A trip to attend a friend’s engagement, the first of this kind. It had been a while since we girls had travelled, last one being Pune about a year ago. So the excitement was obvious for this reason and it was also my first time visit to this beautiful place. Having had several Coorgi friends and one that lived with me for a year, this trip had to happen some day.
Our tickets were booked by the super enthu one amongst us four. Who made sure we were up and moving by 5 am on all days! We took an Airavat bus Bangalore to Virajpet, about 7 hours of travel. One ride of switching seats, catching up and snoring later we were there, in Virajpet. Two autos took the four of us to our homestay a few kms from there.
The guest house was such a treat to the eye! If you’ll happen to visit this part of coorg, you have to check this place out.
Four of us split ourselves in two rooms, mostly for the loo ’cause the rest of the time we were all huddled up on one king size. The guys at Shree Raksha homestay blocked any other bookings for the place, so we had the entire Villa to ourselves.
On reaching there, we were welcomed with some yum lunch. Mushroom sambar? Yeah that was my favourite dish from that meal. Post that hearty meal we quickly freshened up and headed out to meet the bride to be (BTB.)
Brief diversion to mention this funny incident where the enthu one looks at this place from the balcony and says “Hey let’s take pictures at that talab!” And we all briefly forgot what talab was in English. “Pond, guys!” the adult one amongst us yells ! (Okay it was funnier there.)
This time the auto ride was a little tight. Determined to not be the one sitting on anyone’s lap like always, I sat there balancing my butt the entire ride. The BTB owns a candle factory so we got to see the insides of the place. I don’t think anyone has ever wondered “hmm, how do you think candles are made?” Right? So this experience was completely new to all of us and we stayed there and watched them make a batch of basic white candles.
On visiting the store I found my favourite one amongst the lot. It was a brown coffee scented candle that had coffee beans along the sides. I mean who doesn’t love coffee? Sell me anything in coffee and I’ll but it! That was the one I took home to my bathroom. Coffee showers everyday, guys.
We headed back to the homestay to spend the evening. We had carried some alcohol on us to spend the night drinking. But none of us remembered to pick up a mixer for the vodka. We then requested these guys for some juice cause we were “thirsty.” Sadly they had only pineapple squash to offer, you can imagine how that ended. I was the only one who finished the drink (not proud).😂 But honestly, there were absolutely no regrets. We all didn’t really want to drink on the inside cause of the exhaustion from travelling.
More than happy to ditch drinking for the campfire set up by the homestay folks.. We headed downstairs to see a dining table set up right beside the fire. What a way to do dinner! We spent an entire hour just enjoying that warmth with a whiff of cool breeze now and then.
Post dinner we played some Jenga and uno. Halfway through uno my eyes began shutting, it was barely 10.30 pm (we’re either growing old or late nights are just not my thing. But as an architect, the latter cannot be possible, so hello, old age, wrinkles and death)
It was funny waking up to missed calls from the parents and boyfriend cause, I mean, who falls asleep at 10.30 on a trip?
The second day was eventful, loaded with sightseeing and the engagement. Started off early post some super yum dosas and channa curry, in a cab that we rented out for the day. First on the itinerary was Dubare, an elephant camp. The drive to this place was simply amazing, we had some good music on, windows halfway down and all of us just zoned out. Taking in the estate air one road bend at a time. Reached Dubare only disappointed to see the long queue to take the ferry across the river! Two of us, the not so patient ones just decided to cross it by foot.
That had to be one the most exciting things we did in this trip. Hand in hand the hyper one and I reached the other end and even got a good 15 minutes to just reflect (on how broke we are inspite of earning) in separate spots before the other two got there. Just at the entrance of the camp there’s a little enclosure where they let you bathe elephants if you’re up for it. We just watched for a while before heading in.
There were a handful of fully grown elephants standing within a fence so people could touch them and take pictures if they’d like. So one funny thing happened here, while one of us was standing beside it and the others clicking, the elephant made this loud roaring sound and we all sort of panicked. And the adult one amongst us screamed the loudest surprisingly. Turns out, that roar was a sneeze. Lol.
Just as we were taking a moment to recover from that, we saw a baby elephant hopping with the biggest grin (okay it seemed really happy, not sure if it grinned) towards us. That little guy was a crowd puller. Such a cutie, my ovaries we’re having a party to this sight! (I think the sight of an elephant baby can make me like babies more than the sight of a human baby.)
Next on the list was Namdroling Nyingmapa monastery, a golden Temple. On the way to this place we covered a place called Nisargadham, a park maintained by the government. It had some cottages, some statues depicting coorgi festivals, a river with a bridge across but my favourite had to be the deer enclosure (Screaming at within “look at all these Bambis”) yet another party for the ovaries at the sight of fawns (baby deer).
There’s also a place for ziplining but it didn’t look too great and we’ve done it before so we didn’t bother. Outside this Park, there’s a little market where you can pick up things that coorg is famous for. I went psycho over there wines, I mean, there was wine made from Apple, guava, chikoo, ginger and so much more. Who wouldn’t? All of us made calls to the family and picked up a little of everything. Turned out I made the biggest bill with tea, coffee, honey, chocolate, hair oil herbs for the family and a bottle of Apple wine for the boyfriend. The wine did not disappoint. (But then I spent the next two hours freaking out about over spending)
The monastery was majestic! Such a huge structure, one can only imagine the peace and tranquility this place would offer when empty. Imagine because, it was over crowded. But if you’re lucky and observant, you may spot a couple of monks walking across camouflaged corridors.
Next, post a brief stop for lunch at some useless restaurant (because there’s barely any around) we made it to Iruppu falls. A short trek to the viewpoint that was totally worth the sight. Here you can get into the water as well, but we hadn’t carried a change of clothes so we just watched other people splash around. But if you’re in Coorg, you have to make it to at least one of the falls here, it’s really worth it.
Now the plan was to head home and freshen up before leaving to the engagement. But the driver offered to take us to one last place, the tea estate. Man, was it the best decision ever! The place felt like we were in Munnar, just greenery everywhere.
We walked in to one of the plantations and got some pretty cool pictures. (Do not wear shorts to an estate. I repeat, do not wear shorts!)
Now we barely had 40 minutes to reach, freshen up and leave so we couldn’t afford anymore diversions. We quickly changed into our ethnic attire, two of us settled accounts with the homestay folks and then we left.
On reaching the the BTB’s house, we realized we were part of a chain of cars heading towards the hall. It appeared like we were all trailing behind some super important government person. 😂 And also, turns out, we were on the spot bridesmaids at the venue.
Having spent the evening and night there (yet another night of not drinking due to exhaustion) we got back to the homestay only to crash. We booked the same Airavat bus back Virajpet-Bangalore. One suggestion here, unless you have transport arranged to the bus stop at 6 in the morning, avoid early morning buses. We had a bit of a struggle there until the homestay lady’s son dropped us off.
Yet another trip to remember!