Magical Coorg @ Evolve Back Chikkana Halli Estate
Coorg is a land of many wonders. Often referred to as the Scotland of India for its scenic appeal and the home of many a Coffee and Spices Plantation, it has something to offer for everyone.
My stay at the Evolve Back, Chikkana Halli Estate formerly known as Orange County Resorts was by far the most serene and extraordinary experiences ever. With its luscious flora and fauna, spread over 300 acres of plantation area, Evolve Back wows every first time visitor with its sheer grandeur and expanse. With their unmatched service that every Evolve Back property is known for, it becomes a favourite destination for the returning visitor.
We were welcomed in traditional Indian style by the General Manager of the property herself. It was a surreal experience from the moment we stepped inside this ultra-luxurious property. Every property of Evolve Back is different from each other and Coorg was no exception. The lush greenery and the abundance of the Coffee trees and other varieties of spice makes one feel at home to the core. Every vegetable is mostly grown within the premises and they have a special Organic counter at their all day dining restaurant Granary.
There are 4 categories of accommodation available:
Heritage Pool Villa: The villa is reminiscent of traditional Kodava architecture with a separate Living and Bed rooms with a perfect sit out facing the pool.
Lily Pool Villa: A luxurious suit with the spacious bedroom, living room and an ensuite bathroom with a temperature controlled pool amidst a beautiful Lily pond and a Gazebo.
Lily Pool Cottage: One of the best in the category with a spacious sit out, ensuite bathroom, living and bedroom with a pool amidst a beautiful lily pond quite similar to the Villa but only more smaller than the villa in size.
Lily Pool Bungalow: This two Bedroom suite accommodates a larger family or group with all the amnesties of the Lily Pool Villa and is the most luxurious and spacious in the category.
We experienced the Heritage Pool Villa for the first night and the Lily Pool Villa the next.
It was time for our illustrious luncheon and we were served at the all-day dining restaurant called Granary where our options range from traditional Kodava dishes to Continental dishes served up with flare. Chef made sure every dish was crafted with utmost authenticity and we even received a house special Mocktail to go with our courses.
The speciality of Evolve Back lies in its acute attention to detail, and as I looked around every aspect of it bore its specimen. The Granary receives its name from the earlier practice of using it as a store house for supplies. They also have a banquet hall by the poolside downstairs where events can be organised if required. There are two pools in the property-a family pool and an Infinity Pool where alcohol is served and is located at the far-end of the resort. There is also a very tranquil Reading Lounge with a very distinguished collection of classical and contemporary literature which overlooks the coffee plantation on its sides. Spread over almost 300 acres of Coffee plantation, Evolve back occupies about one-tenth for its residential and resort premises.
The river Cauvery flows within walking distance from the property and we decided to walk over to experience it. In winter months one can experience a Coracal ride which is not very recommended for Monsoon months.
It was almost evening and we decided to stay in and rejuvenate ourselves for the next day’s activity. Dinner was served at the speciality restaurant Peppercorn which specializes in Grills and Kebabs. This candlelight restaurant enthrals each and every visitor with its romantic and mystic appeal. As we sat down for a very romantic candlelight dinner, their in-house speciality –A Coffee Wine was poured on to our glasses which matched perfectly with the Sizzlers ordered. The food was beyond heavenly and the ambience added to the overall experience.
Day 2 was one filled with activities which were mostly outdoorsy in nature. It started with the onsite Birdwatching trip which did not happen due to the downpour but I was up at about on time to experience the same.
The Nature walk was up next and I had to skip it as it involved walking for over 3 kms within the deep dense forest and sports shoes were a must for the same. Also with zero trekking experience, I would rather watch a video or hear about the experience from an actual adventure seeker.
The Plantation Walk was my first attendance of the day where an experienced environmentalist takes you through the various aspects of the in-house Coffee plantation and other spices which are grown within the campus. As mentioned already, there is a separate counter in Granary for these organic produces which are handpicked and used for culinary delicacies right in the resort.
The Paper Bag manufacturing process was up next and it was quite informative as to how Evolve Back, Chikkana Halli Estate makes their own bags using daily newspaper.
Post luncheon as I was trolling within the campus, I could not help but notice this amazing Chappelle lead by a flight of natural steps and it definitely called for some spiritual connection.
The late afternoon was spent using the facilities of the in-house Ayurveda Spa aptly titled Vaidyashala. I had the very effective 90 minute long Njavarakizhi where 5 therapists massage various parts of the body with boluses of Njavara, a special kind of rice powdered and then put in cotton bags with other herbs mixed in it. This is a must for anyone with any sort of muscular or rheumatic issues and is sure to deliver magical results if continued for a fortnight.
We went back to Peppercorn for dinner and tried a few Indian grills this time, which were spot-on and delectable to the core.
The next day we were traveling back to Bangalore and we had a busy day feeding the fish in the Onsite Lake and taking an eco-friendly walk around the estate. Lunch was at the all Vegetarian Plantain Leaf where I decided to try the North Indian Thali and it was delish to say the least.
I also had some time to check out the adult swimming pool, deriving its nomenclature owing to the fact that alcohol is served therein. They also have special packages foe Honeymoon destination and is quite a sell-out during the season. They have also have dining options by the lake, under the moonlit sky and even by the poolside of your villa. There is also a provision of treetop dining called Machan where one can have an enlightened experience amidst nature.
Evolve Back, Chikkana Halli Estate is the perfect destination for a nice weekend getaway or a lavish experience of a home away from home with unmatched and unparalleled service that I have experienced anywhere till date.