Friday, December 07, 2007

Beautiful Coorg

Like most middle class Indians who have graduated from near penury to some degree of affluence, my stance towards consuming products and services has changed from “Value for Money” to ‘Money for Value”. Which basically means that I will put my money (even if it is really expensive) where I see value as opposed to buying products and services that are inexpensive and of low value.

Over the last 5-6 years of travelling (more on business and a bit for pleasure) I have had the opportunity to stay in many country resorts & holiday resorts. Considering that most of my business travels in India and abroad makes me stay in 5 Star type hotels, I have become a bit difficult to please. Since most of these properties charge the bomb, my expectations of value delivery are normally very high. Sadly, I have very rarely been fully satisfied.

Club Mahindra recently invited me to their Kodagu Valley resort in Coorg along with a group of fellow bloggers. Since, I did not have to pay for my stay, you can argue that it is impossible to evaluate objectively. But, I will try nevertheless. The rest of this post is meant to be a part travelogue and part assessment of the resort.

We drove from Bangalore in a fairly uncomfortable bus. It was proudly called Ganesh and was as uncomfortable as it would be riding on Ganesh’s transport – the mooshik. The first stop was “Kamath’s” at the outskirts of Bangalore on the Mysore highway for lunch. The restaurant has a traditional Karnataka setting and the food is fabulous. You can choose either the North Karnataka (Served with Javar Rotti) or the South Karnataka (Poori) styles – both are great.

(Check out the leg room)

The new road from Bangalore to Mysore is good and we did good time. From Mysore to Kodagu (Coorg) was another story altogether. Ganesh with his laughable shock absorbers was pure hell. There are parts of my body that are still protesting from the combined torture that the terrible road and Ganesh collaborated to inflict. After 8 long hours and just as nightfall was approaching, we reached the Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley Resort, which is located about 5 Kms from Madikeri town center.

As soon as we entered the resort, the pains of travel shifted to the back of the subconscious mind. The first sight was of a stunningly beautiful Coorgi girl welcoming us, and the touch of the cool sandal paste that she applied on the forehead was like balm for the mind.

The serene mood setting is what you notice as soon as you enter the resort. It is made well with a good artistic sensibility. The usage of wood is brilliant and is very similar to the architecture that we saw the next day in the temple at Baghamandala (about 30 Kms from Madikeri). Resorts can some times stick out like "sore concrete thumbs" amidst natural beauty, but this particular resort has blended in well with the local setting and culture.
The Picture on the left is of the temple and the ones on the right are of the lobby at the resort. Look for the similarity in the shape of the vertical beams and the sloping design of the roof. Brilliant stuff.

The rooms were nice – like in any resort that charges as much. However, what was different about the place was the attention to detail. From flower decorations all around to a welcome leaf placed on the bed to the heart shape on the steaming coffee. God lies in the details and the Mahindra guys seem to realise that. Impressed!

Picture of Coffee Mug by Mridula

The resort has all the usual suspects like a swimming pool (which could do with some heating though), various activities for kids and families and adventure games for the strong hearted. What I liked the most is the plantations inside the resort spread across 25 odd acres with cash crops like Coffee, Cardamom etc from the local area. The staff is highly motivated and very well informed and gave us a very good brief on the coffee plantation, and different types of crops. They could also answer most questions - and bloggers ask a lot of questions! There were also facilities for a great camp fire and they even arranged for a guitar. Campfire, guitar, alcohol, singing, cold weather and company of like minded people - Whoa - it made for a very memorable night ! One that I will remember for some time to come.
Over the next two days we made trips to the Tala Cauvery (The birth place of Cauvery) , the Dubari elephant camp, where you reach after crossing to the other side of the Cauvery by motor boats, Abbey Falls and the Tibetian monastery at Kushalnagar. I missed the monastry as I had to get back to Delhi earlier than the rest of the group.

Above pictures by Mridula

After having travelled a bit in the Himalayan region, I was unsure whether I would find Coorg up to the mark. But after this trip, I can safely say that Coorg is beautiful.
Picture of the Kodagu Valley by Apurv
I Look forward to going again and recommend highly, especially if you are in the North and want to head down south for a "different" experience. There is a lot to do and I guess 4-5 days is required to do justice. Distances are not very large and most of places to explore are within 50 Kms of Madikeri.


Arun said...

Good one Dev, and great to have you on the trip. You've articulated well in this post.

Mridula said...

These trip accounts are not helping to get back to the normal routine :)

NinA said...

nice write up
where is the photo of tala cauvery?
just kidding
c u

Paramvir Thakur said...

Nice report of yr wonderous trip..i too am fond of travel but the " roughing it out " particular the trekking/wildlife visits kind.

Wld love to visit Coorg someday..lets see if i can plan it during my visit to Mysore in Jan.

BTW visited thru yr link on Kiruba Shankar's blog..who shares my other passion of running.
( Dev were you at Whirlpool some years back Mktg.. i think i interacted briefly when at ABP Media..)

Dev said...

Arun - Thanks

Mridula - Same here :-)

Srini - Thanks

Paramvir - Coorg is a great option for trekking as well, we met some folks who have a nice home stay and also organise bike rides, treks, runs etc. They have 4X4's which can take you into some real deep areas. Yes, I was with whirlpool for more than 5 years, but left them almost 4 years ago. your name does ring a bell, i must say !

Rajesh Kumar said...

Dev, never knew you were a blogger too. Excellent blog.

Dev said...

Rajesh (Demo) - Great to see you here. Thanks for the compliment about the blog.

I must say I hardly have earned that adjective so far. I have just started and have not yet written much. Hope to improve with time, however, comments like these are extremely motivating :-)

suchi said...

wow I wan to go there NOW ! I Have been to coorg a few times and stayed at the orange county rst .It never fails to disappoint. Dev I must say this is a far cry from our army accomodations ( courtesy vivek's dad)at ooty :)

btw , i think u r wasting ur time at Dominos .. this is your true calling man . Write !

Dev said...

Suchi - the day I can monetise my writing - that will be the day ! Till then, I blog :-)

Thanks for your extremely biased view on my ability sweety :-)

PlaneMad said...

wow! and all the expenses were borne by club mahindra themselves?

Dev said...

thats right planemad. this was not just a case of free lunch, it was a case of free travel and free stay as well - it was brilliantly lucky !

USB said...

Dev, had a hearty laugh seeing ur photo on the first seat of "Ganesh". We'll be in India (Baroda & Kolkata) from Dec 23-Jan 19, let's try to catch up on the phone at least, unless u r on a trip to cal?

Dev said...

sure bapu - call me when u r here

Sudham said...

Interesting....can almost sense the energy from your posts..keep goin Dev..

Cuckoo said...

Nice honest recount here. Liked it.

Came here from Mridula's blog. I am a regular on her blog.

Dev said...

thanks cuckoo

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Coorg said...

nice pictures and great trip contents, so experienced well in coorg. coorg is the best place if you are trekkers. who stay in luxury hotels that's depends on the hotel services. Come coorg to feel nature not services.

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