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Published: September 4th 2008
Waking up in Coorg has an unhurried quality to it. You open your eyes and know that the day can be whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to get up, but you want to because you want to get out there and see all that Coorg has to show you. The three mornings I spent in Coorg all had this in common. We would get up leisurely and for a change, completely rested.
Today began with a cup of coffee as usual and breakfast was upma and kesari bath. It was light yet filling, so a perfect breakfast for a day when you know you’ll be up and about town. When the Tibetans were forced to flee Tibet the government of the state of Karnataka gave them asylum in three different places. One of them was in Kushalnagar and is called Byllakuppe.
It was my first time at a Buddhist monastery and I thought it was beautiful. There are three buildings for worship and all are studded with gold. There are statues of the Buddha and other deities and you can sit and worship in the temples. Incense sticks and little lamps are lighted by devotees
and you can read about the religion and culture in little booklets placed all over the temples. What struck me was the incredible amount of art work all over the walls in the temples. Many paintings were of the same subject matter but in different colors and moods.
Lots of monks can be seen walking around the place and we spotted some playing badminton and a few kids playing hide and seek. All the others were walking around completely oblivious to the visitors. I saw a few tourists taking pictures with the monks, but the impression I got was that the children are really shy and it isn’t easy to speak with them and ask if they would mind taking photos with us.
Outside the walls of the monastery you can find an entire shopping complex. It comprises restaurants and shops selling bags, incense, charms, clothes, toys etc. I picked up herbal incense sticks from one of the shops.
Lunch was regular vegetarian fare in the town. We went to a restaurant called the Green Room. After lunch we decided to head home for some more lazing around and coffee.
Before dinner we decided to taste
the home made wine that we’d picked up in town. Coorg is also famous for the home made wine. The shop where we had bought the wine had grape wine and ginger wine. The grape wine was too sweet for our taste and so we decided to take the ginger wine. It was less sweet and did not taste of ginger. I was usure about the alcohol content of the wine and upon asking the shopkeepers we discovered that Coorgi wine is just an appetizer and will not get you drunk. To our surprise and delight, our hosts let us borrow some wine glasses and even shared some of their stock with us!
Nightfall in Coorg is calming. The sun slowly sets and from the porch of our homestay we could see the darkness slowly enveloping the estate. The night sky is clear and the air still. The estate dogs would bark occasionally but besides that there would be no other sound. If you listen hard enough you’d be able to hear the insects of the night, but the usual city sounds are absent. We spent two nights in a row on the porch just chatting quietly with each
other about books, life and, yes, work. I could imagine looking at the still valley from up above and seeing only the yellow light from our tiny bulb in the darkness. Coincidentally some more friends arrived today and so we had more company on the porch and for dinner as well.
Dinner consisted of rice, egg curry, chapattis, pork, pulao and soufflé for dessert. This did wreak havoc on my figure, and I will have to take damage control measures in the gym once I’m back in the city.
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