A trip down South was long overdue but it finally happened last month. As always, I have come back wishing for more, because one trip is never enough. It all began with a phone conversation that converted itself into tickets to Hyderabad. Hampi was on cards this time. To tell you how much I have longed to witness the grandeur of these ruins will need a separate post. For now, lets stick to what happened after Hampi because it will take weeks to figure out the city of ruins. The Serai Chikmagalur invited me to spend a couple of days at their luxurious retreat, right in the middle of acres of coffee plantations. Even though it was impossible to manage leaves, but how could I say No to an offer as tempting as this? So, saying goodbye to Hampi, with a promise to return again, I headed towards Bangalore to join fellow bloggers and Team Skreem for a road trip to Chikmagalur.
While the journey to Chikmagalur was largely uneventful, my sleepy eyes finally opened up when our tempo traveller started zipping past picturesque roads. Silver oak trees lining both sides of the road and a drizzle to keep me company, the last leg of this journey is one I would remember for long. Instead of trying to capture it all, it felt just right to enjoy it while it lasted. So, I don’t have pretty pictures of trees converging in distance on a hilly road washed with rain. Instead I have moments to be cherished.
Located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri Range of hills, Chikmagalur is the original home of coffee in India. Legend goes that the first coffee beans were smuggled into India 350 years ago by a local called Baba Budan who planted them in his backyard. These coffee plants eventually spread to a wider area, now covering entire range of hills called Baba Budan hills. Interestingly, our stay at The Serai Chikmagalur was all about coffee too,and it turned out to be a perfect blend of nature and luxury. The Serai Chikmagalur, owned by Coffee Day group is one of a series of luxury resorts with the latest addition at Andamans. The property at Chikmagalur is situated right in the middle of coffee plantations and is as grand as it can get.
A traditional welcome with jasmine flowers and sandalwood-tika set a perfect tone for the days we spent at The Serai Chikmagalur. While the staff sorted out our villas and our luggage, we were happy to be feasting on what was a perfect cold coffee along with a plethora of munchies to go along. A large pool overlooking a lush green valley was our view as we wandered along, coffee in one hand, cameras in the other. Food bloggers got to work, filming perfect food shots and I wished there were a way to capture how perfect that coffee tasted. Best thing – it didn’t keep me awake the whole night, like coffee usually does to me.
It was a long but beautiful walk to the villa and a pleasant weather made it all the more refreshing. Wooden frames and long french windows, a private pool overlooking the greens and a lovely lady for company – it was all sorted out at the word go. For this beautiful pool estate, I think it was love at first sight. Even though tired, I stayed up and walked around, absorbing the aura of The Serai and the fresh cold breeze of Chikmagalur, which left a coffee flavoured trail behind.
Credits – The Candid Theory
The evening whizzed past me as I sat by the poolside, still contemplating about everything that ruined at Hampi, apart from the evidences that we see today. Water is my happy place and it diverted the train of my thoughts to the happy Coffee Day story from Chikmagalur. Later in the evening, we were to meet Dr. Pradeep Kenjige, the man behind all the research that goes into making a perfect cuppa at Cafe Coffee Day. Many interesting conversations took place that night, beginning from the coffee story to specific varieties we grow in India, to how Chikmagalur coffee is different from that of Coorg and what not. #ItsAllAboutCoffee came true, as we listened to the tales from across the world that Dr Pradeep narrated and travelled virtually with him to plantations and labs and research centers.
A lavish dinner spread awaited us, but five days of tiredness was taking over me now and I retired back to the villa for a good night. Dreaming of coffee plantations and the city of Chikmagalur, I dozed off within minutes. Turns out my dreams were not dreamy enough, the coffee plantations we visited the next day were.