Biddanta Estate - a 20 acre coffee plantation near Siddapura, Kodagu/Coorg district, houses the Elephant Corridor Homestay. Run by the warm couple Nimmi and Viju Chengappa, the homestay truly lives up to its name as there are herds of elephants on an 'estate hopping' mission ever so often in the area.
The homestay section houses five bedrooms, an activity room, an open kitchen and a common outdoor dining area in the landscaped gazebo. The bedrooms in the new wing are pretty and cosy with a common kitchenette. In the old wing, the rooms are fuss-free with basic infrastructure, although the pet-friendly bedroom, in my opinion can be spruced up a little more - linen/blankets can be free of must. However, I would like to add that we spent such a lot of time in the outdoor, that all this hardly mattered.
The stay offers a rejuvenating experience for the senses what with gradients of coffee, silver oak and nandi trees providing a lush green treat, along with clusters of seasonal fruit trees and spices. We woke up to the chirping of birds, ate yummy Kodava and Srilankan food made by host Nimmi (she has her roots in Srilanka - hence the Lankan food), lazed, spent quality time with the family, listened to some very interesting elephant (and other) stories from Viju and fell asleep to the songs of the insects.
Nimmi and Viju pampered us with delicious food - special mention of the crispy ceylon parathas (my husband's favourite), aubergine salad (Srilankan style), vegetarian and chicken curries along with paputtu (steamed rice cakes with desiccated coconut topping), and agastya leaf pakodas amongst other delectable delights from Nimmi's kitchen. Nimmi also makes fruit jams from the fruits grown on the estate. We sampled some lip smacking orange marmalade, passion fruit, mulberry and banana jams. Viju introduced us to a great combination - idli with a blob of butter and some banana jam...it was yummm!
I get excited and nostalgic every time I see a passion fruit creeper or fruit as we had this plant in the house I grew up in, and my mom would always make fresh juice for my friends - and lots of them used to drop in just for the juice. I happened to mention this one evening to Nimmi, she quietly listened to my story and nodded. That night - she served one of the best desserts I have had in my life - passion fruit pulp with whipped cream! Thank you Nimmi...I was very touched!
Last but not the least, the hosts understand the dilemma of pet owners and welcome their guests' pets (in spite of having their own three dogs). My pet Subbi had a blast running scot free, chasing hens and chicken and playing ball with gay abandon.
Head to the Elephant Corridor if you want to ‘do nothing’, eat awesome food and have a good time without a big hole in the wallet. Plus, you can take your pet along.