Experience India's Colonial Legacy at Honeyvale Homestay, Chikmagalur

Everyone dreams of spending time in a heritage bungalow built during the British-era in the hills and sitting on the front porch sipping some freshly brewed coffee and enjoying the beauty of nature. Well let me tell you that with a lot of people converting their properties into “Home-stays” you have a chance to fulfil that dream. I had a chance to spend a weekend at the Honeyvale Homestay in Chikmagalur, Karnataka and the experience was excellent.

Chikmagalur, a district in the state of Karnataka is located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range. The town has a favourable climate and beautiful coffee estates, which attracts tourists from across India. The journey to Chikmagalur is about a 3 hour drive from the city of Mangalore and the drive itself is a beautiful experience. Driving along the scenic and picturesque Charmadi Ghats with a view which is as good as any foreign destination is amazing. You can see the snow white clouds kiss the hill tops and can hear the sound of the river flowing in the valley. If you take this trip during the monsoon, then you’ll get to see some small waterfalls along the road too.

Honeyvale Homestay is a premier coffee plantation located at Kottigehara in Chikmagalur district. Spread over 200 acres of rugged mountain terrain and home to some rare flora and fauna, the estate is a part of India’s colonial legacy. The bungalow located on the estate is 115 years old and along with the plantation, peaks and valley it is a sight which never fails to impress the tourists. We reached there around noon and were welcomed by the staff with a cup of coffee. For lunch there was a huge spread which consisted of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items and everything was really spicy. If you’re not a fan a spicy food then you need to tell the cook to make it less spicy. My favourite was the chicken curry which was spiced with green chillies and the chicken dry roast which was spiced with red chillies. They also served dal and a vegetable preparation and of course rice and chapattis. If you have any special requests for dinner then you have to mention in to the manager in the morning itself.

In the evening, we had a cup of coffee along with some crispy onion fritters and then drove off to visit the nearby Kelagoor Tea Estate which is a 30 minute drive from Honeyvale. At night, the manager had made preparations for a bonfire which had to be cancelled due to rain and we stayed indoors listening to music and chatting. For dinner we had asked them to prepare pork dry roast. In the hilly areas of Chikmagalur and Coorg, they prepare pork in a different way with the local spices and it is totally different from what we get in the cities. So that is a must try for all the meat lovers. The next morning we had breakfast which consisted of idli, upma, sambhar, coconut chutney, bread, omelette, butter and jam. After a heavy breakfast we drove off to Mullayanagiri, which was an adventure. Going uphill on a single road with traffic from both sides is a dangerous task and needs an experienced driver. Once you reach on top, the visibility is extremely low and it is as cold as Delhi in December. If you plan to travel down south anytime soon then I would suggest you to make this visit to Chikmagalur a part of your trip for an adventure of a lifetime.

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