Last year and past few months, I went on a few trips but could not manage to write a post or update the trip photos. I will be posting here and there few trips logs as and when I find time and inspiration to write.
Malnad Monsoon and Balur Estate
Monsoon arrived and I was finding some place to linger on the weekend, motto being relaxation. Linger Balur Estate was the apt choice I made at the eleventh hour. Balur Estate was in my Must Visit list and I was waiting for an opportunity to be there at Balur Estate managed by Linger group.
Thanks to TripAdvisor and fellow travelers for the genuine feedback. I always rely on TripAdvisor before I zero down a place to visit.
You will not believe on a “Friday” evening I call ‘Sameer- from Linger Management’ for a reservation for early morning the next day. “Luckily”, there was a last minute cancellation and we were lucky to get that. Usually, the cottages will be booked well in advance. Sameer and Vijay made the booked with ease and provided all the necessary details.
To everyone’s surprise, we were travelling by Bus. We packed our bag-packs, booked tickets through KSRTC Rajahamsha, the very last seat towards Mudigere.
While we boarded the bus at night, caretaker Amza called and guided us on where to get down. Since the KSRTC buses take different route, we were guided to get down at the Balur Hand post.
Reaching the Estate:
It is around 5 to 10 minutes walk from the bus stop to the Balur Estate. Amza was tracking our arrival through Phone 3:00 AM onwards while we reached at 5:00AM. On reaching, Amza and the Watchman Bahadhur came till the hand post to pick our luggage. We walked the curvy roads early in the morning, misty morning, listening to the birds chirping, dense forest so dark green in color due to the rains. It was all magical, pictures as in fairy tale. The walk towards the estate itself was relaxing. Though Amza and Bahadur had already gone with our luggage, we did not find any difficulty in finding the Estate.
We were awed seeing the estate and the atmosphere around. Neighborhood dog, Raja was there to welcome us. We played with him sometime feeding him with biscuits. Ratnamma was there to welcome us with a very sweet motherly smile and later with a cup of Malnad coffee.
We had booked the Planters Room, within the Heritage house. The room was huge and fantastic with a lovely Window overlooking the misty mountains. The beds were neatly done, with a Linger labeled bottled water (don’t mistake that to be wine bottles), chosen wooden accessories and lights which match the chilly atmosphere. The bathroom was huge with all the bathing accessories including few variety of shampoo. Unlimited hot water supply to soak for the cool weather outside.
The feel and experience:
You will not regret anything over here, everything is so perfect. Drinking coffee, sitting in the verandah watching the high mountains, talking to Amza, Ratnamma, the estate workers, reading books, playing with dogs, cycling, sipping wine, trekking in the mountains – exploring the way, you can even get lost in the dense estate and remember this experience for your lifetime.
We had a great time riding towards the Hemavathi river origin, and towards the sunset point. Though it was raining, the view on the other side was so good. It was drizzling, fogs had covered all over and Amza had lent us his bike, trust me, I had never enjoyed the bike ride so much so far, like I enjoyed it at Balur.
We had a great experience with the leaches. They bit us, they sucked our blood, and first time in my life, I saw the leeches. Rest assured, one of the estate workers had told us the tricks to get rid of leeches. There is a three-leaf plant, pluck, and put the juice of its stem on the leeches and they will leave your body immediately.
It was a very short stay for us, but we enjoyed to the core. Just doing nothing. We were so relaxed; we forgot everything about the outside world. One must visit this place and rejuvenate, especially after working hard all this while. It is worth the price you pay. You cannot experience everything with our reviews. To experience Linger, you have to BE THERE. Moreover, you will not regret.
P.S: We did not get to use the swimming pool as Monsoon just started and they wanted to clean the pool. You may even get to use the pool.
Ratnamma is the synonym for Food at Balur. Ratnamma…she is really an Angel. She cooks really well, no matter from which region you are you will fall for her cuisine. The Kadubu, Neer Dosa, Pork, and Kori Rotti. I cannot imagine she cooked Kori-Rotti, which is a Mangalorean famous cuisine; it is the flat rice sheet, to be eaten with Chicken curry. She is awesome.
In and around:
There is a tea estate nearby, where you can see the tea processing methods in their factory. We did not opt to visit this place, as I do not like the smell of tea. You can even buy tealeaves and other spices. We had asked Amza to get us the spices and coffee powder, which I am still using. The cardamoms were fresh and green.
Sunset Point and Origin of Hemavathi River:
This place is just 5 minutes drive from the estate. The view on the other side of the estate is awesome. You get Airtel range at this place. There is also a small temple nearby where the Hemavathi River originates. When they say originates, it does not mean the water springs will be flowing out. You have to strain your eyes to see exactly from where the water originates.
Horanadu Annapoorneshwari temple:
Horanadu is around 1 hours distance from Balur Estate. You get private transportations from the Estate bus stop or you can drive down. If you are opting for private buses, then balance your hearts, the drive is going to be exiting when the driver just zooms through the curvy roads. This must be experienced. We reached Horanadu late in the evening. Goddess Annapoorneshwari is the goddess of food. Every deity will be fed with food and they do not encourage anyone to waste food served.
Back to Bangalore:We performed the pooja, had dinner, and brought some more spices at Horanadu shopping complex and we got a KSRTC Rajahamsha bus towards Bangalore. It was a refreshing visit to the Malnad region and we were truly refreshed.