I had long desired to take a trip to Coorg and sojourn in this luxury resort, Orange County Resorts – later on name changed to Evolve Back Resort. I did go and make amazing memories. 3 days here in Coorg left us gleaming and euphoric- it may be because the resort is nestled in this cool and lush 300 acre plantation of coffee and spice, or because of its delectable and vast spread of South Indian cuisine, or for their extremely cordial hospitality. The service given at this resort is impeccable and the staff here is most cordial. The level set by this resort is tremendous and rarely have I seen any other five star resorts commensurate to their affability.
We took a direct flight to Bangalore- most of the major cities in India have a direct flight to Bangalore, and then it is a 6-7 hours car journey to reach Coorg.
What awaited us at the resort was a relishing palate for the soul. It was the most traditional welcome that I received with men and women clad in traditional Coorgi outfit showering us with flowers and a shehnai being played to announce our arrival. The environment was that of a celebration complete with flowers and shehnai, a cordial reception indeed!
We were ushered to our villa – we had booked the Family Villa as kids were small then, and the sight of the room put a smile on all our faces. It was huge. A nice cosy corner of the living room was given to our kids bedding, there was a fireplace in the living room to keep warm, it had an attached kitchen with all provisions for cooking, a huge bedroom with a huge bathroom. It also had an open shower area that looked so inviting. Our living room had a balcony that overlooked the lush forests and with all this we were already happy. It was our house for the next 4 days. Impressive!!
As we set out to explore the resort we realised that a lot of effort has been put in conservation of flora and fauna by the resort authorities. We found so many different varieties of flowering plants that attracted beautiful birds and butterflies. It is a different world when you are strolling on pathways with lush plantations on both sides and butterflies and chirping birds playing around you. It feels magical.. Even though the resort was almost fully occupied it felt peaceful.
Evolve Back Resorts have an organic farm too which grows vegetables and fruits for use in the kitchen. If you love reading they have a library with a view to this farm. It is soothing to the soul to be in this kind of surrounding with your favourite book in hand to spend the evening.
The resort also has a huge pool overlooking the river and it is located in a quite corner. We can spend hours here too just relaxing and noticing the nature all around you.
The resort has an activity centre where small kids can keep themselves busy in the sunny afternoons, the restaurant where we had our meals, an open place for evening cultural presentation of coorgi dance and music.
Their activities include a forest walk for approx 2 and a half hour, a coffee plantation tour, a bicycle ride in the village around the resort with a coracle ride in the river. You can take an elephant bathing tour on your own, by booking with the resort.
We rise and shine on our first morning in Coorg, very excited to go for our jungle walk that will take about 2 hours or more. We slip on our walking shoes with very comfortable clothes, fully covered, not giving insects any chance of harassing us and reach the pre determined meeting spot. There we realise that we are the first ones and will have to wait for the remaining guests who will be joining us.
The breeze was nice and cool with a slight aroma of spice.
Soon we embark on our forest journey which is wilder than my imagination. By wild, I mean there are tall trees, ancient ones, very small pathways which has not been treaded much on – by the look of it. Some of the trees are mammoth looking and take you to the world of our ancestors who dwelled in these places before concrete structures happened. We feel the grass and small plants brush against our covered legs as we try to hurdle over the foliage.
There is an emanation of pleasant scent from the different fruits, flowers, the bark of the trees and the grass, that mixes and makes a perfume of its own. There is chirping of birds, it is like a ceremony going on, birds chirping incessantly.
The walk is not very difficult and can be done with young kids too. Except for a few ups and downs, the terrain is easily trek able.
Soon we are standing in front of this huge tree. The speciality – in days of less water or droughts we can get water from this tree to quench our thirst. A hole is pierced in, at a specific place on the bark and the water oozes out. The tree stores water and can be a great help when no water bodies can be found around.
It sets our brains to again ponder over the ways of nature. How a survival kit is provided by nature itself to us, all we got to do is look for it.
The next short stopover in the forest was this huge tree that looked like a monster with many branches going different ways. If it were evening we wouldn’t be here, as we would be running far away as fast as we could. Some trees were hundreds of years old and they looked dramatically big and powerful. Kids and adults alike took a shot at climbing on the trees as high as they could before we set on our journey again.
Our last stop was at the banks of Kaveri river. Since it was not the rainy season the water was peaceful and calm and we took in the enchanting view that the river presented.
After the long and amazing walk we were famished. The food served at the resort was very flavoursome and delicious. A heavy lunch calls for an afternoon nap and that is just what we did. After all holidays require us to be a little lazy at times. NO GUILT FEELING THERE!!!
A cycle tour
Next day was scheduled for a cycle tour. The group leaves the resort and enters a village. The tour gives us a peek into the rural lifestyle. The tour drives you to contemplate on the simplicity of life and how little a human requires to survive. The early to bed and early to rise rule for healthy living is followed diligently by the villagers. They require no alarm clocks to wake up in the morning or no gadgets in the evening before sleep. Many villagers work in the fields and the coffee plantations.
Seeing the urban scenario now, it will be a great change to make these village tours more regularly. We can definitely learn a thing or two from these visits. We took a tea stop at one of the small tea shops in the village.
Next halt was at the river where we will be doing the coracle ride.
Coracles are round boats that are used for fishing purposes by the villagers. And of course giving ride to guests of the resorts around! This is supposed to be a very slow and peaceful boat ride. In silence you can hear the birds and insects sound as well as the lulling water. We reach back to our resort and were greeted with the delectable cuisine which I so loved at Evolve back. We crawled in our beds for our afternoon siesta after devouring an appetising lunch so that we would be fresh for our next tour in the evening.
Coffee Plantation walk
Everything we did on this trip to Coorg is something new and the same is true for the coffee plantation walk. This is the first time we will be in a farm with coffee plants all around us. As we were nearing the gate of the farm we could already draw in the redolence of coffee along with some spice.
Once inside we were told all about the history as to how coffee came to be grown in this part of India due to its climate and soil. As we walked we found out where the spice aroma came from. Pepper and other spices are grown around clusters of coffee plants for better yield.
The kids have a great experience when they climbed up the pepper plant to pluck a few ones.
Dubare Elephant Camp
The visit to the Dubare elephant camp is arranged by the people at resort tours desk. The visit is a great example of human and animal bonding. We bathe the elephant in the river with the elephant sprinkling water on us. The kids enthusiasm had no bounds as being so close to the gigantic animal can only be a dream for some. And here they were bathing it. From there you are taken to a shed where we can feed the elephants food and fruits like banana.
It is definitely advisable to be near the animal only when accompanied by the minder of the elephant and also to be very kind with it.
Evolve Back Resorts have an organic farm too which grows vegetables and fruits for use in the kitchen. If you love reading they have a library with a view to this farm. It is soothing to the soul spending the evening in this surroundings with your favorite book in hand.
The resort also has a huge pool overlooking the river and it is located in a quiet corner. We can spend hours here too just relaxing and noticing the nature all around you.
When it was time to return home from Coorg after an adventurous 3 days we did feel that we should have extended the holiday a little bit.
But as always, holidays never seem to be enough and we departed for home with lots of memories tucked away in the core memory section of our brain…