next time when you visit Coorg hope you can go to Tadiandamol. But a note of caution is that there is not hotels or other amenties near by, just a couple of homestays

Anupama said...

Hey Satish!

Thanks you so much for the recommendation...I had heard of a place called Tadiandamol in Karnataka but hadn't the faintest idea that it was in Coorg! The place sounds very nice from your description and I think I'll go there itself since it will be a new area of Coorg that I'll be visiting...so new experience and new memories :) ...thanks for the comment...

Smita said...

Have heard loads about the place and wish to visit it.

But yes these days I have developed a desire to go for trekking lets see when I actually do it.

Wonderfully written dear :)

Vibhushan said...

Coorg is really an amazing place. I have been there twice now, and the trip with college gang as students was something totally different. I have sweet memories of that place, especially that of witnessing sunset from Raja seat and the Tibetan colony at Kushalnagar. Thanks for taking me back to these memories and Coorg as well :)

Anupama said...

Hey Smita,

You're most welcome to come down here and maybe we could plan a nice trek from Bangalore covering Coorg and the places around, what say? :) ...thanks for the comment...

Hey Vibhushan,

You're most welcome and thanks for the comment :)