Off to Coorg

Map of Coorg

Every year we make it a point to go on a week long vacation. This year is like no other, most of the times I try and leave behind most of the ties at work. This time around, the deluge of work was in such a high volume, that I decided to take some work with me (not proud of this, but I thought I could get some time to reflect and some more additional time to hack WordPress).

We decided to make avail of our Club Mahindra membership and make a booking at Coorg. Typically this needs to be done well in advance, which gives me enough time to book the tickets and work out most of the jinks in the travel.

Getting there

This is the most challenging part if you are with kids and also a Club Mahindra member!! Most of their properties are so well into the interiors that it takes half a day just to get there! With the exception of perhaps Lonavala and Goa, I doubt whether the rest of the properties are within city limits!

Getting to the Kodagu (which is the actual name of Coorg) is quite a bitch. Either you take a flight to Mangalore/Bangalore and drive it up from there. Or you take a train to Mysore and drive it from there to Coorg.  We chose to take a flight from Mumbai to Mangalore and then hire a van (there were 6 of us, plus 3 kids).


The Mangalore city is quickly developing and you can see the development happening as soon as you land in new airport which is on the outskirts of the city. It’s a good place to setup a business!! You have real estate which is on the verge of sky rocketing, you have people coming to the city in search of jobs, you have a decent airport with high flight volumes. A good idea would be to setup a nice hotel/restaurant nearby the airport … to grab a quick lunch, you currently have to head towards the city which is a good 10 km away from the airport.

I always loved Mangalorean cuisine, and the city’s restaurants did not disappoint. We grabbed an easy lunch and headed towards Coorg.

Bad Roads

The roads are a classic testament to the Indian infrastructure. Neglected and getting wasted. It seems as if the government has suddenly woken up to the fact that Coorg has started becoming a hot tourist destination … and its efforts are to increase the width of the roads … at least in certain places. However the entire road to Coorg is like a bad Bollywood thriller, full of twists and turns which don’t thrill you, but simply keep you hoping for the twists to end.

Getting 3 children below the age of 5 is not advised … they were travelling non-stop for 10 hours and I adore all of them for tolerating this travel! Taking a van there on these roads is also not advisable, since the van has a higher center of gravity and tends to throw the contents around when going around the bends. That includes people too!!

A gruelling 200 minutes letter, all the kids had puked, all the adults were frayed, and we were nearing Coorg. The only thing I remember seeing Coorg is not how beautiful it is, but a great relief that this god awful journey had come to an end.

Kodagu Valley

The resort is pretty awesome, and it has quite a few things to keep the family busy … which gives me enough time to spend on the laptop!!

Window to Coorg

I have firmly planted myself in the outside balcony of our studio apartment and am looking forward to the week. This is the place to go to if you want to be close to nature, go on treks, reflect on your thoughts … which is what is on my agenda. Travelling is just incidental ;-)

Circumstantial Awesomeness

Edit: I was browsing through my Picasa albums, when I found those photos of Nathula pass. Posting them. As I said in the post, the photos are not that glamorous, but you should have been there to feel the awesomeness of that place!

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You got that right. It’s awesomeness in the right set of circumstances.

Certain business and product have such a high recall and such a narrow niche that they stand out in the memory of the consumer.

Take for example the only store at Nathula Pass, its perennially cold there, so cold that you could freeze your toes off. In that frigid weather, near the Toll booth, there is one structure that stands out. Its completely made of wood, with a chimney and all the paraphernalia. A place you would not think twice about, much less enter had it been in your city.

In that cold weather, the wispy smoke billowing out from the chimney are a welcome sight. An indication of the warmth of the fire available inside the cottage. You enter the place, and sure enough the place is a couple of degrees warmer. A group is already huddled around a drum-like stove. You are glad to join that huddle. The shopkeeper looks at you and takes down your order … a maggi and a fruitcake. There is no menu, those two things are the only things available there.

The maggi is watery, and you gladly gulp down the soup and noodles. You warm the cake in front of the fire and gladly share it with the people around you. More maggi follows. WIth the stomach full and the cockles warmed, you are ready for the journey ahead.

Yes the maggi was watery, yes the fruitcake was stale. But boy in those circumstances it was the best maggi I ever had. I guess the cottage does not see much traffic and the volume of people going through that pass is highly seasonal, but I rate the experience right there on top of my culinary experiences.