The trip started off on last Friday night. After days of preparations, we were finally on our way to Coorg – the Scotland of India! The small bus was filled with the cacophony of 17 BITSians celebrating with beer from yahoo and netapp parties! The driver screened the movie Khosla ka ghosla, but had to stop cause of repeated loose connection. Circuit branches should have applied their knowledge here. The ride was very bumpy and I could only manage some intermittent sleep. Then suddenly the bus just stopped. The driver wanted to catch some sleep, I guess. So we stepped out for breath of fresh air. And lo and behold, there was a stall selling idlis and tea at 3:30am.
We reached our first scheduled halt at kushalnagar at the break of dawn. First up was the elephant camp at Dubare. The place was quite beautiful with the morning mist still hanging in the air. We forded the river to see the elephant training grounds. Somehow the elephants didn’t appear very majestic. After trying to get some pictures with the big beasts, we headed off to kallooru peak for a trek. Our guide told us it would be a short 2km trek of beginner level difficulty. Little did we know that 2km would be the distance vertically and beginner level is a highly relative term. The trek was long and the climb, steep. The path was slippery with loose gravel and leaves. The thick undergrowth ripped our skin and clothes. The weather was warm and humid. But then as with all great climbs, the view got better and better. And finally after a lot of huffing and puffing we reached the peak! Unfortunately we didn’t have a flag to mark the occasion of the conquests of Coorg’s highest peak. At least we all thought it is the highest peak. After another photo session with many digital cameras and mobile phone cameras it was time to head back down. The climb down was obviously less tiring but more treacherous. We reached back to the bus tired, but content to have conquered the peak!
Nisargadam was the next stop for the tourists. It is some island in the Cauvery. The hanging bridge was quite cool. Then we went for some boating. But the boating area was so small that we ended up going round in circles for 10 minutes, much like those toy trains for kids. We explored the garden a little and came across a tree house. All the photographers in the group sensed a good opportunity for pictures. But the tree house was occupied by a couple. All of us inadvertently ended up staring at them impatiently, waiting for them to come down. That certainly helped matters because they hurriedly left the place after that. Nice use of the staring technique to drive someone out. Then there were some deer which everyone tried to feed. I don’t know how that can be entertaining! Maybe because they appear 'cute'! Last we went splashed around the river for a while before heading to the bus.
We arrived at Homestay in Madhikere where we were to put up for the night. The place was beautiful, perched high on a hill top. We waited patiently for the sun set but suddenly some clouds came in and spoilt the scene. Later, we went to the town for dinner and shopping. Things to buy include coffee, spices, honey and wine. The day was supposed to end with a camp fire. But we were too tired for that formality. So some us hit the sack while the rest grabbed some bottles. Everyone has his own way for relaxing.
The view from our dorm the following morning was heavenly. The hills appeared like dark islands in a sea of white morning mist. It was really beautiful. The mornings agenda was to visit talcauvery. After a quick breakfast we were on our way. Unfortunately, the ghat roads got to me. My ‘vomit free since 2003’ streak was broken. I guess I completed the previous night’s booze party with my mess! Talcauvery, the origin of river Cauvery, is situated atop a hill. There is built up temple pool which is the origin. The place wasn’t worth the 60km round journey on hilly roads. There is a viewpoint from which nothing great can be seen.
Our final stop was a Tibetan monastery. The architecture of the temples is quite exotic. You suddenly feel you are in Tibet or the north east. The temples are open to visitors even during their prayer times. It was weird to see people clicking pictures of monks deep in prayer. After going around the stalls that sold some overpriced stuff ranging from handicrafts to clothes to crockery, it was time to head back to Namma Bengaluru.
During the journey back, we played dumb charades to amuse ourselves. It was quite hilarious at times. Like when one guy had to act ‘Madagascar’, he thought the key syllable was ‘gas’ and acted it out in a way that I think is not appropriate to describe here. The word luck was conveyed by rhyming it with a certain four letter word. This was dumb charades at its peak of awesomeness! And when we asked for music, the driver played himesh songs. Finally we had found a fellow himesh fan. I was really enjoying the journey back. Then there was the one last twist in the tale.
Our bus broke down a couple of hours before Bangalore. So we decided to go the village for tea. We were probably the first tourists to visit ‘Billakere’ and thus got quite a lot of inquisitive looks from the villagers. We were back on our way after a while. Then the bus broke down again and the driver said that we would have to go to Bangalore by ourselves. So it was KSRTC to the rescue. It was quite a scene with 12 of us making a lot of noise at the back of a silent bus! We reached Mysore satellite bus stand after a while. Maybe they should name it chandrayan or something! [:D] From there it was in a pink shuttle bus to namma Majestic. It was midnight by then. We boarded the last bus to airport road. Suddenly someone started playing some music on his cellphone. And it was really loud. These Chinese mobiles are really, well, noisy. Then someone else decided to rival it with his own music at full volume and then a third guy. Luckily the conductor told them to lower the volumes. Then it was time for a BMTC special on the deserted city roads. He floored the gas pedal and kept it there. And within no time we were on airport road. All of us stumbled out of the bus. The trip ended as it had started with Golden Star smiling at us with a coke bottle in his hand from a hoarding on airport road.
On the whole this trip was good fun even though it was extremely hot and all the places lacking the green magic. I guess coorg is at its best soon after the monsoons. But then I will not be here around then. I thank my chief of staff Neeraj, for helping organise the trip and all the others for making it a success.
You can contact our guide Mr. Murari at 9840557671 for guided tours such as this one to various places in south india.