I was yearning for a long drive through the lush green forest in pouring rains. While I watched the splash of showers on the verdant field from our bedroom window, it conjured up memories of an hour-long drive through Western Ghats in torrential rain that we enjoyed last year while travelling to Karwar. The lure of the monsoon was inevitable and hence we, along with few friends, planned to set out for Irpu Falls in Southern Coorg.
The drive from Bangalore to Mysore was smooth and we had a sumptuous breakfast in “Kamat”, one of the oldest and most popular food joints on Bangalore-Mysore State Highway. We took the diversion towards Hunsur just before Mysore town and after forty minutes of drive from Hunsur, we reached the Murkal gate of Nagarhole National Park.
The next 40 km drive was something that I had been longing for some time and the atmosphere around us was exactly what I cherished. The air was wet, it was drizzling, there were myriads of shades of green all around us and the forest floor was carpeted with rain drenched sheet of grasses. The initial patch of the forest was full of deciduous trees, rendering good visibility. The jungle was turning into more dense evergreen paradise while we drove slowly through the narrow road that intersected the Nagarhole forest. In some of the patches, sunlight could barely filter through the forest canopy – and the darkness complemented the mysterious atmosphere of the jungle.
We stopped our car for a while. The moment the groan of the engine subsided, we could hear the electrifying sounds of the jungle – Cicadas and various other insects were roaring in rhythm. The fragrance of wet air was invigorating. All our visual, auditory and olfactory senses were overwhelmed by the magic of this place. The jungle remains beautiful all around the year but in the rainy season, it becomes profoundly alive.
We again started to proceed slowly. Few spotted deers were foraging near the road. My nine-month old baby was extremely delighted to see them. It was amazing to notice how the utter astonishment in her eyes slowly turned into sparkle of excitement when she first saw the deers. Apparently it was her first nature lesson.
After driving for nearly an hour through the jungle, we reached an idyllic village called “Kutta”. From there we finally arrived at the Ramcad Estate where we made our reservations, after another 15 minutes of drive through an undulating road that winded past the sprawling coffee and spice plantations.
Ramcad Estate is a picturesque coffee plantation which is also a popular home-stay in that area. It was drizzling continuously, while sometimes it made way for torrential rains. In the afternoon we remained delightfully captive in the estate while enjoying the sound of pouring rains on the coffee plants and being engaged in unending chatting with hot onion pakoras and egg bhurji. The dinner was with delicious “Coorgi” delicacies like “Pandi Curry” (Pork Curry) and “Kadambuttu” (Rice Balls). It was a tiring but extremely fulfilling day.
The next day, we got up early in the morning and the resident help Manju served steaming coffee on the table. That was Café Robusta which is produced locally in Coorg. The aroma of the brewing coffee instantly relieved us from post-sleep inertia. After breakfast, we planned to venture into Irpu Falls area.
We took a leisurely 10-minute walk through the winding roads while enjoying the mesmerizing view of forested Brahmagiri hills that surrounded this place. Near the entry gate , there is the Rameshwara temple of mythical significance that relates its history to the characters of great epic. In order to reach the base of the falls one needs to walk through a forest trail for another twenty minutes. This trail is clearly marked out for tourists and proper steps have been built wherever it goes uphill.
We could hear the thunderous sound of falling water, but it was when we reached the closest viewpoint, the sheer immensity of this raging waterfall simply enthralled us. It started raining and we were happy enough to get drenched while watching the spectacle of nature. I can’t remember how long we kept watching this spellbinding vista – but possibly we were brought back to reality by the acoustic effect of loud conversation from another group of visitors. Surely they were excited enough.
Well, we had to come back to the estate and eventually to the city – but we know that we will be reminiscing this experience for long.