The first ever “college tour with night stay” in the history of Gouthams began. The bus was full of students of two junior batches, two senior batches and five of our teachers, but I knew that we are going to have a time of our lifetime.
The time of departure was 8 pm from Modi Eye Hospital , but we started after 9:30, you know, Indians ! We were sufficiently loaded and slept most of the night journey and woke up only in morning for tea and snacks. We crossed Mysore while we were sleeping and ruined the chance to have a peek of the historical place but we visited two beautiful places before reaching Coorg.
First we stopped at Cauvery Nisargadhama which is an island formed by River Kaveri. Mainly bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees were found at this park. There was also a Deer Park, Rabbit Park, Peacock Park and orchidarium on the island and there were few shallow points in the water for swimming.
There were some tree houses and a watchtower which we claimed for fun. We also spend some time with those fearless golden spotted deer inside the park and skipped the elephant ride and the boat ride.
Our next stop was the Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery which is a beautiful Buddhist Monastery situated at Bylakuppe 87 km from Mysore. Bylakuppe is the second largest Tibetans settlement in India after Dharamshala. Namdroling Monastery is the largest teaching center of Nyingmapa (a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) in the world and houses over 5000 monks and nuns.
Golden Temple complex was huge and it houses 40 feet high gilded images of Guru Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche), Buddha Sakyamuni and Amitayus. The temple tower was highly ornate. The outer walls flanking the doorway are decorated with huge colourful murals.
The inner walls were adorned with colourful paintings depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology. We enjoyed the serenity of the place and majestic sight, surrounded by its landscaped gardens for an hour. It was so quiet and pleasant with lush greenery that one would feel elated.
Coorg was not very far from this monastery, just around 34 Km but the view on both sides of the road changed slowly. This stretch of road over a hilly terrain was mostly covered by yellow corn field which was very different from crop fields of Bengal or Punjab. It was more likely that we were travelling through European country-side than South-India.
As we approached further uphill the visibility of the road as well as the surrounding was to a lower state due to heavy fog. We reached Coorg around 11 and while everyone was sitting at the dining room for the breakfast two of us came out to explore the surroundings.
The hotel had a big garden in front and a valley behind. We came out from the hotel and took the stretched road, guarded by old rusted iron railing at the valley side, for a stroll. It was a nippy and so foggy that we could not even see each other at short distances. And then it happened for the first time. Soft, light, white clouds glided out from the valley and floated through us-an experience worth remembering.
After a heavy breakfast we were allotted our respective rooms where we freshened up and then started our trip. It took us around one and a half hour to reach Talacauvery on that cloudy day. Talacauvery is the source of the river Kaveri, also known as Cauvery located on the Brahmagiri hill (not to be confused with the Brahmagiri range further south) near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district, Karnataka. It is located at 1,276 m above sea level. Kodavas have erected a tank; which is now considered as the origin of Cauvery River. The place also had a small temple, a worship place of Kodavas. The Kaveri River, originates from a spring filling up this tank. Beside the temple, there was a series of 356 steps which lead to the peak; from here the prepossessing hills can be viewed. When we get there it started raining in intervals so the soil became dark red and the greenery around us was shining after a shower. The stream does not have much water in it and was covered with slippery moss and algae, there was not a bit of wind flowing but the nature around us was scenic.
We had to shorten our sightseeing due to heavy rainfall afterwards and sat for lunch on our way back. A bonfire was arranged for the evening but it did not sustain for long as it was drizzling at that time. Our group decided to go out for a drink and we returned only before dinner. During our day stroll we had discovered a beautiful, wooden and well decorated bar cum restaurant around two KM downhill and we decided to drop there now.
The night was silent and dark, chill wind was flowing along with the drizzling rain, lamp-posts were far away from each other and spreading dim light within their limited range with a mystic mountain smell around. I enjoyed the evening walk to the bar much more than the drink. After a long nice day our trip was at its end as after dinner we started for Bangalore. None of us were happy to leave this haven and go back to our monotonous college routine.