Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hari-Ma homestay - Coorg

It all began when we decided to do a home stay in Coorg and looked up for some options. I looked up the information on the web and read reviews from different sources and called up the home stay hosts. We zeroed in on Hari-Ma home stay close to Suntikoppa in North Coorg. Mrs Yeshu Thammaiah, the host sounded very assuring over the phone.

The place looked very much like how it seemed from the pictures on the websites. It is a beautiful  bungalow of a sprawling coffee estate owned and operated by Mr and Mrs Thammaiah. Its is about 4-5 kms off the Kushalnagara - Suntikoppa road and far far from the madding crowd. A huge open courtyard hedged by gardens led us into a front porch which has a lotus pond. The Thammaiahs are a friendly and soft spoken Coorgi couple and their hospitality made us feel very warm and comfortable.

The bungalow is two storied and houses  four bedrooms. The hosts stay downstairs and let out the two bedrooms in the first floor to the guests. A tastefully done and decorated, calm, neat and clean bedroom (with attached baths) awaited us. Separating the two guest bedrooms is a common area that opens into a terrace balcony. This is a great place to catch up with the first rays of the morning sun as it pierces the mist that shrouds the night.

It was 5 PM when we reached and Yeshu aunty treated us to a fine homemade cake, some cookies and piping hot locally produced Arabica coffee. This done, we formed a group and followed Thammu uncle into his coffee estate where he grows Arabica and Robusta coffee. He also has pepper, cardamon in his estate. We did a short estate visit with darkness closing in on us and returned back to the bungalow.

Thammu uncle had arranged for a camp fire in the open area adjacent to the bungalow and he promptly lit it up. The next two hours passed very swiftly. It was not particularly cold, chill is what I should call it. All it needs is to pull our chairs a tinge closer to the fire and keep the conversation rolling.We talked and talked and talked. Coorg is a very interesting place and Coorgis have a very long history.

Dinner was a detailed affair. Aunty had prepared a lot of dishes in traditional Kodava style. I do not remember their traditional names but there was a stuffed capsicum starter and a pepper chicken dry. Main course was roti, rice and idiyappam with sides of chicken gravy, a colocachia gravy and a mixed vegetable gravy. I liked chicken curry the best and I found Kodava style to be in similar lines to Kerala style. Aunty also had fruit salad for desert and when we finished dinner we were tired.

When morning arrived and coffee was done, Uncle took us out to a nearby backwaters of Harangi dam and it was a photo shoot spot. We started late and by that time the sun was out and we could not spend much time there and we returned to have breakfast. Breakfast was puttu but not Kerala style! It was kind of different from whatever I had had prior to this. We had puttu with peas and cauliflower gravy. Aunty suggested that I try puttu with honey and home made butter and I for sure liked this better.

All good things end and so does this home stay and it was time, we got ready packed the bags and filled up Aunty's guest book. She was so gracious to give us cuttings of a few nice flowering plants from her garden. Thus done and and a day well spent we headed back to Bangalore after a refreshing and relaxing day at Hari-Ma home stay. Wondering why the name Hari-Ma? Take a guess.