Tag Archives: Abbey falls

Taking travel inspiration from busy bees

Aren’t honeybees good inspirers to travel? In a lifespan that’s as short as just a few days, they find a new place every day, explore a new flower every minute and taste new nectars on every flight! All this while still performing their assigned duties without having any complaints. Living a sweet life while being as busy as a bee!

It was curiosity that led me to learning about bee-keeping. This curiosity was a summation of multiple experiences accumulated through the years of childhood. I have been raised by my grandparents where honey has been an essential part of my life. We used it as a dip for breakfast and as a rice-mix for lunch, as an energy drink with hot water or even as a medicine with brandy or pepper corn. And yeah, stashes of several bottles went packed as souvenirs to guests who visited home and to friends who lived far away. You can call this honey with adjectives like pure, organic, handpicked, homemade, etc. ‘Coorg honey’ it was, after all!

Grandpa was personally enthusiastic about this particular hobby of his. I was often smitten with curiosity when he returned home with either a swollen face or with swollen hands. When I went nearer to him to check for his condition, he would only greet me with a warm smile and a piece of honeycomb dripping with fresh nectar. While at home, he would be busy with his bees in 75+ boxes that were kept around the house. It used to be a festival day for the family when drums of honey used to be extracted from his boxes all by himself. While at his favourite place- the Abbi estate, it was customary for him to have a daily look at this massive ‘Honey Tree’ as we called it, the single large tree where bee hives were formed annually. It was the family night out, an annual event that we all looked forward for. Honey tappers from a specific tribe called ‘Jenu Kurubas’ used to be called in, to climb the tree in pitch darkness on a no-moon night. The family camped in the darkness at midnight on the damp ground of the coffee estate with the rustling sound of the waterfalls in the background. While as a kid, I was amused with the spectacle of blue lights falling down from that tree, only as a grown up adult I realize the lights were indeed bees that were falling down after being smoked up in the process of honey tapping. And not to forget some odd days when he would pick out snakes from mud crevices that he had put his hands to collect honey from. And then there were days, when we made friends over a bottle of honey. These were customers who came to grandpa’s makeshift shop at Abbi falls with their unique ways of testing the quality of the honey sold there! Each customer, a unique character and every conversation, a story in itself.

For me, adding this new dimension to my travel stories was more of an emotional journey.. With the passing away of Granpa, the charm and life that his favourite place held too passed. The ‘Honey Tree’ eventually saw the ground leaving our family to buy honey from the market. Having relished the finest nectars from high tree trunks, deep mud crevices and those handpicked from the several bee boxes kept around the house, our family like all others are really not sure of the quality of those available in the market. That’s when this thought of setting up my own bee box struck me along with traveling in pursuit of knowledge sharing. These things led to me developing an interest about learning about honey bees and eventually respecting these tiny creatures more and more. I think being born in a community of nature worshippers gives me an instant connect with things that are natural and essential for our existence. Home is where primary and the most essential education starts and for me, Grandpa has been the main reason for one of the finest childhood lessons and home education I have picked up.

Albert Einstein said, “The Earth will come to an end in just 4 days if there be NO honeybees on this planet.” Honeybees are such an important part of our very own existence on this planet, Save them! Get in touch with an expert before you get that beehive removed from your concrete dwelling. Alternatively, get in touch with me for I would be more than willing to give a talk for awareness in your community. I signed up for a workshop to learn this art of bee-farming, and a certification came as a bonus. I did my course with ‘HoneyDay Bee farms’ who are thorough professionals and extremely knowledgeable in the field. They work with farmers right from the installation to extraction to marketing thus assuring you a 100% purity in their products. Go try them out!

The Abbi Villa- A dreamy house of haunted thoughts

<23-Oct-12>

A venue for hundreds of family get-togethers, a reason for annual Dasara shops, a greenroom for hundreds of celebrities, a place where we got numerous forever family friends, a shelter to over a hundred families, a temple for annual pooja offerings, a dining area for hundreds of hungry villagers, a warehouse for all the farm equipments, a bedroom for all the tired souls- adjectives alike aren’t sufficient to describe what this little place once meant. A portico, 2 bedrooms, 1 hall, 1 kitchen, 4 labour quarters and above all- A one of its kind drying chamber for the spices.

A walkway lined by coffee plantations on either sides, dotted by coconut trees in between leads you to this little thatched house with mud smeared walls; just as you enter you are greeted by a stream of water that is diverted from the bigger waterfall, opens into a pond with blossoms of purple lilys and golden fishes and further narrows down running through a garden full of flowers overlooked by scenic hills all around. A matter of everyone’s envy–

This was ‘The Abbi Villa’ in brief.

The Abbi Villa: Then
The Abbi Villa: Then

This is where my grandpa spent most of his life- the busy days of his life- the peaceful moments of his life- This is the place which was home to his heart and his soul.

The stream that widens into a pond
The stream that widens into a pond

No doubt that the warmth of the place passed away with grandpa, but 2012 has showed its negative vibes with the year’s monsoons putting an end to all the glory that this place once boasted of. The Wall has finally given way.. Every bordering wall has collapsed: But when I stood infront of the rumbles- A cold chill ran down my spine. I did feel my grandpa’s presence there.. He stood right there holding on to the pillar and a part of the wall that divided his bedroom and his prayer room.. It was a helpless face that told me aloud to do something about the utter neglect that followed his departure; I looked back at him in utter helplessness too.. There is so much I need to do but very less ways I can put his dreams back in place and reconstruct the entire estate that today lies there vandalised and in the state of horrible negligence..

The Abbi Villa- Now
The Abbi Villa- Now

How I wish…. I could do something..!!! How I wish some miracle happened… How I wish…… The place was as heavenly as it once was….How I wish……

Across the brook- Bridging two Worlds

<Dated: Sometime when I was three or four>

Every girl has a Superman in her life.. For some it could be her father or in some case- a distant uncle.. And for me- it is “My Super Grandpa”.The wooden bridge layed across a brook in my hometown is one of the many reasons for which he is immortal in the memories of the nearby villagers even a decade after his departure. So, now I get down to how this happened: 

Introduction:

There are three ways to reach Abbi falls:

  1. A motor able asphalted road- about 8kms from Madikeri town. The most comfortable one if you have own transport from the town.(Lots of details are available on the net)  
  2. A partially adventurous one- about 8kms from Madikeri. One needs to take a private bus from Madikeri to Kootpole. And hike for about 4 kms to reach the falls.
  3. The most adventurous route(difficult)-  trek through thick jungle lined by deep valley on one side and thorny bushes on the other side.(Will write about this one some other day) 

There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I choose to write about the 2nd route- The closest to my heart..!!

It is in this route, that one has to cross a brook in order to reach the waterfalls. When I say a brook- it is not a small stream that you can jump across; especially during the monsoons. One needs to walk over a carefully laid wooden bridge holding tightly onto nothing more than a thin steel wire..!!

The Bridge across the brook
The Bridge across the brook

This is a bridge which is not meant for the tourists and that is why it continues to remain unknown. This bridge is actually one single tree kept across the river carefully. It was laid across with a purpose of providing accessibility to the nearby villagers who could not afford a taxi for daily commutation.

And among these villagers, the one who stands out is “The Superman- My Grandpa”. He is the sole man behind the existence of this bridge. From selection of the finest tree(neeredithakai Mara- in Kodava Thakk), to gathering labourers to pull it all the way up from his estate to the river bank and putting it across the rivulet(about 60 feet wide)- he is the only mastermind behind it all..!!

I recollect faint memories of sitting by the side and watching all this action as a little girl… Some 25 odd men pulling the tree up the sloppy estate, I lending a squirrel’s help with my tiny hands to my grandpa in his mission, getting a pat on my back for my hard work.. And once the bridge was done, I remember the days when grandpa used to hold my hands tight and teach me how to cross the river.. It just fills my heart with coldness…

Walking over the wooden bridge
Walking over the wooden bridge

This bridge stands strong till date- even after bearing all seasons for more than two decades now.. It is become a part of the villagers’ everyday life… Though it was built with the idea of having easy access for grandpa to reach his estates every day, he did not restrict it only for himself. It was open for the public too, helping all the villagers living around this area. This truly stands out as a symbol of his greatness… And I miss him so much every time I walk this way or I hear of people speak of this great man..!!