It’s not often that you would think of a small town of Madekri or a Homestay like Silverbrooks as the perfect destination for your next vacation. After all, we are the more phoren (foreign) bound guys, packing our bags to head to the Alps or Thailand or the U.S but it won’t be a bad idea at all for us to look “inside” and explore some of the amazing lesser known destinations in India…..
I have to admit that I pretty much didn’t think of Silverbrooks or Coorg either till my tour operator at Makemytrip suggested I should go and I would LOVE the place and the Homestay. Couple of clicks on trip advisor and reviews were encouraging enough to take the leap of faith. Next day, 3 hour flight and a 5 hour drive later, we were at Silverbrooks Homestay in Madekri, Coorg. Here we are.
Before talking about the Homestay, it’s great to share the interesting trivia about the city of Madekri. This little town, also known as “Mercara” is nicknamed the Scotland of India for its lovely weather and amazing natural beauty. The etymology of the town is that it was formerly known as Muddu raja keri, which means Mudduraja’s town, named after the prominent king, Mudduraja who ruled Kodagu (Coorg) from 1633 to 1687. Madekri is small by town standards with roughly a population of 47,000 people but houses an amazing number of historic sites such as Madekri Fort, Omkareshwara temple, Raja seat and other touristy places like Abbey Falls, coffee plantations and nice little local markets where you can buy locally made organic food items & cosmetic products. So the little town is pretty packed and spending your time is quite easy.
Back to the Homestay. Your first impression of the Homestay is its impressive architecture. A really large, colourful, heritage plantation house set in the middle of a jungle, close by to a running, glistening brook – hence the name Silverbrooks. The Homestay isn’t just colonial looking from the outside – its seeded with “heritage” and old age charm down to every hand-made tile, doors made of refurbished wood/ old doors, the high-ceiling design and earthen tiles on roof-tops. What a welcome change from the city life settings and full marks for the architecture. The Homestay comprises of one large building and a smaller adjacent building. Overall, the Homestay has six rooms with four rooms in main building and two more in the smaller building. The main building also houses the kitchen and dining room. All rooms come equipped with attached bathrooms and modern amenities. The architecture of the Homestay is such that you will spend one day full exploring the house and checking out its little details & accessories. If you are a book lover, you are not likely to go beyond the bookshelf which has a whole lot of options for your voracious appetite. Once you are done looking around the house, you will begin to notice, the greenery outside and animal noises around the Homestay. The Homestay does not have a boundary or stark lights or barbed fences. It’s part of the home stay’s philosophy to merge with nature and not disturb its peace. The Homestay area is rarely frequented by any large animals and is quite safe to walk around.
The hospitality at the Homestay is perfect. Only home made food is served and that too in the dining room where all guests gather and grab a bite together. No alcohol is served and is not missed either. Tea, coffee and light snacks are served where ever you’d like them (room, garden, by the brook). My favourite part was sitting in the garden and having my evening tea listening to the whisperings of the wind. They say the hallmark of hospitality is if your needs are met without you even seeing anyone around you and Silverbrooks is high up on that index. You are reading your book and, Ganesh, the hometaker boy walks along with a cup of tea because he thought you might want it. …bliss…even better than home.
Your time spends by really fast at the Homestay. Between the city trek and leisure time at the Homestay, 3 days are over even before you know it. You can also walk around the jungle all alone but I guess I watch discovery channel too much and decided to chicken out. Next time braver!!. The most impressive part about the Homestay and a reason why you must must visit is its story and the passion of the owners who made this Homestay from scratch – Revathy and Yogesh Iyer. Yogesh and Revathy own two home stay’s now, Silverbrooks and Red Earth, both in Karnataka but it was not so a decade ago. Approximately, ten years ago, Yogesh, who was working with a leading hospitality group and Revathy who was an artist and a teacher, decided to pursue their love for nature on a completely new and brave note. Both of them left Delhi, their home all their lives and came to Bangalore. They then identified a tiny piece of mountain and decided to make a Homestay – the concept wasn’t even known in India then. From cutting the mountain to levelling the ground, they went all over India to collect items for their Homestay. They wanted to make something totally unique and in about 3 years they did. Today, Yogesh and Revathy personally manage the homestays, greet every single guest and spend time with them. They love their Homestay and their lives now and you can clearly see why. While Revathy is warm and friendly, Yogesh is witty and will not hesitate in telling you a “someone saw a white figure in the fields near the Homestay short while ago” story at 11pm in the night. You are not likely sleep and the hometaker boys will not stop laughing about it.
In summary, the stay is as perfect as staying at home. If not better. …
Lots of travels & happiness always….