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

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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