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Palace Estate Homestay

With most of my errands being unplanned and with friends, there was no much importance given to booking hotel rooms. Treks were spent looking up the sky, counting the stars and other biking or backpacking trips, it was crashing into a decent enough available hotel room. Last April when I planned to take my family to Coorg, I was lost in deciding on accommodation. Many web pages were viewed, reviews read; but of no help. Finally good freind and an avid traveller Arun recommended me Palace Estate Home stay near Kakkabbe in Coorg.

Though we started moring from Bangalore, it was close to four in the evening by the time we reached the homestay. Cool breeze welcomed us as we drove up the small hill to the portico. The beautiful view of the mountains and forests made us forget our tiredness. Palace Estate, a 50 acre farm, is run by Aparanda family where they grow coffee, orange, banana, cardamom, pepper and many other crops. The next two and half days were spent in the home stay with lazy walk in the farm and short visits around Coorg.

Location:
Palace Estate homestay is located in such a way that its so near but seems so far from the noices of civilization. A quiet, remote place which is perfect for a quiet holiday. Situated on top of a hill, standing in the balcony gives almost 270 degree view of the rolling hills & the forests. And you get to listen to only chirping of the birds all around. The places is approximately 25KMs from Virajpet and 35KMs from Madikeri (Coorg).

Activities:
If you are someone who want to leave the blaring city life behind for a day or two and enjoy the peaceful moments, this is the place for you. If you wish to explore the vicinity, you can hike Thadiyandamol which just 6 KMs from the homestay. Or go on walk within the farm, visit Nalnad Palace, Padi Igguthappa. Or browse through the books available in the small library.

Rooms & Food:
Rooms are spacious with attached toilets. Most of the rooms are on the first floor which are wooden constructions. Open varandah on the first floor gives a beautiful view of the forest range. The kitchen offers home cooked vegetarian & non vegetarian food, clean spring water & coffee.

How to get there:
Located a bit far off from the Virajapete and Madijkeri main road, it is advised to go on your own vehicle or taxi to reach this place. Here is the route –

Bangalore – Srirangapattana – Mysore – Hunsur – Thithimathi – Gonikoppa – Virajpet – Kadnoor – Cheyandane – Palace Estate

Near by places of interests:
Dubare Elephant camp, Bailukuppe, Nisargadhama, Abbi falls, Irpu falls, Nagarahole national park.

When you visit the place, switch off your cell phones, leave behind the noise back in the cities, just sit and linger with the nature and hills.

All for none

My association with NH48 (stretch between Bangalore and Kunigal) goes a long way back to early 90s. What used to be couple of bus rides from Kunigal to Bangalore during vacations turned in to weekly journeys from Bangalore to Kunigal when I moved to Bangalore for my studies. Watching those beautiful trees passing by and enjoying the cool breeze was a pleasure. Gradually bus journies turned into bike rides and the journey became more beautiful. When I was on bike, I became part of the road. And then the horror struck – in the name of development, they decided to expand the road.

NH48, taken during winter of 2006
NH48, taken on a winter morning in 2006.

Those beautiful good old trees started going down one by one when the work started in 2007. With the road widening and countless number of diversion all along, I resorted to a alternate to traffic jams and delays. A quite less crowded route via Magadi. I forgot about that good old NH48 for almost 4 years since the alternate route via Magadi helped me avoid most of the city traffic as I used to exit out of Bangalore near Kengeri and then join Magadi. Quite recently while we are about to start our journey back to Bangalore, my cousin suggested that we take the NH48 as the work was completed. A new 4 lane road all the way to Nelamangala, with legal speed limit increased to 80 kmph from 50 kmph. It was a pleasure driving back to Bangalore. But that pleaseure was just interms of driving with newly laid, barren road.

All we got was – journey got reduced by 15 mins (only to get stuck for 30 mins in the long queue to pay the toll) for the cost of those old trees along a stretch of 48KMs. All for none.

Random updates

* It’s been a roller coaster ride for the last 8-9 months

* Bangalore to Mysore to Swindon to Bangalore to London

* During my five months stay in Mysore I never stayed in Mysore even for a single weekend.

* Weekend travels between B’lore and Mysore during that period made me grow an aversion to that SH17. I might take a slower & longer route when I go to Mysore next time.

* Sold my Nikon DSLR and bought Canon 40D

* Reason for changing loyalties – many. One of the main reason – my favorite lens conked.

* Went on a long drive to Scotland & Lake District – 1500 miles in four and half days

* Got addicted to badminton

* A post after a very long time.

Walks In India

Walks in IndiaArun, a friend, an avid traveler & travel writer is writing on walks & walking tours in India. He plans to publish 15 walks in this month of June. Visit his travel blog for the stories.

And here are excerpts from his travel blog about ‘Walks in India’-

Unlike in many countries, walks and walking tours are not common or popular in India. This series intends to promote the idea of walks that can enable travellers to see and experience the places better by getting closer. The series explores short and easy walking trails across India, with which a traveller can witness history, culture, life, landscapes and heritage of the country.

Walks are a great way to see places, get up close to people and interact, observe carefully and see things better. They help the traveller take time and feel involved with the scenery instead of buzzing past and seeing things as a window-view. This series will assist you to find some great walks from all along the country and feel its pulse.

Road & Trees

NH48 on an early morning, taken last winter

I’ve been traveling on NH48 – the stretch between Bangalore & Kunigal for the past 16-17 years. Initially by bus and then on bike for the last two years. During my school days, it used to be from Kunigal to Bangalore, to spend my winter & summer vacations and back. Later it reversed, to spend weekends at home, far from the bustling city.

When I shifted from bus to bike couple of years ago, journeys became more and more interesting. Everything became familiar – every turn, temples, buildings, houses, trees on either side of the road. Most of the times I rode home to Kunigal enjoying the sunsets & back watching beautiful sunrises.

For the past month and half there is a drastic change in NH48. Everything looks empty. Trees are being cut down because of road widening. No more trees which always added an extra life to the road while traveling. I miss those good old friends who always stood by the road waving around their hands. Above scene is nowhere to be seen. It is all bland & barren. They are gone :(