Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Charming Coorg!!

A busy day, a call from an unknown number, it was from a pleasant talking lady from Club Mahindra! She quickly got to the matter and said we won a free stay in any of their resorts! I reconfirmed and she reassured, quickly we set up a time and date for a presentation, it was a marketing session to buy their membership.
After a 45 minute session, we weren't quite ready for a damage of over 2 lakhs, we gracefully turned their option. They were kind enough to give us the free stay in spite of the disappointment. This gift voucher was alive only for 6 months, which meant we need to use this up before June '09.

One leisure weekend afternoon, we decided we should go to Coorg for the valentine's day! We quickly booked recived confirmations and waited for the day to come. After much debate and unconditional concern from both our parents, we were allowed to go by our car! I was damn keen on going with Hope. Well, all the vehicle have been named! and Hope is
our santro. It was 14Th and a special day to all those in love! It was an extremely fun filled drive to Coorg!

The Bangalore-Mysore highway makes driving a pleasure, it was little over 2 hours by the time we reached Srirangapatanam. we took the Hunsur road leading towards Bailukoppe.

The Golden Temple, Bailukoppe

Bailukoppe has a lot of Tibetians, A left on the main road would take you to the interiors of the town. It was nice to see people clean up the bushes and also tarring the road.
Once you take a sense of ownership on the tasks you perform, the result is always finer.From young to old everyone was at work on the field.
It was noticeable that every task they were performing
had that extra effort. Indeed a crowded place but neatly maintained. Around 5 kms on the same road is the wonderful Buddha temple. it was 11 in the morning and the massive hall as filled with monks reciting prayers. Once you step into the hall you are embraced with a sense of peace, it was definitely a wonderful moment. They have lush greenery around and a hall lit with more than a thousand lamps! We spent some time talking to the localities we headed back to the highway, The next place of interest was Kaveri Nisargadhama.

Kaveri Nisargadhama.
I had been to this place in my last year at school which was 11 years ago, oh yes it has transformed much beyond recognition. This wasn't the case with my husband who had visited this place 2 years ago. He very well recongnised everybit of the place and was more like my guide. A super suspension brige connects you to the park. The deer, elephants, rabbits, monkeys (lotsa them) are a few you'd be excited to see. They have facilities like boat rides and elephant rides. The water level is less since the dry season has set in. The park has bamboos almost everywhere except the pathway. These bamboos sway with the tunes of the wind and are bound to catch fire as the barks rub one another in the process, to avoid this they are kept wet through a sprinkler. A friendly encounter with a 10 yr old elephant, feeding the spotted dear, peddling boat, a quite walk and a wonderful atomsphere made our visit to nisargadhama a special one!

Dubare Elephant Camp.

This is a 12km from the highway. A neatly laid road but a narrow one. Coffee plantations keep you company along the way to the camp, There is the jungle lodges and a cople of other places that offer a stay at this place. Soon after we parked the car, there was a man who spoke to us on something called Still water rafting !!
I remember Rafting the first time, This was in Dhandeli, river Kali was in all glory, it was a unforgettable moment, this is one of the most adventerous activity i have attempted so far, and knowing on how fierce rafting is, i was shocked on the phrase 'still water rafting!!' when asked to explain what he meant, he said they would take you on 1.5 km ride on a raft on the still waters! and guess what they charge Rs.100 per person. Didn't like the idea and chose to go by boat. we reached the otherside and were facinated to see the elephant taming sessions, it's a huge task! This is
mainly devoted to elephant-capturing and training of the Forest Department at the edge of Dubare forest. It was lucky to find 5 newly captured elephants being trained.
During their mating season, the elephants are left out in the wild, they are chained on one of their limbs. Before dusk the mahouts follow the path get the elephants back. They are fed well and kept neat. In fact people who visit the elephant camp have activities such as elephant bathing, feeding and rides.

The highway until you reach Kushalnager is simply a beauty! Past Kushalnagar, the road is nothing comparable to the latter. They have some repair/broadening of roads and hence another 3-6 months, this would soon be a pleasure.
A safe and consistent driving speed, comfortable amount of time in all the three places, breakfast and leaving Bangalore by 6:30 am allowed us to reach Madikeri at 3.30 pm.

Club Mahindra Resorts.
In all sense a wonderful place, spread across 33 acres, it's truly a magnificent.
It is 7 kms from Madekeri town, The gates opened to a thick green aura and a stoned pathway. We drove down to the reception, you are greeted by a lady with a lamp and chandan (Sandalwood paste). we took our seats at the reception and within no time all the formalities were done. A refreshing welcome drink and a towel made the welcome a very warm one. we were shown our way to the rooms. A beautiful room with a balcony. I was really happy to receive all this and that too for free!! They have 3 restaurants Coffee Blossoms, Green Cardamom and Marcara. out of these Marcara is our favorite restaurant. In the 3 days that we stayed at the club, 2 dinners and a lunch was at this place. The food they make here is sumptuous! On one of the days, The janitor surprised us with pumpkin Alva and delicious ladoos (basin and Coconut). I didn't see that happening with the other tables. It was just for us!! The pizza at coffee blossoms was bad! The pizza was no where close to one.

Talking about the facilities, they have a pool, neat and small. It was last October since i swam and so the long gap made the swimming experience relaxing. It was a much deserving exercise! They have a badminton court, Table tennis, many indoor games including snooker, video games, chess, carrom. They also give you an option to borrow books and DVD's there is a projector and you could have a private theatre. On weekend nights they have a program called Magical moments, where they organise games and several dance programmes. All this was a treat!

Abbey Falls
Abbey in kodava (the language of kodavas) means falls, it is also called as Jessy falls. It is around 8 kms from Coorg.
A drive down the ghats and you'll hear the water falling in all force, This closes by 6:30 in the evening and because we started late, we hurriedly reached Abbey just in time! From the parking you'll have to take a walk to see this falls! 10 yrs ago, there were no steps, just a muddy pathway you'll have to mind every step, no bridge to view the falls better. A lot of effort has gone into beautification and maintenance of the place. Feb is not the peak season, but the white water falling ahead of the black cut rocks kept us staring!

Raja's Seat

After the falls we got back to Coorg. There is this famous park, called the Raja's seat. it is named that way because the ruler of the place came there to enjoy the view point at the place. The view is indeed breath taking, it is an epitome of nature's beauty during sunsets and sunrises. They have introduced a musical fountain. This definately had our foots tapping. They played most popular Hindi and Kannada numbers, you would find people dancing and whistling. It ended with a patriotic number. Talking of patriotism. The place is filled with warriors, they gave Major Cariyappa
to the world!

Omkareshwara Temple
Dedicated to lord Shiva, this temple is a km from the Raja's seat. we decided to walk and the weather made it all the more enjoyable! There is a kalyana containing the holy water at the entrance of the temple. There were paintings of many Gods around. It ends with Goddess Kaveri's picture. The people of pray and have a supreme place for the goddess of water. I broke into a smile when i saw a huge jug of water right below the picture of Godess Kaveri! Sure I had a tumbler full.

After a visit to almost six magnificent places, we sure were a tired and hungry couple. The next day started early with an hour of swimming and good breakfast at one of the bhramin hotels in the town. we started out to Bhagamandala and Talakaveri.

This is also called 'Dakshina Kaashi' Three rivers meet here thereby forming a Triveni Sangam. There was very less water and so it did not look any special, On the other side of the lane we have the Bagandeswara temple. This is dedicated to Sage Bagandeshware. we have a lot of small temples inside this one. they look like small cottages with a sloping roofs. 8 kms from here is the very famous Talakaveri.

Tala Kaveri
As the name indicates this is the place Kaveri is born. even to this day on the specific date and time, we can see how the water rises from the ground, wonder how they calculate this but it is right on the dot! The place has a beautiful viewpoint! higher up you have steps taking you to Bhramhagiri, this gives you a higher view point and measure to about 3600 mts in altitude. The altitude made the afternoon completely pleasant. Though it was 10 yrs back i came to the exact place, memories of the clouds passing you by are still fresh. The beauty around just overwhelms you!
we headed back to coorg. On our way back we lost our way and an old man guided us and we reached our destination. That evening at Club Mahindra was just very relaxing.

The next morning, We had breakfast at the famous Krishna cafe, The idly vada was delicious, We tried the masala vada and that was just perfect. They have 'avalakki ' flattened/beaten rice in some masala, sugar and curd, this was something i had never tasted, was just too good! We checked out quite a few stores, shopped for spices and headed to Bangalore. On our way, we wondered on how time just flew so fast. Coorg was simply charming with very warm and friendly people! I definitely have to thank my colleague and friend for helping me chalk out the itinerary. Also thank Club Mahindra for picking us to relish all this royal treatment absolutely free!

Have a great evening!

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