Having grown up in Delhi, I hadn’t heard about Coorg until a close friend studying in Bangalore mentioned going there for a weekend trip a couple of years back! Since the Himalayas are so accessible from Delhi, most long weekends or vacations in school and college entailed heading off to the hills, so I never got down to exploring or hearing about the lesser known (at least to the North Indians) places in the South.
My friend got back with stunning photographs and beautiful descriptions of Coorg, and since then it’s been on my list of places to visit. I finally got down to planning a four day trip there last year, and it lived up to every bit of the hype it has garnered over the last few years amongst travellers.
I embarked on this trip at a time when I was working almost 60 hours a week, had not been on a holiday for a few months, and hadn’t met the friend I was going with for over a year! So I was very excited.
We started our journey from Bangalore, where I spent an afternoon of solitude and awe at Cubbon Park, before catching the KSRTC bus to Madikeri. Having made a last-minute reservation, we ended up on the Karnataka Sarige, instead of one of the deluxe buses (Airavat), and this resulted in a rather painful bus ride for two sleep-deprived, overworked humans. (Lesson: Book your tickets waaaay in advance for a comfortable bus ride!)
We reached Madikeri in the wee hours of the morning (it was quite chilly, even in the summer!) and had to catch another local bus to get closer to where we were staying – The Road’s End in Gonikoppal. I thanked my stars for having my friend with me as she knew Tamil and a little bit of Kannada, because as things turned out, all the billboards and signs at the bus stop were in Kannada, and the drivers and conductors ONLY SPOKE KANNADA! After much running around from one bus platform to another, and some cutting chai from a nearby stall, we finally managed to get onto the right bus!
After an interesting auto ride from the bus stop to our resort- we were finally at The Road’s End– which was literally at the road’s end in Gonikoppal. Recommended by another friend, the place sure didn’t disappoint, and we got a warm welcome from the staff and three beautiful, friendly dogs.
The Road’s End is an offbeat resort with three cottages, a restaurant-of-sorts (they don’t serve food all day long, but do serve delicious home-cooked food on request) and space for plenty of games- from badminton and volleyball, to table tennis and carrom.
Run by a local family and staff from nearby areas, the ambience was a mix of homely and like a holiday resort. The single room cottage was gorgeous, amidst lots of trees and a nice balcony to sit out and enjoy morning tea. The weather was humid, but the early mornings and late evenings more than made up for the sunny afternoons (which were mostly spent sleeping!).
The three things that stood out for me on this trip were- the greenery, the insects and the food!
Every Kind of Green
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
– Martin Luther
Coming from the concrete jungle that is Delhi, sitting amidst leaves of every shape and size was pure bliss! For the first couple of hours, all we did was walk around the property and get used to the many shades of green around us (after the overdose of digital screens we’d grown so accustomed to in our regular lives!).
Spiderwebs & Ant Trails
“Ants can live together in solidarity and forget themselves in the community… In the ants’ civilization, you are part of the group; you don’t live for yourself alone.”
– Bernard Werber
On most mornings, we woke up to the morning light and chirping birds! Both of us being photographers, we decided to quickly brush our teeth and step out for an early morning walk, before it got too hot.
As we walked past coffee plantations, we were met with hundreds of ants, handful of spiderwebs, morning dew shining over flowers of every colour, and calls of birds we could barely identify but loved listening to!
We really had no idea where the hours went! I’m sure the photographs below speak for themselves 🙂
Food for the Soul
“Food is not just eating energy. It’s an experience.”
– Guy Fieri
With local chefs ensuring we didn’t go hungry, we had quite a spread at all meals! We happened to be the only guests the second day onwards, which meant the staff asked us what we wanted to eat. Being hardcore foodies, we usually just left it to them to decide, and pretty much every meal they served saw us hogging like there’s no tomorrow!
The best part was that the food was cooked the local way, and we got to eat everything from appams and parotta, to Coorgi Pandi (pork) curry and Chicken Sukka. Even today, just thinking about the food leaves my mouth watering!
Unwinding the Unconventional Way
When we weren’t eating or lazing, we decided to rent a bike and explore the nearby villages. The quaint surroundings, with colourful houses and lovely people made us wish we could stay a bit longer!
Most of our evenings were spent playing table tennis, chatting, playing with the dogs, and in the evenings- spotting fireflies in awe! We could even see the stars once all the lights were switched off!
The Road’s End is a perfect place to get away from the city for some quiet time- alone, or with family and friends. While it’s more commercial than a homestay, it retains the warmth and solitude of a home, and is definitely a perfect getaway from the urban jungles most of us live in!
While the trip ended sooner that we’d have liked, we left with bottles of coffee whiskey and grape wine, not to forget a heartful of memories!
Have you been to Coorg? I’d love to hear about your trip! Leave a comment below, or write to me so we can exchange notes 🙂