Saturday, October 28, 2017

Perched atop Pollibetta 29 May to 1 June 2017

We drove through the forests of Nagarhole and thru the hills and foothills of Coorg or Kodagu region as it is know locally. The whole region is rich with coffee estates, coconut and betelnut swing tall in the air. It was my second trip to Coorg and my husband's first. At every turn through the snaking roads he decimated the conversation with LOVELY!

On the way we stopped to take a look at the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe. I had written about it before read here.

Our driver Narsimha was well versed with this region and Pollibetta so he drove confidently as our Airbnb was close to the Tata golf club. Our host Naveen had sent us a pic of the gate so we could spot exactly. As we drove in we saw the house and instantly fell in love with it. 

There was not a soul there the watchmen appeared out of nowhere as we took in the scenery. The house is perched atop a hill, terraced terracotta floored fields told us that coffee drying happened there even though they were empty in late May when we visited. Below the red terraced drying fields was an apple green pool and a verdant view.
As the watchman arrived he unlocked the house and let us in. It was a stunning property both the house and the plantation. Seeing the terraced drying fields with a manager's tower. I felt instantly at home, it reminded me of the fishing business my family once owned. Similar but different. We were told there were staff quarters down the hill where our Butler, cook and attendant for the stay, lived. They would take care of us for the 2 nights 3 days there. 

We noted while driving around, that Coorg has been populated by a lot of Keralites just like our hosts. The home as you see is a beautiful Kerala style architecture and interiors with comfortable beds but there is no a/c, we could do without it. The food cooked for a charge was fresh and delicious. It was cooked early and served late so we suggested they serve warmed up food or put it in hot pots. That was the only thing that needed to be worked on in an otherwise perfect stay. The entire home is spotless clean and done in good taste much after my own sensibilities, I pinched myself to say this was only a short stay and that I did not own it. 

My past experience told me that Madikeri was not meant for solitude so I had chosen Pollibetta but the regions peak is Madikeri and the capital too so we did a day trip. The views as awesome as the last time from Raja's seat. There is now a banister all along the top on the valley view side. For safety they have compromised on the rawness of the view. Last time we sat at the edge on granite benches in the morning. It had been our conversation with nature. They have also added viewing terrace below the garden level. 
We went to the KSTDC Mayura valley view for lunch not for the food which is just ok but for the awesome views. As we reached there as if at our call, it started raining. The clouds swept by and moistened our skin and the already pleasant weather gave a little chill. My husband was thrilled. We sat there inside the restaurant facing the valley and ate quietly our Chinese fried rice which was edible only because it was warm. I did miss the open terrace which is now covered with asbestos.

On the return journey we went through Dubare but had to rush to Pollibetta as someone had a nature's call to answer, ha ha. Nevertheless we did try to enjoy the quietly flowing river on an over crowded shore. The elephants were to come down for the bath show an hour later. We missed it.

On the way back we saw a monstrous vehicle approaching us, colored in green to blend with the coffee plantations. I observed it keenly it was a very large jeep with a level mounted on top like an observation deck and a foreigner couple sat in it. They were dressed in safari clothes hat and all. It just threw us back into a different era and lifestyles we imagined vividly. This among all was the most memorable moment for us.

The next day which was the last day of our vacation we decided to do the plantation tour and summoned the driver for it, as he lives in the village and not on the plantation unlike other staff.

He drove us down the hill in the Mahindra jeep which is a popular vehicle on the many estates of Coorg. Past the tall trees and dense coffee shrubs of Arabica Robusta we reached a open red mud patch and he stopped pointing in the direction of the open temple. It was serene and touched our soul. We noticed someone had just finished a pooja, There were flowers offered and oil lamps lit. It reminded me of the devarai in our village farm.

We met the staff's families, little children chasing hens and puppies going around each other, were an adorable sight.

Our flight was at 10pm so we started after 12noon and decided to stop at Kamat lokaruchi for a bite but since we were hungry we ate a bit at Mysore and had some fantastic hand churned icecream, yeah the now famous pink gauva with salt and chili powder. I packed some leaf wrapped idlis for dinner while the husband ate there itself. Reaching Blr airport was arduous, Narsimha decided to drive us to the end of NICE road and then to the airport a Dravidi pranayam indeed but we reached on time for our flight. 

Getting an Uber at Mumbai airport made my husband loose patience and just as we reached home with plans to hit the bed the air conditioner fused the entire home circuit. Reality Bites.

I slept in the balcony on a chatai while the husband in the inside bedroom which is a little more cooler. After all luxury does not last. Well but experiences are what make lives richer.

Now waiting to go for another vacation and more stories to tell you...

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