Exploring Coorg in The Monsoons

Exploring Coorg in the Monsoons

Every year, as the monsoon hits the city, the wanderlust bug inside me awakens. Although the rains have a calming effect on my mind and body, my spirits seem to be on a joyride, wanting to go out and into nature. What better way to fuel that fire than indulge in a trip to a faraway land? 

Exploring Coorg in The Monsoons
[ photo: thrillophilia.com ]

And so, a couple of days ago, I reached Coorg for the much-needed tryst with nature. Why Coorg, you may ask? Because the charm of this hill town increases by ten times in the rains. The valleys become mistier, the plantations denser, and the hills come alive with the sound of the clouds.

A great journey starts with a great ride. Since it had been raining for a few days and the roads could be tricky, I booked a reliable and comfortable cab from Bangalore to Madikeri

Almost half of my journey was under a blanket of grey clouds chasing my car, occasionally pouring its love on the way. The non-stop highway, music on my ears, and the breathtaking views en route made it a perfect journey.

I usually like to do random things on a vacation, but this time, I thought of going conventional (or touristy, I would say) and booked myself one of the best Coorg sight seeing taxi packages

This included my ride from Bangalore to Coorg and back, with two-days of local sightseeing tour, and I could keep the car with me all through. Practically also, it made sense, since rains could pick up anytime and make it difficult to walk around or look for local transportation.

So, here’s how it’s been so far.

Day 1

The colorful (but mostly green and grey in the monsoon) town of Coorg is packed with interesting things and sights at every turn. I started my first day of the tour with a coffee plantation tour at the Mercara Gold Estate. It was huge and misty from the overnight rain showers. 

This is the harvest season for Arabica beans and the workers were busy at their tasks, as a colony of bees. There was also a brewing area, where homegrown beans were ground, brewed, and filtered for tourists to enjoy. It was indeed a unique experience to have a cup of coffee sitting in a coffee plantation.

From there, I headed to see the famous Abbey Falls. The roaring cascade was in full swing after the rains and cut through thick plantations of coffee and spices. It seemed like a very popular hangout for locals and tourists and the pool was swarming with people. 

I prefer to be in less crowded areas, so I cut that tour short and decided to go elsewhere. My cabbie suggested another waterfall, the Chelavara Falls, which is ‘not so popular’ but I might like. We had to drive for another hour outside the town to reach this waterfalls in the wild. 

While the Abbey Falls is more famous, I found the Chelavara Falls to be more attractive and hiding in plain sight. It was a peaceful zone with the only sound of the torrential streams flowing down the hills. It was worth the visit.

Later in the day, I stopped by Madikeri town and went shop hopping, sampling local food (and lots of coffee) and picking up handcrafted knick-knacks.

Day 2

The second day of my tour package involved a trip to the wonderful Dubare Elephant Camp. It was an hour’s drive from town and into the forested areas of Coorg. Herds of elephants of all sizes and ages were playing in the muddy ponds, while some were being fed by tourists. 

It was fun to watch them, especially the baby elephants in their playful mode. From there, I was supposed to visit the reserve forests of Nisargadhama. On the way, I asked my driver about this Tibetan community of Bylakuppe I had once read about in a travel blog. Turned out, it was en route and I instantly canceled the plan to tour the forest and visit Bylakuppe instead.

It is the only Tibetan community of the region and once I was there, I forgot I was in Karnataka and not somewhere in Himachal. We passed the Tibetan market, lined with small eateries and cafes, where monks and other locals were going about their day’s business. I headed straight to the Namdroling Monastery, the biggest in Coorg and one of the largest in India.

From a distance, I could spot the pagoda, its golden towers glistening against the cloudy sky. It was late afternoon and the temple had reopened for its evening prayer sessions. The monks, clad in maroon garbs were busy attending to their tasks and preparing for the prayers. 

Inside the colorful fa├žade, lied the main altar. Despite the activities around, the temple was peaceful and calming. It had just started to rain outside. I found myself a place on the porch and let myself get lost in the prayer chants with the background sound of the pattering rains.

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