Photo Essay: A Charmer that was Coorg!

by Rashmie Jaaju on June 10, 2011 · 17 comments

in My Travelogue

I heard someone say – "I love reading, it helps me travel the world without moving an inch." I agree with this thought wholeheartedly as I love reading, too. But, I absolutely love moving. Not an inch, not just a few miles but thousands of miles away – from the comfort of my home. And, I'll carry the books, too, to read along. (winks).

I love every bit of the travel experience…

…the journey, the sights, the food (a big draw), the people, the conversations, the challenges, the potholes and yes – the photography. Photography, for me, is at the heart of the traveling experience. I never carry a purse when traveling. Instead, I like to carry a big, handy camera bag that will hold all the camera accessories and will allow some space for my bare basic requirement for cosmetics – a comb, a moisturizer, a handkerchief and an emergency medical kit (because I have a 5-year old who's always hopping, tripping and getting bruised!).

The charmer that was Coorg

Recently, as some of you know, from updates on my other blog, I traveled to Coorg and from there to Mysore. Coorg or Madikeri – as it is actually known locally, is a ravishing hill town nestled within the coffee plantations in south of India. And, would you believe it, no where else in India do we have coffee plantations. So, this aspect makes Coorg all the more fascinating besides a dozen other facts that are unique only to Coorg and to its gorgeous, flamboyant people.

 Via

Talking about the people…

The Coorgis or the Kodavas, as they like to be addressed, belong to a culture that sets itself apart – a beautiful harmony of the Northern and Southern Indian traditions plus some more that are singularly unique. For example, a Coorg wedding is full of festive fun that is so associated with an Indian wedding but minus all the tedious aspects like hours and days of outdated rituals that take the spirit away. And, the dowry. The Kodavas don't recognize that word!

I have hundreds of photos from Coorg and it was not easy sorting and selecting for a single post. Actually, even if I did a series of posts, I would not still be able to do justice to this nature's paradise. But, I had to draw the line somewhere. Hence, I will be doing this in two or three parts.

Coorg Offers Everything to Everyone

The Coorg trip will be memorable for me for more than one reason. And, one of those is – for the first time, I was traveling with three generations – me, my mom and my daughter – Pari. Yes, just the three of us! 

And, each of us connected with this place in our own way.

For, Coorg actually is that – a friend so affable and versatile. It can be relaxing, soothing and gentle for those tired of the fast paced city life; it will embrace the nature lover imploring him/her never to leave; it will have the adrenalin gushing for those who seek adventure and the wild side of nature; it will charm the hard-to-please with its exotic flavours, resplendent culture and savoury food.

What more do you want in a friend?

Enjoy the part I of this photo feature 

In today's photo essay, I am focusing on the immediate bond one strikes with nature, when in Coorg.

We stayed at Club Mahindra's Kodagu Valley Resort, which is an ecotel-certified green resort.

This was like staying in the middle of wilderness and waking up to morning ragas by birds overhead!

Smelling the coffee while it is on the tree!

Coffee Arabica blooms

It's mesmerizing as well as revealing to see, know and understand where your morning Coffee comes from; how it is plucked, dried and processed before being packed and sent to the stores…

The Coffee Arabica saplings in the nursery

Cardamom Plantations

Green Cardamom Blooms

Coorg (besides Munnar, in Kerala) is the hub for spices – Cardamom, Pepper, Star Anise, Fennel, Vanilla, Cumin, Carom seeds – you can stock up on all the Indian flavours for your culinary requirements. 

The wild side of Coorg

For someone like me who loves wildlife, it was rather unfortunate that the famous Nagarhole National Park was closed to safari at that time due to rains. Nonetheless, we still had some tryst with the wild at the 'Man Made island' called 'Nisarga Dhama', where we were able to feed the deer, antelopes and rabbits and took an Elephant ride.

Dubare Elephant Camp

Nature walks in Coorg will reward you with unexpected treasures. 

We stayed in Coorg for  eight days without any pre-planned itinerary. For, I knew that in a place so abundant with nature, I could spend weeks just collecting leaves, pebbles, pine cones and acorns and basically soaking in all the beauty.

There are forts, temples, Monasteries, tombs – all the concrete structures too. But, the concrete ceases to remain concrete because the greenery is all around, inside and basically ubiquitous! It grows from walls, shafts, on stone-paved paths, on roofs, balconies – defying all rules of how and where greens grow… (chuckles)

Burma bridge in 'Man Made Island'

So, that was Coorg, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed the photo essay and the stories. 

Finally, a recommendation – to fulfill your travel dreams…

You may have seen the Gorgeous Karma banner and read that line under the logo.

It reads – Passion > Purpose > Joy

I identified my passion long back. It is photography, traveling, writing and some more! Through these passions, I have found the purpose of my life. And, when I am moving one baby step after another closer to my purpose, I experience joy. In every act of traveling, I seek joy. In every click, I swell with joy.

Dear readers, what is YOUR passion? Is traveling a passion for you or is it just a dream? Do you dream of traveling but carry some fears and inhibitions that you are not able to overcome? Is it the fear of leaving the comforts of your home and setting foot on alien lands? Or, is it the work pressure that's not letting you take a break? Or, may be money? Or that you are not comfortable traveling with very young kids.

Whatever the reason, you know that you would LOVE to travel. If only the issues would be sorted.

Well, I am going to recommend to you this amazing travel guide written by a very experienced and expert traveler who travels so frequently and so far and wide around the world, it's difficult to trace her! Her name is Farnoosh – the writer behind the fabulous blog – Prolific Living. She recently launched the "Fear Crushing Travel Guide" which, I believe is an extremely useful and powerful counselor to traveling without fear and traveling like a pro.

The Fear Crushing Travel Guide answers all those travel related practical problems and fears that one is confronted with. Farnoosh is not just a very dear friend of mine, I'm also a big fan of her writing and her passion for traveling and Yoga.  I am not affiliated with this product in any way but still want to recommed because I am passionate about traveling myself and encourage people to go see the world and this is the one aid that will help you become a fearless traveler. This guide by Prolific Living also carries video interviews of expert travelers with tons of tips and advice.

Check it out if you want to give wings to your travel dreams. I reiterate, I am NOT affiliated with this product and I will not achieve any monetary gain by recommending this. But, I know I will gain your trust and Farnoosh's well wishes. (smiles)

Now, go ahead – it's your turn to talk. Share your travel story, talk about your passion and let us know where the wander lust is taking you…

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Farnoosh June 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

Dearest Rashmie, your photography is like walking through a dream. Thank you for letting me come to Coorg with you.
And thank you so much for the shout-out to the Fear-Crushing Travel Guide. So nice of you!!! (I actually only have audio interviews but there is a video of me talking about the product on the sales page! ;))!
Big hugs and thanks again!

Reply

Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

My dear Farnoosh,
I love hearing from you – you make me feel so special with your generous words. I’m so glad you liked seeing the photos and doing a virtual tour of Coorg. Hope you will visit Mysore some day and meet us too, here in Delhi… :) Or may be I will have to organize a ‘blog world summit’ in Mysore that will inspire you all the more to come… :))
I will correct the mention about video interviews… ;)
Hugs and love back to you…..

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Roopa @putti prapancha June 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Beautiful photos Rashmie!! Im sure you 3 ladies had a blast there:)
Kodagu and Kerala are my favorite spots in southern India. And kodagu being closer to ‘namma bengaluru’ have visited it many times and each time it looks new !!
Did you get to visit kushalnagara and bylakuppe?

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Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Roopa,
Isn’t it wonderful that we live a world apart but are able to reminisce over the same places we have visited?!
Yes, we went to Kushalnagara and the Namdrolings Golden Temple in Bylakuppe. I will share the photos of the temple in the next post. It is a haven of peace and serenity.

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Linda June 12, 2011 at 12:27 am

Dear Rashmie,
I just LOVE looking through your blog. It’s such an educational experience for me, plus I visit places through your photographs that I know I will never see…..Thank you <3

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Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Dear Linda, my friend,
You are so kind to share such a lovely comment. I am glad you are able to visit India through the photos that I share…
And, I love seeing your world through your Flickr photos.. :)
Thank you for being here…

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Pritam June 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Beautiful photos….Rashmie, i enjoyed going thru your photo eassy…
I like your style of writing and photos are just superb!!

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Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Pritam,
I am so glad you like reading my blog and enjoyed the photos… :)
It’s through your encouraging words and in the words of my other readers that I find motivation to write. Without your readership and comments, this place would be so desolate. So, please keep visiting and sharing your feedback and thoughts… :)

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Chhavi Taneja June 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Hi! Great to see the pics; especially after having heard the detailed expereince from you.
Must say that these pics in particular are very refreshing …
The place looks awesome too.
But, the high point is what I told u earlier – 3 ladies off to a vacation without any strings attached…WOW!!!

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Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Chhavi,
You are so right – 3 of us off to a vacation “without any strings attached” is a must-have experience. The connection that a mother and a daughter and her daughter share cannot be substituted with any other relationship. It’s so fulfilling, selfless and ‘giving’ by nature.
Thanks Chhavi for sharing your thoughts… :)

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Ambika Suman June 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

LOVE love these photographs Rashmie! I really like your perspective and composition!

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Rashmie Jaaju July 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Thank you, Ambika, for visiting and sharing your comment. :) You love photography yourself, don’t you ? :)

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michelle July 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm

How wonderful!!!! Thank you for linking up with us, this was a magical post!

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Michelle July 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm

So gorgeous! I’m so glad you linked up with us. I enjoy your blog very much!

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Pooja September 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Hi Rashmie,

Wow is the first word that comes when i saw your blog.I am from Pune and am planning to go to Coorg.Your blog will definitely help me to explore it at the best.Thank you for sharing with us.I must say you have done it beautifully and the pictures are amazing.Keep blogging:)

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Rashmie Jaaju September 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Dear Pooja,
Welcome to Gorgeous Karma, my dear, and thank you for your heart-felt words. How wonderful that you will be visiting Coorg.
You will love this hill town and the places around. Just one point though – this may not be the best of times to visit Coorg because of heavy rains.
You will be forced to stay indoors rather than do the many outdoor activities including trekking etc.
Besides, the nearby Nagarhole National Park may be closed to visitors due to the rains.
Starting October, the weather is really pleasant.
All the best for your holidays. :)

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Tanuj Talwar Shah November 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm

absolutely love your pictures 

Reply

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