Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Paradise Found: Jenukal Heritage Home, Sakleshpur

A new year, a new place, a new set of friends and a new blog to chronicle it all. I travel...and take you along to explore this lonely planet.
Snuggled high up in the Western Ghats among the sprawling coffee estates of Sakleshpur, Jenukal Heritage Home witnessed a welcome; 14 of us - voyagers seeking a sabbatical from noisy pubs, deafening music, blinding headlights and city madness - had arrived to welcome the new year watching fireflies flit by, gazing at the jet black sky awash with a million stars and listening to the music of the Cicada’s chirp.
Cruising on surprisingly well-paved roads stopping only for a refreshing swig of sugarcane juice at a roadside shack with no address, we came home to tantalizing aromas that continued to waft out of the kitchen over the next four days. What also continued over the next four days was a string of involving conversations – the gamut ranging from conservation and wildlife to books, adventurous trips, India after globalization, Reiki and even Rajkumar!

Interspersing the trip was a trek to Jenukal peak through Shola forests observing funnel spiders and a variety of birds like Minivets, Barbets, Sunbirds, Hill Myenas and Krestels on the way. Once atop the mountain, most of us enjoyed a peaceful forty winks fanned by the pure unadulterated breeze and watched over by a stark spotless blue sky. Some adventurous souls were game for a climb up the Phantom Hill the next day while some others among us ambled on to a nearby pond watching more birds and beautiful butterflies on the way returning only after dangling our feet in the crisp cold water of the pond – a natural spa that drew all the fatigue out of our city-strained bodies. A swim in a stream a little way off was a perfect way to approach the last dusk of the trip. When we were not indulging in any such adventure, the cane swings under the Guava tree, the tree shade, nooks and corners of the exquisite 120 year old house its elaborate sit-outs offered blissfully cosy places to slumber, read a book or just carry on a conversation. Life became bereft of all hurry and slowed down so that we could catch up with it.
A visually stunning presentation from Dag Goering and Maria Coffey – the Kayaking couple - about their 6-week Kayaking sojourn on the Ganges from Haridwar to Varanasi and an insight into the endearing India that they saw was the nonpareil way to approach midnight when we welcomed the new year with lip smacking barbecues, wine and wonderfully stimulating conversations around the fire.

Reluctance overcame each and every one of us when it was time to return. We were leaving peace, camaraderie, contemplation and life behind. We were parting from new yet very dear friends. But the hope that we would all return to paradise made it a tad easier to head back to madness. For quite some time to come, just the memories of this celebration of a new year, of life are sure to bring a smile to our faces and reduce the daily atrocity of routine…memories of our time spent in Jenukal Heritage Home.

This article by the same author was published in the Indian Express (Bangalore Edition) was on the 11th of January 2008 and has been cross-published here.

1 Footprints:

simi menon said...

It is a beautiful idea to chronicle your travels !

Loved it,