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The coffee industry in Karnataka is a tribute to the enterprise of a mystic saint, Baba Budan, who smuggled the beans from Yemen in the folds of tunic, and the pioneering efforts of the early British planter who braved the elements and the terrain to open up vast swathes of land for Coffee cultivation in 1820. The baton was passed on to the early Indian who kept that sprit intact. Today thanks to the effort of these early pioneers the Coffee industry is thriving in Karnataka.
Deep in the heart of the coffee growing area of Maenad (Male meaning hill and Nadu place) about 15 Km from Mudigere is a place that can be described as a “special corner of Gods real estate”. It’s a landscape that is characterized by rolling hills populated by coffee shrubs, stately silver oak with pepper vines snaking around its barks, dense jungle wood, the fragrance of cardamom ripening and rich in meandering streams...
With in the isolated, peaceful and staggeringly beautiful rustic landscape that swells and dips with valleys and peaks in situated the COFFEE VILLAGE RETARET.
Set within 200 acres of Coffee plantation and located strategically to offer a commanding view of the surrounding plantation is located the estate bungalows. The older colonial bungalow traces its lineage to the British planter of yore and is a testament to the grace and style of a bygone era. Its stately pillars and roomy interiors transports one to a more elegant time and period. The more modern bungalow is a statement in style and luxury and built tastefully keeping in mind the demands of the modern day traveler. This bungalow is set stop a small hillock and offers splendid views of the surrounding habitat.
Its after the monsoons have subsided in mid September that we see nature on her best behavior, All the surrounding countryside are a majestic sight to behold, the mountains are clad in a green mantle. The streams are crystal clear and ripe with fishes. Small rivulets course through acres of paddy fields. And the forests are ablaze with most trees putting forth new shoots.Come December and most of the crops gradually ripen and the harvesting season begins. In the plantations the coffee berries are turning cherry red, the paddy fields are a sea of shimmering gold, and the areca trees are pregnant with orange bunches of nuts. The plantations are fragrant with the warm smell of pepper ripening, mingled with the sweet smell of heavily laden orange trees. There is music in the air with the local woman singing as they harvest the paddy with bent sickles. There are a lot of local festivals celebrating the harvest.
Each season has its own charm and summer is a great time to trek and explore the estate and its environs. Although the temperatures do not soar to extremes its pleasant enough to allow one to sit out in the verandah of the estate bungalow after a day’s trek and enjoy a sundowner (the enduring legacy of the British planter) while watching a night sky bedecked with a million stars and hear the chirping of myriad insects. Late summer if one is lucky you can catch the thundershowers in the month of April and May, and the resultant blossoming of the coffee shrubs. Hills and hills of Coffee plants are in full bloom and resemble snow clad mountains and the estates are fragrant with the aroma of the flowers and the drone of innumerable bees.
The monsoon is regular as clockwork in the neck of the woods. But there is a special beauty in the relentless pouring rain to the discerning visitor. To the romantic it’s a special treat; to the adventurous visitor nature offers a special treat with thunderous waterfalls and white water rafting, which can be arranged about an hour drive from the estate.
Chikmagalur is situated in south western part of Karnataka. Carved against a mountainous canvas this beautiful malnad district is full of surprises... lofty peaks... delightful dales... racing rivers... sparkling streams... captivating cascades... and the bracing mountain air - a balm to the work-weary. Climb high above the world where the mountains seem to touch the sky. Marvel at the unspoilt beauty of the snow-white coffee blossoms.
Belur & Halebedu
Temple @ Sakleshpur