Sunday, 17 July 2016

The monsoon ride to the paddy fields

Sugreeva was only able to help Rama because he had wandered over the entire face of the earth in the fear of getting found by Vaali, his brother. Sugreeva was persuaded in all the directions he went to hide himself. His travel experiences came handy; they found Sita and rest is history. The question of why or what makes us travel is a puzzle, finding that one line answer is not easy! Though we both have traveled very little, we believe our experiences come handy sometime or at least help us find ourselves within us if not Sita or Ravana’s palace!

Ah, that was an exaggerate example!! :)

We shredded many plans and zeroed in on a monsoon ride to a remote place in Kerala which was in between the paddy fields. The paddy fields and the village setup itself excited me. Most of my summer vacations during my school were spent at my grandparents’ place. Every little experience was new for me; picking fruits, flowers and nuts, gathering firewood, herding the cattle sometimes and lending a hand in the daily chores. The bright glittering stars in the night sky are something I remember every time I recall my summer vacations. I am sure each one of you have something very memorable from the summer vacations.

Somewhere between Sulia and Madikeri
Almost near Madikeri
Both of us were ready for the ride in the rain. Nicely packed in all the rain covers we had, we started at 5:30AM. The rain god too was ready to test our preparations and started pouring. I had to leave behind my camera at the last moment looking at the down pour. I regretted that decision throughout our journey but I had an excuse to not to stop anywhere for a photograph and just enjoy the rain and the ride. Though the rains stopped in between, it never gave chance for the water droplets on the helmet visor to clear off. Even with the best of the best rain covers, not even a square inch of our clothes were dry, the cold breeze was slapping us, the heat from the smoke of the passing vehicle was somewhat comfortable, the water splashes was not avoidable and I enjoyed it. Madikeri was our stop for the breakfast. I was waiting to get my hands on something hot and tasty. Idli-Vada-Sambar and Mysore Masala Dosa did the magic. We then headed towards Mandalpatti through the steep curvy lanes of Madikeri. We lost our way couple of times, the rains had took a break for a while and there was a mild warm sunlight all around by the time we near the gorgeous hills of Mandalpatti.

The rain covers, gloves and the helmets put out to dry.

The gradients formed by the moving clouds

A view

Nothing like it..It was so relaxing there :)
I had to convince her not to ride :)
Another 150 odd KM was ahead of us to reach the place we had booked; The Pepper Green Village. We started back again and there was a hurry to reach the place soon and not getting caught in the rain. Large vacant paddy fields, tall green trees, fresh air and the tiny water droplets carried away by the gushing wind, they were all a good sight. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful frames which were set in motion against our way.

We had crossed the boarders of 'God's own country' and it looked so true to its name. The 'Waynad Wildife Park' was just getting its shades of green. Tourists were all around waiting to get sight of something nice but we had a very deep craving for a hot cup of coffee/tea. We were heard, found a small road side shop and we stopped there for tea. The lady there was just kind enough to talk in Kannada and we elaborately explained our cravings. Apart from the banana podi they had she also said that she can make us some onion pakoda, we couldn't have asked for more. We hogged on what ever we got there, asked the way ahead and thanked her a ton.

The god-sent tea shop

Through the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary

The screaming peacocks, the chirping birds, groups of grazing spotted deer, the tall green trees and the wet roads all added to the beauty of the forest. Kottikulam was the place we had to reach and it looked like a small village on the way to the stay. We were already caught by a irresistible feeling of getting off the bike seat and then we finally found the place. Surprisingly the manager and couple of staffs were waiting at the gate to welcome us and we were all pleased by that. A small place at the first look but it all looked large enough for a comfortable stay. Our stay was a wooden house elevated on a platform, a dim lit room, trees through the the living room and a balcony with a view. Far away from the noise of anything, we were able to stick to our agenda of royally lazing out. With a view stuck in every angle, we couldn't have asked for anything more and the stay was worth to the last ounce paid.

The stay
In and around

In and around

The sumptuous Kerala cuisine. The fresh pepper was the king in all the dishes.
The balcony, the view and the mate added a lot of flavors to the evening tea :)

Paddy fields

We made some good friends there

The empty paddy fields around the stay which was turned to a football field in the evening.

'Pepper Green' was a great stay. The evening stroll around the premises was a pleasure, tasty food, nice view all around and a very friendly staff. Thumbs up for this great place.

The way back was a cruise ride. Enjoyed it more than the previous ride since the rains had took a break and we never missed a road. Monsoon rides has its own pleasure to enjoy :)

The hard part was the bye-bye but we had to!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

3 Nights @ the Honey-Valley home stay - Part 3

Continued from the previous blog post : 3 Nights @ the Honey-Valley home stay - Part 2

It's been more than a month now. The photographs and painting from there works like a switch; just a glance and I would be taken back to the place.

Day 3 was a resting day. Woke up late, had no plans of doing anything. Hogged on the breakfast, sat around the dining area reading some books, she wanted to complete the pending sketch and I went ahead with the camera to see if I can get any better frames.  It was our last day at the home stay, I had already started feeling the need to extend this 3 day holiday. The pleasure of doing nothing was so overwhelming. Most of the guests had already started leaving the home stay and many were packing for the evening departure. We had planned to ride back on Monday morning, so we still had 1 night to stay around.

The morning scene at the estate

Late in the evening we checked with Mr.Suresh if we can have a camp-fire somewhere around and he directed us to a spot about 500mtrs far from the home stay. I suppose that is the camping site for those who would like to stay in the tent. This place had much better view than the home stay over the coffee plantation. I quickly gathered the dry firewood and made a pile. I still remember my first camp-fire during the Bandaje trek about 3 years back, the nearest village was 15KM from our camp site.

Another portrait of a Sunbird

The camp-fire was on, the darkness was slowly creeping over the sky, the stars started popping up here and there, the mist started setting over the place, the birds silenced themselves, the frogs and the crickets had started there symphony and just 2 of us together against the warmth of the fire. It is a feeling to cherish long.

With few good photographs, a lot of bird sightings, many  record shots and couple of sketches/paintings, we felt our trip was accomplished. We promised ourselves that we would come back to this place very often.

8AM, Monday morning and we were back on our way to Mangalore. But I still had one place to visit, Sri Krishna Bhavana, which I had found out from another blog. A small eat and get out place for the tastiest breakfast. You can ask for idli-sambar or sambar-idli, vada-sambar or sambar-vada (if you get what I am trying to say ;) )and pongal, chow-chow bath, bisi-bele-bath, poori, coffee and tea. The owner is blunt and he would probably scream at you if you use the mobile phone while inside the hotel, he is busy but a friendly elder person. Trust me, it is the best pocket-friendly breakfast. If you are in Coorg, do check this place, it is at a walk-able distance from the bus stand.

Sri Krishna Bhavana - Madikeri
Some of the birds I got to see around the estate. Couple of them were my first sighting. Bird List - Few of the Kannada names are from

Black Eagle
ಕಪ್ಪು ಹದ್ದು
Oriental white eye
Hill Myna
Purple Rumped Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
ನೇರಳೆ ಸೂರಕ್ಕಿ
Scarlet Minivet
Golden Fronted Leafbird
Velvet fronted Nuthatch
ಮಕ್ಮಲ್ನೆತ್ತಿಯ ಮರಗುಬ್ಬಿ
Coppersmith Barbet
Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher

ಬೂದುತಲೆ ನೊಣಹಿಡುಕ

Heart Spotted Woodpecker
ಚುಕ್ಕೆ ಮರಕುಟಿಗ
Lesser Flameback Woodpecker
ಹೊಂಬೆನ್ನಿನ ಮರಕುಟಿಗ
Grey Wagtail
ಬೂದು ಸಿಪಿಲೆ
Yellow Wagtail
ಹಳದಿ ಸಿಪಿಲೆ
Black Drongo
ಕರಿ ಕಾಜಾಣ
Ashy Belied Drongo
ಬೂದು ಕಾಜಾಣ
Bronzed Drongo
ಕಂಚು ಕಾಜಾಣ
Greater Tailed Drongo
Yellow Browed Bulbul

ಹಳದಿಹುಬ್ಬಿನ ಪಿಕಳಾರ

Emerald Dove
ಹರಳು ಚೋರೆ
Vernal Hanging parrot
Blue Winged Parakeet
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Black-lored Yellow Tit

ಹಳದಿಕೆನ್ನೆಯ ಚೇಕಡಿ
Prinias, coucals, warblers and other common birds

Until our next travel story, bye :)