252 kms from Bangalore and 1525 m above sea level lies Coorg which means ‘dense forest on steep hill’. Dubbed as the Scotland of India.
Being one of the closest getaways from Bangalore (apart from Mysore), it is a nice place to spend a weekend. The misty hills, lush forest, acres and acres of pepper and coffee plantation, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what make Coorg an unforgettable holiday destination.
I have lived in the Himalayan regions as well as in the north eastern states of India and mountains and hills are not new to me, but Coorg managed to live up to my expectations. The experience of having coffee & pepper fruit & seeing the cardamom on the roots was unique.
The first time we went there, we stayed at ‘Planters Camp’ (www.coorgplanterscamp.com). Two of our best friends were visiting from Mumbai & we stayed in two big tents that had all the comforts a tent can provide ;). The tariff where very reasonable & included the tents, all meals, a coffee plantation tour, a nature walk and bonfire.
The weekend was as relaxing as it could get. Lighting the bonfire under a clear night with great company & lots of chit chat was as good as it can get. On the food front, distinctive cuisine includes Pandhi Curry, Kadambuttu, Chilli Pork, Rice Rotis, Chicken Curry, Paputtu, Naputtu, Mutton Pepper Fry, Coorg Mango Curry … Yummy!!
On the way back to Bangalore, we stopped at Bylakupe, the largest tibetan settlement in South India, about 5 kms from Kushalnagar to visit the Namdroling Tibetan Monastery, popularly known as the Golden temple. Unfortunately we neither found momos nor thukpa, but none the less the grandeur of the monastery was worth the stop.
If you are not into budget traveling, another nice place to stay is Club Mahindra Coorg Resort. We booked the studio apartments (recommend taking the top floor), four people can easily be accommodated and it has all modern amenities that you can think of. It has a pool, a recreation center, restaurants, spa & massage center and lots of exciting activities to do. The only thing I missed was the Coorgie food that we had enjoyed at Planters Camp.
The best time to visit Coorg is from October to April. The intrepid traveler who would care to make a visit during the monsoons during the months of June to September would be rewarded with many an unforgettable sight. There is some local sightseeing to do though we had come to relax & have fun so didn’t venture out much.
On the way back, we did manage go to Abby Falls (or the Liril Falls – the first liril advertisement was shot here). Even during the summer there is plenty of water in these falls. The roar of the falls can be heard from the main road, from where a path goes through lovely coffee and cardamom plantations right up to them. All in all a chilled out place. Do take your jackets with you.