Magical Coorg - Photo Feature

Gopal Lahiri
By Gopal Lahiri

Kodagu also called Coorg, located in Western Ghats, is a wonderful tourist destination because of its stunning surroundings. The name itself invokes an image that is different for everyone. The place has and will remain a muse that is more often than not portrayed perhaps as a love letter. My tribute also become restless with aspiration.

Stayed in the hill resort up on the hill, away from the town Madikeri, I and my wife inhaled green all the time. This hill town is a three hours journey by road from Mangalore or two hours’ drive from Mysore.

We wake up listening to the sharp whistle of the morning whistler and immersed in the misty hill overlooking our glass window. Soon afterwards, when the sun came out, the horizon off to the east was full of blue hills and green vegetation. We even brought down later the blue sky on our breakfast table in the open air restaurant. Scenery is a symphony of riches here.

We were told that the cottages in this resort were in fact the renovated village huts. The locals say, that the day temperature hardly goes above 30 degree centigrade while in the night it may go down to 4-5 degree centigrade especially during rains. We visited recently during October and occasional rain was always welcome to listen to the sound of tiny waterfalls on the hill slope.

In this spectacular place, the air’s shout is actually a musical note and the buzz of the insects are orchestra. Walking on the windy path in the mountains were a real treat.

Coorg is known for its coffee and the lovely people. Coorg coffee encourages other cultivations of spices like pepper, cardamom along with vanilla, orange and banana. Highlands were washed by orange and fig trees.

Paddy cultivation now took a back seat as the local people are more interested for coffee plantation for its better economic rate.

The high altitude of Coorg is very prevalent for growing the most wanted variety, Arabica with small leaves and a mild quality of aroma and taste whereas Robusta with long leaves is grown in warm humid conditions.

Walk on the rain forest was the highlights of our sojourn. Equipped with gum boots and protective covers on the legs to avoid the sticking leeches, we walked around five kilometres on the slushy and dense rain forest. Here rain could be severe and recorded almost 160 inch in a year at times. We saw one spectacular village temple which opens once in two years.

Sometimes, it was difficult to walk on the wet lateritic soils amidst light rain. The quiet villages adjoining the forest were also an added attraction. We were reminded of the poem ‘On the mountain’ by Elizabeth Bishop,

of emptiness and order.
To be troubled by neither.

and escape to the mild sun that radiates over the hill slopes where the tall trees, aroma of coffee plants and soothing cool breezes leave you with a feeling of absolute serenity.

We saw the traditional and beautiful dance of the Kodagu people, wearing the traditional Kodaga costume with ‘Kupyas’ (knee-length half-sleeved coats) over a white shirt. The maroon and gold band was tangled at the waist while a carved silver dagger known as ‘Peechekathi’ were tucked into it.

Words are inadequate for Coorgs wilderness and the bio-diversity, located on the most breathtakingly beautiful stretches of mountain ranges created by nature.

There is nothing quite like the awe that naturally overwhelms you when you are standing on these forested mountains.

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