Talakaveri Coorg

Nov16-20, 2014

A tiny less explored corner – that is forever – Coorg (64 Sq Miles).

It is, in a nutshell, coffee & spice & all things nice.

Evening mists. Beautiful women. Warriors.

Hanging Lamp - Coorg

Hanging Lamp – Coorg

Otti Roti/Rice Bread

Otti Roti/Rice Bread

Todays Menu

Todays Menu

Nimmi's Open Kitchen

Nimmi’s Open Kitchen

The much touted KSRTC, the State run bus service turns out to be a let down so I go cross country, taking any old bus from Bangalore to Mysore, then onwards by taxi. A blessing in disguise for it offers the opportunity of enjoying the countryside at will.

The ‘Elephant Corridor’ at Badaga is a 20 acre estate & the Chengappas, Nimmi & Viju perfect hosts. You are cautioned against early morning walks as elephants graze & roam the wilds & can often be heard crunching grass. Yes, quite literally for all around us is the sound of silence. Pachyderm encounters are not uncommon & could be counted among the many joys of life in Coorg.

‘Homestay’ is an organized sector here. There are 200 registered owners who act with rare passion often going the extra mile in their eagerness to showcase all things Kodagu. Hence no surprise that Viju offers to organize transport & keep a track as I commute from Mysore to Badaga via (at his suggestion) the Tibetan enclave & Golden temple at Byeluppe.

The couple are college day sweethearts. That their hearts continue to beat in unison after 35 years of marriage & 2 children is there for all to see. Parked next to their car in the porch, is a Royal Enfield ‘Bullet’ – the one that was used during their courtship & wooing days. Large sums are being proffered for it today but it continues to stand there – mechanical testimony to a Mills & Boon romance.

Nimmi a Srilankan is the epitome of everything Coorg – from language to cuisine to good looking but the banana jam is hers & hers alone. It goes exceedingly well with the local Dosa – Idli. A desi version of pancake with maple sauce if you will, but far more tasty. ‘The Elephant Corridor’, which has been a homestay for over 10 years, looks to becoming a wedding &  pre nuptial destination, as also a location for Bollywood flicks. ‘Coffee Beans’ was filmed here.

Mercara or Madikeri (3500’) as it is now called is the district headquarters. The entire area that was once a rain forest may be termed ‘semi’ rain forest today as large tracts have been cleared for plantations of rubber, coffee, spice & orange. Acre upon acre of cultivated land interspersed with surviving rain forest vegetation – trees so tall that they seem to be reaching for the skies.   Large & small homesteads with red brick tiled sloping roofs dot the countryside at regular if distant intervals. There is hardly a soul around. And silence so deep – except for the occasional bus rumbling by – it is picture perfect

The river Cauvery has long been to the south what the Ganga is to the north. A disputed river perhaps but also the holiest of holies, especially at its source – Talakaveri,

Pilgrims climb the Brahmagiri hill near by for a Coorg view. Also to leave behind make belief houses. Little stone clusters that symbolize their hope of future housing.

After springing forth at Talakaveri, the river vanishes underground. Suddenly & completely before re emerging 8 kms away at Bhagamandala,. Here it meets the waters of the Kanikke & the mythical Sujyoti to become ‘triveni sangam’, a site of pilgrimage.

Breakfast at the gazebo and a Coorg style sit down meal with friends & extended family. Otti Roti, Pandi curry, Kumbala curry – the works

That coupled with the quiet of the countryside is what I shall carry long after.

10662132_10204079672046464_5420375909966299267_o

Talakaveri

Talakaveri

1912453_10203952565228873_5928174334037203247_o                                                                                                                                                                     Bhagamandala

Cavery waters at Abbi falls

Cavery waters at Abbi falls

1553354_10203964646330893_3055719039614054653_o1529951_10203951844330851_3616179369516110132_o

Tombs - Gaddige

Tombs – Gaddige

The tree of life - Elephant Corridor

The tree of life – Elephant Corridor

Advertisements

Thottapallay

 

 

 

Thottapallay Kerala: August16,2014DSC00887 DSC00888 DSC00890

Kala’s coffee service

DSC00893 IMG_0240

Off NH 47, 22 kms from Aleppy, towards Quilon & Kottayam is a charming little hamlet where all the colors & shades of the rainbow contribute to the building of homes & cottages. Giant – pink, blue, green, yellow, purple – garish mansions along side simple thatched huts line the waterfront of Kerala’s legendary backwaters. Almost every family has a working member in the Gulf, hence the glow of technicolor in cash.

I am with Kala & her sister at Omkaram, one of the many homestays that dot the lush green countryside. At Rs 1500 a night one has the luxury of a large sea facing room with a terrace –  no less. It is clean & airy & has marble floors & state of the art fittings. Kala’s prawn curry/ rice combo is to die for. As is the Egg roast, a local specialty. And strong freshly brewed coffee to round it off.

This is essentially a fishing village from where a variety of ‘catch’ is exported. Laze around as you will. Cycle the broad traffic less roads. Join in a game of soccer on the beach. Watch the sun rise or set. Enjoy the cool sea breeze with a morning / evening cuppa to the strains of  classical ragas. A sundowner even. (Kerala Govt I hear is contemplating harakiri with plans for complete state wide prohibition)

Complementing the cool & the laid back ,Thottapallay boasts an old British era culvert of indeterminate vintage. It continues in use, the busy ‘Spillover’ bridge that spans the dark inviting waters swarming with catamarans. Take a walk to the other side . It is equally charming

 

 The Spillover bridgeIMG_0253

On the culvertIMG_0262 IMG_0268 IMG_0269

  Fisherman’s coveIMG_0270 IMG_0271 IMG_0272

The Spillover

IMG_0273 IMG_0275 IMG_0276 IMG_0278 IMG_0266 IMG_0239