December trip to Chikmagalur

Well, it has been a long time since I blogged (super busy at work is the excuse this time), and what better than a travelogue to pump up things around here. 

Technically, the destination is not Chikmagalur per se, it is a coffee estate resort called “The Eagle Eye Holiday Home” about 42 km from Chikmagalur town, on the Malandur Road (for those in the know of all things Western Ghats!).

  • Friday evening – Left Bangalore at 3:05PM – had to pick up the kiddo from school.
  • Route from Koramangala:
    • Koramangala -> Madiwala (through whatever short cut that pleases you)
    • Madiwala -> Hosur Road (you will get hosed in traffic whatever you do)
    • Exit on to NICE road (It was 4PM by now)
    • Surprised (in a bad way) to see so much traffic on NICE road. Had never seen so much traffic on this road before. Trucker traffic mostly.
    • Head past Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Mysore Road, Magadi Road and exit out of Tumkur Road
    • Pay Rs.20 toll for a road that does not feel like a toll road
    • Left at Nelamangala towards Hassan (It was 5PM by now)
    • Nelamangala to Hassan is a fantastic road. (Read: you can touch 130kmph at multiple points) – four lane highway with divider
    • Hassan to Chikmagalur is a two lane highway with no divider
    • In winter, when it got dark very quickly, our speed kicked several notches lower past Hassan.
    • Was 8PM by the time we reached Chikmagalur
  • Checked in to Planters Court in Chikmagalur
    • This is a simple medium cost hotel if you just want to plonk for the night, which was what we did.
  • Left early in the morning (7AM) and started driving towards Eagle Eye Resorts
    • The road from Chikmagalur to Eagle Eye is just awesome.
    • Highly advisable not to do in the night though. Absolutely no markers, or sign boards anywhere. It is just coffee plantations everywhere and nothing else.
    • It takes a good 1 hour 20 minutes to reach.
    • The last 1.5-2km is a mud-road that leads into the estate.
  • The resort itself:
    • Beautiful place in the middle of a coffee estate
    • Apparently started off as a homestay, but now gradually moving to a full scale resort
    • The place is permanently full. So book in advance.
    • There are a few types of rooms
      • We stayed in a villa – which is just a plain large bedroom with an equally large bathroom, and a fantastic sit-out with a view.
      • There are waterfall villas, with a simulated water fall inside the room, which is turned on for a few hours a day
      • There are glass house with pool rooms. These have a large glass facade wall with a view from the beds, and a small pool in the sit-out
      • There are other types of small cottages as well.
    • There are no TVs in the rooms, nor is there room service.
      • The manager lady explained to me that this was very intentional, because, as an eco resort, they want their guests to experience the outdoors. If there is a TV or room service, people rarely get out of their room.
      • The dining area is a fair distance apart from each of the rooms. Beautiful view from the dining area too.
      • Simple buffer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The tariff is all inclusive.
    • The resort arranges a nice 3km (round trip) trek to a peak inside the estate. It is a moderately intensive trek, but the there of us (including my 7 y/o) was able to do it.
    • The Bhadra National Game Reserve is about 21km away (about 45 minutes drive). We drove down there. The park rangers take you on a park safari. We saw some small game (peacocks, wild boar, langoors, stag, and spotted deer).
    • About 10km away from the resort is a small temple (Markandeya temple) on the banks of the River Bhadra. Very scenic spot.
  • Overall the resort is so serene and full of outdoor activities, that the 2.5 days that we spent over there, flew by at a perfectly acceptable pace. It was neither too fast, nor too slow. One of those holidays that you walk away from, thinking that it was very well spent.
  • If you are one of those, who corrupt your coffee with chicory, then you can buy some powder in the resort itself, but if you are like me, who likes their coffee “pure”, skip it.
  • We drove down to Chikmagalur on Monday morning, right after breakfast. Stop by Panduranga Coffee Works on MG Road in Chikmagalur, if you want some awesome coffee. I bought some roasted beans for our coffee machine at office, and some powder for home. Pure Arabica. Hmmmm.
  • Came back at a good clip back to Bangalore. Chikmagalur to Nelamangala (about 4 hours). Stopped for lunch at Kamat at Chennarayapatna (abbreviated as C.R.Patna everywhere). There is also an A2b right opposite, if that is your taste – but you would need to do a long round about and a U turn if you want to get there).
  • And *sigh*, of course, got stuck in traffic on Hosur Road. Spent almost an hour and a half on that same road.

 

 

$11,000 coffee machine


Wow. The commentator on this WIRED TV video says that the $11000 is not probably the worth of the machine, but it is for the team of Stanford University Engineers handbuilding this thing ! Starbucks has already bought this company (ritual coffee). check the video out. The machine looks pretty cool (not at all like the crappy nuts-and-bolts type lab machine I was expecting to see).