By Indumathy Sukanya
A weekend at a fancy resort in Coorg means different things to different people. Some may cuddle under a warm quilt with a book and hot cocoa, while others might prefer to slip on their trekking shoes and head out toward the horizon. At The Tamara Coorg, I lived the best of both worlds.
Following a nine-hour drive from the noisy, cluttered Bangalore roads to the lush, green village of Madikeri on the Kodagu Hills, dark circles and fatigue was all I had left. I could barely keep my eyes open and had already made up my mind to hit the sack the moment I checked in. The tour guide zestfully regaled us with the itinerary for the trip as we journalists in the car managed a low grumble in response.
The narrow winding roads led us to the colossal resort that was tucked away neatly within the woods. The air had suddenly become chiller and we could spot clouds hovering over the valley below. On arrival, the resort staff welcomed us with flower garlands, and a hot cup of ‘bella kapi’ (black coffee flavoured with jaggery). We were escorted to our private luxury cottages in emission-free electronic buggies that are used to commute within the resort premises.
Spacious and well furnished, the cottage was compellingly warm, cozy and relaxing. After a fit of fervent photographing and updating my status on Facebook, I gave into an indulgent shower that washed the fatigue away and charged me up for the evening ahead. Freaked out by the fact that I was treading on a hardwood surface that was supported by stilts at 3,700 feet above sea level, for a good day and a half of the trip, I tiptoed around my cottage, careful not to anger the Gods of Gravity.
The restaurant at the resort does not offer room service as an attempt to encourage the guests to take a walk around. Armed with our torchlights and a could-eat-a-horse appetite, we found our way to The Deck a little way uphill. It’s quiet out there, and as you march on, the screeches of insects and your own huffing and puffing is all you hear.
The gracious waiters at The Deck served us hearty Coorgi fare with dishes like Kadambuttu (steamed rice dumplings) and Paaputtu (steamed rice cakes) along with fish, chicken and pork specialties. The Pandhi Curry (pork curry), a local favourite, was a big hit amongst the oink-lovers.
The morning trek to the nearby hilltop, the splashing around at the Chelavara falls and the guided tour of the Nalknad Palace (the hideout of the last Coorgi king Chikka Virarajendra) filled our cameras and mobile phones with the most spectacular photographs. At the Padi Igguthappa Temple, however, we were made to put our cameras away and bow down in front of Lord Subramanya.
A visit to The Verandah, the heritage building that showcases vintage coffee making machinery and a gift shop, gave me a chance to make my own blend of coffee. I mixed 60% of Robusta seeds (for strength) and 40% of Arabica seeds (for flavour) and ground them into fine powder with a little help from the staff.
None of us felt the weekend pass by, and soon, with our goodie-bags filled with coffee, cardamom and loads of memories, it was time to bid adieu to the hills. I took a deep breath of the clean, cool air one last time and cast a wistful glance back at the misty hills before hopping into the waiting car.