We were celebrating our 11th Wedding Anniversary and chose to take off to Coorg for the same. We started at 6:45 am from Bangalore and reached Coorg around 1:00pm. Coorg is bestowed with mesmerising charm of nature - verdant rainforest, coffee & spices plantations, colourful flora, fauna, culture and wonderful climate.
The little Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher resting on a roof..
Although we spent most of our time within the resort, we got to experience 2 key aspects of the local culture. First was a traditional Corgi (called Kodava) dance, along with a short, but informative introduction to the local history.The origins of the Kodavas (as they are locally known) is mysterious. The locals believe themselves to be descendants of the soldiers from Alexander's army, who remained behind. Many of these soldiers migrated down south and married the natives and settled down in the western ghats. The Coorgs are a martial race, with many joining the armed forces and having made a name for themselves and their community. Two of the most famous Kodavas from the armed forces are Field Marshal K M Carriapa and General K S Thimmaya.
The second aspect of our brief experience with the local culture was the food.
The local cuisine is predominantly non vegetarian, but us vegetarians had a great time too. Coorgi food is delicious, unusual and made with simple, locally produced ingredients - double beans, wild mango, brown chickpea, local spinach. We tried a wild raw mango curry, which had a whole cut raw mango cooked with onions, tomatoes, spices and jaggery. There were many interesting options on the menu, but unfortunately we were there only for a couple of days.
The sour, sweet and tangy wild mango curry with Akki (rice) Roti
The Kodavas are a unique group who differ in customs, traditions and religion from the surrounding populace, and have an annual harvest dance. The men, dressed in traditional Kodava costumes with decorative knives and humming, singing and dancing. We got to see three short dance varieties performed by local men over 20 minutes and they happily posed for pictures as well
The first dance is to invoke the gods, ancestors, river Cauvery and Hindu Gods. The men held the Chavari or Whisp or Yak's tail in one hand & dance to sanctify the place.
The second dance is the typical harvest dance usually done nine days ahead of the actual harvest. This dance is performed by people from many villages getting together and dancing around a tree with an instrument called "Doodi"- an hourglass shaped drum
They dance to the songs of harvest, love and romance and meet and familiarise with the strangers to work together for the harvest. They also use cane sticks during the dance
The third dance is War dance with a small sword called Oodikathi.
My short stay at Coorg has left me wanting more of it. I am yet to explore the birding, adventures and home stays here. See you soon again Coorg