Have you been to Coorg yet? Set in Karnataka’s emerald green hills, it’s easily one of the prettiest regions to see in India. And if you haven’t had your Eat, Pray, Love moment yet, Coorg could be the place for it.
Plan for some ‘me time’, but plan to eat and drink well too. The local estates are some of the largest producers of coffee and spices in the country, so there are enough flavours to tease your palate with.
My trip to Coorg was the result of a botched booking. We were room-less, a fact we discovered en route to somewhere else; but since we’d packed our bags, munchies, and my golf club (it’s what my father believes I should carry on all road trips or late nights), we carried on to Coorg instead.
The region is a 260km drive from Bengaluru; and the road, lined with tall, old trees and coffee bushes, is full of blind curves and sharp turns. And unfortunately for my shotgun-riding friend, each bend brought out the Narain Karthikeyan in me.
We reached our first stop, Pollibetta, in the evening, and got over our travel fatigue by kicking off our shoes and watching the sun set over cups of chai. #MuchBliss
On our first full day in the area, we snuck into an estate near our hotel, called Bamboo Resort, for a secret exploration, before returning to the hotel to binge on the most deliciously melt-in-your-mouth mutton curry at the Tata Dining hall (yes, that’s what the restaurant was called). On Day 2, we packed our bags and moved to Madikeri, a pretty town that serves as the district HQ. It’s worth exploring the quaint local shops that sell home-made fruit wines, as well as the plantation estates. Our walk through one, which was more forest than estate, turned into a misadventure when we were pelted with oranges by the estate workers. #EpicFail. We only calmed down after binging on dishes full of pandi curry—the famous local pork curry—at Taste of Coorg (BTW are you noticing the pattern here?).
Madikeri at night is as beautiful as it is during the day. Really. That evening, as we checked into a spooky-looking home stay, we saw the entire town spread out in front of us, all a-shimmer. A friend of ours, a local, took us stargazing some 20km from the town, on a highway that connects the different districts of Coorg. We walked on the highway while flashing our phones to avoid get run over by passing vehicles and eventually came to a stop on the edge of an empty field, all the while counting stars.
Coorg is a getaway of a different kind. Only six hours away from Bengaluru, it’s one of the best drives I’ve taken. The road is safe, and I’m talking from a solo female driver’s point of view, and the people are as warm as the local betel nut wine, which, FYI is more popular than water.
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Photographs by Sindhur Reddy/Independent Eye