A tea estate in Coorg ? Well, that was the first time I have heard of a tea plantation in coffee country, Coorg. So, when Tata Plantations asked me if I was interested in staying there, I nodded rather vigorously. Apparently tea was grown here since 1914 and like many other estates, this was a part of the British legacy too. The bungalow is still named after the erstwhile British residents and stands surrounded by 1200 acres of lush green tea.
It was early morning as we drove through the dusty roads on the Bangalore – Mysore highway. Thankfully, it was a weekday and the roads were quiet. We stopped for a bit of birdwatching on the way near a lotus pond and then we were on the road again. Coffee plantations filled our eyes , mostly robusta plants with big rounded green berries on the branches.
Tall trees scattered around the plantations rose to touch the sky as little mud roads curved mysteriously through them into a world full of greenery. And then the coffee and the cardamom vanished . The trees disappeared. The sky was a pristine blue . Fluffy clouds passed us along playing along with the mist. And the hills were carpeted with sloping tea plantations.
A red vented bulbul greeted us the moment we entered Glenlorna, the tea estate in Coorg. Butterflies in such vivid colours flitted around the brightly coloured flowers. I walked along aimlessly around the bungalow. A sumptuous lunch followed and I was curious looking at an ancient radio set that stood right in front of my room, aptly titled the Heritage Room. Almost every thing here seemed to be from a different century.
The sun wanted to call it a day rather early and so we decided to take a walk along the tea plantations and head towards a stream which was downhill. The aroma of a few medicinal herbs waltzed in the air as we meandered along, climbing uphill and then taking the path downhill until we reached a clump of bamboo bushes bordering the plantation. And then we heard the deafening sound as a hidden waterfall beckoning us.
There seemed to be no path in sight. However Andy, our naturalist smiled and took us to a little gap amidst the wilderness. We crouched and bent and it was pitch dark. It was almost like a little cave and there seemed to be no light either at the end of the tunnel or on the forest floor.
Andy found the path and we just blindly followed him, a vague shadow of him rather,as we walked amidst the bushes. And the cascades sounded louder every moment, as we felt we were inching closer to them.
And then we saw it, surrounded by rocks, a little pool in the wild as it gushed past past the rocks and splashed around playfully.We sat on the rocks and took in the scene in silence . Andy said that they have called it the Bamboo Falls.
There was something so pristine in this raw wild world , as we lost ourselves in the lap of nature. Finally it got darker and we walk backed, blinded by a fabric of green towards the bungalow.
Fact file about Glenlorna
Tucked away in the hills, Glenlorna is a tea estate in Coog which is near Hudikeri town and you can reach it via Gonnikoppa or Kutta . Please check the conditions of roads in Coorg as most of them are badly damaged. You will need about six to seven hours from Bangalore . There is a tea processing factory here and am told that the tea here is sent to Munnar and sold at wholesale prices to other brands. I bought three varieties of powder by the way – Red Dust, pekoe dust and orange pekoe and these are based on tea leaf grading.
The bungalow has about five rooms and the food is excellent here. They serve both vegetarian, non vegetarian and local cuisine and I strongly recommend it.
Well, there is nothing really to do here than to just soak around the greenery. If you enjoy silence and would like to do nothing, then this is the place to be. Else you can spend a night here and then head to a coffee plantation like I did . If you would like to do some sightseeing around Coorg, then do ask the good men at Plantation Trails to plan them for you. In my next post, I will also suggest some of the places you can visit..so stay tuned.