Coorg with the Thimmaiah’s

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Reviews & Recommendations | 2 comments

Coorg with the Thimmaiah’s

The beautiful house and the few other outhouses and rooms that make up The Jade are 170 years old. Each room is impeccably maintained with old furniture polished from long use, tall pillars, old locks and thick doors. The Jade is almost nearly at the border between Kodagu and Kerala and its lovely location offers travellers a chance to drop in also to Waynad. The only sounds you hear is that of birds and the odd job from the sprawling estates around.
This was the second time we were visiting Coorg. In our first visit, we had almost concluded, that Coorg was over-hyped. But when we planned this the second time around, we almost deep inside wanted to prove ourselves wrong. “the Jade” was recommended to us by word-of-mouth. Honestly,I don’t even recollect where the recommendation popped in from. Some strange hunch told us that this time we wouldn’t go wrong.
Once there, we realized that it not always a destination that makes you fall in love with the place. It’s not enough to admire the beauty of nature without appreciating the people who reside in it. One thing that strikes about Kabir and Megha is their warmth and the extent to which they go to help and make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. We came here as guests and by the time we moved out we knew we had made new friends!

There is a popular saying that goes “On earth, there is no heaven, but glimpses of it”. Some places deserve this adage. Coorg is one of them. And when you have chosen the right place and the right people to stay with, your conviction becomes even stronger. Set amidst enviable green of forests and spices The Jade, is a heritage Homestay situated in the valley of the Brahmagiri mountain range. The back drop of the hazy Brahmagiri hills, the vast expanse of the paddy fields in the fore ground, the gurgling stream, a bountiful beauty of birds, beasts and biological extravaganza all in the surroundings offer a rare opportunity of shooting with your lens from dawn to dusk are part of the the true paradise for holidayers which offers you a perfect environment to recharge yourself. Adding to all this is the beauty of the 170 year old kodava (Of Coorg)home which is retained without losing its charm and regality.What you can look forward to is adding to an authentic experience of culture and hospitality of the kodava family to the fullest and not to forget the scrumptious food.
The first lunch, cooked by Amma(Kabir’s mum) reassured how much pleasurable the days ahead of us would be! We had 3 idyllic days to while our time away. 3 cottages, between 6 of us, made it possible that the entire estate belonged to entirely us. The fourth and the fifth available cottages, remained empty much to our comfort! That allowed us all the time to be with Coorg, the way it is meant to. Doing nothing much. Hearing stories. Playing with local children. Devouring local food. And packing hampers for creek-side picnics! The lunch that was hosted by Kabir and Megha Thimmaiah  at their well-appointed  and cosy bungalow served as a house-warming for the us. “ Call us Coorgs or Kodavas (But please don’t go calling us Coorgis)!” , Kabir chuckled!  “We are very social people”, Amma adds, “ with members of each extended family thinking up excuses for periodic family get-togethers!

Conversation was lively: expectedly so as the group was composed of those who had lived in this estates all their lives and those who had made a living in the city, always wanting to know how living a laid back, but hard-working life can be.
Amma  seemd to have struck the perfect balance between the outside world and Coorg, even though we wouldn’t have stepped out of this estate very frequently. In her kitchen, she has three grades of “tari” or pounded rice flour: fine, medium and coarse, the better to make a variety of Kodava dishes. On the other hand, she makes the occasional trip to capital Madikeri to pick up oyster sauce for the occasional indulgence.
Conversation came to a standstill once lunch was served.
You cannot have a Kodava and not have a few favourites. The three days were a gastronomical delight! Ambitiously spread across during meals, we had by end of three days relished most of them. Pandi Curry with Kadamputtu on Day-1 ;Chicken Curry with Nulputtupn Day-2( fondly titled Coorgi-Murghi, by one of our friends!). In addition, Amma had prepared Otti, Green Mutton Biryani, Chicken Fry, Vegetable Curry with Paputtu, Brinjal Fry and Inji Pachadi: her magic touch is in knowing where to add her special touch and what to leave in its original, traditional form. Thus, the Pandi Curry, an almost dry pork curry that every housewife makes, differs marginally from house to house, with all the relatives either secretly smug that their version is better or privately griping that their version has a lot of catching up to do!

Amma’s Pandi Curry is unanimously declared to be the tastiest in the family, though it goes easy on the kachampuli – a locally-grown species of kokum that is boiled down to the consistency of a 40-year old aceto balsamico. Kachampuli is every bit as precious as Modena’s balsamic vinegar and is used drop by drop as a souring agent in pork, chicken and fish dishes. Megha brilliantly attributes the prevalence of kachampuli in the Kodava diet as a protection against tapeworms that pork carries! The one feature of a Coorg meal is the presence of rice-based accompaniments – our meals with the Thimmaiahs had biryani, a thin, supple rice pancake, a version of the iddiappam, the little round balls that are so small and light that you eat them without realizing how many you’ve had and regular chapattis made with rice flour!

The Basic Review:
The Jade has 5 rooms with attached bath and all the modern amenities. All rooms are overlooking the beautiful manicured garden. There is a lovely cane swing to while away time, or read a book. The backyard has very old and antique farm machinery. Kabir can take you along and explain what they could potentially do. Spend time with Amma in the kitchen. Walk through the hall-ways of the main residence and gaze at the family pictures. Ask Megha to narrate stories. Ask Amma to teach you how to wear the saree in the Kodava way. Borrow Megha’s saree.

It also has a private river flowing through the bamboo grooves and is safe and relaxing for anyone who wants to take a dip or do traditional fishing with nets. Have intermittent picnics here. Cross the creek, wade in the water. Climb the boulders.

Following are the facilities provided. Based on your mood and purpose of travel, you could do all or nothing:
•    Bask in and warm your hands on the bonfire in the evening- there is always a nip in the air during the evenings in Coorg. Make sure you carry some basic coverings-a shawl, a cardigan.
•    Plantation Visit-Walk in ginger, pepper and coffee estates
•    Nature Walk-Discover unknown trails, alleys within paddy fields. Talk to the villagers,(they also understand English and sign-language!)
•    Play yard to play football, shuttle, volleyball etc.

Contact Details:
The JADE
Manchalli, Kutta, South Coorg – 571 250
Contact: Megha / Kabir Thimmaiah
Tel: 08274-244396
Mob: 09448605999; 0994277564; 9980750054
Email: thejadecoorg05@rediffmail.com
Website: www.thejadecoorg.com

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2 Comments

  1. Wonderful. Carry on….

  2. Thanks Mamai.

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