The International Writers Magazine: India Vacations
Bird of Paradise home stay
Marianne de Nazareth
Sitting on the banks of the slumbering Cauvery river, slapping off the mosquitoes on my bare legs, I was at peace with the world.
Clumps of bamboo creaked every once in a while, and a playful breeze ruffled my hair, as I stared hard at the river, wondering which way it was flowing, as it was so still. A nervous wood pecker clucked in alarm and sidled up a sliver oak tree, while a handsome Crow Pheasant set off its resonant ‘coop coop’ call which echoed in the silence of the evening. For 2 days I had decided to switch off the rat race that is Bangalore and snuggle into mother nature’s cure- all-ills-arms at Bird of Paradise Home stay in Kushalnagar, which is just a five hour drive from Bangalore, in Coorg district.
“The government of Karnataka is encouraging home stays,” revealed PM Shivaprasad, the owner of the seven acre property on which he is cultivating acres of different Heliconiums and Bird of Paradise flowers for commercial sale. The flowers are grown beneath an original areca nut and coconut plantation. The gem coloured flowers are absolutely breath taking and even though I have seen them flowering in Bali and Nairobi, these were rather special as the soil seemed perfect for their lush growth. What was a bonus was there were so many different varieties growing in one place. The flowers obviously are long lasting and are in great demand for marriages and celebrations infact it’s hard for Prasad to keep up with the demand in Bangalore and Delhi.
An old, colonial bungalow which was on the property has been refurbished to house three families at a time. Mod-cons like air cons and showers with tiled baths are provided and the charges include all meals which are home cooked and which happily is the local Coorg cuisine. I particularly enjoyed the Chicken with black masala called Koli Bhartad or the Panndi Curry if particularly requested for. For vegetarians ask for the Mudre Kannie made out of horse gram and the Kumm curry which is made out of mushrooms.
The property has a tree house which has been constructed especially for honey- mooners. A quaint little tree house has been constructed with expertise from tree house builders from the Wayanad region of Kerala. The house is compact and perfect for two people to get to know one another and spend time together before embarking on the nitty gritties of earning a living and bringing up a family. The sit out looks out over the flowering crab claws, fresh ginger being grown in the neighbouring fields and of course the magnificent swimming pool.
The property is close enough to visit the Dubare Elephant reserve and the Tibetan settlement in Baylakuppe. Both are interesting places to visit during the day especially if you have children who need to be entertained. Look for unusual curios and artefacts in Baylakuppe which are touted to be of Chinese origin. We found a particularly beautiful red fan with a Chinese print of Chrysanthemums which could be used as a wall ornament and priced at a reasonable 300 rupees.
And if you are a bird lover, Bird of Paradise lives up to its name harbouring both the flowers and a teeming variety of avain life. According to Prasad if you are patient you can see Hornbills besides the regular cheery Bulbuls, Crow Pheasants, Wood peckers, Wagtails, Magpies Rose ringed Parakeets among others. Along the river you can see Snake birds, Pond Herons and of course the Lapwing with its mournful signature cry.
For details on tariff and way to get there contact:
Mr. Paddambail Muddappa Shivaprasad
#11, I CROSS, VINAYAKA LAYOUT, BOOPASANDRA, BANGALORE-560 094, KARNATAKA, INDIA
TELFAX: +91+80+23510580 MOBILE: +91+98451 24026: +91+94484 60580
Web site : www.birdofparadise.in
© Marianne de Nazareth June 2010 --
Fellow with UNFCCC & UNEP
Former Asst Editor- The Deccan Herald
Adjunct faculty St. Joseph's College.
Marianne de Nazareth
We decided to head to Turtle Bay in Kundapura, which is on the coast of Karnataka in India.