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Old 17th July 2011, 11:21   #1
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Default Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Being the father of your first child is no easy job, especially when you have led a totally carefree life sans paternal responsibilities for almost 6 years. It is equally difficult if not worse being the mother, all those warnings of leading sleepless nights and bleary eyed mornings were coming true, but we were enjoying the first month of parenthood immensely.

A lot of friends had predicted that our "tripping" days were a thing of the past, especially for the first year and a half. The thought was quite depressing, but the thoughts of being grounded for so long was compensated by the little one.

A month and a half had elapsed since the arrival of our baby, and all those sleepless nights and anxieties of taking care of an infant were showing on us, plus facebook and the forum were full of trips undertaken by friends and members alike, the itch was hard, really hard to neglect.

The monsoons were calling, but, where were we?

Time to Live up to the tag
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-1.jpg

So, the nanny applying for leave for a few days to go to her home town was the catalyst to start the planning.
The choice of destination was governed by the fact that the child had to be comfortable, both during the journey and the stay. Distance was to be a maximum of 300 kms out of Bangalore on good roads, the final destination had to be a place with all facilities yet serene.

The choice narrowed down to Balur Estate near Mudigere, a property being managed Lingerleisure, an outfit promoted by fellow members Prabhuav and Zenx, had a chat with Vijay and he assured me that we will have no problems taking a month and a half old infant to Balur.

Tuesday morning saw us loading Black Storm, who was also itching to be let loose on the highway, with baggage which was a lot more than normal on account of the baby, the best way to counter your parents misgivings in taking such a young child on a road journey is to take them along as well, so mom too was a passenger on this trip.

Our destination was Mudigere, so we started at about 7.30 am on a weekday, once we crossed the city limits leaving the office hour madness behind the highways were welcoming. The route was to be Bangalore-Nelamangala-Kunigal-Yediyur-Channarayapatna-Hassan-Belur-Mudigere, now that the Mangalore route has a four lane highway most of the way, we made good time and stopped for breakfast at Kamat Upachar just after Channarayapatna.

The Hassan-Belur stretch is still as lovely as it was a few years ago when we had last travelled on. From Belur, we made the mistake of taking the normal straight road to Mudigere, which was in pretty bad shape, but the Safari soaked up all the potholes with minimal discomfort to us.

300 kms later, we were at Kottigehara which is just before the Charmady ghats, at Kottigehara we took the left turn to drive up some 6kms on the Kalasa road to reach Balur Estate.

Balur Estate is a heritage property set amidst 400 acres of the earliest coffee plantations in the country. The 400 acre estate is lovely for walks, treks to distant peaks and generally hang around doing nothing amidst all the greenery.

The Bungalow at Balur Estate
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-2.jpg

The food at Balur Estate is wholesome authentic local cuisine untouched by the influences of urbanisation, the one thing that made Balur Estate stand apart was the hospitality, the staff pamper you to no end without being intrusive.

Accomodation is in a colonial bungalow with humungous rooms which have ceilings set in the sky, the old world charm is retained while incorporating modern amenities in a subtle way, the place is dotted with antique show pieces, which lend charm to a beautiful place.

LaL (Linger at Leisure
)
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-3.jpg

Welcome Drink
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-4.jpg

Fine dining redefined
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-5.jpg

Nature's pool
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-6.jpg

The Elixir of Balur Estate(Pure crystal clear water)
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-7.jpg

Triple Treat
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-9.jpg

On reaching the Estate, we were welcomed by the caretakers who treated us to a sumptuous lunch which could only culminate in a siesta.
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Old 17th July 2011, 11:31   #2
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Woke up to a visual treat of the Malnad monsoon, we soaked in the magic over hot "masala chai" and delicious "alu bajjis". Then it was time to explore the place a little, Amza, the young caretaker offered to take us on a drive through the plantation, the short drive through slush and coffee plants was just the kind of terrain the Safari was thirsting for, we returned after a few bog downs and slides in the mud.

The View from the Bungalow
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-11.jpg

The rooms
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-10.jpg

Central park @ Balur
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-12.jpg

The Walks
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-13.jpg

Dinner was another gastronomic treat.

Who can resist this
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-8.jpg

...contd.
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Old 17th July 2011, 11:42   #3
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Next morning, after a hearty breakfast of idlis and "neer" dosas, we ventured out to visit Horanadu's famed Annapurneshwari temple, Horanadu is roughly about 50 kms from Balur Estate, and the drive through coffee and tea plantations is really rejuvenating to the mind and soul.

Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-14.jpg

Family Pic
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-15.jpg

We had a good darshan as there were hardly any people at the temple and started our return to Balur.

Enroute, Amza, who was also our tour guide for the day took us to Kelagur tea factory, this is one of the largest and oldest Tea Estates in the region and we were told that at one point in time, Kelagur Tea Estate had their own mint with currency valid in the region.
After a short scenic climb through tea gardens we reached the tea manufacturing unit.

Leaves being blow dried
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-17.jpg

All the ingredients for a good Tea
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-19.jpg

Leaves being roasted
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-20.jpg

and then dried
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-21.jpg

Grading
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-22.jpg

by products
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-23.jpg

packaging
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-24.jpg

Been there, done that look
Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-25.jpg

...contd.
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Old 17th July 2011, 11:42   #4
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Mister Hari,

Firstly - another congrats for the fatherhood. Your treat is still pending

Secondly - a perfect getaway to celebrate parenthood! How were the road conditions generally ?
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Old 17th July 2011, 12:00   #5
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Back at Balur, Rathnamma, the ever smiling cook had a feast worthy of a king waiting for us.
Another siesta and another round of piping hot coffee, tea accompanied by "chilly bajjis" ensured that we were living it up on our holiday.

The third morning, we were too lazy to pack up and leave post breakfast, so we "Lingered" on and met Mr. Chandrashekar, the owner of Balur Estates, he regaled us with stories about the place and the region.
Post lunch, we decided we were overstaying their hospitality, so reluctantly packed up and bid adieu to a charming getaway.

Some more pictures:

Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-26.jpg

Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-27.jpg

Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-28.jpg

Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-29.jpg

Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.-30.jpg

The route back was almost identical to the one we had taken on our way in, but this time we avoided the bad stretch between Mudigere and belur by taking an alternate road through Gendahalli which is completely through coffee plantations and good road conditions.
We were back home after a satisfying break and were happy that our little one had been baptised to the ways of travelling.

Trip facts:

Balur estate is about 300 kms from Yelahanka, Bangalore.
The route is already mentioned in the first post.
Road conditions can be considered very good, with small potholed stretches in the ghats.

It took us a good 5.5 hours of sedate driving to reach the place, the speeds were very moderate keeping in mind the little traveler on board.

There are a lot of activities at Balur Estate, and it is a treat for trekkers.
Day drives can include outings to Charmady, Agumbe, Sringeri and Horanadu, of course not all in a day but spread across 2 days.
Please feel free to contact me via pm for contact details.

Warm Regards,
Hari.
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Old 18th July 2011, 15:36   #6
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th July 2011, 16:03   #7
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
A month and a half had elapsed since the arrival of our baby, and all those sleepless nights and anxieties of taking care of an infant were showing on us, plus facebook and the forum were full of trips undertaken by friends and members alike, the itch was hard, really hard to neglect.
LOVELY triplog. Me likes. though - No good pics of your lil bundle of joy

Your trip is inspiring. Our little boy is now 25 days old but we don't have the courage to take him on a 300km (one way) trip even though we've gotten a car seat for him from day one. Let me already start planning his 1st hill trip in Sept end!!

Though I suspect this trip was for the parents and the baby was just an innocent co-passenger! ;-)
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Old 18th July 2011, 16:58   #8
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Hari - Wonderful trip. You always have a flair for going to great places. I need to update my database with your list of such places

The foodie picture makes me tempted to drive there immediately
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Old 18th July 2011, 17:04   #9
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

As usual very well written with good pictures. What was to cost of accommodation?
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Old 18th July 2011, 21:02   #10
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Hari, it was great having you over. And of course, the youngest guest we've ever had at Linger! Lovely pics, and an even better writeup. Thanks.
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Old 19th July 2011, 04:27   #11
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

By any chance did you happen to extend your drive to Charmadi ghats?
A little curious to see the ghats during monsson.
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Old 19th July 2011, 08:17   #12
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

hari congratulations once again and heck you have been lucky to embark on a trip like this. I still have no permission from the home minister to do a trip with the family till my little one is a year old :-( . BTW the place calls for a visit and what better time to be in the western ghats with the onset of the monsoons.

BTW is vijay( prabhuav) a stakeholder here or just promoting this property ?
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Old 19th July 2011, 08:31   #13
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Wow brilliant. This is how a place should be. Gorgeous and untouched by urbanization as you said.

Congrats on your newborn. Hope you have more trips and logs here
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Old 19th July 2011, 08:40   #14
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Quote:
Firstly - another congrats for the fatherhood. Your treat is still pending

Secondly - a perfect getaway to celebrate parenthood! How were the road conditions generally ?
Thanks Mahesh, the treat is ON anytime you want, the road conditions, I must say were pretty good despite the monsoons, the only small stretches of potholes were encountered enroute Horanadu, but then again, nothing to write about.



Quote:
LOVELY triplog. Me likes. though - No good pics of your lil bundle of joy
Though I suspect this trip was for the parents and the baby was just an innocent co-passenger! ;-)
Thank you sir, I'm sorry, but I have not uploaded the pics of my lil daughter for personal reasons, and yes, she was just an innocent co-passenger, but I am glad she seemed to enjoy the drive as much as we did.

Quote:
What was to cost of accommodation?
Rajeev, pls call me for details of accomodation tariff.

Quote:
By any chance did you happen to extend your drive to Charmadi ghats?
No Mohsin, we did not drive out to Charmadi ghats.

Quote:
BTW is vijay( prabhuav) a stakeholder here or just promoting this property ?
Thanks Riju, in my case the home minister was the initiator, so no problems there, Vijay manages the property along with Sameer, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 19th July 2011, 10:41   #15
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Default Re: Malnad Musings - a Monsoon drive to Balur Estate, Mudigere.

Hari,
Super travelogue and fantastic pics.
Hope the kid din't have any issues getting adjusted to the Malenaadu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
but this time we avoided the bad stretch between Mudigere and belur by taking an alternate road through Gendahalli which is completely through coffee plantations and good road conditions.
You just went through my village
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