There's more to Kodagu than coffee
Kodagu conjures up visions of hues of green thanks to the numerous coffee estates, rolling hills and the typically lush vegetation, thanks to the Cauvery that meanders across this land like a lazy, bottle green python. South Kodagu is all this and much more. Apart from the plantations are paddy fields and protected forests. Life in this placid land is at a relaxed pace, a celebration backed up by great food stemming from the unique cuisine of a distinct people. To balance such an indolent lifestyle is the terrain the Kodavas never tire of exploring. "Oh, it's a pleasant day today - let's go for a trek" or "It's getting a little warm. How about a dip in the river?"
Break from work
It's not surprising that Kodagu offers a respite from the hot and humid climes of Mangalore, making it an ideal weekend break. So we piled into our Toyota Corolla and headed for the hills. On the smooth tar, the Corolla was on a song, going around sweeping corners at 80 kph. The road passes through many villages, a few towns and a wildlife sanctuary where we were lucky to see wild elephants and deer.Cicada Trails, a two-room guesthouse, was our base in south Kodagu. It stands in the midst of a dense forest, with a small watering hole where scores of birds come visiting. We spent a day just chilling out in the hammocks and enjoyed some great cuisine comprising pandi (pork) curry and rice, and coconut and paputtu (rice cakes) by the bonfire. Sunday was reserved for exploration. We then headed for Dubare where we frolicked with elephants as a part of the unique elephant interaction programme, admired the gilded Buddhas at the nearby Bylakuppe monastery and explored a dense sacred forest near the guesthouse. The most astounding monument in Kodagu has to be the 200-year-old church in Virajpet that looks straight out of Hogwarts, where Harry Potter learnt his spells and spelling.
Places to stay
To get to Cicada Trails, after you reach Gonikuppa, continue for five km till you come across a mosque that is immediately followed by a bridge. Turn right onto the narrow road just after this bridge and continue straight for seven km till Chokhandani village. Two kilometres on is Cicada Trails.Contact Anita at 09448354826 or Suman at 09448108283. Or check out www.cicadatrails.com.RISHAD SAAM MEHTA