Coorg is often referred to as the Scotland of India. I haven’t been to Scotland myself, and hence have no comparison, but what I can tell you is that Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is straight out of a movie. With spinach-green hills covered in flowers of every colour, and fat cows grazing on the soft grassy carpet – the stay and the drive are idyllic.
Every single road in Coorg is surrounded by aromatic coffee plantations and pepper vines. Name any big coffee brand and they have a plantation in Coorg – including Tata Coffee which operates the world-famous Starbucks in India.
What’s more? The drive will introduce you to the plentiful wildlife of this land. From elephants and leopards, to gaurs and giant Malabar squirrels – Coorg does not disappoint. This combined with the aromatic coffee and tea estates, huge avocados, rich Kodava cuisine, silky waterfalls melting into the revered Kaveri, old temples, and ancient monasteries make Coorg an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
I chose an old heritage building for my yoga retreat. This place was run by a local family. A small conversation over the phone and I could tell the lady who ran the property was very warrior-esque. She was a no-nonsense woman, with great pride in her culture and heritage. In fact, she was the one who told me that the people of Coorg – known as the Kodava clan – believe that they are Alexander the Great’s descendants. Another story says that the Coorg district was inhabited by a broad-headed race in the Mohenjo Daro period.
Warrior clan or not, Sarla (the owner and caretaker of our stay) gave us one of the best suggestions – she suggested we trek up to Tadiandamol, one of the most beautiful peaks in Karnataka. This peak is at the height of 1748 m and the trek is a total of 8kms. I was excited about this suggestion and quickly jumped on Google to check the review. Every website I checked said it was a beginner-level trek. I presumed it would be easy and quickly told everyone that we would be going trekking the next day.
Over-enthused and undermining the difficulty of this trek, my group and I packed out a little snack bag of biscuits, water bottles, energy bars and went to sleep dreaming of incredible views and spotting more wildlife.
We woke up at 5 am, got dressed and drove down to the drop of point just as the sun started to rise. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, all of us started the trek on a high note. The start of the trek was fairly easy with a relatively shallow gradient, so every 200 m was punctuated with a few pictures of us doing some fun yoga poses.
After a little while, the terrain became a lot steeper and it got a bit harder to climb. Silence descended on the group and people walked on with the singular goal of reaching the top. Since the distance to the peak was only 4 km, it was a fairly steep climb most of the way. About halfway through, there was a big rock and a stream, so we took a break and climbed the rock in the hope we would see the peak – but it was too far off. We climbed towards the stream nearby but with barely enough water, for it to be called a stream. We filled our water bottles there and continued with our trek.
It took us another 2 hours or so to climb to the top. It was arduous and there were points where I thought of turning back. The sun was rising too and with it, the weather got extremely hot. Luckily, it was a little cloudy towards the end of the climb and the breeze was refreshing as well, so that made it a bit easier for us.
(to be continued)