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Introduction to Coorg, Kodavas and Blyton Bungalow

Coffee of Coorg is wonderful

Made up of luscious coffee plantations, mesmerising scenery, and picturesque forests, Coorg (officially known as Kodagu district), is often called the Scotland of India. Located in the state of Karnataka, only 240 kilometres away from the hi-tech city of Bangalore, and with abundant natural settings, Coorg qualifies as a perfect year-round destination. Travellers vouch for its coffee, and every Bangalorean is expected to do a road trip to Coorg at least once. But, once you are smitten by its ripe coffee beans adorned coffee plants, the giant coffee estates, sparkling streams, rain-soaked forests, gorgeous homestays, picture postcard villages, and Kodava cuisine, there is no looking back. Nestled in the lap of the Western Ghats of India, and with its charming countryside vibes, Coorg has it all to woo you for a lifetime. And if you love to sip your coffee in tranquility, you have found your heaven.

On the way to Coorg from Bengaluru

Must-do in Coorg

Coorg is also called the coffee town of India because its geographical and climatic conditions nurture one of the best beans. Thus, every trip must begin with immersive coffee tasting. What may follow next is a visit to the coffee plantations to learn more. For the rest of your trip, you may relax in your homestay, go for forest bathing, enjoy the nearby nature trails, sign up for a trek, visit waterfalls, or just indulge in the tranquillity of its intriguing delights. There is an alluring calmness in Coorg that relaxes the eyes and the soul.

Coorg district is composed of three Talukas- Madikeri (the headquarters of Kodagu), Virajpet, and Somvarpet offering enough excitement for nature lovers and curious travellers. Depending on your interest and time, some of the must-visit places in and around Coorg are Abbey Falls, Raja’s Seat, Mandalpatti, Talakaveri, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and the Namdroling Monastery (Golden Temple). After you have covered the popular places in Coorg, you must venture into the pristine jungles on guided tours.

With so much to explore and experience in Coorg, even a small walk can be full of surprises. The view of the dense coffee plantations, fruit farms and gushing water streams are unique sights to behold. Then there is Coorg’s biggest lake — Honnamana Kere — surrounded by man-made caves which are worth a visit. If you love trekking, you must sign up for hikes that take you through rolling hills, paradisiacal viewpoints, coffee estates and forested mountains. Overnight camping with a panoramic view of Mandalapatti is an experience that every thrill-seeker must experience. Also, the history buffs must acquaint themselves with Kodava’s history and its people.

Looking for the offbeat in Coorg?

Are you someone who visits forests occasionally to take a break from the city or do you love forests for real? Do you feel an ardent urge to be with nature, learn more than what you may know and nurture something that you may not be doing so far? Are you passionate enough to chase larger forest ecosystems and co-exist with nature? Well, if you have been nursing these desires and feeling strongly about a greater purpose, you must know that where there is a will, there is a way. In Coorg, you must also experience something as unique as a wilderness collective.

With the growing pressures of development and growth, and everything happening at the expense of forests, some people have realized the imperative need to save the declining biodiversity. A small percentage of city dwellers secretly wish to own a forest land and be engaged in transformational works. However, they do not know where to begin or do not have the resources to start alone. Beforest is an Indian start-up that co-creates ecologically and economically sustainable communities for those who are seeking simpler and greener lives. It helps like-minded, to come together, settle in larger ecosystems and restore them for the greater good. In their pursuit of creating forest-friendly lifestyles, they have given birth to the interesting concepts of ‘food forests’ and ‘wilderness collectives.’ Beforest Collectives are crowdfunded and co-owned by a member-led community.

Getaway at Poomaale Collective 1.0, Kakkabe, Coorg
The last leg of the Poomaale Collective 1.0, Kakkabe, Coorg

What is a wilderness collective?

Wilderness Collective is born when passionate environment lovers come together to buy a piece of land and they work towards the betterment of the soil and surroundings through community efforts. Typically, wilderness collectives are in ecologically sensitive areas. A lot goes into supporting spontaneous food growth but with the help of local communities and technologies, collective owners turn the land, into ‘food forests.’ The aim is to have a self-sufficient piece of land in terms of water, food, and energy. The activities planned at these collectives focus a lot on self-sustainable lifestyles. The whole experience is tangible and not merely theoretical. Would you love to stay at a wilderness collective?

I visited the Poomaale 1.0 Collective in Coorg at the Blyton Bungalow

This is one of the first Beforest’s wilderness collectives and it comprises forest, coffee estates and eco-sensitive living units with a tremendous amount of natural capital, low footprint, and experiential hospitality. Blyton Bungalow is not just a charming property but also a rainforest environment and the Coffee Estate (Poomaale Estate) in which it is nestled.
It is designed in a climate-responsive way, using locally available materials, drawing inspiration from the traditional architectural designs of the region, and is equipped with modern amenities for a comfortable stay.

Once you live there, you get to experience the entire gamut of life on a plantation and the people who nurture it with immense love, care & dedication. All activities at the Blyton Bungalow are centred around nature & togetherness. People are welcome to visit these
collectives and learn about permaculture, nature, and sustainable farming practices guided by an on-ground team.

The hospitality at Poomaale 1.0 is all barefoot luxury found in life’s simplest pleasures like slow mornings, healthy, homely, soul-nourishing meals, more time with nature & close ones, fewer screens & more greens, and an insurmountable feeling of being a part of something much bigger than oneself, being one with nature & all its inhabitants. The guests enjoy timely, home-cooked local Kodava-style meals customised to their food preferences, choices, and restrictions

What is in for a Sustainable Traveller?

Food forests are agricultural systems where numerous diverse food crops are grown within any given patch. They are called food ‘forests and not food ‘farms’ because they are designed to look, function and feel like forests. The ‘Beforest’ collective is not just about being a food forest but it meets many sustainable goals. The owners of the land contribute tremendously towards the transformation of the landscape. Even as a visitor, your contribution is always carbon-positive. Most guests leave Byton Bungalow in Coorg with a real understanding of wildlife, plantation life and the broad strokes of sustainable living. When people return, they go back with the same warm feeling of going back from their granny’s place.

How to reach Coorg?

Coorg has no airport. However, it is well connected with Bangalore and other major cities in Karnataka. One can travel by air, train, and road. Coorg is a 6 hours drive from Bengaluru.

Disclaimer – This article was originally published in the inflight magazine of Batik Air in the month of March 2024.

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