As a self-proclaimed insatiable explorer, the contrast, highlighted between the cultures of both the West and East never fail to astound me. Having travelled to places such as Singapore and New York, I feel that the cosmopolitan atmosphere is a major contributing factor to my fondness for such cities. Though inevitably, one would begin to crave the comfort of the simple way of life and may opt for making voyages to locations away from the hustle and bustle of a thriving metropolis. Personally, some of my most frequent vacations have been to my country of origin: India. One of the most sought after countries in world, despite being the most overcrowded. However, when one thinks of tourist destinations, suggestions such as Delhi and Jaipur would arise as the breath taking architecture; the most famous being the Taj Mahal, is a must see. The underrated town of Coorg, located in the Kodagu district of Karnataka (Southern India) is often ignored. When my family and I took a road trip to visit this serene, imperturbable paradise, I struggled to understand why.
The district of Kodagu is situated on the hilly slopes of the Western Ghats so as a result, the climate is cool and dry; a definite contrast when compared to the rest of the South. This makes it comfortable to sight-see without the accompanying feelings of fatigue and thirst caused by the sweltering heat. With the help of a reasonably priced rental car, the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple should be one of the most memorable recollections of the trip. From the moment you enter the holy establishment there stand many intricately designed monuments in the courtyard that acts as a peaceful meditation ground for the monks. Tourists have the opportunity to watch the veneration rituals from the exterior while simultaneously respecting the traditions by removing footwear. As the monk’s lifestyle dictates, a cuisine of strict vegetarian food can be enjoyed at a nearby canteen while appreciating the ornate statues of the Buddha himself.
For those possessing more stamina, a trip to Abbey Waterfalls is the perfect choice keeping in mind that one has to trek into the woodlands to reach the natural wonder. After a half an hour walk, those who haven’t succumbed to exhaustion can finally stand on a bridge opposite the waterfall and make memories; whether it be the odd selfie or the carefully orchestrated group photo, this mini excavation is worth the journey. As a young adult, I usually attempt to maintain a healthy balance between educational and recreational pursuits. One can only imagine how ecstatic I must have been to find out that Coorg was home to a popular Elephant Camp. Riding the gentle giants of the East is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience. Furthermore, this camp doubles as a water sports resort as people have the option of going on a coracle boat ride; this proved a seizable opportunity for me to overcome my hydrophobia, but to no avail. For youths wanting an entertaining night on the town, Sunset Point will live up to high expectations. A large illuminated fountain graces the area along with catchy Bollywood songs that never fail to excite a crowd. Whilst dancing to the latest tracks with friends or family, witness the eponymous sunset that provides the perfect backdrop to an animated evening.
Coorg offers an entirely unique experience in response to the subject of accommodation as one has the chance to stay in a palatial Homestay. The Rare Earth Estate has been converted into a single floor motel of sorts, complete with Wi-Fi along with spacious rooms attached to ensuite bathrooms and a porch leading to a large expanse of greenery. What really sets this Homestay apart from the rest is the fact that the kitchen staff prepare meals on demand of the guests, eliminating the worry of missing out on a gourmet meal; perfect for those who choose to adopt a more nocturnal lifestyle. Indulge in the delicacies of Coorg that range from spicy pork to its famous mix of tea and bask in the ambience in one of the world’s most unknown wonders that I have had the privilege of visiting.
It is human nature to be curious of cultures and lands that are unknown to us and I feel honoured to have explored such a beautiful town in a country, rich in tradition and full of diverse customs and personalities.