Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trip to Coorg - The Scotland of India (17th - 20th August 2012)

The long weekend in the month of August grabbed every one's attention. All the travel-lovers were busy exploring places to be covered. My office team, which I consider the best to have work with, started planning out too. In a 12 member team, 9 of us completely agreed to roam any place and spend some quality time!! Before I start off, I would go with a little introduction of each of my team members to make it easier to imagine when I address each of them. Thanks to Maithily for being the source of this idea in my mind..:)
So, here is my,  the coolest team :
Sowmya, Aatish, Maithily, Suresh (my manager), Archi (the Bhai), Shiva, Me :P, Surojit and Prakash...(order : left to right)
Among all of us, initially the most enthusiastic person about planning the trip was Aatish, so right from deciding the destination, to hotels, places to visit and budget everything was left on him. He probably dint work for the entire last week while he was planning for the trip :P. Everyone was comfortable with the idea for covering Coorg and Mysore. A land of chivalry and pride, a life of solitary splendour, rich food and spices, previously known as Kodava, Madekiri town, one of the favorite destinations in Karnataka, is in short termed Coorg. Smell the coffee, taste the oranges, flavour with cardamom and savor the honey. Popularly termed as the Scotland of India. While Mysore city is known as the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka.
In one of the weekly meetings we discussed the itinerary of the trip :P. Aatish played major role in putting final list of places to visit based on reviews, shortlisting the home-stay/resort to stay, booking tickets etc keeping all the details such as covering maximum places and proximity in mind. Well done to you :-)  We also got one day off from our product manager, which encouraged us to cover as much as we could and added an official team-trip flavor.

Right when the plan was full and final, tickets were booked, we got to know that some of the places were flooded because of rain and tourists were not able to cover the local city. We still kept our hopes alive and decided to not cancel the tickets until something unavoidable happens. To our good luck, weather at Coorg totally was with us for those 3 days and we dint happen to encounter any difficulties except few small ones without which the trip would not have been full-fledged.

Day 0 : 16th August..the beginning of the journey..
Not to our surprises, everyone was there at the planned stop except Shiva. Shiva reached right at the moment the bus had arrived and we all dint miss any chance of scolding him :-) Everyone was excited and full of enthusiasm. We took our seats, me sitting next to Archi..the 2 smallest packages of our group :P and Aatish roaming around to get one aisle seat, but he body stood up for him, and it was just a beginning :P

Driver played one telugu movie named, Oy!..And we all somehow found it interesting.We discussed it with those of few who knew telugu and tried to understand as much as we could. By the time movie was about to end, I had slept off..But I finished the story the next morning with Sowmya's help and might be, had I known telugu, I had not slept. After all a cute romantic movie it was.. :-)

Day 1 : 17th August
We reached Mysore. Found our tempo traveler, 12 seater van, spacious enough to dance as well :P , waiting for us. The driver uncle seemed gentleman and he continued his impression throughout the trip. We reached hotel, got ready for the day. It might be rare to hear anything like this, but all the 4 girls got ready way too before the 5 guys. :P And as per the guys' group, Shiva was responsible again :P Meanwhile we girls dint waste a single minute and had a small photo-shoot and a round of routine gossips ;-) . Everyone was so hungry by the time we got out. We quickly had our breakfast, where Sowmya+Aatish+Shiva continued to fight with each other, providing us with live comedy-circus..:P and then we started off for our first destination known as "Golden Temple" or "Buddhist Monastery". Everyone seemed so pleased having reached there. Since the driver was known to the place, he asked us to keep our shoes in the van itself. Looking at the Gate only, it appeared to me something really ancient and unique in it's own way. There were monks in their yellow+brown attire, busy watering plants, taking residues of Pooja from one place to another,cleaning the surroundings and talking to people. This place had foreigners as well. We walked with the mass and reached one very big hall, from outside of which we could hear these set of monks offering prayers. From outside apart from a big bell in the beginning it looked one of it's many kinds out there, but the moment we entered the hall our eyes were wide-opened  analyzing the pattern and way with which the hall was decorated. In the front-center a very huge statue of Buddha was kept, besides 2 more huge statues.The graffiti and the architecture kept us amazed.
We were lucky enough to hear them offering prayers.They were sitting in long queues, facing the center of the hall and having some books opened in front of them, which was written in either Tibetan or Japanese script.
Though you cannot make out the lyrics they were chanting, it had a healing touch in it. Never heard something of that sort and rhythm before. My friend Shiva and Surojit took this music from here and throughout the journey they made us laugh uncontrollably with them mimicking it with obviously their own manipulations in it ;-). We sat there for a while, letting the prayers occupy our minds and heal them.

Next destination was "Nisargadhama Island" formed by river Kaveri. We could see rabbits and deer only. Our willingness to see some elephants was let down by off seasonal issues. Though we had a better plan for that one.."coming soon :)" !  We walked on a bridge, attractively built to cross the Kaveri river.

            Saw some artistically painted broken
         tree trunks, huts and the bank of river
Kaveri. Only Shiva, Surojit, Prakash and our Archi Bhai dared to jump over the gates and walk around the bank. We spent around 2 hours here and then comes shopping part...Hahaha..!! :P

Yes, we will never get bored with shopping or let say just window shopping wherever we go..We, the Girls!! :P After spending sometime there we started for Coorg. It was around 4pm and we were really hungry by then. We dint have our lunch but still we were never tired to sing and dance in the van. Reached on dhaba-cum-restaurants , had decent lunch and again on our way to Coorg.

Reached Coorg and then our home-stay location.Entire city was covered with fog...Not only the city, the journey to Coorg too was foggy and a new experience in it's own way.Based on reviews we had decided to take home-stay for 2 days and spend last day in a far away village resort! The name of our home-stay was Alpen-Glow, whose tagline says, "A home away from home in Coorg"! It was a nice and a decent place. The husband-wife (Ananth - Jayashree) were very welcoming and soft spoken. The owner was chief editor of Shakti New Agency, one of the best in Coorg and that's how Jayashree  impressed us showing their home decorated with achievements and awards and paintings made by Ananth. The house was compact, each and every corner had some decorative piece kept and all the walls were painted with different colors. We freshened up, and went to Coorg's famous market known as chauk for shopping again :P This time it was more of buying gifts for your closed ones and definitely you mother :P.Lets see how..Each of us ended up buying Coorg's famous spices..!! :D Had dinner, though it was difficult to find any restaurants open after 9pm, we managed to get one. It was raining all the time and now we were tired after having traveled so far..Back to home-stay..dying to hit the sack..!! Btw we dint do that too immediately, we were laughing recollecting the whole day loudly, but as per the home-stay rules, we were not supposed to make any kind of noise after 10:30pm because Coorg city's people sleep so early..we were made to obey the rules and then we fell asleep..How boring..they should visit Hyderabad once ;-)

Day 2 : 18th August
We started early morning after the complimentary breakfast of set dosas and some rice noodles..(I am not sure what it was..:P) the authentic south food cooked by Jayashree! There was a slight change in our plan and we went for "Bhagamandala" first. It is a pilgrimage place situated near the Triveni Sangam of river Kaveri which is joined by two tributaries , river Kannike and river Sujyoti. We were not allowed to take photographs there but if I can just try to describe, it was also some what like the Monastry we had visited. We could find monks around forwarding Pooja ki thali so that we can take blessings from the God. There were idols of Ganapati and different incarnations of Lord Vishnu in very small sized temples. You have to bend to see them. Bhagamandala too has a history associated from the times of Tipu Sultan and is a famous tourist place. The triveni sangam adds to it's significance. Next to it, we headed towards "Talacauvery". Talacauvery is about eight kilometres from Bhagamandala.The name Talakaveri implies the source of the river Cauvery.It is about 4187 feet situated on the Brahmagiri hill slopes. This place too had a religious significance and apart from it the whole panoramic view from the top is mesmerizing.
Today also it was raining on and off and this place was really foggy and full of tourists. Even though it was an off season to visit Coorg, there were many tourists because of the long weekend. We had to climb 300 stairs to reach at the top. Downstairs there was the main origin point of Kaveri river, and there was a long queue of pilgrims praying for the well beings by throwing coins in the origin point. We all too did that. For a moment, I was disconnected from the outer word and connected to the purity of the ambiance. You feel a new power flowing through your blood and an encouragement to climb up the stairs.The rain was getting heavier and the wind was blowing fast. It was difficult for me control my umbrella as well and it was becoming colder. I was in my jacket, partly drenched and was feeling cold but not enough to stop me for climbing. How often you get to do something crazy like this? I did not miss it..None of us did :-) After reaching the top the weather was even worse, but we all enjoyed that too...Keeping your arms open in rain at the top of a mountain, opposite to the flow of the wind and closing your eyes..that was the experience usually we see only Shahrukh Khan posing with full emotions in movies, it was a real one this time :P Sorry Sowmya...I was just giving a reference.."#She is a big SRK fan" :D

When it is raining and you are done getting drenched, what is the first thing that comes to your mind??? Mere dimag mein to sirf aur sirf pakode aate hai :P :P  And I guess everyone's stomach felt the same. On our way down the hills, we had this desire come true :P there was a huge rush, we had to wait a lot but never mind, anything for garama-garam pakodas, and yes yes as Sowmya says - Mirchi-Bhajji :D But I guess  one person dint feel as hungry as we were then..Our tour guide, Aatish ji..uska to shayad F5 se hi man bhar gaya tha..what say?? ;)
Next destination was "Abbi Waterfalls". It took us a lot of time to reach there because of heavy traffic jam, but it was worth it. The first waterfall I have seen, and to have stood in front of it gives you the authority to claim that you have seen something heavenly beautiful. It was windy here too and the wind was mixed with water drops from the fall..
And then came the last place to be covered for the day known as "Raja's Seat"..This place is known as so because ruling kings used to come here all the way from Mysore to have views of sunset and sunrise from this garden. Isn't it amazing..that too if you think, back then?? Since it was drizzling all the time, we could not have the pleasure of capturing sunset but we did spend some good time over there. You can see the whole town covered with fog, wet roads and clouds differentiating in color from dark to light.
After a small round of photo-session we headed back to the town, all wet and shivering with cold..Still except a few, rest of us went for second round of shopping. Gifts were still left to be bought, and you are not allowed without gifts back at home, so what else will you do.. Doesn't matter if you are wet :P, you have to make it..Also, don't forget, shops close so early..:-(
Luckily this time, all of us were done with gifts..!!

After a bit of difficulty in finding any restaurant open during night time, we found a good place a little away from the market. As suggested by our driver, it was the best place we had dined at so far in Coorg, but we had to wait for sooooooo long..But jaisa ki intazaar ka fal meetha hota hai, we enjoyed our food and finally back to our home-stay, in our beds keeping our voice-level very low!

Day 3 : 19th August
Once again complimentary breakfast..and once again I am confused here with what was the name of the dish..:O who cares, as far as it was tasty :P.
While leaving Jayashree gifted girls with artificial roses and plates and guys with snacks. That was touching and made us forget that 'Dont make noise' instruction, which was really difficult for us to maintain. :P

Today we were on our way to one of the most exciting part of our trip. "River-Rafting"..After elephant rides , (covered seeing elephants here :)  we were all set to raft..Among all of us only Shiva and Maithily knew swimming. Initially I was a little skeptical about risking my life, when Aatish told me that they make you sign some paper before you do this, but after seeing people I wasn't thinking about yes/no, I just had to do it..Also later I came to know there was no such formality of signing papers as I was told x-(..may be not here :P After waiting for long, our raft was there..we dint even get helmets because of rafts and respective accessories being stuck in huge traffic jams, but we decided to not wait anymore and go ahead. We screamed that golden-temple's mantra to push rafts with full power and we jumped into the water (thanks to Aatish and Shiva for taking the initiative) completely relying our lives on life-jackets.Looking up in the sky without any support, all alone in the middle of the water, when you don't have any threads attached from the raft , was the one thing I would never forget. It took out the water phobia out of me completely. Obviously with life-jackets :P Later I even jumped into the water without any thread support.. \m/ As Aatish told, I dint come up for few seconds and he had started panicking..thank you or the concern..haha :P But I was enjoying it, inside water, the buoyancy force and then the sky......!! Our rafters were also very nice to us, and made us do all sorts of fun, jumping in and our of raft, water splashing, screaming mantras, defeating other rafts, rapids, rotating with rafts inside water and facing the water waves! was truly amazing..we couldn't have asked for more!!
This was the last event we were supposed to have today, and then head back to the village resort to spend some lite and quality time with the group. But the excitement of the day dint end here...On our way to the resort we faced many difficulties. The biggest of all was, we were disconnected from the outer world, there was no network and above it, the roads were very narrow. There were rocks on one side and steep valley on the other. It was one sided and our van could not even take a U-turn. We had to ask a lot of people to find out the location. But the whole journey was very scary for all of us. It had rained the last 2 days,luckily not today and it was about to become dark. Because of heavy rush in the city, all the resorts and the hotels were full, we dint have any other option but to search for it. The driver tried his best and we could finally reach the location.
There were 2 huts. One was for us and in the other one another group was already staying. There was a waterfall, tree-swing, bonfire setup, nets, ladders to climb onto them and a kitchen as well :P After getting relieved of a bit of tension which was there in every one's mind except Shiva :P, we decided to have bonfire and ask everyone to perform something. Me (Bollywood), Sowmya (Classical :O) and Maithily (English...ahhaa..!!) sang, Archi danced, Suresh and Prakash acted, followed by Me and Archi taking their roles (that was impromptu, but fun :P) , Surojit did mimicry of everyone in our team (khoob bhalo baabumushaii  :D) and Shiva too...We started playing cards, there was loud music being played by the other group..It was raining a little so we decided to sit inside and continue the games. New games were discovered, played and enjoyed thoroughly. Some became "JOKERS" :P and some became "DONKEYS/MONKEYS" pick any :P This continued for hours and then back to our cozy cozy beds, under blankets..!! Just so that we don't forget the incident followed, I am not yet done with writing, it is yet not "ENOUGH" (Hope you guys got it) ;-) [#internal joke..only for those who were in the trip :P]

Day 4 : 20th August
Next morning, all set again..we were a little lazier today to get ready but we had to start for Mysore so that we could cover most of it.  And once..once...once again, I don't know the name of the dish we had in the breakfast !! :P We figured out a different route with the help of the villagers to reach the town safely. After we had reached main road, we started to dance and sing team never gets tired, either it is work or fun ;-)

Reached Mysore's famous Sandal wood factory, spend some time there among amazing wood-works and paintings..I was craving to paint then and there..those things were really wroth appreciation. Next was Mysore palace. Since many of us had already seen it, they decided to stay in the wood factory while Me, Archi, Surojit and Prakash visited the palace. As much as the palace looks beautiful from outside the interior of the palace is worth a visit for its spacious halls, paintings and architectural beauty.
After this we had a long way to cover till Bangalore. After the lunch we all were tired.We did not realize the tiredness until it was about to end. Almost everyone slept at different intervals on our way. We reached Bangalore by 8:30pm. Couldn't meet any of my friends because of the delay, originally we were supposed to reach there by 6pm. Anyway we roamed around the market, passed out time waiting for the bus meanwhile Aatish and Archi Beta ji left us for their respective friends :P..Never-mind ;) Had dinner and then off to the return journey. Everyone almost instantly slept, irrespective of some movie being played in the bus. I woke up the next morning, and we were in Hyderabad.

It has been almost a week, we people are again busy in our routines, but the hangover has not yet gone. All of us are flipping through the pics now and then, commenting, talking about and narrating the small and funny incidences which occurred during the trip. As one of us said, "Everything was there in this trip- Enjoyment, fighting (ruthna manana :P ), adventure (some wanted and some unwanted), bonfire and the most important one getting to know the other side of each and every person" and many other things. 

Though I have already said thanks, once again a huge thanks to all of you. This trip could not have been such a fun without you. And lastly I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings, the intention was definitely was not so... :-) Though there are many things yet unspoken, I guess it is finally "ENOUGH" now...

Few lines from  "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. 
I hope you had the time of your life...

Courtesy : Maithily :)
We'll plan something real soon...till then keep enjoying!!




  1. .. makes one want to pack bags and leave for teh place immediately!

  2. Quite a lively narration... indeed enjoyed reading this...
    keep up the writing spirit!!! :-)

  3. Certainly, after reading this, I will be touring Brahmagiri hills once to get the misty view from top :-)

  4. Really a nice read! the whole trip memory got brushed up again!
    Regarding me not hungry during pakodas tym.. toh dear i wz d most hungry persn dat tym.. itna ki main khud pakodas banane lag gaya tha if u remember! :P agar pet khali hai toh F5 bhi apna kaam nhi karti! :D
    and regarding ur jump into water, well dat was obviously 'thank you' and not at all concern! m thinkin tujhe ye doubt aa bhi kaise skta hai!! :D

  5. That seems to be an awesome journey... :-)
    Nice explanation with amazing pics... :-)

  6. Great ! You have documented the whole trip :) Keep it up.

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  9. When it comes to places to visit in Coorg, there's so much that it can't be contained in a list that might be labelled as Coorg tourist places. Abbey Falls make for one of the must visit places in Coorg, while there are some of the most gorgeous sunset points and more too. Explore all best places to visit in Coorg.

  10. Beautiful pictures and an interesting post on Coorg. Its called the "Scotland of the East" and has many beautiful places to visit. Its an ideal vacation spot and check Coorg places to visit for more details.