CAPTIVATING COORG

DSCN0810Hello there, my fellow travel hungry bloggers! (and even to the not so hungry ones ;)) Now after my semester got over, there was something interesting that I had to do in life. So I headed to Coorg. It is a small town in Karnataka that is known for its black pepper and coffee, much to my delight. Now I don’t know which range surrounds this sleepy little town but you could see little hillocks all around. You even have the option of going on treks around the place. I had gone with a group of people so again my choices got dictated by the popular vote. We stayed at this little homestay called ChilliPilli (You can find more information by clicking on the link).

We hired a Tempo Traveller and started our journey from Bangalore. The first stop, Maddur Tiffanys in Chennapatna (Yes it is spelt like that). Chennapatna is known for producing the world’s finest quality wood toys and Maddur Tiffanys specialises in making something called the Maddur Vada which is amazing and something that you should try. And in my entire trip to Bangalore and Coorg, it served one of the finest coffees, and btw I love coffee which will also explain a certain purchase about which I will tell you later.

Picking up from coffee, apparently on that particular route to Coorg, comes a Cafe Coffee Day or CCD, which is very famous among college students and they actually come from Bangalore just to sit and chill and that particular CCD. When it was pointed out to me, I just wondered what comes over the students to take that long a journey for CCD, yes they serve good coffee, but still and not that there aren’t any CCDs in Bangalore.

Moving on, in the journey to Coorg which was somewhat peppered with sleep, on being about 20 minutes to the homestay was I overcome by a sense 0f excitement, you want to take a guess why… Because well I saw coffee plantations all around me. Every direction I looked, I could just see acres and acres of coffee growing. I took a deep lungful of air and …wait for it… smelt nothing. I tried again… nothing. Turns out until and unless coffee is roasted it doesn’t get the smell, not even when the seeds are on the plants.

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I live in Delhi and the trip happened in December where minus the global warming, the temperatures should reach to a point where your insides freeze, but here I was in half sleeves in the day, not that I did not know that but actually wearing half sleeves in December is actually a bit disappointing. The essence of winters in Delhi is groundnut, revadis, soup and layers and layers of clothes, but never mind, I was in Coorg.

The approach to the little homestay was through a little mud way enough to just fit one vehicle. Lined on both sides by coffee, the actual home of the’homestay’ was situated in the middle of a 50-acre fledgling coffee estate. As we approached the home, we could see a variety of flowers blooming and we later came to know that those days, a rare flower had bloomed, called ‘jade wine’ and both the husband and wife made sure that we got a glimpse of it.

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A cat awaited us on the entry gate to the homestay

Our room was called Drongo, which I assume is a kind of bird because all the other were also named after birds. We were welcomed by traditional Coorgi lunch, well not exactly traditional but there were some amazing dishes that I had seen only in Coorg like beetroot curry. And of course, I was anyway dying to eat the Coorgi Chicken. There was also egg curry and other dishes, but the star of the meal was the desert. It wasn’t anything special and not very Coorgi but it was amazing, I guess the trick was its simplicity. The base was formed by Marie biscuits and topped with custard and pieces of pineapple, that was it. But it tasted heavenly, we all almost fought over the last bit.

Then we had a game of cards and my Dad kicked everyone’s ass, I just sat there with my camera clicking away. Actually, I had taken out my camera after so long, I just clicked everything, even the players seriously looking at the cards. We quite literally talked all day sitting on the veranda right next to our rooms. In the evening came the bonfire and wine tasting. The wine wasn’t that great, actually just sweet fruit juice (It was homemade). And the bonfire was done at a place with a very low ceiling and hence the smoke hung around. But I had food to keep me company. Then we had dinner and interestingly, I found a rubber band in my egg curry. I wasn’t in a mood to fight, or else generally, I get very angry over such indiscretions and I thought maybe because it was Coorg.

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Next morning, the breakfast was pretty simple, bread and butter. I was excited about getting appam, a bread but they did not serve that :(. Then we went for a tour of the platation, where we saw how coffee is washed, dried and taken out of its cover. The owner of our estate then sold it off. The land also had other trees growing like black pepper, rosewood etc. Oh wait, isn’t black pepper a creeper or something like that.But yeah there were others too and then came what we all had been waiting for …. the jade wine flowers. It looks quite like dragon claws doesn’t it?

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Jade Wine Flower

I bought some coffee, 60% Arabica and 40% Robusta, without chicory, well that some is about half a kg. My logic was simple, I don’t know when I will come next to Coorg ( And then on my return to Bangalore, I also purchased 250g of Filter Coffee, hence taking my total to 750 g of coffee and I was travelling by air, just saying). We even bought some honey and tried to purchase the guava jam that we were served in the breakfast but the jam lady wasn’t there :(. The couple told is that there wasn’t a lot of water in the falls hence we decided to make our way back to Bangalore, but on the way make a stop at the Namdroling Buddhist Monastery.

The complex was pretty huge. I housed several buildings, of which, the most magnifcent was the one that housed three forms of Buddha. And there were several others, one was where students were reciting certain verses in a rhthymic fashion supplemented by gongs and conches. But interestingly the younger students were just nodding their litlle heads to the tune and ot actually reading anything. It was so funny!!

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Then we left the Monstery and came to Bangalore and just basically slept after having dinner.

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