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Posts Tagged ‘Coorg’

Here is a quick attempt to share our experiences with the various resorts, homestays that we encounter during our many travels. If you have recently visited a resort and would like to share your experience, feel free to write to us at brian@greatescapes.co.in

Traditional map of Coorg district also known as Kodagu

Traditional map of Coorg district also known as Kodagu which is 250kms from Bangalore

A few weeks back, we managed to get the old gang together and booked a few rooms at the newly opened Club Mahindra Resort at Virajpet in Coorg. Coorg is one of the most visited tourist destinations in South India for its thick vegetation, natural beauty and rich coffee estates. Club Mahindra members get preference but non-members can book this resort too.

This swank new property is located about 15 kms outside the town of Virajpet surrounded by coffee estates and perched on hill at an incline. The lobby is located right at the top to give you a 180 degree view of the valley.

Lobby at Club Mahindra, Virajpet

With constant rains and two infants traveling with us, we managed to reach the property at around 5pm which is about 275kms from Bangalore. That was a good 9 hour drive from Bangalore which would ideally take 6 hours. Patches of the road are in bad shape once you take the detour from the Mysore – Madikeri highway but manageable. The property however was a sight for sore eyes and is very well laid out with cottages and studio apartments tucked away on one side.

Cottages at Club Mahindra, Virajpet

Cottages at Club Mahindra, Virajpet

We got lucky to be housed in the first cottage complex which meant minimum walking distance to the restaurant and entertainment centre. Yes, they have a fully furnished entertainment centre to engage both the young and the old with games like carom, table tennis, chess, air hockey along with special shows for kids during weekends.

The most important part of our holiday is food and clean accommodation and this place lives up to its reputation. All meals are buffet styled with the entire food package (breakfast, lunch and dinner) working out to about Rs 1200 – 1300 which is decent considering the huge spread they offer. We also loved their dedicated kids section where special food is offered to children in colorful cutlery. A la carte options are also available if you do not believe in buffets.

Outside seating at the restaurant

Outside seating at the restaurant in Club Mahindra, Virajpet

The cottages are spacious with a living cum kitchenette stocked with utensils, refrigerator, coffeemaker and a flat screen TV. The living room comes with a dining table and a sofa cum bed and the bedroom is also well appointed with a common balcony. This is where we spent most of our time socializing with friends or just lazing around admiring the greenery outside. (Do note that their club house is under construction and hence there is a barricade put up which kinda obstructs the view. But this should be sorted in a few months.)

Sofa cum bed in the living room

Sofa cum bed in the living room

Overall we had a relaxing time at the Club Mahindra resort with courteous staff who are always smiling. This is one property worth visiting if you are looking for some peaceful time surrounded by green cover. Non-members are charged between Rs 6800 – Rs 9000 per night depending on the time of the year and the type of accommodation. Use this link to know more about the property – http://www.clubmahindra.com/our-resorts/club-mahindra-virajpet-coorg/

You can book online via Makemytrip or booking.com but do plan in advance as there is heavy demand during weekends.

Main lobby with restaurant and entertainment area

Main lobby with restaurant and entertainment area

Greatescapes score for Club Mahindra Resort, Virajpet: 8.5/10

your escapist,

Brian

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Happened to meet some of the old boys recently and decided to do an impromptu trip to Coorg. So with a few t-shirts, a jacket and fully loaded camera we headed out of Bangalore at about 11.30pm on friday nite as we had a lot of miles to cover. We had two designated drivers on our way up while the other two slept and switched roles the next day.

Coorg mountain range

Coorg mountain range

With a brief stop for pepsi and french fries at the new 24hr Mc Donalds on the Mysore highway, we were back on the road. After having to take a few U turns on the outer ring rd in Mysore we were finally back on Hunsur rd towards Madikeri (We took the mysore ring rd as its dangerous to take the Srirangapatna to Hunsur rd shortcut at nite). This road is in excellent condition upto Kushal nagar after which we had to navigate thru the pot holes until we reached Madikeri at 5am. We decided to move on to our first destination Talacauvery and reached the mist covered peak by 6.

Talacauvery Entrance early morning

Talacauvery entrance early morning

View from the pond at Talacauvery

View from the pond at Talacauvery

With constant drizzle and mist covering this whole place, we didn’t have much choice but to sit inside the car and wait for the temple gates to open. By 7.30am we had freshened up and ready to enter the temple to offer a brief prayer to the river Cauvery in its purest form.

Abbe Falls in Madikeri, Coorg

Abbe Falls in Madikeri, Coorg

We soon got back to the nearest town Bhagamandala for some hot breakfast and managed to find this small hotel which served hot iddli’s and puri’s. After a hot cup of coffee in the freezing temperature we returned towards Madikeri town and continued towards Abbe falls which is about 7kms beyond. With the heavy downpour this waterfall was quite full and made for a good photo opportunity.

After some more hot tea at a local stall we got back to Madikeri town for a proper meal at the Mayura Valley View hotel but without the view as it was completely covered by mist. We had a sumptuous meal at this restaurant which is currently under renovation and continued on our journey towards Somwarpet. The road became narrow as we went past Somwarpet towards Shanthalli and Kundhalli to reach our destination the Palli Hill Homestay.

This is a 40 yr old traditional coorgi house which is slightly renovated with attached bathrooms for 2 of their bedrooms and is used to host travelers looking for a homely experience. The friendly owner stays at another property within the same compound and is always available. Our one nite stay here was really special with awesome home cooked food and the company of this coorgi family.

Mallahalli Falls, Coorg

Mallahalli Falls, Coorg

Another view of the majestic Mallahalli falls in Coorg

Another view of the majestic Mallahalli falls in Coorg

Early next morning after a wonderful breakfast, we decided to visit the not so famous Mallahalli Falls which is about 3kms from this homestay. Our poor WagonR managed to get us half way after which we had to trek to this falls due to its terrain. After trekkin for 1.5kms we came to a clearing from where we could see this majestic falls and its tremendous flow for almost 2 – 3 kms downstream. We just sat there in the rain appreciating this view until a few leeches attacked us. Another quick photo session and we began our journey back to our car.

Hot lunch awaited us back at the homestay but our car had taken a hit on the gear shaft which was stuck only in 1st gear. So we quickly packed our bellies, thanked our hosts and headed towards Somwarpet slowly. This was another adventure in the making as most of the repair shops were shut being a Sunday.

Nati koli (Local chicken) take shelter in the rain at a village near Somwarpet

Nati koli (Local chicken) take shelter in the rain at a village near Somwarpet

Guess we got lucky that weekend and found this workshop who stayed open just for us and got us back on the road after 5 hrs of grueling repairs. We had to be back in Blr before 4am as one of us had an early morning flight to catch. So with a solid dinner at Kushal Nagar it was non stop driving until we reached home by 2am. We learnt quite a few lessons in this trip but overall we have a lot more memories to cherish.

Quick Facts:

Route – Bangalore – Mysore – Periyapatna – Bylekuppe – Koppa – Kushal Nagara – Cauvery Nishadharma – Hosakote – Suntikoppa – Madikeri- Abey Falls-(40) Bhagamandala – Talacauvery – (48) Madikeri – (40) Somwarpet – (8kms) – Palli Hill Stay – (41kms) Kushalnagar – Hunsur – Srirangapatna – Bangalore

Distance Covered – 730kms

Average Mileage – 14.5kms/ltr (even after driving in 1st gear for 30kms)

Fuel used – 50 ltrs

No of days – 3 nights & 2 days

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It was a trip to a home stay at Srimangala (close to Iruppu falls), Coorg. We were travelling through the beautiful Nagarahole forest (Rajiv Gandhi National Park) and though we did not venture into the forest and kept pretty much to the motorable road – we did have hopes of sighting one of those big cats that had eluded us on our earlier trip to Bandipur!

About 10 odd kilometers into the park and surprise! We got to see a pair of sparkling eyes. But alas! it was a rather shy Indian Giant Squirrel also known as the Malabar Squirrel. (http://www.thewebsiteofeverything.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=311 & http://www.care4nature.org/wildindia/squirrel.htm ) These animals are actually equally rare to spot and I was glad that I was able to click them before they disappeared in to the high canopy of the forest.

Giant Malabar Squirrel at Nagarhole forest

Giant Malabar Squirrel at Nagarhole forest

These beautiful squirrels grow up to 3 feet in length –and just their tails are around 2 feet long. They can leap a distance of about 6 meters or more. We spent a cool 10 minutes seeing them scampering around displaying their agility. It wasn’t a Tiger but it was sure a treat.

malabar_squirel_2

The rest of the drive was uneventful and we sighted nothing but some Spotted Deer and a lone Bison at a considerable distance –in fact some of us even ended up debating whether it was a buffalo or a bison 🙂

We finally reached the beautiful home stay at Srimangala that was our destination and were treated to a sumptuous coorgi meal (chicken curry, poputtu, nuputtu, mango curry, mutton dry etc) prepared by the couple who owned the place. The heavy meal, the lovely misty weather and the sight of the snug bamboo cottages had us heading straight for an afternoon siesta snuggled under the warm blankets.

The evening started with some piping hot coffee and we took some time taking in the beautiful scenery that lay in front of our cottages. The temperature had dipped further with a light spell of rain and the owners lit us a nice toasty bonfire – absolutely ideal for a relaxing evening with friends!

The next day we rose nice and early to explore the estate. A view point with bamboo benches amidst a canopy of trees seemed just right for a romantic rendezvous – and this inspired one of our pals to spend the better part of the morning sitting there under an umbrella, engaged in a marathon phone conversation with his fiancée.

Iruppu Falls in South Coorg

Iruppu Falls in South Coorg

The rest of us were a bit more adventurous and tried our hand at rafting in the small lake nearby. A visit to the famous Iruppu falls post another scrumptious meal wrapped up the trip.

Typical Coorgi Home

Typical Coorgi Home

The weekend was a complete stress buster and couldn’t have gone better. In fact, my 2 year old enjoyed the experience so much that she didn’t want to go back to Bangalore 🙂 – and neither did we!

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With New Year around the corner, everyone is scrambling to find the
ultimate location to welcome the new year.

We at Great Escapes bring to you the top five hotspots from South
India to celebrate the New Year based on the number of requests
received by our travelers.

Top 5 Destinations to visit this New Year – 2009
1. Masinagudi, Tamil Nadu – This quiet little town is on the top spot
for its mind blowing location with a view of the Nilgiri hills from
its many resorts spread across the foot hills of Ooty. Travelers also
have the option of taking a short ride to this famous hill station
from Masinagudi or try the jungle hike to spot some wildlife.

Masinagudi - Nilgiri Hills

Masinagudi - Nilgiri Hills

2. Coorg, Karnataka – This popular district has been the hotspot for
many travelers who keep coming back for its natural beauty. From river
rafting to elephant bathing, this small district has more to offer
than many popular destination across the country thanks to the river
Cauvery which originates from here.

Tibetian Monastry

Coorg - Byalkuppe:Tibetian Monastry

3. Wayanad, Kerala – Located adjoining the Bandipur forest range and
about 250kms from Bangalore, this everygreen mountain range is an
ideal getaway from the hustle n bustle of daily life. Stay at one of
the many resorts amidst thick palm and coffee plantations and enjoy
the fresh cool breeze right thru the day.

Wayanad mountain range

Wayanad mountain range

4. Baga Beach, Goa – Undoubtedly the best place to party anytime of
the year, but with the clamp down by police on beach parties, this
location has slipped down to the 4th spot. Goa still manages to
attract crowd from across the globe with some of the best DJ’s playing
at the popular hotspots across North Goa. For a quiet celebrations,
head toward the south and stayover at one of the many homestays or
boutique resorts.

Goa - Baga Beach

Goa - Baga Beach

5. Chikmagalur, Karnataka – Chikmagalur is a fantastic weekend getaway
from Bangalore – far from the madding crowd and a perfect refuge from
the hustle bustle of the city. A couple of old friends and I wanted to
experience a ‘good drive’ and spend the night at a place with ‘no
mobile range’, a little bit of monsoon showers and nature.

Chikmagalur forest

Chikmagalur forest

Team GreatEscapes wishes you all a very Happy New Year 2009

Dance, Drink, Party hard but use a driver to get back home

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