Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.-Gary Snyder
Every time I am in Chikmagalur, it has always taken me to surprise! There is a charm about this place that keeps pulling me towards it, and yet again the charm is only getting brighter with more glitters-credit goes to the place I stayed in. Megur Homestay is located around Kelagur Tea & Coffee plantations, one of the rarest views to see both tea and coffee plantations together & that holds the main reason why I chose to stay here. It is not just coffee in Chikmagalur, tea & some conversations happen too!
Mr. Sudhakara Gowda owns Megur Homestay, an agriculturist, one of the oldest and proud natives of Chikmagalur. The zeal he has when he explains every detail on the places excites anyone to sit & listen to him. We were having conversations on how coffee was first brought to Chikmagalur or rather India itself, I only knew that Baba Budan bought the coffee beans while coming from Haj; who was also the first to introduce coffee in India. Later it was British who got the beans from Africa & few other countries to India, something else which I didn’t know was Cardamom & Pepper is native of Western Ghats too.
Woke up to the smell of tea from the closest tea factory, sipping coffee overlooking the mountains; my brain was wondering whether to enjoy the signal from my taste buds or the nose! We then took a morning walk around Tea plantations, mist was just clearing off and showing us the way, my eyes turned green seeing acres of tea leaves, mountains at a distance, coffee plantations peeping on the side. My host was sharing the pain of finding the labor lately as most of the local crowd move to cities for jobs & easy money. However they have also been seeing lot of migrants from Bihar, Orissa & few other parts from North who come here looking for jobs.
Well the two World’s most favorite drinks are Coffee & Tea; I was still very surprised to see both the plantations right opposite to each other. The dense landscape on the right corner are the coffee plantations, those are the trees grown around the plantations as coffee needs more shade. During rainy season the shade will be minimized by cutting the branch of the trees for the rain water to enter the plantations. On the other hand tea needs more sunlight and hence less trees around them, even if there are trees it would be trees like silver oak that’s seen in the picture which doesn’t give too much of shade for the plantations. Due to less rainfall, lately sprinklers are used in the tea plantations. I will remember this every time I sip coffee/tea hereafter.
15 Kms drive from the Homestay is Rani Jari: A tale that happened 250 years ago when Ballalarayana Durga was invaded, it is said that Rani (Queen) was trying to escape & jumped off this cliff, hence the name Rani Jari. Rani Jari has the view of a hamlet in South Canara; it was amazing to see those hamlets with paddy fields & rubber plantations standing at a point of Chikmagalur district to Mangalore District. Hill on the left is Ballalarayana Durga, ruins of the fort still exists on top of this hill.
There is an ancient temple of Kala Bairava Swamy temple built by Balalla Raya. This temple is completely built only by stones & also some amazing carvings on those stones. While we were driving to Rani Jari we saw muster of peacocks, unfortunately couldn’t capture a picture then. We stopped over at a small waterfall amidst tea plantations, where again muster of these beautiful creatures were chilling by the water.
I was hosted by Megur Homestay, Luck I tell you!