Following a good stretch of beach time on the Konkan coast and Goa, we were looking forward to a change of scene and the cooler misty hills of Coorg.
Known as ‘the Scotland of India’, Coorg is famous for its hills, vegetation, beautiful waterfalls… and coffeeeee – hooray!
Getting off the bus at about 6pm in the dark, we were immediately struck by the change in temperature and that everyone was wearing woolen hats and coats. Out came the jumpers for the first time.
We stayed on a lovely estate homestay nestled within a large coffee plantation. It wasn’t a homestay as such as the owners clearly owned several estates and lived elsewhere but the property was beautiful and our hosts were clearly people after my own heart, seeking out and refurbishing stunning antique doors and local tiles which they had installed all over the building.
Due to a family emergency at our homestay resulting in the owners being out of town, we were upgraded to an executive room with a four poster bed. The food was delicious and plentiful, including some amazing tapioca pudding, and we had unlimited tea and coffee which obviously we took full advantage of!
The setting was idyllic with a babbling brook, veranda, and sunny garden perfect for reading and bird watching. Lee spotted several birds including woodpeckers and hornbills.
Our active plans for trekking and white water rafting (both very popular with Indian tourists on weekend breaks from Bangalore) were slightly scuppered by unavailability and bad planning but I can’t say we were that disappointed. Instead we spend our time simply enjoying the scenery on our doorstep.
Other than a few trips into the nearest town Madikeri to organise our travel plans, a visit to a local sightseeing spot calles Raja’s seat, and sampling some Coorg chocolate (which tastes like cooking chocolate) we really didn’t do a great deal in our first few days other than walk around the area and nature spotting.
Here are just a couple of things we spotted on our walks…
We had surprisingly sunny weather during our time in Coorg (I got sunburn for the first time in the whole trip!) but the climate was certainly fresher and the nights cooler which made a nice change. It was also blissfully silent and a real joy to fall asleep and wake up to only the sounds of nature all around us.
Because the sights of Coorg are very spread out and hard to reach by local transport, we were advised to hire a taxi on our last day to see a trio of sights enroute to our next destination Mysore. These included the Dubare elephant camp, a large riverside park where we took a dip, and a Tibetan settlement called Bylakuppe. The latter was one of the first refugee camps set up in South India to house the thousands of Tibetans who fled following the 1959 Chinese invasion. It is now South India’s largest Tibetan settlement and famous for it’s Golden Temple in which 3 huge gold plated Budda statues reside.
We didn’t time our touristy day perfectly – falling on a weekend and national bank holiday for Ghandi’s birthday, all of these places were pretty heaving with Indian tourists. However we enjoyed our quick tour, making time to try out some yummy momos (Tibetan steamed dumplings) before we headed back on the road to out next destination….Mysore.