A passage to Pachibale
Trip Start Dec 17, 2011
9Trip End Jan 03, 2012
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Where I stayed
Home Stay - Pachi Bale
A PASSAGE TO PACHIBALE
coorg aka kodagu: under azure skies
On 25 December 2011, in the fresh air of dawn we drive to Hyderabad airport to board the morning flight to Bangalore
Our taxi driver, a smart young local man, meets us at the exit of the airport and drives straight to the city where we stop over at Akshay, my nephew's flat for about an hour, for a delicious breakfast of aalo and paneer paranthas, and to pick up Sanjay who joins us here from Delhi. Our group of seven is now complete.
We leave in the afternoon. The ceaseless soft murmur of the car engine, is soporific, but I keep wide-awake to witness the ever-changing display of the landscape
It is all refreshingly new. The delicate tall palm trees with their straight and slender ash-coloured boles, and the shining bottle-green fronds on umbrella-shaped crowns, in isolation or in groups, are part of each frame of the landscape. They swing and sway, flutter and whisper in the wind as though intoxicated with joy. The clear sky, pleasant weather, and smooth drive make the travel pleasant and enjoyable.
Having crossed the heavy traffic between Bangalore and Mysore, passed through many small and big towns and settlements, we are presently in the plains of Karnataka, southwest of Mysore, beyond Hunsur. Here the landscape is an extensive expanse of flat land, dotted with villages and paddy field, occasional dark hills in the background
The brilliance of bright sunshine wanes and fades into faint slanting rays, signaling approaching sunset.
The gilded avenue at sunset opens into a theatre. It charms us with its splendour. The polka dots of sunbeams pierce through gaps in the tree canopy, they appear and disappear as though playing hide and seek. The tree shadows begin to lengthen and twilight engulfs the land, the dense avenue and the thicket beyond. Neither the sky, nor the stars are visible now as we drive through a heavily wooded area. Darkness is almost complete.
Today the curtain of nightfall seems to have been spread earlier then usual
We have still a long way to go.
Softly I sing:
' Like the wind, I have a long way to go…'
The sun has gone down long time ago
Deprived me of the unfolding scenario
O dear, I have still a long way to go
In inky darkness on unfamiliar pathway.
This is Nagarhole National Park we are passing through
Somewhere, across the road at the bend in front of a lonely house stands a Christmas tree with blinking lights. It invites children to come and sing a carol and collect gifts from Santa. There are tableaus as well, on the life of Christ at places, displayed and pleasantly decorated.
Today is Christmas.
We reach Srimangala, a fairly crowded town
And we drive on …
Today is amawasya, the moonless night.
We are somewhere near Pachebale, our destination. There are several link roads. We are at a loss to pick the right one. It is past nine pm, and the darkness has made the task difficult. We are the sole occupants of the road. We have established contact with the host on mobile phone, and though he gives us directions, it isn’t enough. The locals of the sparsely populated roadside cottages too are not of much help. At last, however, we hit the right dirt track and are delighted to find our host waiting for us in his jeep by the side of the road
I am excited. The magic of adventure has just begun. The silence is complete. It is as though moving dreamily in an extremely soundless zone of some another age. Our host’s jeep leads the way.
It is an interesting and thrilling start of our holidays. I reckon bright prospect of our lively sojourn in the jungles of Western Ghats.
The hill road meanders bracing the hillside. It is not a motor road but only a cart track, winding down the slopes of a hillock. It seems to be a private road of the coffee estate owners.
Dumps of sandy red soil are stacked at many places with boulders and stones jutting out
Our host, A S Thimmaiah alias Chimma, is the owner of a flourishing coffee estate, and has a beautiful house 5 km away in the middle of coffee plantations.
There is no electricity here. Hurricane lanterns are hanging in the verandahs of two cottages that are nearly 100 m apart, where we will be spending three memorable nights. Torch flashlight is streaming through the darkness, giving a faint glimpse of the valley below. It looks mysterious in the darkness. The huge bonfire, ablaze with huge logs in the dining room brightens our mood
It is a beautiful night. The sky is clear and studded with millions of twinkling stars hanging from the celestial dome, shining bright. After dinner, I spent some time strolling outdoors, inhaling the scent of the night air, and looking up at the stars far away, with awe and wonder.