I am a travel enthusiast and like to share my travel experiences.
After being stuck at home for more than two years due to the pandemic, we were so bored. We felt more for our pet, who could not play outdoors. The most he got was a walk down the lane near our home. He loves the outdoors and loves people and started to throw tantrums.
We started surfing the net trying to find a pet-friendly nature retreat nearby to spend a few days there with him. We had almost booked a place when we got a call from a close relative which changed everything for us. They had planned a visit to their farmhouse in Kushal Nagar and asked whether we were interested in joining them.
We agreed and left for the farm a few days later on an early December morning. We were super excited and so was our pet. He started jumping for joy as soon as he realized he would be coming along.
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir
Arrival at the Lake House
We reached the farmhouse around midday. We were in for a surprise on our arrival at the destination—it was a lakeside house and the view was breathtaking. There was greenery all around and the atmosphere was so calm and peaceful. A perfect nature retreat far away from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. "This is a true hidden gem that you have here," we told our hosts. The weather was perfect. The rain had just stopped and the lake was full.
After lunch and a little rest, we planned on visiting the nearby well-known places. The farmhouse is located in Kudumangalore, a village in Kodagu district in the southern state of Karnataka. Our first visit was to the Golden Temple at Bylkuppe. Unluckily for us, the Buddha temple was closed due to the COVID restrictions. Our next destination was Nisargadhama Forest Park.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
— Albert Einstein
Visit to Nisargadhama Forest Park
Nisargadhama Forest Park is situated 3 kilometres from the city of Kushalnagar in Coorg district. It is the main tourist attraction and a popular weekend getaway in the district.
Maintained by the government of Karnataka and spread across 64 acres, it is an attractive sight to see. Entering the reserve through the hanging bridge, which itself is a main attraction here, we admired the sight of river Kaveri flowing magnificently through the dense forest.
The lush greenery of the forest and the cool atmosphere was so beautiful to experience. We came to know that the ideal time to visit the forest was from October to May. Nisargadhama is called an island by the locals as it is formed by the extensive Kaveri river which is the main water source of the region.
The forest consists of lush foliage of teak, sandalwood, silver oak trees and bamboo groves which are well maintained by the authorities. A perfect place for a picnic with children. There are deer, peacocks, rabbits to see and also a playground for the children to play.
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Elephant rides and boat rides were cancelled due to COVID restrictions. The tree-top bamboo cottages and guest houses run by the forest department house the tourists during their stay here.
We got to see a number of birds at the exotic bird park there. We also saw the statues of the original Kodavu tribe dancing and depicting their lifestyle which was very interesting.
Dubare Elephant Camp
Our next visit was to the Dubare Elephant Camp. This is a forest camp on the banks of the River Kaveri. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Coorg. We spent some memorable moments watching the elephants from close quarters.
Here the elephants are trained by naturalists. The trained elephants participate in the famous Mysore Dussehra processions. We watched a few elephants being bathed in the river. We were overjoyed to watch an elephant do the sun salutation after his bath. Elephant rides and interactions like feeding them or bathing them have been temporarily stopped due to COVID. Yet the visit was a memorable one for us.
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
— John Muir
Next was the visit to Chiklihole Reservoir. This is a small reservoir built across the river Chiklihole, which flows along the Kaveri river basin of Karnataka. It is at a distance of just 5 kilometres from the Dubare forest. It has been active since 1985 and was built mainly for the purpose of irrigation of the nearby villages (it irrigates 865 hectares of land).
The dam is surrounded by lush green meadows on one side and green forest on the other. It is a beautiful sight to behold. The tranquility is also enhanced by the greenery all around. The dam has a unique semi-circular shape which is the main attraction for tourists.
When the inflow increases, the water overflows like foam on a curved surface and is spectacular to see. Watching the sunset from the dam is also a wonderful experience. We were told that the best time to visit was during the monsoon as the increase in water levels yields a splendid view.
Our next visit was to Harangi dam. The dam is built across a tributary of the Kaveri. This is the first dam to be built across the river Kaveri. It was less crowded here—a perfect place for a quiet retreat. We had a relaxed evening enjoying the beauty of the lush green surroundings of the dam. The soothing gentle breeze added to the tranquility of the place.
We learned that the best time to visit the dam was from August to September, when the dam is completely filled with water and is a picturesque sight to see. The garden in Harangi is well maintained and beautiful to see when it gets lit up after dark. We also got to taste the delicious food at Top In Town, a restaurant in Kushalnagar.
Musical Fountain in Harangi
The main attraction at Harangi is the musical fountain. We were told that the musical fountain would start at 7 PM, so well before that time, we took our place in the space provided to watch it. Soon the place was filled with people. Most of them were young and seemed to be on a college trip.
Exactly at 7 PM, the fountain started to the background music. It was colorful and enchanting. The youngsters started to dance to the music and it was great fun watching them and the dancing fountain.
Other Tourist Spots in Kushalnagar
There are other beautiful tourist spots in and around the city of Kushalnagar like the Abbey falls, Talakaveri where the river Kaveri originates, Madikeri Fort, and many other beautiful places which we did not have the time to visit. We hope to cover them during our next visit.
My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.
— Claude Monet
The best part of the visit was our stay at the lake house. We had an enchanting view of the sunset and the sight of the lake and its surrounding area covered in dew. There was a portico in front of the house where we could sit and see all the way to the far end of the lake.
We saw ducks and other birds who visited the lake to drink from it. I was enchanted with the swing in the portico. Sitting on the swing reminded me of my childhood and I felt a sort of freedom there. The only issue was that there was no internet or network there, so, for two days I had a complete screen detox. No social media, no calls, no messages.
An Amazing Vacation
Roaming inside the farm, our pet was so excited, he seemed transformed. He loved the pampering he got from all the people in the house and was calmer and more relaxed. The amazing view of the lake with the backdrop of the trees had a serene effect on us. This is the most beautiful vacation we have had in a very long time and we were so thankful to our hosts for this wonderful time we had at their farm at Kudu Mangalore. This has been a memorable trip to be cherished for us.
No doubt I love technology, but our dependence on it is so great nowadays that sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I grew up in a generation with no mobile phones. And we were quite productive then too. We managed to communicate, albeit in different ways like personal meetings, and when that was not possible through letters.
Nowadays we skim through various news items online, scroll through social media, communicate through messages on WhatsApp. How much of the information that we read online do we really take in or absorb? More importance seems to be given to quantity than quality.
It is such a fast-paced life, we hardly have time for ourselves to sit in a tranquil place and contemplate, to relish and absorb the beauty of nature and our surroundings, to enjoy life in the real sense. A balance is needed to not get addicted to technology.
A retreat into nature like the one we had is necessary to relish the real experience of being human. It is necessary to take some time away from the screens and interact with real people, to contemplate in peace, to enjoy nature so that we can connect with our real self, the self inside us.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 VIDYA D SAGAR