Shravanabelagola -> Doddagaddavalli -> Chikmagalur -> Ayyankere -> Mangalore -> Kasargod ->Coorg
Continued from here.
Next morning had breakfast at a place nearby where I had neer dosa (I preferred the ones made by Anand) and he had kotte kadubu which was not too bad. Unfortunately, his favourite ice-cream place,Pabba’s, wasn’t open as yet so we made our way to Bekal fort without it.
We were only 5 km away from it, and following our maps led us to a road completely blocked at multiple points ahead too. Anand,determined as ever, decided he just had to see Bekal on this trip and we headed back onto a parallel road hoping it merged at some point. At one point we got lost and stumbled upon a mangrove! A few locals were fishing there with rudimentary gear and seemed to have had some success. The bright green of the groves, the 2 tiny boats with fishermen made a serene spot to be lost at. A few minutes later we continued trying to find our way.
We first saw a board for Kumbla fort and decided to stop and explore it. It was lovely, green and deserted. Some time there and then on to the next fort Chandragiri- again just on our way. Neither of the forts had people around, so made up their place in our preferred list of idyllic pitstops.
We finally reached Bekal and I was famished. The 2 neer dosas long digested, we hunted for restaurants but found none around. The lady collecting the parking fee directed us to a modest house that she said, served ghee rice. A satisfying meal of ghee rice, vegetable curry, chicken curry later we had enough in our tummies to admire the fort at our leisure. It was vaster than either of us expected. However, we were less interested in the manicured lawns and gardens and more in the view of the sea 🙂 Luckily it was not too hot to stroll around the huge space. We had a blissful time transfixed at the powerfully hypnotising waves crashing into the boulders, tirelessly putting up a show for us. Just as we were on our way back, the rains decided to make an appearance and how! Mercifully there was a small store inside the fort and we enjoyed ice-creams and salted-raw-mangoes to our heart’s content while waiting for it to be done.
When the rain took a breather, we broke into a gentle run to make our way out and it gave us just enough time to reach our car with only a little drenching. We drove on to the very scenic Coorg and back into hill-station weather after the slightly humid Kerala.
We stopped by a Coffee day just because it was in a scenic, green location and due to lack of warm tea options, I decided against my better judgement to have half a cup of Irish coffee. We had an idyllic conversation on poetry and lyrics that was lovely. However, this seemingly innocuous break had repercussions later!
There was a constant drizzle the whole time we were in Coorg. After we checked-in to the hotel, Anand insisted we go to a place he’d been to before that was inside a traditional house (the kind I love :)) called the East End Hotel. However to his surprise the place had changed from a quaint restaurant to more of a bar, or at least the crowd when we got there was more there to be drinking than for the ambience or the food. So my entry to it made the waiter uncomfortable enough to request us to move few tables away from a guy who was having a drink 😀 Anand insisted that I try the local Coorg chicken curry and he had dal with roti and some rice. We headed back for a good night’s rest except I didn’t get any! The coffee had been a terrible mistake and kept me up the entire night with every noise beginning to sound annoying after a while- the guy in the room above incessantly moving furniture, the sound of rain that had long stopped sounding calming. When in that state, even the sounds of silence are enough to drive one insane.
Much to my relief, day did break at last, and my energy levels were still high! The Dubare elephant camp was a place both Anand and I had missed despite multiple trips we’d made to Coorg separately. We went straight there and this time without any delay took the boat across the river to the sanctuary. Just as we arrived, we saw endearing little pachyderms happily walk right into the water. We could also purchase tickets to bathe them and just as I was about to do so, this happened – There were some people in the water who were looking away when surrounded by those majestic creatures. And a baby elephant playfully approached them to be petted, they didn’t look at him till he was too close and then he playfully pushed them to the wall. This led the kids herding the elephants to beat up this little one for the foolishness of the human animals , and it completely turned me off the experience of bathing them.
We wandered sadly around and were instantly cheered up by the option to feed them instead. I was beyond delighted to pet them as they munched on their treats. Anand was thrilled by my delight and kept paying the guy to let me feed them too! 😀 A happy time there later we got back to the car munching on peanuts ourselves. The drizzle was just gentle enough for us to walk around without an umbrella.
We next headed off to the Tibetan monastery at Bylakuppe just because it was on the way, though both of us had been there before.
I spied a restaurant serving Tibetan food and quickly decided that we’d lunch there. A ramble around the spacious temple later, we treated ourselves to hot thupka and momos. After shopping at the market we headed back satiated, to our dear home.