Coorgi Tales-Tranquil in the hills


Madikeri, the small town in the hills is our next destination.

13th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, india

Our day begun with a lot of movement because we wanted to change the room we were allotted. The problem was that there was some construction work going on and there were a lot of hammering noises. we reckoned that we get all of these noises in bombay and didnt want the same here. So the morning went in changing rooms from the apartment ‘Masual’ to ‘Carandas’ this one was away from the noise and was tranquil.
After breakfast at ‘Arabica’ we explored the property. Club Mahindra Coorg, is 32 acres and that asks for a lot of walking. we checked out their ayurvedic centre which was very well done up with a nice pond with stones on it to reach the reception. Most of the property is filled with coffee plants of the ‘Robusta’ varietso we could see a lot fo the coffee pods. Also there are lot of trees which makes the property look very lush. There are also a lot of birds in the trees so the air is littered with cries of one or the other bird and as you walk you can catch the fragrance of a flower or two. There were also a few pineapple plants and small creepers with dark green leaves. these leaves had pink spots on it. although it sounds repulsive, the leaves were actually very cute!!

Lunch was also at ‘Arabica’, we had taken the package for 3 meals. Club mahindra spoils you simply with the variety fo their dishes, Here also like at other Club mahindras was a live counter where they made rotis for you. the dessert counter was also amazing!! So many different types!! An indian sweet, some mousse, a pastry. There was also a kids counter where they had a curry, rice and some desserts. did that mean that we couldn’t pick something from there?? Didnt deter us from trying that section out. After all, we’re our parents kids too!! 😉

The afternoon was a quiet affair. we walked around the property and checked out the other apartments and just chilled out. This Club mahindra has different adventure activities which made good entertainment but we decided to do it another day.

In the evening, the holiday activities was having a bonfire and we decided to go there.. i wore a short skirt for the first time and then we made our way to the holiday activities space. There were bonfire games and we had a fun time playing. we got fully involved in the games and as a result made many new friends…Our team eventually won. Here we met Medha who became our fun partner for the rest of our staY IN Coorg and her parents, Jayant and Mira.
After we made our way for dinner, we found out that one small girl was missing so i helped to find her for a while. It would be scary losing your 3 yr old child in a 32 acre property at 9 pm. Eventually they found her in another room with video games. The dinner was tasty as it always is.
I got compliments for the skirt 🙂
We retired soon and slept like logs.

Next Episode: First Adventure Activiy and the Spice Plantation tourthe road ahead…driving thru the forestthe restaurants

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Vitthal and the Journey to Coorg-The traveller continues the journey


12th April 2010, Karnatak Hinterland, India
I continue with the journey
Most hotels in South India and also our hotel at Kolhapur give the guests a complimentary breakfast if they stay in the hotel. As we soon discovered that, we helped ourselves to the same yet tasty breakfast of dosas,idli vada and kesaribhat. We checked out after that and made our way to our next destination,
“CLUB MAHINDRA, Kodagu Valley,Coorg”
The road from Mangalore was not a smooth one because the Govt was in the process of expansion so it was a bumpy ride. But we saw a lot of bungalows on the way. Most of the bungalows are painted in bright almost horrifying colours like bright green and baby pink but these ones were painted in stately combinations like white and navy blue, white and gray etc.
We decided to go and see the temple at Vitthal so we took a detour from NH-48 and made our way to Vitthal. The landscape was changing, more like a tropical forest types, wet with very fresh air blowing at our faces. The Vitthal Math was being renovated and the bit of the new Math we saw looked very nice. At almost all the Maths in South India, they give you sandal paste which smells totally out of the world. There was also a temple dedicated to the Naags. As you would know, Naags depict our elders who we pray to so that we have their blessings for the present and future generations.
We met one of our acquaintances and we went to their house where we saw an enormous beehive. i’ve never seen a beehive so closely before and it was mesmerising…so many bees!!!

After Vitthal we made our way to Madikeri,Coorg. Coorg is actually the name of the district. Its very famous for spices so we’ve heard. While leaving Vitthal, we were stuck in a traffic jam and we could only make our way out of it because Vitthal unlike Mumbai, does not have any open drains!!!
Our first halt was at a place called Shuliya and we kept asking for that whenever we met people. The people in South India are generally quite knowledgeable they know routes to explore entire karnatak at the back of their minds!! quite an amazing feat!!

A special encounter:
At Shuliya, we encountered Karnatak’s biggest specialit, “Gobhi Manchurian” which could be found in every Nukkad and gully of Karnatak. The journey to Shuliya was uneventful, except that the road was winding and made veryscenic landscape because it was so lush and green!!
By the time we reached Shuliya, we could feel the heat beat down on us ..it was noon. So we stopped at Hotel Surabhi. Let me tell you, this place looks small but the food is totally awesome and very tasty. Here we tasted the famous ‘Gadbag’ and ‘Gobhi Manchurian’ both extremely delicious.

After lunch, we made our way to Club Mahindra. There were more and more plantations and lots of nurseries selling rubber spalings. A lot of areca nut trees and pepper creepers on them. It was pleasant to watch. Also i notcied right from Shuliya onwards, lot of stalls selling ‘Neera’, a drink from which toddy is derived, and that almost all street lights had solar panels on them, which was very nice to see that atleast our rural counterparts were making an effort to be environment friendly.

As we approached Coorg, the scenery was breathtaking. Lush green forests and the constant chirping of birds and c\insects. It was out of this world.!!
Also we passed a lot of estates with the home stay options available. Small cottages looked very inviting. we even stopped the car for some time to take in the environment. We passed a road which led to the ‘Indian Institute of Spices’ and then made our way to club mahindra. Here also in this small town of Madikeri,all street lights had solar panels and trust me at night, they glowed brighter than the other thermal electricity powered lights.

We made our way slowly, not before we passed a JM Financial (work follows my dad here as well!!!) and then drove into the resort. All Club Mahindra properties are huge and excellently done up. After resting in our room, we made our way to the Conference Room where they had a presentation for us to explain the facilities at the resort and also to explain the tourist sites around. It was followed up with some Coorgi coffee!!

We had a quiet dinner at the Buffet restaurant which was called Arabica (=name of a coffee) and retired for the night

Coming up next-Coorgi Tales

A beehiveMe!! at the hotel at Shuliya

Mangalore Tales-Whew, wait is that travel fatigue??


11th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India
Driving down to Mangalore was not filled with excitement as the other places as the scenery was much like as if we were driving in and around Mumbai, filled with industries. Mangalore is a busy port city of Karnatak so there were a lot of factories and facilities for unloading goods. Mangalore’s port handles 75% of India’s coffee exports and the bulk of the nation’s cashew exports. Sinche Mangalore was just a halt, we didnt explore around much.

Discovery: Karnataka is dotted with bakeries called ‘Iyengar Bakeries’ which have a different letter to the start like’L.V Iyengar Bakery’ or ‘Madhu Iyengar Bakeries’. you get a lot of snacks here as well as sweets but not many confectionery items so its not a usual bakery.

Hotel: Kumar’s International
Location: Close to the market but can be difficult to find unless you know your way around.

After resting for a while and a steaming cup of tea, we left to explore the market. We had an option of taking a rickshaw or an innova so we opted for 2 rickshaws. our first destination was Mangalore Math.

We had to look out for the Math and that took a while but we eventually found it. Its in such a cosy spot, it doesn’t look like a Math. But we found out later, that we had entered through the back gate which is why it didn’t look like a Math. Here also we had a pooja and we prayed at the Samadhi of one of our Swamijis. We found out that the bhatmam here was the elder brother of hemant bhatmam.
The idol of Lord Krishna at the Math is beautiful!!

After the Math, we decided to explore the market. we went to see shops but it being a sunday and Mangalore being a sleepy city, shops were closed on sunday. Most of the stuff was the stuff that you find in Mumbai so we gave all of that a miss. Originally we planned on seeing a few saree shops but all of them were closed. finally we went to a jewellery store called ‘Alukkas’ and looked at the jewellery there. most of it was so fancy and heavy that we were put off. Finally we settled for a pair of bangles ‘which look thin when seen from one angle and thick from the other angle.

After our purchase (we got a bag, 2 complimentary purses, shopping bags etc) we left to have dinner at ‘Taj Mahal’ which Sanjay Mam had recommended to us. There we waited for a while because there was a queue for seats and then had south indian thalis. Thalis are so wholesome, and just right so you can taste everything. The tomato soup we got along with the thali was excellent.

After dinner, we took 2 rickshaws to our hotel. The rickshaw took us from a different winding route which was nice because the weather was pleasant at night. After watching a bit of IPL, we slept

Coming UP Next Vitthal and the journey to Coorg

Welcome Udupi


11th April 2010, Karnatak Hinterland, India

The day dawned bright and clear. it was this day that we were leaving Manki and setting out. the first part of our journey was complete!!!
As we opened the kitchen door, we realised we had a little kite on the doorstep!! It was a small baby who i guess must have been tired of flying. this season was when all the birds like eagles and kites mated and their young hatched. so the sky was always dotted with birds teaching their young to spread their wings and fly.

After the tasty breakfast of jackfruit patoli and lots of pictures(with sanjay mam,suma pachi,shanti,hemant bhatmam and tender coconuts) we departed for Udupi to see the Krishna temple there.

As you move towards Udupi which goes towards the south, the vegetation differs, becomes thicker and the standard coconut trees give way to more banyans and other species which generally spread and make a canopy over the road.

There are 4 entrances to Udupi, all through entrance gates called ‘dwars’ which are intricately carved and beautifully painted, each gate having a different design.

We made our way through udupi to meet sanjay mam’s mother. we freshened up at her place and then made our way to the Krishna temple. The first thing that strikes you about udupi is that the roads are nice and done up well and there is no traffic. for a mumbaikar, any small place will have absolutely no traffic!!

The temple complex is very large and spacious and they have big warehouse type structures for storing ‘Raths’ for festivals when they have ‘Rathotsavas’.

the raths were in gold, silver and were so intricately done up. there was a huge queue
for entry into the temple so we got some special tickets (yes they are available there) and saw the inside of the temple. the inside is air conditioned and very clean. the idols are very clean and the air is filled with positive vibes. we had a bhatmam give us a tour and after seeing the temple we went to this restaurant called ‘Mitra Samaj’ which we heard was good for its food.
Its essentially very hot in south india at this time but the sky is pretty clear so we can see the carvings on all dwars and temples clearly 🙂

Next Episode:Helllo Manipal,Mangalore Tales,Vitthal and Journey to Coorg,Coorg and Beyond
the baby kite!! soo cute!!!one of the many dwars we saw

Chronicles of Manki-The last leg


Whew, finally we arrive at the last part of our stay at the beautiful village of Manki

Saturday, 9th April, Karnataka Hinterland, India
Today, we were invited to lunch at Hemant bhatmam’s place. It’s slightly on the hill in the temple complex of the Chikarmane family deity. It’s not usual for a bhatmam to invite tourists over at his place and the gesture was touching.
We had ‘khotte’ for breakfast (immensely tasty i feel bad for those who havent had it as yet) and tasted jackfruit from the home garden.
We made our way to the bhatmam’s place and we were warmly welcomed by his younger daughter, Purvi
The menu was filled with jackfruit items, a new thing for us as we had never known that one could make so many different dishes using the same vegetable. There was pickle, cashewnut bajji(=puree types),some ambat(=dal+spices),white curry(=dhave randayi),some phodis(=bhajis)!! Wow long list. But it was so simple and yet so delicious. The simplest dishes are the tastiest. And served on the banana leaf so the added taste!!
There was a small calf in another room and we had a great time playing with it.

Ponderings Cows eat the banana leaf you eat in so no waste problems.

Wow!! We were going to have a dish called ‘phanas-ache patoli’  the next day (=a sweet dish usually made with coconut and jaggery, this time we used jackfruit). This dish is made in the leaves of the Saag tree or better known as the Teak Tree. So we plucked some leaves off the Teak tree in the bhatmam’s garden. Those leaves are huge!! really huge.

A surprise
The bhatmam who stayed in the village, the one who took care of the janardhan temple in Manki village had expired a while back and his son now took care of the temple and said the evening prayers. Hemant bhatmam was training the young priest in making. So today was his birthday!!
We decided to hold a surprise party for him and so we ordered for a cake and got some ice cream. We also invited some kids who were there at hemant bhatmam’s place.


The party was fun!! The candles that we had were re-lightable and so the surprise was even better!! I can’t forget the expression on Sriram’s face when he had to cut the cake.
After that we all had a nice dance session with Hemant bhatmam joining us!! We concluded the party by saying the ‘deep namaskaram’ which is a prayer for the gods to keep our lives enlightened.
We also went to the janardhan temple and prayed with gratitude for the wonderful time we had at Manki and for the stunning sights that we saw.

Dinner at Murudeshwar
Murudeshwar is the most well-known tourist spot in Uttar Kanara, with the famous huge idol of Lord Shiva. Our previous stay here was fun, we actually have photos with me and sachi picking up fish straight from the boat!!
Apart from that there are also lot of water sport activities in Murudeshwar.
We went there for dinner. I learnt that if random people wave at you like complete idiots then they want to draw your attention to the hotel nearby and you should simply ignore them!!
The food was amazing!! The fish and other dishes were delicious. The baked vegetable that we had was simply awesome. To top it off, we had some amazing ice cream and an amazing drive through the night!!

The next morning, we had an amazing time relishing the patolis which had become nice and pink, yes pink and were incredibly tasty!!!!
Hemant Bhatmam had come along to say good-bye to us and we had made some cards for sanjay mam and suma pachi which we gave them. There were a lot of photos and goodbyes and we departed for our next destination
So this way our chapter at Manki came to a beautiful close!!

Stay tuned for the next episode- Welcome Udupi, Hello Manipal,Mangalore Tales

a calf at the bhatmam’s i.e priest’s place.the surprise party!!!The Janardhan Temple