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I was at Coorg right after the monsoons and the Western Ghats were still green and the seasonal waterfalls still had water. As I sat eating my breakfast on my first morning at Tamara resort I could marvel at the beauty of the nature as well as the privilege of being a travel writer. A visit to the calm and serene Tamara after a restless week of work in a Mumbai was exactly what I needed for the long weekend.
Tamara literally translates to lotus in Malayalam and Tamil, and trust me the place absolutely lives up to the understated beauty of India’s national flower.
“The Tamara Coorg aspires to represent the universe in its ability to evolve and organize itself.”
It’s a resort located within a vast coffee plantation which has been functional for over a century, continues to still produce some of the best coffee from the region. The resort occupies only a small portion of the plantation, while the rest is still in use for coffee production.
As a guest at Tamara you get to experience both - life in luxury cottages in a coffee plantation as well as getting up, close and personal with the process of coffee production. By the way, did I mention that they even have their own coffee shop where you can even brew your own coffee based on exactly how you like it!
My main intent of visiting Tamara was to relax and rejuvenate, but once I reached there, I was more than happy to try out everything a guest could do, and more! Here are some which especially stood out.
One of the best part of my stay at Tamara was the stay in the wooden cottage! The cottage was beautiful and had everything one could ask for, and the view from the balcony was worth a million dollars too! The cloud formations in the morning were magical and inspired me to get out of bed and walk the plantation.
I was pleasantly surprised by the spa which is located in the oldest building of the resort. It’s a lovely wooden Kerala style spa and with my new found interest in Ayurvedic treatments, I decided give Indian therapies a try.
I tried Abhyanga and it was one of the best message that I could get. My masseur was a through professional and I also learnt a few things about the therapy and the oils used from him. I would strongly recommend a trip to the spa if relaxation is your objective from the trip!
The visit to Tamara was my first opportunity to try out the local cuisine and that's exactly what I did - for every single meal! Yes, most of the food they make is for non-vegetarians, bu there are enough unique vegetables too. My favourites were the mushroom and bamboo shoot preparations made with local herbs and eaten with either puttu or Akki roti. If you haven't tried Akki roti so far, you must give it a shot - I've been told it's even tastier with meat preparations.
There are a couple of options - The Falls and The Deck, where you can have meals and both are conveniently located close to each other. The Falls has a stunning setting - it's right above a waterfall and that's a sight to behold during the monsoons.
As a coffee lover, some of my experiences at Tamara were quite focused on its rich legacy of coffee production. It was a bit embarrassing that I knew so little about the history of coffee in India as well as the different types of coffee beans, and I was quite an expert at identifying the beans and plants by the time my tour ended.
We walked through the plantation, and though it wasn’t time yet for picking coffee berries, we could still see some with bright red beans. The walk takes you up and down the slopes of the plantation and makes for some great photo opportunities as well.
The best part is how it ends - at a cafe where unlimited complimentary coffee is served through the day to guests.
Located near the village Yavakapadi, the palace was built in the late 18th century in the traditional architecture style and is one of the oldest buildings in the region. The palace is also very significant because this was the last home of the king of Coorg before the British took over the region.
It's rather humble for a king's palace but it more than makes up for it by the gorgeous murals on almost all walks and ceilings. Unfortunately it was not protected well for long and only recently it was renovated by INTACH. I really hope it's present state can be maintained for future too.
It's about 30 minutes drive from The Tamara.
I love hiking and trekking and when I was told that I could do it on a hill next to the resort, I immediately signed up for it. Usually a group treks together, but this time it was just me and my guide as others were busy sleeping on the Sunday morning.
It suited us just fine as we could take our time meandering away from the set trail, walk through the forest full of leeches and eat a small breakfast at the secluded falls. The only thing I missed was taking a plunge in the cold water as I wasn’t carrying my swimming trunks!
Coorg is well connected with a good road-network and can be reached easily from all major towns nearby. I flew in from Mumbai to Bangalore in the evening and took a cab to Coorg right after landing. In six hours I was at Tamara.
If you come from Mysore, the journey will take about 3 hours, Mangalore takes about 4 hours and Kozhikode is about 5 hours drive away.