It was a trip to attend a wedding in Coorg, and I was not so interested in going there with a toddler in tow and dealing with the in-laws and stuff (wink). But I did go.
An evening drive on the Mysore highway is like driving on a butter clad toast – not slippery but smooth. We headed straight to Talacavery, the most pious place for all Coorgis and Tamilians as their deity is river Cauvery. The water here carries the purity of its people’s devotion and prayers and it feels heavenly to take a dip in this water, even though it is bone chilling cold, something akin to the experience of a dip in the Ganges.
After seeking the blessings of Cauvery, we headed to the beautiful landscape of Robusta plantation all around, that sweet scent of fresh air told us we were wrapped in the blanket of nature and had arrived in Madikeri.
It’s not just the Robusta coffee plantation you see all around but also a generous amount of pepper creepers with little bunches of peppers falling about and the little fiery green chilli plantation called Parangimalu colloquially. It’s the most flavourful chilli I’ve ever had. Our stay was on the hilltop amidst the quite of nature, I could even hear silence, something which almost unheard of in the humdrum of Bangalore.
Our main focus for this trip was the wedding, and so we moved to the wedding location next. A beautiful Coorgi bride wearing a saree in a traditional drape with pleats on the back. The unique culture and traditions of Coorg make the weddings a one-of-its-kind experience. The two-day extravaganza involves a lot dancing to folk music and not to the beats of some DJ, merry-making, and gorging sumptuous delicacies from the exotic local cuisine – salt soaked raw mango curry, ghee cashew rice, green vegetable curry, curd rice, rice crispies, roasted jackfruit seed chutney, wheat sweet and much more – and culminates with the bride pulling water from the well for her husband.
With a wrap on the wedding festivities, we headed back to Bangalore and chose to drive through the jungles along the Nagaarahole National Park Highway, saying goodbye to the land of coffee plantation, elephants and pepper creepers with a bottle of honey and Pulineer (a local tamarind-like sour liquid used for non-veg cuisine) to remind us of its flavours.
We drove through the forest in the excitement to see the animals on the way and we did see many deers and langoors.
We were almost done with our drive through the wilderness when a jaw-dropping treat was right in front us. A tiger crossing our path! A tiger in the wild!! What an incredible, surreal experience. I could feel my heart skip a beat as I took in the sight of the glorious big cat that graced our journey and etched it in our memories forever. Thankfully, he looked quite contented, gave us an uninterested look and passed.
Let me tell you we’ve been on wildlife safaris in Panna, Jim Corbett and Kanha, poking holes in our pockets in to see this gorgeous beauty. And here we saw the mighty tiger just like that. A grand ending to a humble trip.