Water, elephants and peace away from the madding crowds- march 22, 2012

Already in the lap of nature in Club Mahindra’s Kodagu Valley resort in Coorg, we took the opportunity to delve further into the jungle to visit the elephants on the Tala Cauvery river. The drive offered a visual treat of plantations growing coffee, betel nut, banana, coconut, maize and many other crops we couldn’t identify. The diversity of crops and the prosperity of the villages testified to the fertility of the Kodagu valley. We also saw this translated into the ready smiles of the locals who enthusiastically gave us directions in local dialect; they were confident and easy going and best of all, uncomplicated.
Closing in on the elephant camp we were headed for, we saw a group of about six elephants being led away. Soon we learnt that a strike had just begun and there would be no elephant bathing today. It was hard to be disappointed in the midst of such beauty and soon we were all rowing ourselves into the river on a still water rafting sortie! One leg in the raft, the other in the water, we rowed hard and worked off breakfast. The kids were totally in the mood to jump in the river, even willing to swim with the magnificent water snake we saw swim across right before our raft. Our guide informed us that the deceptively still waters were in fact about thirty feet deep and so the kids were reigned in!
On our return, we were delighted to see a group of elephants being bathed on the opposite side of the river (they belonged to the ‘private’ camp). Getting to them, however, entailed a rather tricky crossing of the river bed hopping over slippery stones and fording mini streams. Finally the kids did bathe and feed the elephants, those magnificent creatures stoically tolerating the crazy excitable tourists surrounding them.
All in all, it was an enjoyable morning. My idea of a holiday is either being in a bustling city where myriad stimuli hit you simultaneously or this- surrounded by the peace and quiet and melodious sounds of nature.
My day, fittingly, ended in an Ayurvedic massage. The spa here came highly recommended and Marlynne the masseuse did not let me down. She confided that she would be leaving next month after eight years of working to marry and settle down in native Kannur. A bit later, we were regaled with interesting stories by the resident musician, a creature of interesting ancestry and some talent, whose name we don’t yet know. And that, to me, is the best aspect of travel- meeting people you will forever associate with the place you’ve been to!

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