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Cosseted by the Cauvery
Deccan Herald - Metro life, May 2005



A Weekend in Coorg in an air-conditioned tent is the perfect getaway for the stressed City dweller.

If you haven’t been to Coorg, this is the time of the year to pack your bags and literally head for the hills. Just a five hour drive away from Bangalore, hit the Mysore Road, preferably early in the morning by 6 AM and one is in The Camp which is at Orange County Resort by 11 am. That leaves one with ample time to take in the grandeur of the nature in all her pristine glory and may be relax with a cold beer around the delightful pool.

Chikkanahally estate

The Camp is part of the 300 acre Chikkanahally estate which is cosseted by the river Cauvery and belonging to the Ramapuram family. There are 12 tents facing a serene lake in the midst of coffee bushes where the whine of the cicada and the call of the white breasted water fowl is all that breaks the stillness of the afternoon silence. Every tent is air-conditioned and contains everything from it’s own built in bar cabinet to a glorious top of-the-line shower cabin. In the little verandah outside are two extremely comfortable easy chairs in which one can just relax with a cup of hot coffee and cookies. Sit and watch the red-whiskered Bul- bul twitter around in alarm at Bruno the placid German Shepherd sauntering by, or relax till your eyes glaze over with sleep while the Lap wing calls plaintively over the lake. It’s an idyllic setting, perfect for us City dwellers to just let the cares of city living slip off our shoulders and into the arms of Mother nature.

Soon it is Lunch time and shorts will do fine at The Peppercorn, the aptly named speciality restaurant attached to The Camp. It has an a la carte menu which is fixed for the meal but quantities are endless. Try the Goan delicacies on offer; they are authentic as Chef Hilary D’souza makes sure the Caldin or Cafreal are made just right. The menu is multi-cuisine-catering to all palates and sure to please.

The infinity pool is a delight for swimmers and no swimmers alike. Literally kissing the lake on one side, at night it seems like it goes on forever with it’s waters lapping over the edge. Lie on your back in the shallows and check out Orion among the constellations of stars overhead. They seem bigger and brighter in the crisp hilly air.

Dinner is as lavish as lunch and if you’d rather try the buffet walk over to the Orange County restaurant called The Granary and pig out on an enormous offering of Continental and Chinese cuisine, both for Veggies and non-veg.




Activity

The next morning the choice of activity is yours. You can either go on a Plantation Walk or be driven across to the Dubare Elephant Reserve to see the semi wild elephants on the banks of the Cauvery. Both are worth the price and fun to indulge in if energy levels are high. The plantation walk has naturalist Ganesh take you through acres of plantation belonging to the estate which are full of vanilla, pepper, cardamom and coffee. Crunch some green pepper or try a spicy red corn which will tingle your tongue. Look at how cardamom, vanilla and coffee grow, the lesson is worth the effort.

Bird life

If energy levels are low, just walk around the estate slowly taking in the early morning air and the rich variety of bird life. Wood pigeons cooing, bul buls in the silver oak whistle as they hop about, one might even be lucky to startle the rich russet pheasant as it scrambles away below the coffee bushes. A pair of black and white wag-tails, rush around with a grasshopper or two in their beaks feeding their pair of always hungry babies. Suddenly the harsh raucous call of the kingfisher may break the stillness around the lake while it makes that perfect dive coming up with a flash of silver fish in its beak.

The Camp is a luxurious deeply private experience which does not easily translate into words. For details contact: Thomas at R.S. Hospitality Services Ltd., 2nd Floor, St. Patrick’s Business Complex, 21 Museum Road, Phone 25325302, 51126013

Marianne De Nazareth




 
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