April 22, 2004

Walking among clouds... and coming back to reality

Day 3 This was our last day in Coorg and we decided to make most of it. Harini would be coming with us as a guide today and then we would head to Bangalore. That day we planned to visit Talacauvery and then Madekeri and then head back to Bangalore. We wanted to start early but we got slightly delayed since it took some time for Anjali and Mini to reach Harini?s estate. Harini again took them to Orange county for a brief visit since they missed it the first evening. After saying our goodbyes, made our way from Siddapur where we picked up some coffee for friends and family. After that we drove on to Talacauvery. The drive to this place is also very scenic through the winding roads of the ghats. The jeep ambled along pretty sturdily without giving us any hassles. Our ears started popping as we climbed higher and higher and finally we reached the place. We took a brief stop at Bhagamandala where the three rivers Kanike, Kauvery and Sujyothi met and carried on to Talacauvery. This is the place where the Cauvery river originated. We went higher up climbing some 360 steps to the top of the mountain where the actual source of the river was. Imagine having the source of the river at the source of the mountain. Harini told me that no one knew what path it took to reach the tank where the water actually bubbled up. 17th October is an auspicious day when the Cauvery river bubbles up at this place. The top of the mountain is left bare and nothing has been constructed since they were afraid to disrupt the flow of the water which was quite mysterious. The steps that led to the mountain was also very carefully constructed so as to not disturb the flow of water in any way. According to a myth the little pool of water at the top of the mountain should not overflow or else the river would dry up so whenever there was excessive rain? and there was overflowing of water, the people would be going there and lessen the water flow by taking out the excess water by buckets? The top of the mountain is beautiful viewpoint and on a clear day one can see the Arabian sea on the other side of the mountain range. When we went it was somewhat cold and there was a little mist but as a whole we had good weather. The clouds were floating by and we felt like we were in movie... where there is a song and dance is going and there is smoke around the actors... he he !! jokes apart it was nice to be standing there and just observing. As we came down the ghats, we stopped to buy honey. It is advisable to buy your honey from these little shops which are located in strategic points as you come down the ghats. If you know Kannada you can also bargain to give you a good price. You will get processed and non processed honey. Processed honey will be bottled by Honey Society while the non processed ones will be in normal bottles. After you come down the ghats you will get flat land where you will see some guys selling some cucumbers. Harini made us stop and have those cucumbers which were really out of this world. They were fresh and succulent and if you are a cucumber freak do not forget to stop by and check it out. Well we were quite hungry by that time given the amount of climbing up and down we had to do and we were keen on having Pandi Curry (Coorgi pork curry) and rice. It was almost 3:00 and we were running late. Harini guided us to Madekeri and then to Hotel East End which was famous for Pandi Curry. Unfortunately, it was late and we were informed that they no longer made that and suggested that we try Hotel West End. By now we were all famished but we thought that it would be an insult to leave Coorg and not have Pandi Curry. We were quite hungry and decided we would go anywhere to taste the food which coorg was famous for. So we drove down to West End Bar and Restaurant and had a late lunch there along with pork fry, pandi curry rice and vegetarians had some roti and alu mutter. We also sipped a few beers to go with the delicious lunch. Well friends, as far as this place goes, it was ok but I would not advise you to try this if you are a bunch of girls or if you are with family. If you are a sizeable group who is not fussy about the ambience you can try this place. Despite its shabby look and feel, the food served to us was good. Hotel East End is a decent hotel to try in Madekeri and they also provide lodging along with good food. That day was a Sunday and another thing to remember when you are driving around Coorg on a Sunday is to drive carefully since Sunday is shandy day, a day when most of the estate workers after getting their come out to town to make merry with lots of liquor and they walk all over the road . So small town or big Sunday is a day when you have to drive carefully to avoid hitting any drunken person going about his way. The crowd is aggressive and in a mood to party and be wild. On finishing a sumptuous lunch we started our drive to Bangalore. It was 4:45 pm. We took a different route via Kushalnagar, Hunsur, Yelave ( take a left there) to Srirangapatna and then Bangalore, thereby avoiding Bangalore. It was a scenic route where the roads were flanked by banyan and eucalyptus trees. The road was good with and we did a good speed. After taking a break at Shivali Restaurant somewhere in the highway to Bangalore, Harini decided to ride pillion on the bullet too and before we could say anything, Ambar was off assuming that we were behind them as usual. Just at Hunsur junction, we took a ride and as we were chit chatting, I realized that the bike was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly we doubted that the bike went some other way and we would be lost? because our guide Harini knew the way and we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would be going via Mysore. Just when we thought that the drive was going so well, we all fell silent hoping that we would meet up with Ambar and Harini. We were supposed to take a deviation at Yelave junction to Srirangapatna? iI was praying hard that we see them because one, it was dark and two Harini did not have a helmet. And surprise of surprise we were on the right road and they were waiting for us. Seems that they speeded down the smooth road at more than 100kmph with Harini praying for her life but not getting scared at all (thats what she says). Anyway we all heaved a sigh of relief as we met them and continued on our way. And the conversation was back at full speed... ha ha !! Lesson learnt : If driving in a group please wait at all the major turns for the rest of the drivers/riders. We thought we missed our group since we did not see them turn at the junction and that almost made the end of the trip somewhat uncomfortable. But I guess lady luck with us that day. From the cool mountains, we were back to the familiar highway and we all were very exhausted cutlets by and wanted to just crash off.. Reached Bangalore by 10:00 and then after dropping everybody off (which included Mini not being to find her home at night and us driving round and round and then losing the bullets .. but now we were in familar ground so we did not bother much and decided to meet the bike at a common point) we reached home at 12:00pm and crashed off taking with us very fun memories of this beautiful place filled with nature and very kind people. We could not thank Harini enough for being such a lovely and informative guide about her place and also Anjali, Mini, Gokul, Ambar for being such a great and cool company. They kept the group entertained and made the trip a memorable trip. Learnt a lot from the travellers and on the whole it was a very interesting trip. Tip: Its good if you are travelling with native friends but if you are a first timer... you could go though Travel Coorg You can book your lodging through this site which is very efficient Karnataka Tourism And if you google you will find lots of links to Coorg. Now it is back to banging on the keyboard and going nuts !!! he he !!