Thursday 14 February 2013

Coffee, honey and Coorg

It is a very small hamlet nestled close to one of the tallest peak in Karnataka. It houses a temple that was built more than three centuries ago and this temple is one of the most visited structures in the region. However, it is not these things that the hamlet is known for. It is in the news for becoming the largest producer of honey in South East Asia.
This renown is not for just producing large quantities of honey. It is also for producing the sweetest honey. You do not agree. Taste it and write back.
Surrounded by coffee and cardamom plantations, the hamlet offers an exciting insight into the wildlife-Pangolin, barking deer, Flying Squrriel and so many others. As if this is not enough, there are a whole range of  birds that put out a superb exercise in flying and nesting.
Where else but in Karnataka would you get such a heady combination. A picturesque hamlet, surrounded by some of the best honey producing estates, wildlife, peaks and an ancient temple that draws people by the thousands and a legend in itself.
This is Kakkabe in Coorg or Kodagu, which as mentioned earlier, is a small village on the foothills of the Western Ghats. Kakkabe has in recent years emerged as the honey capital of India and its honey tastes so sweet that I wonder if any other variety can rival it.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, honey production in Coorg has taken a beating with bees being afflicted by the deadly Thai sac brood disease. The disease has been killing the bees, including the Queen bee.  It takes approximately 60,000 bees to travel  55,000 miles and visit over two million flowers for nectar enough to make just one pound of honey: Wow.
Surrounded by dense forests of the Western Ghats, Kakkabe is at the base of the Thadiyendmol Hill, which is the second highest peak in Coorg. It is also the place where you can visit the Nalknad Palace, the erstwhile palace of the rulers of Coorg.
The forests here are home to a variety of flora and fauna. The many estates ringing the village add a dash of colour to the already surreal surroundings. More than anything the place is home to several communities all of whom live in perfect harmony-Brahmins, Christians, Gowdas and Jains and many others.
Even today, the place resembles an English rural side and it is still not yet touched by urbanization. The Thadiyante Mol is just a little distance away from Nalknad Palace, built in 1794. It is well-known for its superb painting and carvings.
The peak rises to an altitude of 5,730 feet above the sea level. It is  suited for adventure trekking and mountaineering. On a clear day, you can see the shimmering Arabian Sea.
The moment you drive into the valley, the scent of nectar, pepper and cardamom wafts the air. Once home to the famous Coorg oranges, they are today very few in number and grown occasionally. No pollution, no vehicles, no big companies and no urbanization.
All these and more entice you to the little bit of Scotland in Coorg.
Do not forget to visit the Padi Igguthappa temple. Igguthappa is perhaps the most revered God in this land of honey, coffee and pepper.
The temple was built by Lingarajendra in the 18th century.  
The cardamom and coffee are of the best varieties. Of honey, there is no rival. By the way, you can get to see orchids too.
Getting to Kakkabe is just as easy as it comes. It is only 38 kilometers from Madikeri. It is near Virajpet. The nearest airport is either Mysore or Mangalore. The approach too is either from Mangalore or Mysore which is also the nearest rail head.  

No comments:

Post a Comment