We started from Bangalore, pretty early, around 7.30 AM. Seemingly avoiding some of the office traffic, we were soon on some nice highways towards Mysore. The roads all the way to Coorg were spectacular, and made me question if we were still in India 🙂
Around 9AM, we stopped for breakfast at the famous Kamat Lokakurchi hotel. It was splendid. We each had a kadubu (authentic Kannada style) Idli, and Vada, with yummy Sambar. My daughter enjoyed her Idli with some yogurt. The ambiance was rustic, and food was excellent. There was even a small play area that my daughter could enjoy. Bathrooms were decent.
On the way to Coorg, there weren’t too many restaurants serving vegetarian lunch, when we were hungry. We stopped at one called Nakshatra, which was mediocre. The restaurant was clean, and I was able to find rice and yogurt for my daughter there.
About an hour before reaching Coorg, we stopped at the Namdroling Monastery. This is a fully functioning monastery that houses monks, and has giant statues of 3 Buddhas. Though a monastery is supposed to be relaxing, I found it quite the opposite. For one, it was a little hot, since we hadn’t ascended the hills yet. Second, there were a lot of people visiting, which took away from the experience. Third, quite a number of shrines were blocked off, so there wasn’t much to do here. We spent around 20 minutes, walking to the main temple, and looking at the Buddhas inside. Then, we visited some shops outside the temple to buy some trinkets. A bit underwhelming, considering it is a top ranking attraction in Coorg.
Continuing our drive, it was around 3PM when we reached Coorg. A slight drizzle welcomed us. We planned to stop at a coffee and spice plantation first, and our car driver took us to one. It was a small family run plantation. The plantation owner gave us a tour that lasted around 45 minutes, walking us through the thick jungle like farm, pointing our various plants and spices along the way. He would give us a leaf, asking us to smell it and guess the spice. We failed most of the time. We were able to see cardamom, ginger, black/green pepper, cloves, and of course coffee being grown in the cool and wet climate. I had forgotten to take the baby carrier, and the walkway was not stroller friendly, so my daughter switched between walking the mushy trail herself, to me carrying her the rest of the way.
The tour ended with a fresh cup of Coorg coffee, and my daughter playing with their dog!
Driving into Coorg, we were next taken to Raja’s Seat. This is a park with a lookout onto the hills that surround Coorg. Before entering the park, we noticed a toy train that my daughter would enjoy, so we took a small ride in it. The train didn’t really offer any views, but my daughter seemed to have fun, since it went through some tunnels.
After the ride, we walked over to the park and lookout. The park was well maintained, and the lookout was refreshing. Thankfully, it was no longer raining, and we were able to spend some time relaxing and walking around.
We were ready to end the day, so we asked the driver to take us to our homestay, Ajantha Homestay. This place was amazing! It took us around 15 minutes to reach from the main town, since it is up on a hill, but that adds to the serenity. The owners stay on the ground floor, and the B&B was on the first floor. A spacious living room, sitting room, two bedrooms with attached bathrooms, and a kitchen, awaited us. The apartment was equipped with everything you’d need including hot water geysers, towels, kitchen utensils, plates/bowls, drinking water, and even milk for my daughter. The owner was extremely friendly, and I was able to request extra milk for my little one. Because it is a hilly and wet place, there are insects inside the house (the windows are kept open, and you do not need AC), but that’s what you get with a nature stay.
We were too tired to head out for dinner, and decided to order in at one of the restaurants that delivered. Unfortunately, the food was not that great, and we did not eat too much of it. We relaxed the rest of the night, in the cool weather.