Monday, December 28, 2020

Year-end getaway to 'Chilumey' Homestay'!

After a day of fire-drill planning, Pradeepa recommended 'Chilumey Homestay' @ Somwarpet - Coorg as the place we were going to spend some peaceful time. Shashi too confirmed he would be joining. It has been an unprecedented year of extreme challenges and we definitely needed a break to reset and restore some sanity. 

Dec 25, 2020 - Friday: 'Christmas'

Kickstarted the day, as we left Samruddhi at 5:30 AM and reached Pradeepa's house. We crammed our backpacks and 'Kurku-Murkus' in their Innova and left their house by 6:30 AM. Shashi and family joined us at the exit of Nice Road Junction on Peenya - Nelamangala Road.

It seemed like all of Bangalore wanted to take break and the traffic was chock-a-block. We thought during Corona pandemic, there may not be many of them, but we were wrong!

An hour and half into the drive, we stopped for Breakfast, at Siddalingeshwara Mess at Kunigal, where we had delicious Thatte Idly, Vade, Avarekai Pulav, Coffee and Tea. Thanks to Pradeepa's knowledge of these hidden gems as we avoided long waiting times.

We then drove pretty much non-stop via Hirisaave, Hole Narasipura, Shanivarasanthe and reached Chilumey Homestay at 1:30 PM, a beautiful house surrounded by lush green Coffee Plantation. Our Homestay folks [relatives to Pradeepa] recommended us to have lunch at Kalyan Bhavan Mess, which was just less than a kilometer away from the homestay. The food at the Mess, was quite good and hygienic too! 

Back in our rooms, we took a nice little break to relax after a 6 hour drive. The huge balcony on the first floor opened out to acres of Coffee plantations all around with nothing but just pure oxygen.

A couple of hours of relaxing, we were treated to Piping hot, straight-from-the-plantation and freshly-brewed coffee which was sensational and got us turbocharged to make the most of what the light could offer. We drove off to 'Honnammana Kere', a serene little lake about 5 Kms from our Chilumey. The Sun was already dropping down as drove to the 'Belur Bane', a grassland meadow, which actually is a huge Golf Course that has unending green carpet cover of grass. But the light had dimmed quite a bit and we really needed more time with this beautiful place. We decided to make revisit this place the next day as well. 

We drove back to Chilumey and spent the rest of the evening over there. Pradeepa had brought along a huge 'Bose' Bluetooth Audio Player with Mike and Karaoke. The Campfire was lit and so was the mood. The Chilly evening turned red-hot, as bollywood dance numbers started rolling one after other. The dance-masti was ignited with the first load of Lip-smacking delicious Capsicum and Hirekai Bajjis, with fresh batches arriving at the turn of every new song. Everyone danced as if there was no tomorrow and we had a gala time. 

A couple of hours later, the dinner was served in the ground floor which had 'Ukkarisidda Akki Rotti, Ennegaai, Red Chilly Chutney, Jeera Rice, Koorma, Kashi Halwa' the traditional Veg-dishes of the location. This apart from the regular Curries, Rice, Sambhar, Rasam, Curds and Pickles. 

We continued the Musical session, which moved indoors in the huge hall on first floor with Arnav, Ruchir, Prathyusha and Pooja taking center stage. The songs went till late in the night. After brining the roof down with Bose Speakers at full volume, and with not enough energy left, we hit the bed at midnight!

Dec 26, 2020 - Saturday:

After a good night sleep, we all got ready early in the morning had a good breakfast of Avalakki, Dosas, Red Chutney, and Spicy Sambhar. We left the homestay by 10 AM and drove towards 'Kote Betta', about 25 Kms. from our Homestay. The drive was great as we saw the beautiful landscapes of Coorg and in all it's glory. We reached Kote Betta, which had a little temple at the foot of a 20 floor high rocky hillock. Along with the kids, we trekked to the top of this hill, which opened out to the vast expanse of the low lands below. The kids loved the trek and the cool breeze at the top.

Next on the itinerary was the 'Malhalli Falls'. By the time we drove to the falls, it was already 2 PM and the sun was burning bright. In order to view the falls, we had to get down 700 steps one way and considering we had with little kids, and it was past lunch time and we had already trekked, getting down 700 steps and climbing up was a big ordeal. So we just went down a few steps where we could see a glimpse of the waterfall and climbed back. 

We had lunch at 'Kannika Homestay', who were pre-informed of our arrival, by a few other relative-friends who were staying with us back at the home stay. The food was quite decent and filling, good enough to get us back on track. It was already 4 PM and the the heat was still on. Our next point to visit was 'Pushparigi' which was about 7 Kms further away. We discussed back and forth on whether to visit the Pushpagiri hills or not and finally gave it a miss, considering that it was already a tiring day. 

Instead, the plan was to revisit the 'Belur Bane Golf Course' where kids could get a of time to play in the greens. After a quick pit-stop for Coffee and snacks at Somwarpet, we reached the golf course when the heat had come down and offered perfect conditions for playing! We played Frizbee for quite a while on the open lawns. It was a fantastic expanse of greens all around and a beautiful place to just chill. Kids loved running around and so did we!

Pooja challenged me for a running race with so much confidence that she would win the race, heads down. Pratyusha also joined the race, which was officiated by Shashi and Pradeepa. We were to touch a tree 200 Mtrs. ahead of us and return back to staring point. A race of 400 Mtrs. in all. I started late, allowed the the kids to lead early, and after they were 25 meters ahead, I started moving, chasing them slowly from behind, running along with them for a few meters and leading them by 25 Mtrs. at the tree, which was half way. Just so that it was not a one-time lucky thing, allowed them to start their return back to the starting point and chased them back to the finish line with a comfortable lead. Pooja was in utter disbelief at what had transpired. Her loss was attributed to the 'cheating' I did by starting late, making her believe I was tricking her. So we decided to run again! 

The second race was just only till the Tree this time. The result was not very different and Pooja finally accepted that I still had a few years, before she could win a race with me ;-) I was just happy that I was still able to run and still be able to walk afterwards!!! Mind runs faster than the body can handle!!!

By the time we returned back to the Homestay, it was already 7:30 PM. We refreshed ourselves as sat chit-chatting in the front yard. Batches after Batches of hot and spicy Bondas of 'Seeme Badanekaayi, Sabsige Soppu and Nugge Soppu' kept coming! Very tasty and just perfect!

Dinner was served at 8:30 PM which had Sannas, Saagu, Veg Pulav, Raitha, Rice, Sambhar, Curds, and a sweet treat of Chandrahaar! We got back to the hall upstairs and resumed the Music session with Pooja and Pratyusha dolling out Kannada, Bollywood, English numbers.

We closed down the day at 10:30 PM and then went to bed.

Dec 27, 2020 - Sunday:

All of us woke up late and had a relaxing morning, with multiple sessions of hot coffee. A breakfast of Onion Uppittu, Chutney, Idli and Sambhar followed. We also bought a KG of their Coffee Powder and some Pepper as well. Right after, we all did a quick tour of their Coffee plantation walking around the fence and always being watchful of the snakes. 

We returned back, checked-out by 10:30 AM, greeted the hosts for the wonderful stay for the last couple of days and departed 'Chilumey Home Stay'. On our way back we wanted to complete the 'Pushpagiri' hill which took close to an hour and half to reach. The terrain was quite challenging and narrow. Pradeepa and Shashi drove very well too as we reached Pushpagiri. This hillock has a beautiful little temple with the presiding deity of 'Shantha Mallikaarjuna'.

Got to know that the other side of the Pushpagiri hill is called ' Kumara Parvartha' and a 22 Kilometer trek from Pushpagiri leads to Kukke Subramanya. We spent an hour at the temple and from their started our return journey via Kushalnagar to Mysore. Ranjini wanted all of us to join them and have lunch at her parent's home in Mysore.

On the way, we stopped for some thirst quenching Cucumbers and they did their job! We reached Ranjini's parents house in J P Nagar area of Mysore by 5 PM, where we refreshed ourselves. We spent some time with their family and also met Ranjini's brother as well. Lunch was served and we had the Authentic 'Puliogare', Bisibele Bath with varieties of Happala which was just awesome! To top it all we had Sakkare Pongal and Curd Rice as well - Just too good! The Cuppa was just perfect too! We wished them goodbye and started towards Pradeepa's Malavalli Farmland. Shashi and Ranjani joined as well, while Arnav and Vibha stayed back with the Grandparents.

We reached Pradeepa's farmland at 7:30 PM. Pradeepa had kept 'Chandra' the care-taker-worker at the farmland to await our arrival in 1 hour from 3 PM onwards!!! It was dark, but with the help of mobile phone torch and assisted with beautiful moonlight, we walked all around the farm as he explained about the plantation. Chandra had already plucked and readied the Tender coconuts. The sweet and tasty tender coconuts were just awesome! Wonderful experience!

Shashi and Ranjini returned back to Mysore as we made a quick pit-stop at Usha's brother's under construction farmhouse/land at Malavalli. It was 8:30 PM when we started again towards Bangalore via Malavalli, Halagur, Kanakapura and back to Bangalore. We reached Pradeepa's home by 11:30 PM, where we hopped back onto our car and drove back home. 

3 days of unadulterated fun and peace, away from the pressure cooker world of office and Corona/Covid 19, this little outing of 720 odd Kms, was really a much needed break and many thanks to Prathyusha, Usha, Pradeepa, Vibha, Arnav, Ranjini, Shashi for their wonderful company during this outing! We had some great fun and will cherish this outing for a long time!

Here are some snaps from our 3 day get-away!

Year-end Getaway to Chilumey Homestay


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