In September, 2011, I went to Coorg (Kodagu), a district in Karnataka. At that time, I had just joined my first job but I had gone with my school friends as a reunion trip. It was a hastily planned trip but nevertheless one of the best moments in my life. We were a group of 5 friends and we visited the Abbey Falls, topmost point in Coorg, a Buddhist Monastery in Tala Cauvery, Mudhumalai and Ooty. The whole trip was a scenic beauty but the trip to the topmost point in Coorg was my most awesome experience.
All my friends were either studying or had joined work recently. So most of us were on a tight budget and preferred to spend low for stay, food and travel. We travelled by an omni-bus to Bangalore and then boarded a local, torn down bus from there to Coorg. We stayed in a local lodge and hired a local guide, Lala, to travel within Coorg. We heard from the local people, that the road to the topmost point was treacherous and unsafe. But Lala assured us that he was experienced enough and has driven along the path for over 20 years. The jeep was rickety and all of us were a bit scared. The climate was very cold and the silence around the area was a bit eerie. The mist was thick and we wondered how the driver could see the path and drive safely. There was space at the back of the jeep for only four people and hence one of us had to sit at the front along with Lala.
To ease the pressure and calm ourselves down, we often stopped at various places and took nice pictures. The area was surrounded by thick forests and at some places there was beautiful stretches of green plains. We had not anticipated the climate to be misty and damp but luckily we had brought jackets to keep ourselves warm. We enquired about Lala’s life and also enquired about the frequency of travellers visiting this point. He replied that the frequency was very less in September to December since the climate is generally very misty and they do not take too many risks. We started wondering if we had been naïve in making the choice.
We crossed a tea stall and changed over to another jeep which according to Lala was more suited for the path forward. We had some biscuits and tea and embarked on the treacherous path forward. The path had completely broken down and the ground was full of wet and slippery mud. A portion of the so-called road had completely broken down and was covered with branches of wood. At some areas the mud was flowing from the road into the slopes of the surrounding forest. It was completely worn down and there was absolutely no way to cross that path.
One of my friends asked Lala to stop the jeep and asked him if he was still sure about crossing the path. He assured that he was good at this and asked us to be calm. Nevertheless my friends got down and decided to walk around the path. I cannot remember if I was too lazy to get down or eager to experience the thrill but I decided to sit with Lala and cross the dangerous path. It took him around thirty minutes just to cross the entire path which by walk was just five minutes. We needed the jeep to travel to the hill top after this path and hence could not even go by walk to the hill top. I must agree that I was damn scared and praying to my lucky stars for a safe journey but did not show my fears to Lala. I knew that the last thing he would have wanted to see was the fear on my face. Also I wanted him to feel good that at least one person trusted his driving skills.
All the time, while we were crossing the path, my friends took snapshots and joked around in Tamil, since Lala could not understand Tamil. My friends boarded the jeep after we had crossed the path. The rest of the travel was on a better road and we went to the hill top safely. The climate was extremely damp and we were drenched completely. However, we stood there for around an hour and roamed around a bit since the beauty was mind blowing.
Yes, there was an added fear of going back along the same path but the scenic view at the top helped us calm down a bit. It was analogous to meditation. Our mind became free and we sat silently for some time admiring the mesmerising view. The view point was surrounded by thick forests and green plains with a misty climate. The scenic views were etched in our memory forever. We took some more snapshots and started our way long way back and again had tea at the same stall. The trip was a bit dangerous but considering the beautiful sceneries at the top, I can vouch that this is one of must see and mesmerising places in South India.
Arun Kumar M – a student of IIM Ahmedabad – PGP course, is a graduate in Computer Science Engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy. Arun had worked with TCS in the retail domain for around 2 years and had interned with ShopClues.com, an e-commerce company. His areas of interest include Systems, Marketing & Strategy.