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Old 12th June 2013, 17:04   #1
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Default A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

A SHORT TRIP TO COORG

I had never been to Coorg. Being a Bangalorean and not visiting Kodava land is a crime. This feeling had been haunting me for quite some years and every time we made up a plan, something or the other stopped us from making this trip.

Our last trip was in January this year to Sakleshpur. Since then every weekend was spent in attending some cousinís marriage (I have 9 of them and 3 of them got married in 3 monthsí time) or some or the other function where we had to be present.

It was raining in Bangalore for few days before the trip and a thought crossed my mind. If the weather was so beautiful here, how could it be in Coorg?? Like this, the thought of the trip came up. And since there were no functions to attend, me and my wife made up our mind to visit Coorg over the weekend. This was one week before the trip.

The next few days were spent on searching the right place to stay. We did not want an expensive resort and also were not able to accept any of the Homestays because of the bad reviews on TripAdvisor. After going through a list of Homestays and Resorts in Coorg, we finalised on two places. One was Porcupine Resorts (http://www.porcupinecastle.com/) and the other was Coffee Trails (http://www.coffeetrailscoorg.com/Cof...ails/home.html). While the former was a typical resort, the latter was a homestay. We always prefer a homestay and immediately started searching for more information about Coffee Trials. Fortunately, the reviews on TripAdvisor were very good and pictures of the room and the place were very catchy. So we made up our mind about the place and called the owner for reservations. The lady at the other end was very sweet and confirmed availability for that particular weekend. Hence started our trip to a place which we had never been to, although we dreamt about it for quite some years.

DAY-1, FRIDAY

Our journey started at 5.45 A.M on Friday, the 7th. We decided to start early so that we can reach Mysore for breakfast. As expected, being a weekday, there wasnít much traffic and it was a smooth journey till Mysore. We decided against taking the shorter route via Srirangapatna since there were not many good hotels for breakfast. After entering Mysore, we took the Ring Road which joins Hunsur road. On the way, we found a beautiful and clean restaurant named Kalyani. We are regulars to this place but had never seen this restaurant before. On enquiring, we found that it had opened about 6 months back. It was really a clean restaurant and we enjoyed our breakfast here. By the time we finished our breakfast it was 8 AM and we decided to leave.

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Since the homestay was located near Virajpet (South-Coorg), we had to take a left deviation from Periyapatna to reach Siddapura and then finally Virajpet. However, since we were early, we decided to visit Bylakuppe and then come back to Virajpet. So our final route was something like this Ė Mysore-Hunsur-Periyapatna-Bylakuppe-Kushalnagar-Siddapura-Virajpet.

A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet-route.png

The drive from Mysore to Bylakuppe was a breeze. Absolutely beautiful roads and less than normal traffic made us reach Bylakuppe at 9.15 AM. Since there were lot of temples and settlements on the way, we visited each one of them and made it to the Golden Temple only by 9.45 AM. It is really amazing how these people have maintained the cleanliness of the place.

Unfortunately, the day of our visit coincided with their annual prayer dedicated to one of their leaders who had passed away. This meant that we were not allowed to enter the temple for the full day since the prayers go on for a minimum of 24 hours. We were disappointed with our timing and after seeking permissions, took some pictures of the temple from outside.

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We made out of Bylakuppe by 11 AM and headed straight towards Virajpet via Kushalnagar. On the way we saw Nisargadhama and Dubare Elephant Camp. But these two places were planned for the next day. The road from Kushalnagar till Virajpet is good except for a 4 km patch just before Siddapura. It was drizzling all throughout this route and amidst greenery, it was a pleasure to drive the Vento.

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We reached Coffee Trails at 12.15 PM and met our host Mrs. Ragini Suraj. Having seen some pictures of the place in TripAdvisor, we had some expectations. But, to be frank, the pictures donít do justice at all. The place is absolutely pristine, clean and really well made. The landscaping, the weather, the flowers, the swing.. everything seemed perfect. Have a look Ė

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Mrs. Ragini introduced us to Mr. Edwin, the Manager of the Homestay. He would look after us for the remaining two days. The homestay has only four rooms and getting a reservation is a difficult thing. We were later told that we had got reservations for the weekend only because of a last minute cancellation. How lucky I thought!!

We were then taken to our room on the top floor. I would let the pictures do the talking since no words can explain how tastefully and thoughtfully the rooms had been designed.

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Exceeded limit of 30 pictures. To be contd in the next post.
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Old 12th June 2013, 17:19   #2
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

Lovely Photographs Anantu2001. And the color of your car is fantastic.

Pardon my ignorance but is the Golden Temple that you are referring to the same which is near the town of Vellore?

Loved your licence plate too. Great fonts to match the car's styling.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 12th June 2013, 17:22   #3
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Continued from previous post.

One of the main positives was the balcony. Yes, the balcony was bigger than the actual room. The balcony also had an awesome view of the forests. You need anything more to relax?

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They had even kept two umbrellas for our use.
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By the time we had a detailed look at the place and settled down, it was time for lunch. When we arrived, the other three rooms were not occupied and we were the only guests for lunch. Lunch is served at their restaurant called Flavours of India. Although it is open for public too, we did not find anybody visiting this restaurant during our stay.

Since we are vegetarians, they prepared us a set lunch which we enjoyed thoroughly. I must mention this again – the entire property is squeaky clean. Try to find something which is out of place and you will fail miserably. The food quality and the service provided was excellent. We were already getting a feeling that we had selected the perfect place for our stay.

After having a really good meal, we were back to our room to relax. At around 6.30 PM it was drizzling and the weather was cold. The balcony was inviting us too. What do you do in these circumstances? Chances are that you might do this!

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After all this, we relaxed. We had plans to visit Nisargadhama and Dubare Elephant camp the next day. We learnt that we have to visit Dubare camp within 9.30 AM to have a look at the elephants bathing. After 9.30 AM they are let into the forest and we will then have no chance of an interaction. This meant that we had to leave the homestay at around 8.15 the next morning. So keeping this in mind, we retired for the day.

DAY-2, SATURDAY
We had our plans set. We were supposed to visit Dubare Elephant Camp within 9 AM to see the elephants and then visit Nisargadhama. Since we knew that we could be back to our room for lunch, we asked the homestay manager Mr. Edwin to prepare lunch for us.

We left the room at about 8.15 and within 45 mins we were at the Elephant camp. We were surprised to see such a crowd already present at the camp. Everybody had come to feed the elephants or to give them a good bath. We have to cross the river to get to the camp. Once there, the guards charge us for each and everything. For feeding the elephant, there is a fee. For giving them a bath, there is a fee. For crossing the river, there is a fee. For parking there is a fee. Uffff….

We just wanted to enjoy our stay there and were just watching the behaviour of the elephants. It did not feel nice to see the elephants all chained up and getting beaten by the mahout. They should be in the forests and this is just not the right place for them.

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With this, we immediately left for Nisargadhama at about 10.30. It’s a 15 mins drive to Nisargadhama and the roads are really good.

As I am told, Nisargadhama is very commercialised now compared to about 3 years back. We could see that as soon as we reached there. We could find shops lined up selling sweaters to scarfs to wooden handicrafts to slippers to chocolates and even a ride in an ATV?? God lord I thought.

Nisargadhama is basically an island with bamboo trees all around. In fact there is nothing much to do here. Just roam around and spend time till you get bored. There is also an elephant ride which may be of interest to kids, just in case.

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Around 12.30 PM it started drizzling and although we had carried our umbrellas with us, we thought it would be safer to reach our room before it started to pour.

So the next one hour was spent in travelling back to our room. We were back by 1.45 PM and immediately asked Mr. Edwin to deliver lunch to our room. We had our lunch in the amazing balcony amidst rain and a cool breeze.

It was then time to go to enjoy the weather and go to sleep.

Later in the day, we took a walk within the property. The rain had stopped and a cool breeze was coming through. We met Mr. Edwin in the restaurant to order for our dinner and asked it to be delivered to our room.
Then it was time to retire for the day. Next day’s plan was to visit Abbe falls near Madikeri.

Day 3 to be continued.

Last edited by anantu2001 : 12th June 2013 at 17:31. Reason: Corrected a typo error
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Old 12th June 2013, 17:26   #4
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Lovely Photographs Anantu2001. And the color of your car is fantastic.

Pardon my ignorance but is the Golden Temple that you are referring to the same which is near the town of Vellore?

Loved your licence plate too. Great fonts to match the car's styling.

Regards,
Saket
Thanks Saket. No, the Golden Temple you are referring to is different. This is a temple built for the Tibetans presently residing in Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in Karnataka.

You can find more information here.

Regards,
Anant
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Old 12th June 2013, 21:42   #5
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

Nice travelogue. Coorg is one of our favourite places. The photos are good, which camera do you use?

When we went to Nisargadhama last year there was just enough water for us to walk on the rocks. I think it was the same place as your last photo, where the water is flowing.

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue. Thanks
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Old 13th June 2013, 09:43   #6
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Nice travelogue. Coorg is one of our favourite places. The photos are good, which camera do you use?

When we went to Nisargadhama last year there was just enough water for us to walk on the rocks. I think it was the same place as your last photo, where the water is flowing.

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue. Thanks
Thank you very much. I use a Sony A-33 with a Sigma 18-200 lens.

Yes, it is the same place and even now, we could walk over the rocks to get to the other side. We tried, but the rocks were very slippery and finally decided against it.

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DAY-3, SUNDAY

Initially, we did not have plans to visit Abbe falls. Our only intention for the day was to reach Bangalore by evening after spending some more time at the homestay. However, during our interaction with couple of people, they had suggested us to visit Abbe falls since it had rained in the region for the last couple of days and the falls will be good to watch.

So after this discussion, we had decided to check-out from the homestay by 9.30 AM. Our breakfast was taken care by the absolutely brilliant cook. Madikeri is 40 kms from Virajpet with absolute greenery throughout the stretch. Even the roads are excellent. If anyone has not driven this stretch so far, I highly recommend you to do so immediately. Its real bliss.

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By 10.30 we were at the falls. We were told to be careful about the leeches since it had been raining continuously. But then, we didnít find any. We have to walk down a few steps to get to the falls. Once there, we actually didnít get excited at all. The authorities have banned getting down to the base of the falls and have constructed a bridge for viewing the falls. This is where all the excitement is lost. However, we took some pictures and left the place after spending about 5 minutes. In my opinion, the drive from Virajpet was more exciting than the falls itself.

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We had not anticipated that the visit to the falls will be over so fast. We had lots of time left and then we decided to visit Raja Seat. It is hardly couple of kms from this place and we reached there amidst rain. The view from Raja Seat was like keeping a blank sheet of paper very close to your eyes. Have a look

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As there was nothing else to see, we made our way back to Mysore. The road from Madikeri to Kushalnagar is an absolute gem. With very less traffic, the winding roads gave me an opportunity to enjoy the power of the Vento. We downed our windows to let the fresh air in. This is how it will be if we drive down to heaven, we thought.

We were in Mysore by 1 PM and after having lunch in my cousinís place, left for Bangalore by 3 PM. Bangalore-Mysore road on a Sunday afternoon is like driving inside the city. The maximum speed we could manage was 80 kmph and that too for a very short time. We reached home by 7 PM. Four hours to cover 140 kms? Its hell.

To conclude, we would like to thank Mrs. Ragini Suraj for making our stay so enjoyable. I would recommend this place to anybody, any time of the year. 5 stars for the place.

Thanks for reading.
Regards,
Anant

Coming up - Some misc pictures.
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Old 13th June 2013, 09:57   #7
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

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Originally Posted by anantu2001 View Post
Thank you very much. I use a Sony A-33 with a Sigma 18-200 lens.

Coming up - Some misc pictures.
Anantu: The pics are really fantastic. Esp the capture of the falls are splendid. Looks like a wallpaper to me! Thanks for sharing excellent pictures. & you guys are a smart couple! My Best wishes.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 13th June 2013, 10:13   #8
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Anantu: The pics are really fantastic. Esp the capture of the falls are splendid. Looks like a wallpaper to me! Thanks for sharing excellent pictures. & you guys are a smart couple! My Best wishes.

Regards,
Saket
Ha ha thanks . I never thought the pictures of the falls will come out like this. It was a hand held shot while standing on a "hanging bridge" which used to shake like hell.

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Some miscellaneous pictures for your viewing pleasure.

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Regards,
Anant
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Old 13th June 2013, 10:16   #9
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Amazed at your photographic skills and literally awed by your camera too. Are the pictures processed? If yes, which s/w?
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Old 13th June 2013, 11:37   #10
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Amazed at your photographic skills and literally awed by your camera too. Are the pictures processed? If yes, which s/w?
Edited and compressed in Microsoft Picture Manager.

Regards,
Anant
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Old 13th June 2013, 11:38   #11
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

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Lovely Photographs Anantu2001. And the color of your car is fantastic.

Pardon my ignorance but is the Golden Temple that you are referring to the same which is near the town of Vellore?

Loved your licence plate too. Great fonts to match the car's styling.

Regards,
Saket
Superb photos Anantu 2001. I totally agree with Saket. The Vento looks stunning. Saket, the Golden temple at Bylakuppe is a Tibetan Monastery and as far as I know has got nothing to do with the Sripuram Golden Temple near Vellore you are referring to.
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Old 13th June 2013, 11:58   #12
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Anantu, a colourful travelogue of one of the most beautiful regions in the state...Stunning pics. Straight out of a professional's album. The pics of the homestay especially look very inviting...Went for the first time to Coorg this January and spent two nights at touristy Madikeri...Looks like I missed the real Coorg...got to make up in my next visit and Coffee Trails is definitely on my list.
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Old 13th June 2013, 13:30   #13
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Anantu, a colourful travelogue of one of the most beautiful regions in the state...Stunning pics. Straight out of a professional's album. The pics of the homestay especially look very inviting...Went for the first time to Coorg this January and spent two nights at touristy Madikeri...Looks like I missed the real Coorg...got to make up in my next visit and Coffee Trails is definitely on my list.
Thanks Venkat. Even I was stunned when I saw the homestay. Its a wonderful property and a must visit. Even their service is high class. Please make it a point to visit them.

Further, regarding Madikeri being touristy, I totally agree. The crowd in Raja Seat and Abbe falls actually put us off. I so wanted to be out of the place. Comparatively, south Coorg is better. In fact, all through out the journey we hardly found people near the place we stayed. Really good.

Regards,
Anant
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Old 13th June 2013, 13:56   #14
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Default re: A weekend drive : Bangalore to Virajpet

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Ha ha thanks . I never thought the pictures of the falls will come out like this. It was a hand held shot while standing on a "hanging bridge" which used to shake like hell.
What was the shutter speed for this shot? Very nice, hard to believe that you had taken it holding the camera in the hanging bridge.

I liked Abbe falls, though there was not much water when we went there during Sep last year.
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Old 13th June 2013, 14:31   #15
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What was the shutter speed for this shot? Very nice, hard to believe that you had taken it holding the camera in the hanging bridge.

I liked Abbe falls, though there was not much water when we went there during Sep last year.
The first picture of the falls is with 1/3 secs. The second one of the complete view of the falls is with 1/2 secs.

Yes, last year the rains were not good. Hence, there might not have been enough water.

Regards,
Anant
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