2021 will be the year of travel. Tired of lockdowns and work-from-home restrictions, people this year will finally want to get out of the concrete jungle and gear up for an enlivening journey that promises scenic calm, adventurous thrills, and a breath of fresh air.
India Tourism Bangalore office provided the much-needed relief when they rightly made Sakleshpur the first destination in Karnataka for their Dekho Apna Desh campaign this year.
Sakleshpur makes more sense for Bangaloreans — predominantly the IT crowd — who have been glued to their mobile screens and snoozy work-from-home routines. Thanks to no-quarantine rules in Karnataka, we could now take a short 4-hour road trip and earn a well-deserved break.
Ideal for families, groups, and couples, at Sakleshpur, one could stroll through the verdant coffee plantations, while relishing the flavourful delights of Malnad.
Stay options are singular too; they are not in the form of regular hotels, but as exquisite home stays on lush green private estates, where one could experience the essence of Sakleshpur hospitality.
While the sparkling waters from the streams of the Western Ghats will add glow to your skin and sheen to your hair, a visit to this destination itself will do wonders for your overall mental health and wellness.
Swarga: Smiles & Tail Wags
Swarga, a serene resort nestled among the friendly wilds of Hemavathy river, is situated just 25km off Sakleshpur.
True to its name, Swarga is both a heaven and haven for travelers. Densely populated by scads of green, the resort boasts bounteous harvests of rich coffee, earthy cardamom, palatable black pepper, and sweet-smelling vanilla.
Run by an adorable dog-loving family, the eco-rich Swarga is for those wanting to take a break from the materialistic and the mundane. As you enter the resort, you are welcomed by warm smiles and super-excited tail wags. Tail wags, because the resort serves as a shelter to various breeds of dogs, all of which are friendly and can communicate well, that is if you could speak canine. My personal favorites are Oscar, the quiet majestic boxer, and Candy, a rich brown dachshund mongrel.
Untainted by the usual urban necessities, Swarga goes all the way to provide nature-friendly amenities for guests. The resort has also done away with the use of plastic. It uses biogas for cooking and to provide hot water for rooms.
A stay in Swarga, amidst good humans, animals, and Mother Nature, will help you let go of the pains of the past and appreciate even the smallest of things that the future holds.
Guddada Siri: Good Food, Great Adventure
If you are a foodie keen on embracing a daring adventure, the place to be is Guddada Siri, situated in Devaladakere near Hanabal.
The homestay is owned by Dinesh, a passionate mechanical engineer who is fond of innovation and experimentation. With his own bare hands, Dinesh created the first ropeway cycle in India— apparently a huge hit among guests, both local and international. The homestay also houses a large swimming pool and serves as a great viewpoint to get a grand glimpse of the Western Ghats.
Guddada Siri is also the place where you would taste the traditional Malnad menu. From velvety crisp Akki Roti that melts in your mouth to the succulent tender chicken gravy that accompanies it; from traditional rice dumplings to nutrient-rich Kessinakattu Palya, your tummy will thank you for the magnificent and healthy Malnad meal.
Attractions near Guddada Siri include Abbi Falls, Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple & hill station, Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, Baluru Reserve Forest, Yettina Bhuja Trekking point, Devara Mane hill station, Sri Rameshwara historical temple, Devavrunda, Jenu Kallu Gudda, Manjrabad Fort, and Kadu Mane Tea Estate.
Harley Estate: An Unforgettable Coffee Trail
If you are a coffee lover, Harley Estate in Sakleshpur is a must-visit. The estate boasts a 150-year-old history, with over five generations tending to the plantations.
Not only can you take home freshly-packed coffee from here, but you would also get to learn the art, science, and the hardships that go behind a cup of coffee.
One way to get into the Estate is to book your dates with Gully Tours, which specializes in coffee trails. The vast expanse of the estate, which also houses the eco holiday home, Golden Wood, serves as a spectacular MICE venue. This could be the ideal place to host corporate events, weddings, and big parties. Harley Estate also serves as a spectacular campsite. The water bodies inside the estate are mesmerizing. Your trip to Sakleshpur is incomplete without a visit to Harley’s.
“Sakleshpur has a lot to offer. Any discerning traveler who wants to travel with nature should visit Sakleshpur. Agri and plantation tourism here are the best,” said Mohamed Farouk, Director, India Tourism, Bangalore.
“Sakleshpur is the entry point for the Western Ghats. So when you visit Sakleshpur, you have options. There is an abundance of coffee plantations for you to stroll through as well as spectacular views that this hill station presents for itself. One could even hear the jingle of the train that passes by, which is more on the Hanbal side. Beauty at its best is what Sakhleshpur can be defined as,” said Shaheed Khan, the cofounder of Dharthi, which coordinated with India Tourism Bangalore to organize the influencers’ trip to the spectacular destination.
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