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.
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of festive fun that is so associated with an Indian wedding but minus all the tedious aspects like hours and days of outdated rituals that take the spirit away.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
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)