I have beautiful memories of Coorg from both my trips, one way back in 2007 and the other as recent as April 2015. It also helped that I had excellent accommodation each time; first with Club Mahindra’s beautiful Coorg Resort in Madikeri, and then in a caravan at Kushalnagar. Here is why I remember Coorg so fondly.
On both my stays I got to witness lovely weather. The first time I went in January, it was slightly chilly. There was a bit of mist, which add a hint of mystery to the surroundings. The second time in April I thought that the weather was hot but then it started drizzling. Everything around me turned to a deeper shade of green and the weather became quite lovely. I love Coorg and its surroundings for the excellent weather.
I have been to Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, and Ladakh and Spiti in India. I didn’t expect a monastery near Coorg, so when I discovered it first in 2007, I was completely delighted. Back then, it was not crowded at all. We posed with monks, we roamed around, and truly loved the feel of it. I could not visit the monastery this year, but I got to witness something even better at Kushalnagar.
The Most Scenic Football Match I Ever Saw
I was staying in a caravan in 2015 by the Harangi Backwaters. The weather has turned cloudy by the afternoon. I went for a walk in the evening and saw the monks from the Namdroling Monastery playing football in the field. The area was actually the size of many football fields. The monks were using only a small portion. Their ocher robes looked fabulous against a dark sky and the surrounding greenery. While we passed by, they offered us mangoes to eat; I took them with many thanks. A little later, it started to rain again. They gathered their stuff, including the goal posts and loaded it in a truck. Then they started their journey back. They didn’t leave even a scrap of paper behind. I was totally impressed.
I have seen people play football in Maldives too on a stunning beach, but their dress could never match the grand attire of the monks!
Coffee, Spices, and Vanilla
Coorg has an excellent market for coffee, spices, and vanilla. If you like to buy stuff for your kitchen, you can spend a lot of time exploring the little shops. The aroma around them itself is inviting. I still remember the vanilla pods I carried back with a lot of nostalgia.
Coffee and Pepper Plantations
Coorg is surrounded by coffee and pepper plantations. They make for excellent walking grounds too. The hosts take a lot of delight in explaining their Arabicas from their Robustas! It was my first tryst with coffee seeds, and I remember it fondly.
About 50 km away from Madikeri is Talakaveri. The place is considered to be the source of the river Kaveri. There is a kund and a temple on the hill. It was fun climbing up the temple. The area gives a lot of opportunities for photography too!
And though I have not mentioned food, but I can say for sure that was lip-smacking, finger-licking good in the region. However, if I have to pick up just reason to go back, I would take that to be the awesome weather and greenery.
I have said it often, I love to walk, all kinds of walks, but more than anything else, the aimless walk. The evening I went walking around Harangi backwaters (Kushal Nagar, Coorg, Karnataka) sky provided enough drama for me to keep up with my Sky Watch Friday post!
The Overcast Sky
To begin with the sky was overcast. However my attention was diverted by the monks who were present in numbers. Some of them were playing football! The mystery was solved when the Sai Vishram (my hosts) staff informed me that Bylakuppe Monastery was close by.
The Gathering Clouds
The landscape throughout was beautiful. And yet the small white stuff you see on the ground was trash! I wonder why can’t we keep our public spaces clean. I only saw the monks cleaning after them when they were going. And the skies were busy gathering clouds!
The Threatening Clouds
Half way through my walk the clouds started to threaten! We hurried back. Rather my companions hurried back with my SLR. I walked leisurely with my waterproof cell phone! I eventually got caught in the downpour. I went in the RV to change, thinking that it was going to be a very watery end to the day.
The Change in the Weather
However, within the short time that it took me to change, the weather managed to change its mood. It was breaking through. Nagaraja, one of the staff members of Sai Visharm remarked, “the rain came only to get us!”
The Monks Go Home
With the break in weather, I was hoping for some drama in the sky. But the football game was over. The monks were headed home!
The Glow in the Sky
For me the joy of travel lies in these small things, like watching the weather change its mood and the monks waving at me as they went!
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.
When I saw the camping trailer and the location of the Harangi Backwaters near Kushal Nagar, Karnataka, I immediately forgot how tired I was! We started at 6.30 am from Balkatmane Spa but here I was all my tiredness completely forgotten! I was excited about my camping holiday with Sai Vishram.
I was behaving like a school girl when I went inside the caravan! I explored all the nooks and corners at one go! Denali by Dutchmen is a home in itself!
It has a large living area with kitchen and TV. There is a master bedroom, two bathrooms and another smaller living area. There is a bunk bed in the smaller living area as well. The sofas unfold as beds too!
While Denali is fully equipped with a kitchen Sai Vishram does the cooking in a house adjacent to the trailer.
Narayan not only made good food, he was very fond of feeding the guests as well. He was quite disappointed with me as he said I ate nothing! On the other hand I thought he fed me till I would burst at the seams! As he lived in Mumbai for a long time, he spoke Hindi quite well. And all that was food for one!
After a heavy meal, thankfully he would give me fruits for dessert! He sensed that I liked fruits so he increased the quantity later on! He also correctly sensed that tea was the way to keep me happy after I asked for the first cup. Then it would materialize on its own, I never had to ask for tea again.
The weather was lovely the day I stayed there. I was frequently switching between staying indoors and then getting out to enjoy the view!
After lunch the staff retired. I had the huge RV all to myself! I noticed that a lot of cattle come to graze to the campsite. Harangi Backwater is also popular with the locals. Someone or the other would trickle in at all hours of the day! After the siesta it was time to go for an evening walk!
While I was there a football game was in progress and I have to say this was one of the most scenic local football grounds I have ever scene. I immediately remembered my younger nephew Sunil, as he would have been thrilled to be a part of it! There were monks out there in numbers as well. On investigating I was told that Bylakuppe Monastery was nearby and the monks would come to the Harangi Dam’s Backwaters for an outing. As we walked by, the football landed near me. I passed it back and the monks offered me and my two companions mangoes which I happily accepted on everyone’s behalf.
As we walked to the edge of another water body, the weather turned dark. With a lot of reluctance I started walking back. Mid way it started to rain. Nagraja and his friend ran back. I gave them my bag with the DSLR. I was happy to get wet with my water proof cell phone!
I got nicely drenched on my walk back. The monks also packed up along with the football players. They even took the goal posts away! As soon as I got in and changed, the rain vanished leaving behind a most glorious evening sky!
After a heavy dinner (which was a repeat affair as lunch) it was time to crash in my cozy bed room. I was alone inside the RV.
I was cautioned both by Nagaraja and Narayan to lock the door properly and not to open it. If they would need anything, they would call me on my cell phone and only then come. While I was about to crash at 9.15 pm my fellow blogger Indrani called me. She too has visited the place (as has another friend Shrinidhi) and she asked me if I was all alone! Thankfully I am used to staying in open spaces and I felt safe all the time. I had a peaceful night, once I fell asleep after 10.30 pm I woke up only when it was bright daylight!
I am left wondering that if I enjoyed staying in a stationary Camping Van so much, what would happen if I got to be in one that was moving from place to place! My Camping Holiday with Sai Vishram was a smash hit!
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.