04 July 2015

A Homestay Review

This is a review of the Chilipili homestay. We had a wonderful time there and I recommend it to anyone looking for a cozy place smack in the middle of a coffee plantation and more or less isolated from everywhere else. If that's good enough for you, then you might as well stop here. If you are curious about the details and pictures, read on.

Coorg is one of the favourite destinations for Bangaloreans planning a little break. Searching online for a place to stay, one can see a plethora of reviews and feedback about every category of hotels and homestays. It's easy to get confused reading very positive and downright negative reviews of the same place next to each other. Regardless, I'd like to add one more to those reviews, hoping it would be helpful to someone.
If you Google Chilipili, the first few results will give you all the information you need about the place: getting there, tariffs, food, etc. There are plenty of great reviews for it, especially on tripadvisor. From personal experience, I can say that the good reviews are all well deserved. If you want to take a look at some photos, find them here.

The homestay is located about 18Kms off Kushalnagar (sorry, it's not in Madikeri, if thats what you'd prefer). If you speak with the owners, they will recommend you visit the Bylakupe monastry, have lunch, and then head for the homestay. I found it to be very good advice, so I'll second it. To get to Chilipili follow the Google map results and directions from the owners. On the way through coffee plantations and trees keep your eyes peeled for the signs that the owners will ask you to watch for and you'll do just fine. By the time you reach there, you'll be able to feel just how far away you've come from anyplace busy and loud. 

Ambience and rooms
Chilipili homestay is part of an estate, meaning you'll live surrounded by lots of greens and sounds of birds and insects. The 'rooms' are actually small cottages with clean bathrooms, running hot water, and your very own porch/verandah area that has a dining table seating six. The insides are not too lavish, but nicely done and comfortable. It's a 'homestay' and not a full-fledged hotel, so if you can't do without steam irons and hairdryers, bring your own! 
It rained heavily during the 2 days we spent there, so everything was cool and damp and even more beautiful. While it rained around us, we sat in our little porch having tea and taking selfies :-D .

Food (and wine!)
Your package will include breakfast and dinner (not lunch). We all really enjoyed the food very much. It was home-quality, tasted great, and there was more variety than we expected. The breakfast had dosa, idli, along with sambar, coconut chutney. If south-indian food isn't for you, then they also had bread, butter, and jam. We were served two different types of idlis (on two separate days): the plain one, and a masala variety that had a light green colour. One of the days we also got rice roti along with a curry. The rice roti is traditional to the region, we were told. It was very good, as was the rest of the food.
Dinner had chapati, rice, curries, dal, and a kind of dish that I cannot recall the name for but it was steamed, thin, rice-noodles served on a piece of banana leaf (very similar to idiappam from Kerala). And there was the dessert! On both occasions, the dessert was not something you could immediately name (I couldn't): once it was more like part-pudding, with a crumble base, and another time it resembled kheer with a generous amount of pineapple in it. They were both served chilled and tasted fabulous!
All the food was served fresh and warm. It was delightful.
Before dinner we were served a tray that had four shot glasses and two small decanters of homemade wine. The first day it was red grapes and white wine, and the next was starfruit and pineapple. There were all delicious to me. :-) But I particularly enjoyed the red wine and bought one bottle when heading back. The wine is homemade, so it's sweeter and non-alcoholic. If the commercially available wine in Bangalore is not your taste (being not sweet at all or anything), then do try this one. But then again, what do I know about wine.

Other stuff ...
You are free to roam the surrounding plantations, look at coffee berries growing, listen to rain falling on the leaves, and take photos. The homestay area has some landscaping, lots of potted plants and flowers. There are some animals too: a dalmatian, two pugs, and a bunch of ducks. They are let out for some time in the morning and are a delight to watch scampering around. 
There are enough opportunities to take great photos and selfies, so go crazy. ;-)
The owners also sell organic honey and homemade jam besides wines. We brought back some jam and honey too besides a bottle of red. 
Last but not the least, the owners Mr. Ganapathy and Mrs. Darshan and the entire housekeeping staff are very friendly and do everything they can to make guests feel at home. 
Finally here is the link to the photos again.

Thanks for reading,

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