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Virapet Paddy Fields

 

Virajpet_coffee_plantation

The coffee plantation at Club Mahindra Virajpet

Green. Every time I’d look out the car window all I’d see was green. Nearly every inch of the landscape looked like it had been dipped in green, painted green and, just for good measure, sprayed with a little more green. I was in Virajpet, in the southern part of the Kodagu district or Coorg, as it’s popularly known, in Karnataka.

 

Virajpet at a glance:

Closest metro

Bengaluru (243 kms)

Closest airport

Mangalore (165 kms)

Closest railhead

Kannur (65 kms)

Getting around

Cab — Our resort operates a travel desk where you can book cabs. The resort itself is quite a distance from most places of interest.

 

As we drove along from the town of Madikeri, the scenery gradually changed. The distance between things got wider, the land, more pastoral. Unending coffee plantations lit by filtered shafts of sunlight under tall betel nut and rosewood trees filled the scenery. But I wondered, how different would this Club Mahindra destination be from the other resort which was just over an hour away?

For starters, this resort doesn’t give you the raw jungle feeling that you get at Kodagu Valley. While still being surrounded by nature, Club Mahindra Virajpet, even while being a work in progress, has a rather manicured feel to it. Here, it feels, you can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature, from a safe distance. But you do get a lot of opportunities, within and out of the resort, to get up close and personal with all that green. 

Take for example the plantation walk within the resort boundaries. Mainly consisting of Robusta coffee, a walk up the gentle slope will also present jackfruit, rosewood, the powerful Kandari or bird’s eye chilli, some Arabica coffee shrubs, Jatropha (which is used in biodiesel production and the liquid of whose stem, if broken, can produce bubbles) a many other varieties of flora and if you get your timing right, fantastic views of the sunset. Keep your eyes peeled for some very pretty looking insects and flowers too!

The resort itself extends over a large area and walking around on the pathways that largely follow the contours of the land makes for a nice early morning or evening stroll. In case indoor activities are your thing, head to the activities centre and pick from a variety of board games and indoor sports on offer.

 

Virajpet Resort Exterior

Virajpet Resort Exterior 2

Virajpet Reception and Lounge

Virajpet Studio Room

Clockwise: Walk around the property along the pathways; well appointed comfort at our studio apartment; the reception and lounge at Club Mahindra Virajpet

 

You could also hire a car, get out and check out all these places:

Chomakund
A well-known hill station and a popular picnic spot with the locals, Chomakund is just 2 km away from the Chelvara Falls. Absolutely beautiful, lush and laden with mist, Chomakund is a must visit.

Chelvara Falls
A short, steep trek first uphill and then quite downhill gets you to the base of the cool Chelvara Falls. Depending on the season the waterfall, located about 15 km away from the resort, can either be a light trickle or a powerful gush. Not recommended for those who have a problem climbing. Another path takes you to the top of the falls which also makes for a nice picnic spot.

Nalknad Palace
Said to be the final refuge of the last king of Coorg, the Nalknad Palace is a fine example of the area’s traditional architecture. With two levels, a spy hole to shoot invaders from and a dark room to hide from them in case they got in anyway, this palace and its tight quarters provide an interesting glimpse into the lives and times of ancient Coorg while giving visitors a superb view of Coorg’s highest peak, Thadiyandamol.

Iruppu Falls
Created by the descent of a river with origins in mythology over step-like rock formations, the Iruppu Falls are exquisite to watch. They are quite a distance from the resort. So, you can plan a visit here and combine it with Nagarhole National Park.

 

Virajpet Paddy Fields Nalknad Palace
Chelvara Falls Chokamund Virajpet

Clockwise: Lush paddy fields; the permanent mandap at the Nalknad Palace; cloud laden Chokamund; and the roaring Chelvara falls at Virajpet

 

Nagarhole National Park 
Tall teakwood trees, innumerable deer, wild elephants, bison are the usuals at a visit to Nagarhole. The safari itself, with about 25 people crammed in to a noisy bus will probably drive away some of the more exotic wildlife. Check with the resort for safari timings.

Padi Igguthappa Temple
Located at Kakkabe near Virajpet, the Padi Igguthappa Temple is one of the most sacred Kodava sites. Built in 1810 by King Lingarajedra, a visit here offers a truly rare glimpse into the fascinating culture of the Kodava people.

Malithrikey
This temple located on a hill top is cloaked in unusual lore. It is said that this was one temple Tipu Sultan couldn’t destroy since he and his people were attacked by bees when they arrived. A small piece of his armour can be seen at the temple. The temple itself is open to the elements since followers believe that the deity has strict rules about construction timings (sunset to sunrise) and hence is only surrounded by their offerings. These offerings, which consist of clay animal figurines, have been arranged into a makeshift wall around the resident deity. Make sure you get here early since no one, not even the priest is allowed to stay after 1 p.m. And you’ll want to spend some extra time since the view here is magnificent. Try picking wild berries from the shrubs outside the temple. Be careful, since you’ll have to take your footwear off 3 km before the temple at the bottom of the hill. Your vehicle can go straight to the top via a steep and winding road, but your shoes stay behind.

Thadiyandamol
One of Coorg’s best treks, Thadiyandamol rewards those who climb to its peak with a mind-blowing view of rolling hills blanketed in green with clouds swirling like a river through the valleys. At 1748 m it’s the highest peak in Coorg and second highest in Karnataka.
All this running around is going to make you hungry, so make sure you try some of the absolutely brilliant local cuisine.

But what’s most interesting, intriguing and all around fascinating are the people. I won’t spoil the surprise. Get to Virajpet, find one of the locals and listen to the stories about their origins, customs and beliefs. Find out about their history, their lives and their love for hockey. Try to get yourself an invite to see their traditional home. Eat the delicious local food and drink as many local brews as you can find. It’s an experience that's totally worth the trip. Here’s a hint. You’ll find some of them at our brand new resort. Club Mahindra Virajpet might just be an hour away from Madikeri, but it’s in a slightly off beat world of its own.

 

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