Sometimes when I think in hindsight, I realize how moving to Bangalore turned out to be a blessing. I never thought I could or I would end up exploring and traveling so much. Most of my weekends it would be either my car hitting the highway, or I would manage to rent a licensed car from Bangalore with a driver and pick one of the nearby destinations to explore. Recently, I took my weekend travel a step further and turned into a two day holiday.
It was just after the festivals, on a long, lazy weekend that a few friends were heading to Coorg. This quiet little hilly hamlet is one place you can visit almost any time of the year. But this period between November and February is the best. But the best part of traveling to Coorg, as you would soon find out, is the journey of 6 hours.
A great start
What makes it a great journey, you might ask. I would say, great roads, great company, and a great ride. We booked a Savaari taxi with a trained driver to take us from Bangalore to Coorg. When you are going to be on the road for almost half the day, it is essential that your driver is well-versed with the roads, is a friendly and cooperative person. And thankfully, we got all of that.
We started about 7 am in the morning and headed towards NH275. The idea was to take interesting stopovers and experience the interiors of Karnataka.
First stop, as is the case always with road trips, was for breakfast. The Atithi Restaurant is definitely one place to try. A cozy and pocket-friendly eatery, they serve the best melt-in-your-mouth idli and crispy medu vada. After washing down a few cups of fresh filter coffee, we were back on track to Coorg.
The warm air of the city gave way to the cooler and crisper air of the countryside, as we zoomed through the highway.
By noon, we were passing Mysore, when our cabbie suggested a few places we could visit without taking too much of a detour. That is one huge benefit when you have a knowledgeable individual on the wheels. The City of Palaces exudes antiquity in every corner. From their regal architecture to the towering monuments, everything about the city felt royal. We stopped by the Mysore Palace and the nearby Jaganmohan Palace.
Besides its artistic and architectural grandeur, the city is a foodie’s haven. I was pleasantly surprised to find the most exquisite versions of traditional cuisine. Our stop for lunch was at the Anima Madhva Bhavan. This unassuming eatery is a ‘lunch home’ offering all-you-can-eat meals. With the floor seating, bamboo fixtures, and steaming hot food served on banana leaf, made for a holistic dining experience.
A slice of Tibet
Before we entered Coorg, we had one last stopover to make. It was in Bylakuppe. The reason for specifically stopping here is the Buddhist Monastery, which is apparently the only one in Coorg. It was indeed a surprise to find one of the 10 largest monasteries of India, sitting here in the middle of the Nilgiris, far away from the Himalayas. In fact, Bylakuppe is the only Tibetan settlement of the region and as long as you are here, you will forget that you are still in Karnataka. The monastery is home to more than 3000 Buddhist monks who stay, study and take part in religious practices at the temple. The peaceful ambiance and the positive vibes just added to our incredible experience which followed in Coorg.
The road trip to Coorg turned out to be more of an adventure with a little bit of history, local cuisines, nature exploration, and a spiritual connection. That is why I always love to take a little detour and still reach my destination, only a little differently.