Scotland of India: The Tamara Coorg

The Charming City of Coorg is a hidden gem in Karnataka with its many marvels for every nature lover

BY NAMITA GUPTA

A trip to the Scotland of India is synonymous with the lush green coffee plantations that are in abundance here. As the British established their domain in India and moved to the South, they chanced upon South India’s coffee culture and commercialised it. Coffee plantations are ubiquitous throughout the stunning hills of Coorg that lend it a picturesque view, making it a treat for sore eyes. With easy access to all the four Southern states of India, it makes for perfect holiday destination for couples as well as entire families. This Kodagu district panning the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka is also a great place to relax and take a break from the humdrum of city life. With many resort options one can be spoilt for choice. Here’s what we recommend you try on your next visit to Coorg…

The Tamara Coorg 

A perfect getaway where your quest for serenity is answered

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year than being in the midst of endless lush greenery, long-winding coffee plantations, scenic streams and wonderful waterfalls, at The Tamara Coorg (meaning the lotus flower). I felt fortunate to be experiencing nature at its very best as the birds sang in harmony and I rediscovered the joy of being one with the nature. A whiff of cardamom, the queen of spices and pepper, the king of spices mingled with the aroma of coffee in the air as I strolled in a canopy of green around me. The Tamara Coorg is a 56 key luxury resort and presides over an estate of 180.2 acres producing coffee, cardamom and pepper. One of the few places in the world that is built inside a functional coffee plantation giving the resort a 360-degree coffee experience from “Blossom to Brew”. You can custom create your own signature coffee blends; right from plucking the coffee berries, pulping, blending and roasting the selected coffee beans. The Verandah opens up into the “Custom Coffee” section; it is here that guests can custom blend and roast their own coffee beans to create the perfect cuppa and call it their own.

There are four cottage categories – 42 Luxury Cottages, four Superior Luxury Cottages, eight Suite Cottages and two exclusive Eden Lotus Suites with an outdoor private Jacuzzi. The living spaces are designed by architect N Mahesh keeping in mind natural light with utmost attention to detail for a warm and cozy feel, reminiscent of a log cabin nested in the woods with all possible comforts. I fell in love with the view from my fully equipped and extremely comfortable Luxury Cottage that overlooked a vast expanse of untapped natural beauty. It almost feels like the resort buildings grew over the years alongside the coffee plantations and palm trees. It was time now for a Plantation tour with naturalist Ashwath Thammaiah, who shared his knowledge on the various flora and fauna that flanked the resort. Parakeet heliconia or bird of paradise, flowering wild purple banana, ginger torch, peace lily, rare species of giant Rudraksha endemic to this region were in full bloom and made for an impressive display of nature’s bounty. The landscaping of the resort located in the upper level of Kabbinakad Hills is inspired by Balinese gardens designed by John Pettigrew.

After a feast to the eyes in the oxygen enriched environs, I had built up quite an appetite as I headed to the ‘The Falls’, the multi cuisine restaurant, that dishes out delicious fare made with love from ingredients grown locally, including organic vegetables from their kitchen garden. Fish curry and rice was just the way I liked it, tangy and flavourful. I slept like a baby after that and was all set for the morning trek. With barely any tangible path, we trekked up a hill with a group of trekkers and our guide Ashwath in the wee hours of the morning and reached the top for some gorgeous panoramic views that you have to see to believe. Pathi Pole trek was a 4.5 hours trek amidst the valley through the shola forest from where the Pathi Pole Falls emerges. There were some great sights from the boulder resting areas. This 7.5 Kms of trail takes you through breathtaking slopes and valleys with lush greenery. We had earned the hearty breakfast that ensued post the trek. Next up on my schedule was a spa session at The Elevation Spa, a place where time stands still and the temporal world fades away. Yes, that’s exactly how I felt after the Balinese massage as my inner silence got revitalised and my outer gleam restored.

An authentic traditional Coorgi feast with specials like Kadambattu, Paputtu, Mushroom Masala, Pandi curry, Bamboo shoot curry and Coorg mutton curry each more flavourful than the other awaited post the massage and I did complete justice to each of the dishes prepared with so much care and perfection. There’s never a dull moment at The Tamara Coorg if you want it that way. Of course, if you want to do nothing and just be by yourself, you can always do that. There are options of candle-light dining in complete privacy as you gaze into your loved one’s eyes under the starlit sky. Since the resort does not allow kids below the age of 12, it makes a great getaway for honeymoon couples. Infact, I met a couple who had flown down from London for their honeymoon here, while on my two-day stay at The Tamara Coorg. I was set for my cookery workshop after my lunch and I learnt how to whip up a Coorg style chicken curry in no time. It was fiery yet full of strong flavours. It was time for a quick change and a yoga class. The yoga temple was lit with lamps that gave it the right ambience for an hour of yoga under the guidance of a yoga guru. The temperature-controlled pool after the yoga session looked tempting and I decided to take the plunge. There was a live music performance at the restaurant that night and I loved dining with the flautist playing soothing music as I tucked in some delicious creamy risotto for dinner.

The next morning before I checked out, I ventured on a quick bird watching trek and discovered a new-found love for birds as we spotted whiskered bulbuls, barbettes, drongo, leaf bird, scarlet, minivet, hornbill and many other birds. It was a beautiful morning indeed!

Where: Kabbinakad Estate, Yavakapadi Village, Napoklu Nad, Madikeri Taluk, Kodagu District www.thetamara.com/coorg-resort. Call: 7107 7700.