Road Trip: Day 4 – Around Kushalnagar

Dubare Elephant Camp – Even though we visited on a weekday, there was a long queue to enter the Elephant Camp. After about 90 minutes, we boarded the boat for the short ride across the river Kaveri to enter the Elephant Camp. The restrictions in place due to Covid meant that activities such as elephant ride, feeding and bathing the elephants were not being offered, but we still got to see elephants up close and enjoying their time in the water.

Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement – We visited this place again for a Tibetan lunch. It’s a shame that the monastery was closed due to Covid; it was closed for renovations the previous time we visited Coorg, which means that I have not been able to enter the monastery since a visit more than 20 years ago. The lunch, though, was delicious.

Harangi Dam

Harangi Dam and Musical Fountain – I had not heard of this place until Praveen, our host, told us about it. We visited in the evening and were treated to a gloriously hued sunset. We then took our places for the Musical Fountain show, which started at 7 pm. It was very nice, except for the highly distorted music being played at very high volume. Interestingly, the choice of songs ranged from Kannada to Hindi and English!

Coffee Art – Cafe Levista

Cafe and Restaurants in Kushalnagar – We visited a few cafes, bakeries and restaurants in Kushalnagar. As always, it was fascinating to see the changes in small town India over the past few decades. There were a large number of cars on the roads, and the places we went to were clean, with all the amenities one can find in large cities. This could possibly be because this is a relatively well-to-do district which sees high tourist traffic. But I would love to continue exploring more small towns in India…

Road Trip: Day 3 – Kabbe Hills and Chelavara Waterfalls

On the third day of our holidays, we decided to explore Coorg. Our first destination was Kabbe Hills.

Kabbe Hills is located in the southern part of Coorg, close to the border with Kerala. I was looking for a short, easy hike that my kids could enjoy, and online reviews indicated that this might fit the bill. It was a 90 minute drive from our place of stay, but it was a pleasant drive on road winding through coffee estates and small towns.

The last stretch of road before we started the hike was especially narrow and winding, but it was well maintained and led to a small parking space. Commendably, there were toilets at this place.

There is a forest check-post before the start of the hike. They did a through check of our bags, as food is not allowed on the hike. We decided to leave one of our bags behind. Our kids were unhappy as they were looking forward to a picnic lunch.

From the base, the hill appeared very tall, but it did not take more than 45 minutes to reach the peak (even at the slow pace we were doing, with numerous halts to catch our breaths). The reviews were right, it was an easy hike, with some nice views over the surrounding hills and countryside. There was a steady breeze blowing, which ensured that we never felt hit, even though we did the climb in the afternoon.

Descending down and walking back to the car, we then decided to visit Chelavara falls, which we had passed on our way up.

The parking space here could only accommodate a couple of cars at a time, so I had to wait for some of the parked cars to drive away before I could park the car and walk towards the falls. It’s only a brief walk to the falls, which had a surprisingly decent amount of water flowing, even though we were not in the monsoon season. It was a pleasant spot, but probably not worth driving a long time to visit.

After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we headed back to our treehouse and relaxed with another nice cup of strong filter coffee!

Road Trip: Day 2 – Econest Treehouse

Econest Treehouse

After having stayed in a homestay the last time we visited Coorg, we were looking for something different this time around. And we found it at the Econest Treehouse.

As the name says, this is a treehouse, located within the grounds of an activity camp. Situated just off the main road and on the way to the Dubare Elephant camp, the location is easily accessible from Bangalore. It is situated amidst lush greenery typical of Coorg and also offers good views of the surrounding countryside.

The main attraction is, of course, living high up on a tree. A steep climb leads to a cosy room with a loft and sit-out. It’s perfect for a small family and my kids enjoyed climbing up the ladder to the loft. But we found storage spaces to be limited.

Typical Coorgi home-cooked food is served at the place, and it was just delicious. As was the filter coffee, of which we consumer numerous cups, while admiring the peaceful surroundings from the sit-out.

Another attraction of the place is that it is located within the grounds of an activity centre that offers ziplining and other activities.

Special mention must be made of the host, Praveen. Nothing is too much for him as he strives to keep guests satisfied. He is easily one of the best hosts we have come across and a key reason why our stay was so enjoyable.

Road Trip: Day 1 – Drive to Coorg

Almost exactly a year since our previous holidays to Manipal and Udupi, we took our next holidays / road tip. This time, the destination was Coorg and Mysore.

We headed out at 8 am and had to navigate through traffic to hit the Tumkur highway. The route we decided to take was via Nelamangala, Channarayapattana and Kushalnagar. It took us a while to get on the Hassan highway and our first halt for breakfast at Malgudi Mylare Mane. We had traditional dosas and filter coffee before continuing onwards.

Our next halt was after we turned from Channarayapattana to Kushalnagar. We stopped for freshly squeezed sugarcane juice. Interestingly, a family that was having breakfast at the same restaurant as us also stopped at the same small juice stall while we were there – what a coincidence! Refreshed, we headed for our lunch stop – the Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe.

There are many traditional Tibetan restaurants around the Namdroling Monastery at Bylakuppe. But our first port of call was a Pizza restaurant, which had spacious open seating. While enjoying our pizzas, we also ordered thukpa from the adjacent Tibetan restaurant, which was delicious!

We then drove the short distance to our place of stay while in Coorg – the Econest Treehouse near the Dubare Elephant Camp. More about this unique place to stay in a subsequent post!

Been a long time since I have…

Contributed to this blog. Things were a bit busy over the past couple of months, but things are easing up a bit as the end of the year nears.

And what a year it’s been, yet again! A year which started on a wave of optimism when it came to Covid (here in India), only to be thoroughly shaken up when the second wave hit from March to May, followed by another phase of optimism when the pace of vaccination picked up, only to be thrown into further uncertainty with the Omicron variant as we entered the last month of the year… Am I glad this year is coming to an end? Yes. But I wish we could have entered 2022 with more optimism, as opposed to the dread of the third wave hitting us sometime in the early months of the new year…

Anyway, enough of all that. I want to acknowledge the spark that led me to resume writing. I recently came across I don’t want to reveal much more about the blog, other than strongly recommending you to visit it and read a few articles. I realise it might appeal to a certain audience only (in terms of age and interest), but what stuck with me was the dedication of the author to maintain a fairly regular blog starting way back in 2002 / 3. However, the last article was posted more than a year ago. I do hope everything is well with the author and he will resume writing on his blog.

I am writing this post from a coffee shop. As much as I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my kids that working from home provided, I have had enough. This cafĂ©, close to my house, provides a welcoming space when I want a change of scene. As does a WeWork – with special mention to the innovative Christmas Tree that you can see in the picture above!

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and a great 2022!