Our daughter had just completed her 10th grade. My husband and I wanted to give her a nice break before she went to college. Our idea was to get away from the hectic pace of city life. Friends told us about Orange County Resorts, Coorg, Karnataka, India. And what they said turned out to be spot on, “At Orange County luxury meets nature.”
The resort is built within a 300-acres coffee plantation so you can guess how green and picturesque it is. They are proud of their image as an eco-friendly resort so the only mode of transport within the resort is battery powered buggies or bicycles.
WHAT WE DID AT ORANGE COUNTY RESORT, COORG
Our typical day began at 6 AM with a bicycle ride around the plantations. Every vegetable and fruit is home-grown and freshly picked for the guests. Cereals and pulses too are from their own farms. Now we are really far away from the city, eh? No processed food!
By the time we returned at 8 AM we were ravenous. After a quick breakfast we went to their reading room. We can either borrow their books or read our own. Using the premises comes with a bonus – complimentary cup of freshly ground coffee.
Now it is time for a short walk around the resort. We saw some staff members decorating the open-air restaurant for dinner (not lunch!). Every night they have theme based decorations. The staff members begin putting up festoons, coloured lights, flowers and table decoration in the afternoon. We saw women drawing beautiful rangoli with coloured powders.
After a leisurely lunch, we sat in a pavilion and watched a potter making clay jars, bowls, pots, and lovely curios. One of the guests tried her hand at making a pot. It is a unique experience for city folk!
At 3 PM we went for a coracle ride (circular boat seen only in South India). The boatman rowed down the tranquil Cauvery River behind the resort while we absorbed the essence of nature.
Dinner is an amazing experience. The buffet is laid out outdoors. We can watch live performances by local artists while we eat. The menu was a great mix of International cuisine and Coorgis specialties. We enjoyed the spicy local fare while we watched local villagers perform a “warrior dance”.
The resort staff saw to our every need. The food was superlative and the housekeeping was spotless. The room service was surprisingly prompt considering that the cottages are spaced apart. Senior citizens can just call the reception and ask to be dropped at the restaurants, and promptly a buggy will be at your doorstep. Remember, you are in the lap of luxury.
Next day, we visited the Namdroling Monastery which was about one and a half hours drive from the resort. We loved the monastery. Despite the constant stream of tourists, the place is a symbol of inner peace. The gold statues of Buddha and his disciples and the colourful wall murals were definitely worth seeing.
We bought a few knick-knacks from the shops run by the resident Tibetans. Crockery with oriental designs, prayer bells, religious books, yak-fur shawls and jackets, jade jewellery and many other interesting things are available. I suggest you bargain a little because they quote a higher rate expecting you to haggle.
We were back at the resort by 6 PM and had a drink while we watched the sun set over the Cauvery River flowing nearby. At dinner time again we enjoyed watching dances, this time performed by women.
If you ask me, “What did you do at Orange County?” Here’s my answer – We ate wholesome food, slept like babies, walked in the wilderness, cycled through plantations, took a coracle ride on the river, saw beautiful flowers, trees, coffee plants, and let our bodies and minds relax! To me that sounds like BLISS. How often does one get this kind of opportunity? I hope I can go again and relive the experience.
Best time to go – November, December or January.