Madikeri, overlooking misty mountain range
May Day is a public holiday in India, celebrated on 1st of May. Taking Friday off work a 4 day weekend to Coorg was on the agenda. After much planning and problems we (9 plus driver) finally left Bangalore at 6.30am.
With only a couple of stops - and no breakfast we arrived in Madikeri 12.30 and ready to eat some really good food! After breakfast/lunch we wondered around Raja’s Seat and Gardens. Beautiful rolling, layering misty hills which stretched back as far as the eye could see. During the peak of the day the large shady trees allowed us to relax and take in the beauty which was Coorg.
Second task of the day - check into the accommodation we had reserved. Let’s just say we were ALL very glad we didn’t put a deposit on it like most hotels / home-stays require. It was one small room with 4 small double beds for 10 of us!! Nothing like what was in the picture on the internet - lesson learnt - never book from the picture. Heading to the tourist information centre we looked at another place, and then another before settling on a house with 11 beds
- this was nice.
Day 2 - Friday. We spent most of the time / day in the mini bus / people mover with a turbo engine! Ha ha. Heading through the hills a forest of Madikeri we visited a number of temples. One especially I liked with a Tibetan influence and a few monks walking around. The second temple was a larger open spaced area with Hindu’s lining up in the water to pray (see photo). We all managed to drag ourselves up approx. 360 stairs to an amazing 360 degree view - was so worth the hike! Heading back towards the main town centre, we visited Abbey falls - a popular waterfall tourist destination. One Indian girl, aged about 3 or 4, I’m sure had never seen white people before. As me and the Dutch walked past, this small girl was staring so hard she tripped and fell flat smack onto her face. No tears. Stopped at a mosque with some more cute children wanting their photo taken, and then at another temple before heading home, then out to dinner.
Day 3 - An early rise, but not an early start as getting 9 people organised
3 nights accommodation
in the morning is absolutely impossible. We were told 7am, but ended up being 8.30am before we got to the tourist info centre. A local couple took us into their home in a peaceful village on the outskirts of Madikeri. ‘Aunty’ (the wife/mum) cooked us a huge breakfast before setting off with our local tour guide (the husband) for a 6 hour trek through the Western Ghats. Simply wonderful hospitality, and I would recommend this to anyone!! The trek took us through tea plantations (which I somehow managed to miss??) a tribal village, a private waterfall for bathing plus breath taking views the whole time. Possibly the coolest part for me was standing on a cliff edge arms wide out like a bird ready to fly and the cloud rushing past at 20km per hour - a photo could never do any of this justice hence none.
Arriving back at ‘Aunty’s’ place again, a big lunch was also put on for us. The two Spanish girls, and 2 Costa Rican guys (who’d been in India for 6 months) had not adapted to the spiciness of the food and demanded ‘plain’ and ‘no-spice’ of EVERY meal they ordered. Aunty was
very accommodating to their needs and they ate like starved third-world children. Ordering food out without ANY spice is almost impossible to get in India, you’ll need to go to an American restaurant like Hard Rock Café (even then they spice some of the food to make it accommodating for the Indian taste buds).
Saturday night was chillin’ and drinking at the home-stay. I found Gin & Orange for only NZ$2.50. Perfect. Cheap drunk. On with the Latin American music - I happened to be the only female who was keen to learn salsa dancing - so sexy - loved it 😊 (and no, not because of the alcohol influence!) *giggles*
On one of the cartoon TV channels I found old skool cartoon of Warner Brothers with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety with Granny, Tom & Jerry and Dennis the Mennis! Good ol’ classic cartoons I haven’t seen since I was a young one 😊
Day 4 - said our goodbye to Madikeri and headed South to Nagarhole National Park. I do not, and I repeat do not recommend coming here if you want to see wildlife in their natural environment. Go to Bundipur
1 German, 2 Spanish, 1 Japanese, 1 Dutch, 1 Indian, 2 Costa Rican and 1 NZer
or Mudamalai National Park. This was in my opinion a waste of time, kilometers, and energy. We saw 2 elephants - with chains around their feet and I got to see tea and coffee plantations up close and personal. We also visited Irrupu Falls, which I found fascinating and strange. You can see in the photo there is a bamboo bridge from the rocks to the waterfall. Underneath the waterfall men were washing each other with soap and having a ball of a time splashing each other and rubbing each other down…seems to be the norm in India. For many this is their only source of bathing, as they don’t have access to running water…the norm for us back home.
There was no restaurant until we got to Mysore, by this time was 9.45pm - we hadn’t eaten since 10am. A van full of tired, hot, hungry and angry international travelers was not such a great combo!! Home finally by midnight.
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