I began 2019 with a simple thought in my mind. “Change is the only constant in life. Time to shake things up in my life and bring about a change”. Boy, did I change! To travel is better than to arrive. A divine saying but I just wanted to reach a destination, experience luxurious service, unwind over a few drinks with friends, and feel like a king.
With all the stress of the concrete jungle, I was waiting for a chance to jump out of my fixed cycle of life. Just when I saw an opportunity to travel to a friend’s place in Chikmaglur, it so happened that my colleague had decided to tie the knot in the same place. It was to be on a Sunday, to thank our lucky stars!
We started on a freakishly hot Friday midday; my friend, who was to join me for the drive, had to pick some things up for another friend in Chikmaglur. Then our journey from the concrete jungle began to the River Woods homestay in Magundi, Chikmaglur. We chose River Woods home on my friend’s recommendation.
Not a bad recommendation. Not at all! We were a group of 6. Even though we reached the homestay after meeting my friend and arriving around 11 pm in the night, the super courteous staff waited for us and welcomed us to the mysteriously dark, estate entrance. Reminded me of my native and the summer vacations. The homestay’s manager, where my friends had already reached and had been waiting for me to start the PARTY, escorted us to the dorm rooms! The party went on until about 2 am in the night without any hindrances.
On an early Saturday morning, we woke up to the pleasant misty morning feeling the warmth of the sun, amidst the white coffee flowering and chirps of birds competing with the screams of peacocks. Much better than most of our early mornings in the concrete jungles, we hail from. Now there was daylight to appreciate the big cottage we had chosen to stay. As we were unsure of how many more of our friends from the office were joining, we took a call on it and booked the biggest available cottage. Good job gang! 🙂
Naturally well-lit cottage with antique-looking windows, fancy glass door with curtains, 2 attached bathrooms. At the entrance of our cottage was an antique-looking easy chair that practically was inviting us to sit upon it. Overall, the cottage was like an age-old school cottage with modern world amenities. The central dining area is housed with handicrafts and some nice paintings. However, the best part was the dining table placed right outside the kitchen; the chairs made us feel like characters from Game of Thrones! Ok, I exaggerated a bit! But it is still cool to find chairs like those!
An amazing day begins with an amazing breakfast. There was a lavish spread of #malnad cuisine. Shavigebath, Kadabu with coconut chutney and fresh black pepper curry, bread, and omelets. And piping hot fresh coffee. My entire gang voiced their opinion for the breakfast they had just had, one of the best breakfast they had had in a long time!! I could not agree more with that, it indeed was one of the best!
After an amazing breakfast, we headed over to explore the 400 acres of pepper and coffee estate. Finding a Peafowl (group of peacocks & peahens) was going to be the highlight but just then we found a slow & steady stream of Bhadra river close to the homestay which was even better! It made sense to me only then why it was named River Woods, silly me! We spent around 2-3 hours playing in the river, the gang didn’t want to come out of the river! I don’t think any resort could’ve done this better than River Woods Homestay.
On our way back to the resort we could smell the aging of coffee pulp. The farmer friend in me was curious about the coffee pulp & beans process and got talking to the Homestay’s manager, Javed. A lengthy conversation later we made our way to the dining area for lunch. Not before checking the fresh peppercorns drying under the sun.
Malnad cuisines have their own flavor, style, authenticity, my friends and I were lucky to rediscover them. Chapathi, fresh carrot salads, beans side dish, egg curry, chicken curry, pepper rasam, green leafy daal, spicy pepper chicken curry! And king of sweets Gulab Jamoon! Oh heaven, a meal for the Gods!
After playing cricket for some time in the hot sun and some of us resting in the cottages for a while, we had some homegrown fresh ground hot coffee waiting for us. Chikmaglur’s finest fresh ground coffee at Avanthi Estate. Four more of my colleagues joined in the evening, right before the Barbecue started and drinks were poured. Good times began with light music, little fun, and frolic under a beautifully starlit black sky.
Here is a quick list of what you can find in River Woods Homestay:
- Homestay with a rustic collection of antiques, artwork, and furniture
- The freshness of nature amidst coffee and pepper wines
- Wildlife, trekking, swimming in river, rafting
- Barbecue and campfire
- The redefinition of “Home Away From Home” in the lap of nature and spoil with luxurious services.
- All in all, a fantastic trip. Thanks to River Woods, courteous and hospitable staff. Time and money well spent!