Culinary expert and TV anchor Lakshmi Nair has shared fond memories of her trip to Coorg in Karnataka that she took eight years ago, on her YouTube channel. In the video, Lakshmi also talks about the delicious food, neer dosa (a thin pancake) and jaggery water, she had during the Coorg visit.
Dawn in Coorg
Lakshmi recollects that she reached Coorg after travelling through Wayanad, Kalpetta in Kerala and Kutta in Karnataka, but the road was on the bumpy side. She reached Madikeri, the district headquarters of Coorg and the hill station had many resorts to receive the tourists. The residents of Coorg are known for their patriotism and it is noteworthy that Field Marshal K M Cariappa, the first Indian Army Chief, was born in Coorg.
"I started touring the town right from 7 in the morning, and first went to Raja Seat to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. Raja Seat is replete with various varieties of plants and flowers and one can see the whole of Coorg town from this spot. The view is breathtaking," she notes.
Ammi aunty's home
Lakshmi's hostess was Ammi who stays in Madikeri town. Ammi's home is situated in a place where one can get a bird's-eye view of the town. The breakfast was sumptuous as Ammi served koli curry (a spicy chicken curry) and paputtu (rice cake).
"The curries are made with a dash of special Coorg masala and the rich presence of grated coconut makes Ammi's dishes special," says Lakshmi. On the first day itself, Lakshmi visited an age-old fort and a Ganapathy temple near the fort.
Experience of a family reunion
The second day kicked off with the celebrity chef reaching Ammi's home and going out wearing saree the traditional Coorg way. The first stop was the Omkareshwara temple built by King Lingarajendra. The temple's pond is unique as it has hundreds of fish. The agriculture land in the vicinity is neat and tidy and the farmers mainly indulge in the cultivation of coffee. Pepper plants, orange, and silver oak trees can be seen dotting the coffee plantations. Apart from these, there are paddy fields, jackfruit, and mango trees in the area. No piece of land is left fallow as farming is popular in Coorg, says Lakshmi.
Ammi threw a surprise by serving tasty vegetarian food – akki rotti (rice bread) and pumpkin curry. Lakshmi also shared the experience of visiting Ammi's ancestral home. "A family unit is known as okka and elderly women in the family are respected a lot. Another interesting fact is that a family fund is created for those in the family who can't sustain themselves. The eldest male member is the patriarch of the family," she notes.
Different varieties of coffee and wine
The statue of General Thimayya, former Chief of Army Staff, stands tall at the centre of Madikeri town. There are many shops selling coffee, honey, and spices, and one can choose from arabica, robusta, and chicory varieties of coffee. Wines made from pepper, chikoo, betel leaves, rice, pomegranate, and curry leaves are also available in the market.
Another attraction of Coorg is the Akki waterfalls. "There is an array of waterfalls and travelling through the forest was great fun," she says. In the video, Lakshmi also shares the experience of visiting the home of Dr Vineetha, another person who received her at Coorg, and preparing thambuttu (a multi-grain laddu) and kolputtu. These delicacies are usually made during the harvest festival 'Puthari.'
Pork curry and wine a must in Coorg weddings
Lakshmi also talks about the experience of attending a Coorg marriage. "The marriages have some unique customs. The wedding-related rituals start at the groom's and bride's homes exactly at the same time. The groom arrives dressed as a warrior and the ceremonies will be presided over by an uncle each of the groom and bride and there will be no priest. The wedding feast includes lots of dishes including pork curry and liquor is also served," she notes.