03 January 2008

Photo essay: Coorg

One of the things I love about India is its diverse landscapes and people. Coorg (also known as Kodagu) is one of those places that feels like a world apart.

This is a hilly region about 200 kilometres south-west of Bangalore full of rolling hills, coffee plantations, forests and fresh air. I could have sworn the sweet, fresh air carried a hint of coffee and spices!

During a hike through a coffee plantation, I paused to snap a picture of rice paddies after the harvest.

Abbi Falls is one of the major tourist attractions.

I met these local schoolgirls on the top of Brahmagiri Hill, which is at the source of the river Cauvery, one of India's seven sacred rivers. (The third girl insisted on hiding behind her friends while keeping an affectionate hand posed on each of them.)

Coorg's inhabitants, the Kodavas, are also quite unique and their origins are not clear. Their language is a mix of three South Indian languages (Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam) and many aspects of their culture are very distinctive. I noticed that women wear their saris in a very different way: draped across the chest and then pinned to the right shoulder (instead of across the left shoulder) with the pleats worn in the back (and not the front). Married women wear headscarves. Men traditionally wear turbans and black tunics with red sashes, and a dagger tucked in at the waist.

Kodavas do not follow a religion per se but worship their ancestors (see photo above) and their weapons which are celebrated during an annual festival.

We stayed in a homestay with a young Kodava couple in their charming house. After having studied and worked in Bangalore, they have now settled in their home region of Coorg where they run their guesthouse and manage their family's coffee plantation. It was a good way to learn about the local culture and taste homemade Kodava cuisine.


Unknown said...

Wow! You get to travel so much and see places!! Very nice pictures :).

sandy said...

I really enjoyed seeing these photos.

GMG said...

Lovely pictures! I'm amazed to see that everything in India seems to hundreds of km away from some place... One day I'll see it, for sure!
Thanks for your comment at Blogtrotter where the 150th post moved from Buda to Pest!

Anonymous said...

Good photos. Coorg is a wonderful place and I loved it on my many trips. We can link up. Please see my blog on http://kadkani.blogspot.com

Coorg said...

it's different post, kodava traditional dress. in the first photo, i can see the beautiful combination of nature and human effort. good post keep it up