Suddenly, like the hero’s opening scene in a movie, emerged a young chap in a green t-shirt and shorts, heading towards us on a yellow Apache. He stopped by our car, “Indranil? I am Jeevan. Follow me”.
What followed is a bumpy ride through the narrow rain-washed dirt roads with no human habitat visible around. Our chauffeur probably started having lot of questions. He asked one, “Sir, kya hain wahan pe?” (Sir, what is there in the place where you are going to?) All three of us replied in chorus, “Pata nahin. Hum to aise hi jaa rahe hain.” (We do not know. We are just going there.)
Yes, fact is we indeed had no clue about the place – not even its name, leave alone description! All we knew was that we were going to some newly opened homestay in the Chikmagalur district, purely on the basis of a friend’s reference. Since we did zero research on the destination, we did not set very high expectations from this holiday. But eventually this one turned out to be one of our most exciting and refreshing trips.
Why? I will give you 5 reasons:
01. Location: Though we had little prior knowledge about our destination, all our confusions gave way to a sense of satisfaction immediately after arriving at The Forest Homestay in Maradi village. The location itself sufficed more than enough for a relaxing holiday. The cottage was situated inside a plantation in the furthest end of the village. Surrounded by forested hills on all sides, the door and the window of our cottage opened to a beautiful view of mist blanketed hills. The presence of some fruit-bearing trees right in front of the cottage made our den a convenient spot for birding. The dense coffee, cardamom and vanilla plantations, the sound of the rippling stream nearby and the feeling of being hidden from human civilization provided an amazing aura and made the location of the homestay just about perfect!
02. Treks: Morning and evening treks inside and around the plantation added to the thrill of the holiday. Harsh weather conditions made the treks even more exhilarating. The slippery tracks made locomotion difficult. The thorny shrubs left scratch and bruise marks on our limbs. Blood was dripping off from my brother’s feet every now and then, thanks to the leeches. Despite all this, we experienced a feeling of satisfaction. The stunning views of the hills, the wild nature, and the freshly drenched smell of the leaves provided a new high to our travel experiences!
Our trek begins
03. Monsoon Nature: Rains bring a fresh perspective to the simplest of things, giving nature a young and refreshing look. Monsoon has its own share of interesting and beautiful wildlife. If you are inquisitive, it unfolds its secrets. We experienced some during our little adventures through the rain drenched forests. Discovered this beauty in the bushes beside our trek path.
04. Campfire in rain: An evening campfire was promised as part of the package, but unfortunately it started raining heavily just when the campfire was about to be set up. But that could not shake the spirit of the hosts at all – they went the extra mile to deliver what was promised. We spent about an hour near the fireplace with our drinks and some hot pakodas under an all-sides open hay-covered shade, with heavy downpour and chilly winds accompanying us. The rains and the sounds of the insects and the frogs created music to offer a dreamy evening. "I dare to defy the rain"
05. Homestay Experience: Okay, yes this is a newly opened homestay but the hosts Jeevan and his family left no stone unturned to make it a comfortable vacation for us. Courteous behavior coupled with interesting interaction with the host made it a pleasant stay. A homestay experience is never complete without the taste of the local cuisine. The Forest Homestay scores here as well. The addition of the locally grown Kesu and Kalile definitely added an interesting dimension to the home-cooked Malnad meals served to us.
Of course there was added bonus like the awesome scenic drive leading to Maradi. And to me, holidays are always perfect when the phone is out of network coverage area!
Purple Swamphen - somewhere on the way back
One of our guests wrote a review on their blog http://goo.gl/NvSPv, Thank you Pubali and Indranil.