The Eco Habitat at Kushalnagar in Coorg

 

A dozen years ago, when homestays were nouvelle,  Som and Chethana quit their high-flying jobs in Bangalore and took the plunge of setting up Eco Habitat.  This was at a time when Coorg was neither a hot-spot nor were Indians the avid travellers we are today.  When they had no guests, they explored the district, sometimes seeking and so often stumbling upon hidden treasures, which they then shared unstintingly with their guests.  Their passion and generosity created the best marketing tool, the word of mouth from guests now friends.  Always conscious of their foot-print on Mother Nature, they neither grew ambitious nor careless.  They have two lovely children, growing up wonderfully.

Set in a large coconut grove, are six eco-friendly cottages, well furnished, with modern amenities and private plunge pools!  Ideal for anyone out to have a good friendly time.

The district of Coorg or Kodagu, is well known for her scenic beauty, finger-licking cuisine, a handsome and friendly people and outdoor activities.  Home to some of the best Coffee in the world, Coorg is a fast emerging holiday hot-spot in the state of Karnataka, South India.  Some of India’s leading hotel chains have set up shop around the district.

Unlike a traditional tourist spot, where sightseeing includes visits to local sights, the experience of Coorg is spread across the district.  Places to stay, are normally better out of town, which is how this area is developing.  The winding roads are ideal for self-driving, with a beautiful vista at almost every turn.  One of the things you must get Som to do is take you offroad jeep, with a picnic lunch.  And a Coorgi Meal at the smashing restaurant in Medikeri.  Both are not to be missed.

Coorgi cuisine is delectable, and this is a Coorgi home-stay. The food here is authentic. The best bet would be to chat with Chethana and Som, yes the man is an epicurean too!  Do remember meal prices are extra, and depend on the menu you create, and surely, while your wallet will remain cool, your heart will warm.

Eco Habitat borders the hills to one side and the Kaveri river on the other.  There is the shade of coconut trees.  Ideal and beautiful around the year, October to March is the coolest times.

Some of the popular excursions are to the Dubare Elephant Camp, where you can bathe, feed and ride an elephant, plus go rafting on the Kaveri river.  Nisargadhama is an island in the Kaveri river, resplendent with a bamboo grove and a deer park kids love!  The Chickli Hole Reservoir is a unique dam across the Chickli, a tributary of the Kaveri.  A lovely picnic spot, pretty much non-touristy.  Bylakuppe is the famous Tibetan settlement in India, after Dharamshala.  Here you will see Tibetan art in the temple and buildings.  There is a beautiful golden statue of The Buddha.  Raja Seat is where the ancient Kings of Coorg sat with their consort and watched the sun-set.  Today you can do the same.  However let Som take you to the secret place he took me to watch the sunset, sipping a delightful cup of tea.  Bagmandala is the confluence of the Kaveri, Kannika and Sujyothi. The Shiva Temple of Bagandeshwara stands here, and it is considered auspicious and beneficial to bathe at the confluence and then worship at the temple.  TalaCauvery is the source of the Kaveri river and considered a sacred spot.

The nearest metro city is Bangalore, some 230 km, though you can slip down from the Hassan 75 km, which has magnificent Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid, or from Kannur 200 km, in Kerala where a new international airport is coming up.

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