Thereâ??s a particularly untethered feeling you get as you head to a vacation when youâ??re in between jobs â?? that explains my feeling as we drove towards Coorg, right in the middle of the darn week, on a lovely Wednesday morning! It was a standard drive and reaching Mysore Road (from Sarjapur Road) was the most difficult part of the journey; all across JP Nagar and on the Kanakapura junction, there are enough diversions that can drive you nuts. Add to it a 6 year old son whose travel sickness starts precisely 25 minutes into the drive â?? sure shot signs of a stuttering start.
But, Iâ??ve seen all this â?? in every single drive out of Bangalore. So, we moved on, after we finally landed on Mysore road, from some vague, long, winding path. Bored with Shivalli and Coffee Day, we went to Barista for breakfast…but catching glimpses of Shilpa Shettyâ??s wedding videos on TV9, so early in the morning in the TV there wasnâ??t really a good thing.
We crossed all the usual suspects post that session â?? Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya, Srirangapatnaâ?¦and here, according to our route, we took a right towards Ranganthittu. This is not a highway, but the roads are adequate, and joins the Mysore â?? Hunasur road at a place called Elival. Then we crossed Hunasur, Anechowkur, Tithimathi and reached Devarapura, where our home stay, Sagar Estate (better known as The Nest) was. The home stay is about 2 kilometers inside and through some dense greenery.
Itâ??s a quaint, cozy looking place. And, I strongly believe that a home stay is always about people, not the location. But this one not only had great location â?? secluded, extraordinarily silent and peaceful â?? but also wonderful people. Sagar and Asha were fabulous hosts and the fact that we were the only guests at that time (it being middle of the week!) helped too, I suppose. The rooms are large and very comfortable and the place opens to a huge farm with generous greenery all around. Every single flower you see in the collection of photos below are from the estate!
The weather was rather hot and unlike what I had experienced back in October 2001, when I had come here â?? it was misty, drizzly and cool, back then. Sagar told us that it had rained quite heavily in the first week of November and that unusual spell of rain is causing all these climatic shifts. The nights were very pleasant, though.
The place has 6 dogs, all of different breeds. The ones that are let free included Vinny, a bright brown and amazingly pally Dachshund and Minty, a light brown Pomeranian, while the rest (bigger ones) were kept inside large sheds for the benefit of worried guests â?? Sagar did mention that most foreigners who come there insist that all dogs are left free. Minty, in particular, is one sweet darling and behaved more like a guardian angel, insisting on coming with us as we went to our room or sleeping outside our room and scratching the room door at 7 am, to wake us up!
The food was fabulous â?? to say the least. We were treated to fresh-everything, from fresh butter to fresh orange jelly, made from oranges grown in the farm. The papittu, rice roti and the assorted desserts Asha made for us were incredible.
Thereâ??s nothing much to do at the farm and that was the best part â?? it really helps when you sit, doing virtually nothing and try to clear your brain of the gunk civilization, back in Bangalore, has filled it with.
The usual, touristy spots in Coorg were largely disappointing, thanks to the unusually hot weather â?? Thalacauvery was the most heart-breaking, since the last time we saw it (in 2001), it was brilliantly foggy and beautiful. The Namdroling Monastery in Kushal Nagar was perhaps the best and the still-water rafting outside Dubare Elephant camp was functionally adequate for my son to go haywire. The elephant camp itself was a joke however â?? the time we reached, at about 3:30 pm, there were 2 desperate elephants waiting for their late lunch and it was still being cooked by equally desperate people inside a dark and dingy kitchen.
This is definitely not the Coorg I remember so vividly from my earlier trip, 8 years ago. That was a lovely hilly place, with more-than-occasional drizzle and dense fog, for the effect. This time, the place was sunny, bright and largely dry. My most cherished memory was just sitting outside our room, watching time crawl by and reading Douglas Adamsâ?? Last Chance to See, that I had specially ordered from Flipkart for this trip, almost a fortnight ago and I had so carefully hid it from myself, else I finish reading it long before the trip started.
Douglas writes about a couple of near-extinct (now-largely-extinct) species in the book, as he watches in close quarters, with helplessness, the last surviving members of rare species like the Komodo Dragon lizard, Kakapo and the Aye-aye. It was a strange coincidence, since Sagar was lamenting the fact that global warming was real and close, when he watches the sun shine so bright and hot in the end of November; he was born in the same farm and says that the heat is only increasing every winter. So, is Coorg, as we know it, on its way to extinction? Going by the devastating rains in Ooty in the last 30 days and a viewing of Roland Emmerichâ??s disaster flick 2012, I believe so. Maybe not so fast, as Roland would have us believe, but slowly and surely. And it is rather sad.
On that solemn note, I strongly recommend The Nest (Sagar Estate) to anyone who wants to relax in Coorg. Just put your feet up and chill out outside your room in the home stay and youâ??re bound to ruminate over the humongous pointlessness of city life; only to be rudely interrupted by your son with, â??Papa, you promised me burgers at McDonald’s on Mysore Road, on our way backâ?¦donâ??t forget!â??. That puts the relaxed vacation in perspective, with a bang.
Here are some snaps from the trip!