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In Nature's Tender Embrace: A Journey Through Kodagu

This slow-living hilltown in the south of India is known for its picturesque landscapes, coffee and tea plantations, and unique culture that’s centered around nature. Here is a sneak peek into its streets, rivers, and seasonal activities.

The top of the Sun Temple and a cloudy sky

by Yashika CG

25 de sept de 2023

In the far south of India, cradled in the lap of the Western Ghats, lies a picturesque landscape of Kodagu (popularly known as Coorg). Painted in shades of green, with flowing rivers and waterfalls, people rooted in a unique nature-based culture, wildlife that’s a treat for every nature enthusiast. This rural district spread across 4102 Sq Km has everything to nourish the seeking soul.

First Impression

Passing through the Nagarhole forest area, spotting chital deers grazing alongside the highway in the early morning hours, there was a clear distinction when our car entered the land of Kodagu. My eyes naturally began tracing the well-groomed pigeon berries or golden dewdrops planted as a fence on either side of the highway. It was like my mind entering a trance. Either side of the road seemed to be blanketed with coffee plantations. Tall areca palms and coconut trees, silver oaks with black pepper windes coiled around them evenly spread across the land. On the backdrop of misty mountains and a light monsoon drizzle my heart was soaked in a strange melancholic bliss.

The landscape alternated between coffee plantations on the hills and paddy fields on the flat lands with the mountains being consistent in the background. Narrow streams of water sprung out of nowhere and flowed. Finally, after driving through a stretch of tea plantations we arrived at the Lazo Safari Inn a Home Stay in a tiny village called Beeruga.

This slow-living village embraced me in its tender loving energy.

The Sun Temple stair and people walking up and down

Coffee plantation Photo by Bishnu Sarangi

The Scenic Walks

The early morning walks in the coffee and tea plantations spotting seasonal fruits like guavas and jackfruits, drenching in the monsoon showers, spending time by the Irrupu waterfalls connecting with myself, nature and the locals, my heart was swollen with joy.

Sitting by the Barapole River with my feet immersed in the flowing water as the growing sounds of cicadas engulfed my senses transporting me to a calm and serene place within, I wrote poems in praise of nature.

The evenings were spent by the fireplace, sharing stories with the family that hosted us, savoring some local cuisines.

Adrenaline amidst the wilderness

Coorg Water Rafting Sports and Adventures nearby offered a range of water activities from rafting to ziplining. I tried ziplining across the Barapole River and it was enlivening. Not because it was the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done, but because I could experience some speed within the slow nature of this place.

One can also trek the Bhramha Giri hills or opt for a jeep tour, but I chose to just walk around in the neighborhood assimilating the serenity, capturing mental pictures of the greenest place I’ve ever visited.

A blend of culture and nature

The culture of this land is centered around nature, the indigenous people worship the river Kavery as their mother. The festivals are centered around nature too, like Puttari the harvest festival and Kailpod a celebration of hard work involved in farming and giving thanks to Mother Nature and all the tools that support farming activities.

The time I visited was a time for Maddkool (Madd= medicine, kool=rice). The 18th day of the month of Kakkada in the Kodava calendar. This medicinal plant grown in the wild locally called Madd Toppu (Scientific name: Justicia wynaadensis) is believed to hold 18 medicinal values. The juice of this plant is extracted and used to prepare a variety of dishes.

“I remember as a child walking in the jungles during this time of the year being enticed by the aroma of this plant in the air” a local fondly recalled his childhood memory associated with this plant.

I also got to feast on some Kuvale putt a traditional delicacy made of ground jackfruit, coconut, and semolina, wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed to perfection.

The clan also holds a unique heritage of clothing, songs and dance forms which I hope to experience in my future visits.

The Taj Mahal and people

Photo by Devaiah Mallangada Kalaiah

Final Thoughts

Although this is the place where I was born, I spent most of my life away from here in the city. I am on a journey to truly understand the depth of this culture. So complex yet, so simple. Every visit to this place brings with it a new experience, a new layer of understanding, and a deeper connection with myself. This place teaches me to find joy in the simplest of things, as simple as walking barefoot, getting drenched in the rain, relishing the fruit of the season, being intentional with my actions, and celebrating the gifts of nature.

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