Coorg by Nikita Das

Nikita Das' travel mantra is simple — Refresh, rejuvenate and come back to work with a bang. Her recent family trip to Coorg, Karnataka was one such break that ticked all the right boxes. She explains why Coorg is a must visit destination and how she is already planning an encore...     

My family trips have always been about long road journeys covering almost all of north India. We have enjoyed our road trips to places like Shimla, Kasauli, Massoorie, Nainital, Jim Corbet, Manili and Leh to name a few. This time we thought of a South Indian getaway, keeping the tradition of road journeys alive.
We decided on Coorg via Bangalore as we heard it was the Scotland of India, immersed in wilderness with zero or no connectivity. This was music to our ears as being corporate professionals and entrepreneurs, we are always waiting for a break from the hustle bustle city life every now and then. Our travel motto: Refresh, rejuvenate and come back to work with a bang.
From Delhi we flew to Taj West End Bangalore where we stayed for a night preparing to leave for Coorg early next morning. Bangalore we hear is a thriving metropolis. But we could only experience the idyllic environs of the property. We just had time to experience the pool and JIVA spa - jacuzzi, steam and sauna. The rejuvenation process started for us in Bengaluru itself!

The majestic Taj Westend Bangalore where the family stopped over

Day One Fun

We booked a chauffeur driven Toyota Innova at a very competitive rate via the travel desk to cover the 265 kms distance by road. We did that in almost six hours. The 30 km stretch between Ramnagara and Maddur is where most people stop for breakfast if they travel via Mysore for great Udupi food. We halted at the famous Kamat Lokaruchi, about 3 km after Ramnagara on the right and indulged in sumptuous breakfast of idli vada sambar and rava dosa. The filter coffee is not to be missed there as they make it from the fresh coffee beans grown in Coorg. The stretch of 15 km before you enter the portals of Madekeri town is perfumed with the subtly intoxicating aroma of coffee and spice. We brushed through plantations of avacado, oranges, passion fruits, pineapple, lemon, cardamom and acres and acres of two varieties of coffee: Robusta and Arabica. 

Coorg Calling

Nikita and her brother Akash on a trek

Coorg is located on the forested western ghats of southwestern Karnataka. It is popular for its 4286 acres of lush virgin rain forests, valleys, coffee and spice plantations and its martial history of brave warriors. We entered the elusive, private, organic abode perched 4,000 feet above sea level on one of the three idyllic hill's side, only to find ourselves in an open air lobby of Vivanta by Taj Madekeri
We were introduced to their best naturalist Nitin, who chalked out a detailed itinerary of adventure sports and things-to-do in and around the property. We had just two days to experience everything from Nishani hike, archery, paint ball, rain forest walk, zip-line, art and craft class, pottery making, kodava culinary session, camping experience to local sight-seeing. 

Fun Begins

Akash during trek
Our sub tropical rain forest walk was to begin at 3.30 pm. My brother and I pulled up our socks and headed straight to the meeting point – Amphitheatre. It was a three hours walk in the thick deep forest with Nitin explaining every possible specie of varied flora. We walked through snake holes, suicide trees (where the roots of the plant kill the actual tree, a natural phenomenon that takes place over a 100 odd years), termite empires and rudraksh trees. We identified mating sounds of over 11 different frogs, crossed foot imprints of wild elephants, explored the world through the eyes of of fluttering butterflies and a multitude of stories that have nestled in tree trunks of the Shola trees as they crisscrossed our path through the rolling mist. 
It is imperative to have a knowledgeable guide/naturalist to understand the place and its deep rooted history, culture, flora and fauna. Vivanta by Taj Madekeri, Coorg has 3 skilled in-house naturalists, whose knowledge, we made the most out of.

Having soaked in the charm of Coorg, we returned to the property. We enjoyed a relaxed dinner in the confines of our room to wind up the day.

Day Two Diary

My day began with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, or put simply, Power Yoga. There isn’t a better way to detox and de-stress than pumping in maximum amount of oxygen into your lungs that impact the brain, soothing and calming the cells and nerves. The 12 part sun salutation postures accompanied by the sound of flowing water, sweet chirping of forest birds and the slight aroma of coffee made for the perfect morning routine. 
Straight off from yoga to breakfast, we saw ourselves indulge in its delectable spread of fresh organic fruits, poultry and veggies, all sourced from the in-house farm land. 
After this healthy hog, we set out to burn the calories exploring the the city and its outskirts. 
We headed to Abby Falls, about 12 kms from our hotel, is a picturesque 70 feet tall waterfall with a hanging bridge made by the then British government. Amid those thick forests, scenic waterfalls and verdant coffee plantations, a few kms further was the Madekeri Fort. Built in the 17th century, the fort stands as a silent spectator of events of victory and defeat of the bygone era. From here we headed to ‘Tala-Kavery” or “Tala-Cauvery” the source/birth place of the Kaveri river, 48 kms from Madikeri. We were intrigued to visit the place since lately it has been source of political strife between two states. The beauty we admired from the hill top was simply mesmerising.  

Day Three Treat

Nikita all set to breeze down zip line

We had to catch our flight back to Delhi at night. Rather than waste the morning fretting about packing, we decided to make use of every moment in this natural wonderland. Zip line was our best bet to get the adrenaline rush.
Zip-Lining was arranged for by the hotel itself at a cost of Rs 1,500 plus taxes per person. It was a 3 kms stretch at a height of 50-60 feet. The thrill of zip-lining from the scenic mountain fronts over river valley and thick forest is hard to put in words. We also did a short 15 km mountain biking tour over one of the hills of the property on a mountain terrain bike. Pedalling through the muddy waters of rainforest was another memorable experience of our sojourn. 

The infinity pool offering majestic views of the area is a must experience 

By the end of it all, we were exhausted and plunged into the experiential Jacuzzi and temperature controlled pool, both nestled at 4000 feet above sea level, extending to infinity.
With warm smiles and a heavy heart, we bid-adieu and made our way unwillingly to the airport. This short and enchanting journey made us loose ourselves in lap of luxury in a scenic natural setting. We were truly energized and rejuvenated and had no doubts that we will back soon again.

Nikita Das is a communications professional at The Taj Hotels

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