As domestic tourism has begun since unlock, my urge to travel had increased which had dwindled since the pandemic, and unfortunately due to lockdown had to stop all my travel-related activities.
When the country started unlocking, I had an opportunity to visit our very own coffee land which is not on the top list in the state of Karnataka but is an offbeat coffee destination called Sakleshpur.
Sakleshpur is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountain region where its slopes have been covered with tea, coffee, and spice plantations. And this opportunity to visit this serene location was invited by India Tourism, Bangalore, and in collaboration with Dharthi NGO were we a select group of bloggers including me had this opportunity to stay in homestays and explore the plantations of Sakleshpur.
We visited the coffee plantations during the right time I.e, in the month of January which is when the coffee shrubs have bright red coffee fruits and flowers. From Bangalore, we boarded a tempo towards Sakleshpur early in the cold winter morning of January and the excitement level had risen to its peak by then.
We had breakfast on the way and our first stop was a coffee plantation #1 located in Hettur Area called Maradikere Estate which is a sprawling 150 acres that has Igoor Homestay. The place has been owned by Santosh and he explained that the Igoor estate is one of the oldest coffee plantations which had been developed by the British and the estate grows both Arabica and Robusta coffee early years, however, due to the rise in temperature and increase in pest attacks that we shifted largely towards growing robusta coffee.
The igoor estate was cultivated by Fredrich Green in the year 1957 and this initially was about 700 acres which the British had initially cultivated Coffee.
Along with coffee, Maradikere Estate also cultivates Pepper and Cardamom and they grow under the shades of white oak, jackfruit, and cheddar trees. A walk across the beautiful coffee estate along with Igoor Homestay will make you feel refreshed. The beautiful trees, serene nature, and old school architecture of homestay make you travel back in time.
Moving across to our next homestay and estate was Kumbarahalli Estate which has Swarga homestay. This has been owned by generations of the current owner Chirag Shambu and it has been maintained by his family along with 5 staff. There are 9 rooms at Swarga Homestay which are named Chandra, Surya, Prithvi, Jala, and Vayu. The other 2 rooms are called Arabica and Robusta and there are 2 more rooms which are not yet named. While speaking with the owner, Chirag he said that in the year 1938, his great grandfather bought the land from the Britishers and this estate was a cardamom hub then. Due to changes in the weather pattern, they started cultivating coffee and grew both Arabica and Robusta, and in recent times due to changes in weather and pest attacks, robusta is being cultivated and it is around 80% of coffee plantations here.
This plantation is located near to River Hemavathi and Gorur dam and you will be connected to nature, backwaters, rivers, and a wide variety of flora and fauna here. The best part of this homestay is that this is a pet-friendly location and thus pet parents can get their pets here and enjoy their stay
Moving on to our next location which was at Guddada Siri Home Stay which In English can be translated as The beauty of the hills homestay where we tried traditional Malnad lunch which included Akki Roti, Kadabu, Bamboo shoot curry, kesinakattu, and everything tasted fresh and amazing. Here I and other bloggers enjoyed retreats such as water splash, mud-volley ball, rope cycling, trekking to a nearby waterfall location where our entire location and trek was filled with green nature and cool winds blowing.
Our last and final pitstop was Harley estate which the British had controlled from 1865 – 1950 and its spread across 460 acres and here they grow Arabica, Robusta, Areca, and pepper. Here we had an interesting learning experience where Prasanna had told that coffee here are being researched on fermentation blends like Amrut and he explained both cold brew and hot brew process of coffee.
At Harley estate, you can stay at Golden Wood Resorts, and also you can do a coffee trail with Gully Tours. At last, we made a visit to Harley Jalapatha which made us feel refreshed before we packed up and headed back to the concrete jungle of Bangalore.
The day was full of fun, enjoyment, and amazing as we were connected to nature and bought back the peace and tranquility which was missed amid lockdown and stress during the pandemic situation.