It was probably the most impromptu trip that we’ve undertaken. Considering that it was imagined, conceptualized, planned and executed in just 2 days – including the reservations of the public transport and accommodation, it was quite a feat.
Some frenzied searching on the net, few dozens of phone calls and the famous all-convincing hubby-talk got us booked for 3 days and 2 nights at a home-stay in Chikmagalur.
After reading travel stories of extremely comfortable and relaxing holidays spent at such places, I was fascinated by the thought of spending at-least a weekend at this home away from home. And Chikmagalur and Malnad have been parts of Karnataka that I’ve always read about with wide-eyed wonder and definitely wanted to explore. The extended Christmas weekend was just the ideal opportunity. But making holiday plans so late in the day has its demerits no doubt – all the exotic and story-bookish places were already booked. Finally we found one available – an old heritage estate home converted into the home-stay, nestled in the valleys near Kalasa.
The travel from Bangalore was uneventful – what with the two of us getting two separate seats – thanks again to the last minute booking. And it didn’t help that I promptly fell asleep, not waking even to the sweet good-night message/ call that the poor hubby was trying to get across!! 😀 We reached in the early hours of a chilly misty morning to a warm welcome by our host – the son-in-law of the heritage-home owner. The house itself had the best possible reception in store for us – hot piping cups of freshly brewed filter coffee! The aroma and the taste were impeccable and warmed the cold cockles of our heart and body. Not sure if it was the nip in the air or the joy of the first sip to the caffeine-loving tongues, sadly, that first cup was never matched by any other that we had while at the place!
The place itself was self-sufficient and catered well to a holiday-ing person’s needs. A huge and spacious estate home with some original and some converted rooms, it is owned by an interesting septuagenarian, who never tired of telling us stories about the numerous photos he had collected and of his escapades. Aptly complementing the beautiful house were the equally well-maintained and landscaped grounds and plantations. With a dainty little rivulet dancing down and lacing the paddy fields on the front side, coffee and areca-nut plantations surrounded the home on the other two sides. With such lush green surrounding environs for company one got the feeling of being cradled by the caring arms of Mother Nature.
The time was well spent – going on exploratory walks in the surroundings – the view-point of the surrounding valleys on a hill at Mydaadi was worth more than a mention; and venturing out on just one day for a sight-seeing tour of the nearby locations. On the said day, we covered a few interesting spots in the Kuduremukha forest range – including the beautiful Hanumana Gundi waterfalls and Ganga-moola – the origin of the Tunga, Bhadra and Nethravati rivers; before offering our prayers at the Horanaadu Annapoorneshwari temple. The rest of the time was spent at the home-stay playing shuttle-cock, carrom, cycling and the likes; cracking jokes and indulging in easy banter with the other friendly guests, singing and enjoying snacks around a bon-fire, gazing mutely and tracing constellations in the star-studded clear night sky, gorging on healthy home-made delicacies and snoring through lazy siestas on warm afternoons and of course, not to forget – downing innumerable cups of delicious strong heady coffee!
Before long, the three days were up and we were on the night bus back to Bangalore. It was a much-needed and well-appreciated break for the hubby and me – where we got to spend some quality time together, away from the hustles, bustles and worries of day-to-day city life. I was more or less cured of my curiosities about a home-stay holiday and favourably so, but the hubby was not too impressed with all its aspects. We came to the mutual agreement that while the home-stay concept was refreshingly different in several respects, it had its own shortcomings. Well, to tell a secret, I feel I need another home-stay holiday to actually decide on this point! 😉