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Old 4th August 2010, 00:17   #1
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Default Our Coorg Sojourn

“This is it! I need a break!” she declared. And she was right I guess. Our baby was 10 months old now and all she had done for the last 10 months (and probably a good part of the 9 before that!) was take care of the little one. I did what I could of course, but as all dads here will agree, as far as an infant goes, we can do only so much that we fathers can do.
It was not that I as fresh as a daisy. The year had been really hectic as far as work was concerned with long hours and more importantly, work had been rather draining at an emotional level. Teaching an art-form to rookies is never easy, especially when you know that what you teach or fail to teach can make a difference between life and death to them.
So, it was decided then. A break was something that we all deserved and a break we would have.
Next naturally came the planning part. The destination needed to be within driving distance from Bidar for a 5 day trip. After going through various options, we homed onto Kodava or Coorg. This was one part of the country that I had heard a lot about and had always wanted to visit. I had a colleague who was from that part of the country, so, the logistics were handled in a jiffy. The fact that it was roughly 800 kms away made it immensely drivable and the weather would also be great to see the place in all its natural splendour.
Many will feel that going to a hill station in the rains is pure madness, but I would like to disagree. Any place with nature as its main attraction will always be the most beautiful in the rains. After all natural beauty needs natural replenishment which the rains provide and in the case of a hilly destination, the rains ensure that all the water features such as waterfalls are in full bloom. Further, there is no greater pleasure to drive through roads with clouds giving you company.
The plan was to drive from Bidar to Hyd’bad, spend a few days with family and thereafter drive to Mysore. After a night halt at Mysore, the next day we would go around a few of the tourist attractions of Kodava and spend the night at my colleague’s coffee estate. The next day, we would move to a home stay and spend 3 nights at a homestay before making our way back.
We set out from Hyd’bad on 8th morning at about 0930hrs.The timing was a big mistake. Being a working day, I was immediately sucked up in the traffic and could make it out of town only by 1115 Hrs. But thereafter, the drive was a breeze! The roads are absolutely fabulous all the way to B’lore. Yes, there are some issues with by-passes, specially around Gooty, Anantpur and Penukonda, but the total amount of non 4 lane roads ( and I took odo readings!) was just 30 kms.All throughout, I managed an average speed between 75 and 85 and the journey from Samshabad to Hebbal Flyover took 8:15 hrs with a 35 min lunch and 25 min tea break. Having made it out of Hyd’bad late, I reached B’lore late i.e at 1915 hrs which was again smack bang in the middle of rush hour and I took 1: 45 hrs to make it from Hebbal Flyover to SH 17 which was the Mysore expressway. But once I made it to the expressway, the rest of the journey till Mysore was a breeze. Finally reached Mysore at 2315 hrs to some yummy Pork curry and steamed rice balls at my colleagues place. Kodava delicacies, I was later told. My holiday was sure getting onto the right kind of start!!
A few pics of the road from Hyd'bad to B'lore are attached below.
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Last edited by neel385 : 4th August 2010 at 00:18.
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Old 4th August 2010, 00:24   #2
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teaching an art form to rookies?

And we all rush to hills when it pours. Some are crazy to go to beaches even!
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Old 4th August 2010, 07:32   #3
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I like the start. Keep it coming...

I see that you are using a Garmin Nuvi GPS with 4.3" display.

Can you please let us know the model number and the maps (Satnav or MapMyIndia or others) that you are using?

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Old 4th August 2010, 08:30   #4
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
teaching an art form to rookies?
He works at the Bidar Air Force base. His atavar is a giveaway!
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Old 4th August 2010, 09:06   #5
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@Neel, IMO a trailer post and a gap invites a lot of spam-ish posts. Also, the pics of the road, overshadowed by the car's interiors are not very intresting.

Hope you understand. Suggest that you put together a sufficient amount of material so people have something to comment about.
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Old 4th August 2010, 23:56   #6
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Originally Posted by condor View Post
@Neel, IMO a trailer post and a gap invites a lot of spam-ish posts. Also, the pics of the road, overshadowed by the car's interiors are not very intresting.

Hope you understand. Suggest that you put together a sufficient amount of material so people have something to comment about.
Totally agree Condor,so my bad. However, limited time and probably poor typing skills limit the length of my posts. So here is part II and the last part will come tomorrow (hopefully!).

Originally Posted by coolfyre View Post
I see that you are using a Garmin Nuvi GPS with 4.3" display.

Can you please let us know the model number and the maps (Satnav or MapMyIndia or others) that you are using?

That is a Nuvi 205 which belongs to my brother in law. I have just got a 265WT. Using Satnav maps.

In my earlier post, I had called Coorg as Kodava. My mistake. The name of the district is Kodagu and the local inhabitants are called Kodavas (we are more familiar with the term Coorgis)

Part II: First looks at Kodagu

The next day, we started on our discovery of Kodagu district. We set out from Mysore at around 0930 hrs. The plan was to see a few of the major tourist destinations and thereafter head to the estate of my colleague for the night. We set off along the Mysore Madekeri highway. This road has been recently done up and is a great drive with picturesque fields on either side. I saw maize, paddy, sugarcane as well as tobacco fields all along the way. Our Coorg Sojourn-dr1.jpg
Our first stop was at the Golden Temple. No this is not for the Sikhs, but, for the Buddhists!! It seems that at the time that China annexed Tibet, a large number of Tibetians took refuge in India and various state governments gave the community land to settle down. One such settlement is in the Kodagu district around Kushalnager which is on the Mysore Madekeri road. The temple is called the Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara by the Tibetians here and the magnificent Namdroling monastery is where the temple stands. It is quite a spectacle, with a gold plated pagoda like roof and a 18 mtr high gold plated Buddha. The monastery has recently opened the Zangdogpairi Temple next door which is equally beautiful. It is estimated that over 5000 monks reside in and around the monastery!

Our Coorg Sojourn-gt1.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-gt2.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-gt3.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-gt4.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-gt5.jpg

Our next stop was at the Doobara Elephant camp. This camp has an interesting story. It seems that the Forest department kept a large number of elephants to clear the forests at one time. However, over a period of time, the work for the pachyderms reduced till it came to a stage where there was no work left for the elephants. In a quandary of what to do with this capable workforce, the idea of having an elephant camp was hit upon. It would give the people a chance to see the magnificent animals at close quarters as well as participate in the day to day working involved in taking care of them. The camp offers one a chance to bathe and feed the elephants as well as take rides. However, be warned that all these tasks are time bound (as the animals are highly disciplined!) and I was unable to take part in any of the activities because by the time I reached the camp (1230 hrs) the elephants had retreated to the jungles for chow! So, if anyone is interested in taking part in the activities, the time to reach the camp is before 0900 hrs.

Our Coorg Sojourn-d1.jpg

After this, we set course for Madekeri. The plain terrain gradually changed to hilly terrain and the fields were replaced by coffee plantations. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive!

Our Coorg Sojourn-dr2.jpg

After lunch, the plan was to see the Abby falls which is near Madekeri. However, because it was getting rather late, we decided to set course for the estate of my colleague right away. The drive on the road from Madekeri to Ponnampet was equally scenic but the condition of the roads was not as good. The surface was more or less all right, but it was quite narrow at many places. During the drive, I was regaled by stories of the Kodavas. They are an interesting race which traces their lineage to the Greek army under Alaxander. There might be some truth to this claim since the features of the Kodavas is quite Aryan! They are a martial race and this community is the only one in the country which is authorised to carry a firearm without a licence. They are essentially agriculturalists who own a large number of coffee estates today and are also into the cultivation of paddy. Hockey is a major sport in this part of the country and it seems, once every year, a inter family competition is held in which all the Kodava families in the districts have a tournament in the name of the honour of the family. The rules of the tournament are rather unique. There are no age limitations and no gender limitations. All it requires is 11 players. So, grandpa, grandma and grandson, granddaughter all get to together play for the families honour! A swell idea I say! Needless to say, the event is accompanied with great food and revelry. It seems that the party lasts for close to a month! Stories such as this continued till we reached the estate of my good man. Quite an estate it was too with a beautiful bungalow to top it up. We spent the night at the bunglow enjoying great hospitality and even greater food!!Our Coorg Sojourn-tim1.jpg

I hope to post the last part of the travelogue which concerns my experiences with my homestay tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.
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Old 5th August 2010, 00:33   #7
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@neel: Nice to hear about my race from a third person. I am watching this thread keenly. Hope you enjpyed your stay in coorg
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Old 6th August 2010, 20:02   #8
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Part III : The Home Stay...

Thus we began on the last leg of our journey - the Home stay. The place had been recommended by my friend who knew the owner well. The place went by the name of Kabbe Holidays and was placed close to Virajpet off the Virajpet-Napoklu road. The drive to the place was even more interesting than the previous ones. The thing was, as we kept moving off the main roads, the roads progressively became narrower and the vegetation thicker. This made the drive even more enjoyable for me. We progressed from decent roads to roads to bad roads and finally to no roads till we arrived on our destination.

The good,the bad,the ugly!
Our Coorg Sojourn-way1.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-way2.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-way3.jpg

Chelavara Falls (on the way)
Our Coorg Sojourn-chf.jpg

There is only one way to describe the place. Beautiful. It stands on an outcrop below the Kabbe hill which is amongst the highest hill features in the region. The place is built around a quaint little bungalow in between a coffee plantation belonging to the owner Mr Dilip Chenggapa. The man started off as an estate manager in a coffee estate and after trying out his hand in various things, decided to settle down at his native place. As the estate was not giving him the kind of returns he would have wanted, he decided to host guests in his own bungalow. As the business picked up, he built around his bungalow and now has two deluxe rooms and two deluxe cottages. In addition, he can also arrange for tented accommodation.

Our Coorg Sojourn-way5.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-way6.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-est1.jpg

Deluxe Cottage
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Deluxe Room
Our Coorg Sojourn-dxr1.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-dxr2.jpg

Nestled below the Kabbe hill, the place enjoys the bounty of nature. The scenery around is breathtaking with the coffee estate around the estate and lush green hills around. Being the rainy season, a beautiful waterfall was visible in the far distance from our window. Thick forests adorn the hills around the place giving you a sea of green in all directions that the eye can see. There is hardly any inhabitation around giving the place a scene of tranquillity and peace. The rooms are well appointed with all the amenities required for a comfortable stay. Food comes with the package and is prepared in the kitchen of Mr Dilip’s house and the dining area is in his bungalow and he goes out of his way to make one’s stay comfortable. The food is delicious and well cooked with many local dishes being thrown in. The most memorable for me was the various pork dishes and a chutney kind of thing made out of marmalade oranges.

Dining Area
Our Coorg Sojourn-din.jpg
View from the Room
Our Coorg Sojourn-view.jpg

The plan was to spend the time in the home stay just chilling around. However, once I dot there, Mr Dilip informed me that there was an adventure camp nearby that offered Quad biking!! So the next day I was off to Now or Never land as the adventure camp was called. The place is just 2.5 kms from Kabbe Holidays. It was an interesting place in the middle of the jungle. The starting point was a cowshed in which all the bikes were parked!! The bikes were the 250 cc variety which had been imported in knocked down kits from Taiwan and then locally assembled. The machines looked good and the trail even better!! It was along winding trail which took us around the jungle. The ride took about 20-25 min and going through the jungle trail in the quad bike was an exhilarating experience. I took some time to get my hand on the machine, but towards the end I was slipping and sliding (by choice and not by chance!)all over the trail!

Our Coorg Sojourn-qb1-copy-copy.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-qb2.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-qb3-copy-copy.jpg

The property is also a great place for treks and we decided to spend the second day of the stay making our way to the top of a hill adjoining Kabbe hill. Initially the plan was to climb Kabbe hill itself, but the fact that it had been ages since I last tried any type of serious trekking coupled with the realisation that I had my son to carry along made me settle for the less challenging climb. When we started the climb, the top was hidden under clouds. The climb was tough but immensely enjoyable. The hill top kept playing hide and seek with us but the good part was that as we reached the top, the clouds lifted giving us a splendid view of the area around which made the toil immensely rewarding.

A walk in the clouds!!

Our Coorg Sojourn-wcl1.jpg
Our Coorg Sojourn-wcl2-copy-copy.jpg
Our Coorg Sojourn-wcl3.jpg
Our Coorg Sojourn-wcl4.jpg
Our Coorg Sojourn-wcl5.jpg

The view from the top!!
Our Coorg Sojourn-coorg123_stitch.jpg

A note for the off roadies: I could see a trail from the property till the hill top. Though the trail has deep ruts (probably made by other vehicles?) a skilled driver with a matched vehicle will have a fun time getting to the top of this hill in a SUV. The pics of the vehicle on top of the hill with the amazing background will go well with the title “Reclaimed my Life!”

The trail that can be taken!!
Our Coorg Sojourn-r1.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-r2.jpgOur Coorg Sojourn-r3.jpg

The last day was spent generally lazing around. We did visit Talcauvery which was a 1.5 hr drive. This is the birthplace of the river Cauvery and as the river is worshipped as a Goddess by the Kodavas and many others in the South, there is a beautiful temple here where one can perform pujas. The thing that stood out for me was the serenity of the place. Unlike temples in the North which seem to be rather commercialised, this place still had a “holy” atmosphere which I really liked.

Our Coorg Sojourn-tc.jpg

The next day, we set back for home. Thus ended our Coorg sojourn. It was a wonderful holiday which left us refreshed and invigorated.

Last edited by neel385 : 6th August 2010 at 20:06.
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Old 6th August 2010, 20:25   #9
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Thats a wonderful start. And the pics are cool...Lets proceed further
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:01   #10
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Amazing write up and pics Neel.

What was the charges for quad biking and your accommodation?

OT: You have a very cute kid. How old is the baby?
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:28   #11
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Nice clean write-up. Please post details of this home stay! Looks to be an amazing place!
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:51   #12
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Loved, just loved the photographs, weather, accommodation, landscape and everything. I am coming back to this thread to go in-depth on your write up and try to feel the place for now and hope to be there with my family in the near future, for real.
Keep them coming.
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:53   #13
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Guys, full details of the home stay can be found at Homestay in Coorg, Karnataka - www.kabbeholidays.com

@Abhinav, my kid will be 1 year old on the 8th of this month..
@ampre&fazal thanks!

Last edited by neel385 : 6th August 2010 at 21:55.
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:15   #14
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neel that's a brilliant write about Mercara. BTW I think you mis-typed Kakkabbe a few times . Isnt that thadiyandamol in the background during your trek ?
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:30   #15
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Neel, really nice crisp travelogue. there is one more place near kushalnagar worth visiting - it's called nisrgadhama.

Did you stay in the bungalow? I am getting confused between the bungalow in post #6 and the deluxe cottage in post #8.
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