The scenery is mesmerizing. The winding roads take you through a maze of greenery . At every labyrinthine corner, you meet a collage of colours which explode into shades of greens, browns and yellows. The roads seem to have no particular destination . They just lead you from one part of paradise to another. As we squint though the green fabric , we pass plantations of coffee, cardamom and pepper which merge with forests, foliage and fauna. There are no villages, no people, no shops , no cars . We deliberately slow down to take in the moment. After all, you do not get to see paradise on earth often.

We are in Coorg, locally known as Kodagu or Kodavu from the Kodavas who inhabit this region. As we go up the Western Ghats, we see the slopes carpeted by coffee plantations interspersed with pepper .It is an ode to nature and no wonder it has been attributed the sobriquet, Scotland of the East.There is a beeline of tourists who visit Coorg and the proof of it are the various boards of homestays which interrupt the seamless flow of greenery .The colonial bungalows, the sprawling estates, the charm of a plantation lifestyle has lured many tourists to Coorg who live in homestays and resorts that offer you a glimpse of the charming town and its cultural landscape. But there is more to Coorg than coffee as we discovered during our holiday. A heady mix of hidden myths and legends, a lost history and cultural and spiritual influences add to the magic .

Our visit to Coorg was on an impulse . It was mid April and the heat in Bangalore was dry and devastating. Chennai was reeling under the spell of summer as well . When two women from these two cities got together to discuss weather , it resulted in a Coorg trip. So, my friend took the Shatabdi one evening and landed in Bangalore and we planned to take the early morning train to Mysore and thereafter drive to Coorg .

The day dawned and it started quite dramatically. I am not a morning person and even the excitement of the trip did not stop me from waking late and so the situation was such – 15mins for the train to leave and we were still in a ric persuading the auto driver to shrug off his slumber and take us in a jiffy. As the auto sped down the by lanes of Bangalore , a deep thud and we did not know what hit us. Shocked, we stopped to realize that a poor crow had thrown itself on the windscreen and had lost its life. There was nothing we could do and we insensitively continued on our journey to reach the station in the nick of the moment .

If you like train journeys, there is nothing like looking out of a glassless window of a regular compartment and enjoying the views and glimpses of morning life. It refreshed us and removed all traces of guilt that we felt for the crow . The train chugged and pulled along stopping by every single hamlet where vignettes of simple rustic life greeted us . The journey passed off quite peacefully with no more incidents as we reached Mysore and immediately started our drive to Coorg .

We had to make our choices while planning our trip there. The coffee estates with its colonial flavour lured us initially, then we thought about Nagarhole Forest and Irpu falls or Titimathi and its bird life , another option was to go to Cauvery Nisarghadhama and Dubare elephant camp and see a slice of tibetan life in Bylakuppe ..we had never been so flooded with choices in just one region . We decided finally to let go of all these and go to Kakkabe and head to Bhagamandala, Talacauvery and Madikeri .

Our drive from Mysore took us a leisurely four hours as we crossed Hunsur, Tithimathi, Gonikoppa and Virajpet . A downpour greeted us as we entered Kakkabe. All homestays were running full, so we decided on a resort .The rains were unusual, explained our guide , Kailash, a Kodava who worked in the F & B department of the resort where we stayed.And then began our initiation into the myths and legends of Coorg ..

27 comments

  1. GMG 14 June, 2008 at 21:54 Reply

    Hi Lakshmi! Back home and profiting from the holidays, I’m trying to catch up your posts (What a nice week: June 10th, Portugal’s Day; June 13th, Lisbon’s Day – St. Anthony of Lisbon, not Padua… ;)).
    Coorg looks awesome, and I’ll look forward to seeing the next posts! The parrot is gorgeous!!
    Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter, which has now landed in Santiago de Compostela, Spain! Hope you enjoy, and have a nice weekend!

  2. Anu 14 June, 2008 at 23:45 Reply

    I have to smile, because the trip from Bangalore to Mysore, was one of favorite. My mom and I used to count the different shades of green. But funnily my discovery of coorg, was not through the trip, but on a documentary on the PBS channel. Waiting for the upcoming posts!!

  3. Priyank 15 June, 2008 at 00:37 Reply

    Lakshmi, I have never been to Coorg and I regret for missing one opportunity that I had. These pictures are inviting. Sorry to hear about the crow and his early morning suicide on your rikshaw window!

  4. Dee Dee 15 June, 2008 at 08:28 Reply

    Lakshmi…what a wonderful journey to travel along misty hills and lush acreage…your photos allow for the viewer to experience the vastness of it all.

  5. indicaspecies 15 June, 2008 at 16:47 Reply

    Lovely! Not just coffee estates, but hidden myths and legends, a lost history and cultural and spiritual influences. That’s a beautiful description of Coorg.

    A choice of coffee estates, Nagarhole, Irpu, Titimathi, Cauvery Nisarghadham and Dubare..wow! I have been to Coorg many times but have missed out a few of those.

    I like those travels that you that is made on an impulse. Those generally turn out more interesting, isn’t it?

  6. Aaarti 15 June, 2008 at 19:05 Reply

    Wowww, was talking about Coorg last nite with 2friends of mine, who did an impulse so like urs.. they too finally manged to find acco in a resort, but said they had a good time… went around to madikeri, and a tibetian monestary(forgot the name.. namlang or something like that)

  7. Shantanu 15 June, 2008 at 22:37 Reply

    Seeing the pic, I was reminded of the unique way Coorgi women tie their saris. I was brought up in Mysore, and during those times, us boys knew Coorg mostly as the place where the pretty girls came from. 🙂

  8. Jeevan 16 June, 2008 at 13:26 Reply

    Very nice beginning Lakshmi. I love to start any travel early morning for the freshness to enjoy in the breeze. It was my wish to visit coorg and to see coffee estates, to know its surprise that I can’t be there when I was in Mysore recently. Beautiful natures exist in ur pictures.

    By the by I was going through your article in Hindu Metro Plus’s Escape about Moodbidri today. I have read some travel description on the author name Lakshmi Sharath, but never know it was u until u said in last post. All the best, u are well writing.

  9. backpakker 16 June, 2008 at 18:00 Reply

    Matt – You would be surprised…there are parts of India which is so green

    Ropi – I would love to go to Scotland

    Gil – Glad you had a great holiday and a trip as well..the posts on Coorg will soon follow

    Anu – I love the ride also…and Ive been to coorg many times, but this is my first trip from a historic and spiritual significance

    Priyank – This trip was really the best trip to coorg so far

    DeeDee – Thanks . Coorg is so beautiful..

    Indrani – I just loved it when it rained..as soon as we entered the weather changed..it was lovely

    Cuckoo -Its pouring heavily there now as I write this reply..Coorg ‘s beauty is its natural wealth

    Celine -Impulsive trips as so much fun..also , I didnt plan much this time..so we did a lot of small discoveries

    Aaarti -It must be Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar.There is a golden temple or monastery out there

    Alok – Thanks..yes, more pics soon

    Shantanu – They say thats because of the Greek genes in them 🙂 I heard a very interesting story about how and why they tie the soari like that..I believe when river cauvery was blessing the crown prince, her saree know fell backwards and hence it became a tradition

    Jeevan -Thanks ..Im glad you liked my article as well..thanks again for reading. Maybe next time, you can visit Coorg

    Lakshmi

  10. mitr_bayarea 17 June, 2008 at 22:21 Reply

    Lakshmi-

    the greenery of Coorg brought back memories of a trip that we made to Thalaikaveri in Coorg during my school vacation. Very peaceful and beautiful.

  11. Compassion Unlimitted 18 June, 2008 at 09:01 Reply

    It is poetry in words and lovely pictures.My wife used to talk very much about Coorg and used to visit often since many of her friends live there
    Sure ,You have really enjoyed the drive and place.Wonderful ma
    TC
    CU

  12. backpakker 18 June, 2008 at 13:53 Reply

    Ajeya -Yes,thats the place though I like the homestays better

    Mitr – Glad it brought back pleasant memories..thats the best part about school excursions

    Vishnu – Thanks for the comment..the legends are many..posting one by one..

    Sameera – Thanks..I hope you get to take a break and come down here sometime

    CU – Then you must make a visit soon ..it is indeed very beautiful

    lakshmi

  13. dharmabum 21 June, 2008 at 15:43 Reply

    unplanned trips are the best. you seem to be a good travel companion – lucky your friend is!

    nagarhole brings fond memories. i particularly remember this temple hill called gopalaswamybetta – the shola hills were simply superb!

  14. Lakshmi 27 June, 2008 at 09:24 Reply

    SS – Coorg is a great place ..maybe you could plan something in Oct-Nov..will be a good time

    Dharma – Love travelling and Im not so sure my friends enjoy my kind of travelling..they like to put their feet up while I like to keep going 🙂
    Yes, been to Gopalswamybeta..its awesome..Its near Bandipur actually

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