We have always planned quite a lot of trips but never made it. Eager to set this trend wrong, we decided to make this trip a reality. The biggest blocker was getting a day leave. We planned three day trip instead of two day trip. This meant, we need to take leave on Monday.
Train Journey to Mysore
We started from Chennai central to Mysore. Our train was Cauvery express scheduled at 2130 hrs. We took local train from Velachery to Central. Saurabh supposed to take train from Thiruvanmiyur. We were greedy in reserving a seat next us, but have to give in once crowd started building up inside. We messaged him after getting into train. We said, we are at the last compartment from front or the first compartment from last. I messaged from Faisel’s mobile at every station. When train stopped at Thiruvanmiyur and started with a jerk, there was no sign of Saurabh. For a brief moment I thought Saurabh missed the train. Later he came from the inter-connection of the coaches and we learned that he boarded the adjacent coach. We reached Park town and then central in quick time. Anyone who watched us would have wondered where we are going, because we were carrying big, thick rain coats in our hand, and it was scorching in Chennai. Geetha argued, we should carry this as he belived it is raining heavily in Coorg. Later we realised what a waste carrying it apart from the lonely use of keeping it for your head support in train.
It’s dinner time. And we were fighting where to have it. I suggested Saravana Bavan, and told them it is renovated and have extra seating capacity now. But Faisel and Geetha objected and they thought Ratna Cafe is a better option. Too tired to fight, I gave in. We had dinner in Ratna cafe, only to realise it can seat only a handful and serves only dosa and idly. No complaints as we finished with curd rice. It was almost 9. We have to rush in to catch the Cauvery express. Saurabh was still hungry and he bought some bananas to eat in journey. Our berths are middle and upper and we sat in lower berth for some time and once checker finished verifying our tickets occupied our berths. Faisel slipped in sleep as he does always, faster and deeper. I always wondered his ability in catching up with sleep. Some where I read an average male takes 7 mins to fall asleep; it always took more than that for me to sleep. I tried reading book on Vivekanada’s speech later to realise that even I could slip into deep sleep faster.
Day One – Saturday Plan
Our train reached Mysore by 830 in the morning. We took the over head bridge to come out of the station. While coming out, there was another checking for the ticket. I showed him the ticket and my driver’s license, since it is a photo copy, the checker demanded for an original. I didn’t carry it, so Faisel had to show his. We have already booked for a cab for out Mysore to Coorg trip. The driver is supposed to wait out side the station. I received couple of calls to my mobile before that. So, I thought he should be waiting outside, if I couldn’t find him, I can always call him. I said to myself and walked out of the station. Even before I could start looking around, I saw a middle aged person in his early 30’s, dressed in white and white, holding a printout, which shouted “Welcome Mr. Guru from Chennai”. I was overwhelmed. We rushed to the cab, our next destination is a small hotel where we can have a quick bath and then start out trip. We were told to finish couple of places en-route to Coorg. All of us know that there were lot of things to do, we need to be fast. Faisel tried in his broken Kanada to try and tell to driver to go to some small hotel. Our first try was in vain, and then we found ‘Guru Hotel’, were they accepted to let us to have a room if we can finish before 1030. But still they demanded half day’s rent. With no option and time running out, we shed out the money and rushed into the third floor. Faisel was first to take bath, I carried a tee for him. It turned out to be a hit, as he beamed with tee and his new coolers all day through.
We decided to have a small breakfast. We let Faisel to tell driver that we would like to eat some thing light in road side hotel some where. Driver took us to a good hotel, it was full with people. We had to wait for our turn. Waiter never bothered us standing in the way. We realised after getting a table he never came for taking order. And when we ordered, our light breakfast became the heaviest we could have. We ordered for two items for four of us at the single go to the waiter, thinking the waiter won’t come again for taking orders. I am sure it caused him some confussion in orders. But we could order for second time. It was tasty and good. Bill came around 250. Geetha secured a two liter water bottle for the trip.
The distance from Mysore to Coorg was 90 odd kilometers. We planned to visit few places en-route. Our first place was the Tibetan temple. It was a Tibetan settlement around 1960s. You could see the monks dressed in characteristic orange and bark brown shawl. The Tibets had built a beautiful temple here. With Tibetan style houses and temple, with colorful flags decorating the skylines, you will forget that you are in India. The main tourist attraction is the Golden temple. We entered the golden temple. It was maintained very well with scenic garden and sacred hums filling the air.
We could enter the main temple, where you could pray to three deities. We spent some time there. Then took walk in the hot marble. It was almost noon. And we could hear the sacred humming of priests in one of the smaller temple next to the golden temple. Saurabh tried for a picture with one of the monks. But, he didn’t succeed. We started from there as it was getting late.
Cauvery – Nishergadhama
Our next stop was Nishergadhama. It is a small bamboo island in Cauvery River. It is connected via a hanging steel bridge. The river has big fishes and monkeys in the riverside trees. Monkeys never bothered humans as they were roaming very near. We entered the island. Inside we found a rabbit farm. It is covered with bamboo trees all over. We ventured in. We took some photo snaps. And then there was a deer park. People were feeding them with greeneries and with cabbage. One can get very closer with deer. Next to this you have tree top house. These are perhaps used for monitoring purpose but couples use it to have some privacy.
We entered the water. It is low but force full. We could see few familiar faces. Few of them are from the Tibetan temple. Most of the tourists take the same plan, I said to myself. After coming out of the river, Saurabh and Geetha managed to have a photo with the monks. I clicked it. We started from there after that. It was past two.
Dubera – Elephant Camp
Our next stop was Dubera – elephant camp. Unlike other spots, none of us know much about this place. But, in turn, this place turned out to be a natural beauty. A sleep riverside with mango trees and rocks is a splendor sight for one. People are trying boating and few rafting. But we are hungry. We decided to have lunch first. We can find a small dhaba near by and ordered fried rice and noodles. There is nothing available other than that. We had it sitting outside the hotel, over looking the river. The food was not all that good, but we had no options but to eat. We could see, people playing in water and at the same time cattle crossing the river side by side.
After our late lunch, we decided to go for water rafting. The time was 3:30 and climate was splendid. Up in the sky, clouds are getting darker and filling up very quickly. I thought finally the long awaited, forecasted, foretold rain going to lash us. But, very much like all forecasts it didn’t. Rain stayed away. We took rafting. Our instructor told how to hold plastic rowing hands and we were given life jackets. We had a good time in water. The instructor took us very close into trees and made us to duct for the branches. This was the only fun as there was little water and we were trying still water rafting. We had another group of four members in the boat but it was Saurabh, Geetha and the instructor rowing most of the time. I got tried quick but kept it for some time. Faisel was handling camera so he never accounted in for. We had a chance to look at group of elephant washed at the river side by their mahouts. We returned back to river side. And it was almost 5. We decided to start to our cottage in Coorg. We were growing tired.
Stay in Coorg
Coorg is also known as ‘kodagu’ and people are known as ‘kodavas’. With the help of my brother-in-law, I have booked a cottage in Coorg. Maddikeri is the district capital of Coorg. And this place attracts many tourists. The cottage was close to “Raja’s view or Raja’s seat”. We reached the place around 6 in the evening. The cottage turned out to be a wonderful find. It is hidden in-midst of thick lush greenery at slopes of the Coorg. We settled the cab driver his dues and took into the comfort of cottage. There was a debate, and no one knew what are facilities available in the cottage, when we could find television, we were happy. And the place was a good comfort. The cottage is maintained by Sharath. And he told us if we need dinner we can get it from home next to cottage. He also told about the people who stayed next to our cottage.
It was 6:30. I went to the near by home to order dinner, there was an alseasion dog. It was barking madly at any one who could walk into their home. The dog was chained and caged. I managed to creep in and order dinner. An old lady in her forties was kind enough to listen to me. I thought of getting Faisel’s help, but very quick I realized, she doesn’t speak Kanada, and she speaks only Kodava lore. She said she will prepare meals, I wanted chappathis. Our conversation was fast turning from Kanada to Tamil to I-don’t-know-what; at last I was waving my hands and making signs. To my help, I got her grand son to speak English, and I could order extra chappathis. But with the curiosity of the new place, we decided to go for a walk into the city. We realised how the place can be covered in mist so quick. It started to drizzle; Sharath told us that it rained previous day. We expected rain, but the entire mountain cliff was covered with thick mist. It was a breath taking moment. We walked to Raja’s view. This is a place from where the Kodava king used to sit and see the entire plain. A small building and beautiful garden is built around this. We paid two rupees as entry fee. In evening, there will be music and light show, and there was a huge crowd to the dancing music fountain. We walked around them; carefully avoid the mob frenzy, which went up and down for some Kanada song. There was some gang from college on educational excursion. Eager to have the Raja’s view, we rushed to spot. The climate was cold, and I rubbed my hands to keep myself warm. We sat into the gallery overlooking the vast valley. We tried taking few snaps and realised that we don’t have enough light.
End of Day One
We got some bhel puri from road side shop near a railway line and grew thirsty, it was hot and spicy. We walked into city, thinking of buying few things. We purchased snacks, fruits and other things. Then there was a talk that we should try strong coke or Pepsi, but all we could afford was director’s special mineral water. 😉
When we reached room it was almost eight. And we had plans to play cards. I carried three decks of card and most of the time we play cards in all our travel. Our favorite one is five cards and rummy. We had frequent power cuts in room and we had generator to help us. Our dinner was served at nine. We had rice and chappathis. Some gravy was served; it was all prepared local style. We tried watching some programme and play cards side by side. It was the frequent power cut which got us tensed. After having taken the trip in train and then in cab, we could feel the tiredness. We retired to bed.
Day Two – Sunday Plan
I had asked for cab for our Sunday plan. We had few places in our mind to visit. Geetha had a print out but, Faisel kept it some where and found it after some trouble. We all woke early and finished our breakfast. We were served with pooris this time. We stuffed some dry clothes and towels, as we thought we will get into water some where. The cab is supposed to come by nine in the morning but didn’t not turn up until 1030. We utilized this opportunity by taking few snaps around the home. Finally I got the horn sound and we could confirm it was of the cab we asked for.
We have decided to book bus for our return journey from Coorg to Mysore. We were not sure whether we will get a ticket the next day. Went to local bus stand to book our tickets, but by the time we went there, the counter staff had gone for break. We decided to book in afternoon, and I said, we would do that by two o’clock. Others never agreed that we could come back by two as it was almost 11. Our first stop is ‘Triveni’. We reached this place in less than hour’s time. Our driver was driving at steady speed. He was playing some tamil songs also and could understand tamil. I had a huge sigh, as Faisel’s Kanada skills are done away now.
Triveni – Junction of Three Rivers
We reached this place, Triveni is a sleepy small temple, which is built at the junction of three rivers, and these are tributaries of Cauveri, with lush green trees all around it. You could hear the sound of water flowing in river and then devotional songs praising the power of Mother Cauveri in air. Few people were bathing in the river too. There is hardly enough water in river. The water was clean and moving. The temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and Karthikeyan. The temples are built in Kerala style. We spent some time there and decided to move.
Tala Cauveri – Birthplace of Cauveri
We started to Tala Cauveri. This is the birthplace of river Cauveri. It is of another 30 mins from Triveni. We we reached Tala Cauveri, we could see another temple, built in Kerala style. There is a small pool of water and people are dipping their feet in it. None of us are interested in that. I could see shades of disappointment in all out faces, there is nothing left in that place until we saw, people trekking in steady numbers a hill. There is cement path and we decided to trek it. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. On top of the hill, a beautiful scene unfolded. One could had chance to literally touch the cloud. We ventured into another nearby hill top. Faisel and Geetha got a SMS message from Airtel, welcoming them to Airtel Kerala. I never thought we were so close to Kerala.
Abbey falls is famous water falls some eight kilometers from Madikeri. It was at a short distance from the city center. When we went there, it was written that it is one of the dangerous places to get into water as scores of people have lost their life here. When we return back it was almost 4 o clock in the evening and it started raining. We visited the Raja’s tomb. Then we returned to our cottage. It was tea time, I asked for tea and thinking it will take some time, decided to have a look at the near by places, walked into the near by bushes. But it started to pour in quick time. We rushed back to drink tea.
Sunday Night Inventions – Copyrighted to Faisel and Saurabh
Sunday night was supposed for watching the Aamir Khan’s Gajini movie and India’s T20 encounter with South Africa. Aamir Khan didn’t betray us, where as India team did that. The biggest good thing about T20 is, even losing is fast. So you lose the match and move to the next channel and catch up the movie in half hour’s time. That was, you don’t have much to lose.
Faisel and Saurabh, did invent few things all through the trip. First one being, strange theory in H20 – Water. Another one that night they came up with, Auto BG feature in Television.
We played cards till late in the night. Around two o clock, we retried to bed. Geetha and Faisel tried playing prank on me. But soon Faisel returned to privacy as he was kept busy over phone by special one.
Big Flops – T20 and Rain
There were few flops.
- India lost their Twenty20 match with South Africa. We followed this match on Sunday.
- It didn’t rain. Like a seasoned weather man, Geetha predicted it is going to rain hard and we would be in trouble. We carried rain coats, but it dint rain.
- Never had a chance to play in water. We visited so many rivers, but didn’t get chance to get into water.
- Frequent power cuts. Looks like this is usual. Be prepared.
- Food. It was fine for the first day, but food is some thing we thought bad.
- Monday blues. Even though we had time in Monday, there was nothing much for us to enjoy. We visited the fort but apart from that it was a boring day.
We have already booked tickets in KSRTC. We had our break fast late, so decided to skip lunch, we bought some snacks to compensate. The bus started by 1.30 in the noon. Our plan is to visit Mysore palace in the evening. We reached Mysore around 5 0 clock and decided to have some thing as we are hungry. By the time we finished some thing it was over 530 and rented an auto rickshaw to Mysore palace. We were told that entry to Mysore palace is closed by 530. We stood outside and watched the Faisel getting busy in his phone again. It took almost an hour to finish the call. Even after that we were left with so much time. Our train was scheduled to start at 820. We walked our way to the railway station.
In train, all of us are allocated with side berths. Worst, one of us have to move to a different compartment. It was decided, that I have to occupy the lone berth. Our train reached Chennai by 8 in the morning. It was Tuesday. All of us have to rush back to fast-paced city life. Three days of slow-paced, enjoyable Coorg days will always be fresh in memory.