Rainy afternoons at Devigiri homestay, Chikmagalur
This in another of my long due posts. In the meantime, the husband lost his stash of Chikmagalur pictures and so what you get to see here are my poorly taken clicks. I rarely use my camera ever since the husband decided to don the role of photographer. Thankfully, I had clicked these on a whim, so at least I have something to show now. In case, we are able to retrieve his folder, I shall update this post.
We had visited Chikmagalur almost a year back in July (2014). Monsoon had set in but the magnitude was relatively lower. The heat made us look towards the hill stations near Bangalore and without much bickering we settled on Chikmagalur, although we had visited it once briefly. I browsed through the net searching for a decent accommodation, but somehow the ones that I liked the most were full. A foreboding thought crossed my mind that I would bump into half of Bangalore’s populace in Chikmagalur.
Then I came across Devigiri homestay and it seemed to be a quiet place. Still, as is my wont, I took the peaceful images on the website with a pinch of salt and started for Chikmagalur without much expectation.
On reaching Chikmalagur and proceeding towards the homestay, following Google Maps, we were a bit apprehensive of losing our way. There was a constant light drizzle and it was easy to get lost amidst the misty hills. We saw boards of several homestays pointing towards lonely lanes that disappeared into the woods. Our mobile network was also beginning to falter. Just when I was about to air my concern, a signage appeared by the side of the road. Devigiri homestay, unlike the other places, was located bang on the main road.
A pleasant driveway led us to the main building – a double storeyed structure which the owners shared with their guests. There was a large cottage on stilts besides the house but since I had opted for rooms, we were accommodated upstairs in the main house. We were greeted by the lady of the house who was the owner of the estate along with her husband. She informed us that our rooms were getting ready and enquired if we would like to have some coffee in the meantime. The coffee was from their plantation and it tasted wonderful.
We were then shown our rooms, compact yet neat, quite like a 2 BHK and complete with a TV in the hall. We were glad to have the entire place to ourselves since football world cup was on at that time. There were more rooms on the other side of our accommodation, but separated, thus ensuring complete privacy to family set ups like us. Since we had informed them beforehand, a delicious hot vegetarian spread was laid out for us in the beautiful dining area. In fact, there were two dining areas - one was a smaller one, preferable for a single family, and a larger one with several tables that was suitable for groups.
I don’t know if it was the cool weather, the windy shower or our hunger pangs, but that homely meal will remain with me for a long time. I was especially touched by the care shown by the owner, who had herself prepared the meal along with a maid, and I still remember the aroma of the fresh home-made ghee that she had drizzled over our rice. Every meal that we had in Devigiri was sumptuous and we found ourselves looking forward to the dining sessions eagerly.
We spent two nights at the homestay and while we were the only guests to check in that day, it was running at full capacity by the time we left. Some of the guests were staying in tents while a large joint family had taken up quarters in the cottage. The tree house, we learned, was up for repairs. There was a volleyball court and both adults and kids enjoyed a good game there whenever the rains paused.
We did our own sightseeing around Chikmagalur (another post maybe?) but most of the time we lounged around in the balcony/verandah, listening to the pitter patter of raindrops and looking out at the looming blue mountains over the tree canopies. Despite so many people residing in the homestay, it was a peaceful environment, just as the images in the website had relayed. Once, we went exploring and followed a walking trail through the coffee plantation. The owner (husband of the lady) pointed out several herbaceous plants in his estate, some of them with medicinal properties. Later, we expressed our wish to have a proper plantation tour and he gladly agreed. He drove us to his second coffee estate, located a few kilometers away, and it was a wonderful learning experience for us.
We were told about the whole process of coffee-making, right from the planting of saplings to the roasting of coffee beans. He enthusiastically showed us the machineries as well as various fruit trees and spices growing alongside the coffee plants. He also disclosed to us something that seemed amazing. An earthen pot with a few holes would be placed at a particular place and apparently, every year a swarm of bees would come and make their home in that pot. (I can’t remember exactly if it was a single pot or there were more pots around.)
Overall, it was a truly enjoyable stay at Devigiri. I loved the tranquility of the place, the well-maintained garden and rooms and above all, the delectable food. Another facet that I really appreciated was the courtesy showed by the hosts. They knew the fine line separating over-friendliness from being adequately attentive to the guests’ needs without intruding on their privacy.
I know things may not remain the same at all time, given the constraints that these homestay owners face, primarily regarding their staff. But I hope Devigiri has maintained its standards and maybe I shall find myself in their verandah someday soon, feeling the raindrops on my outstretched hands.
Hosa Road, Arasinaguppe,
Chikmagalur – 577131
Website – www.devigiri.co.in