If you accuse me of advocating this homestay, I will say Guilty as charged!
It’s charm is all there in Black and White, ensconced in liberal swathes of luxuriant green and I can prove it in Court!
If you are wondering what I am legally defending, then you have to meet me at the courthouse … or in this case, a charming little homestay of sorts known as P K Ponnappa’s Court, which snuggles cosily within its surrounding coffee plantation in a quiet and unspoiled region of Coorg.
Coorg is a district in the highlands of the state of Karnataka in India and its location and terrain obviously make it a very popular hill station and holiday destination.
Homestays, resorts and hotels of every category, naturally abound here and discovering new options to stay, is a an activity that never fails to excite me.
P K Ponnappa’s Court is one such gem which is my latest finding. The very name of the place contains a clue to the inspiration behind it, namely the original profession of the owners. And yes, as you might have guessed by now, this place belongs to a family of lawyers. This also explains the mostly black and white color scheme throughout the property, clearly influenced by the clear cut colors of the legal business.
So follow me into this delightful space as I try to do Justice to its charms with my narration and before you scream Order Order, I promise to stop my excessive legalese word play … well at least for a while 😀
About Coorg –
Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is one of Karnataka’s greener districts located on the slopes of the mighty Western ghats and its climate and hilly terrain make it a land suitable for growing coffee and spices. Large plantations drape its hillsides, making for scenic views of dense green.
This is the land of the Kodavas, a warrior clan well known for their hospitable and friendly ways and who have maintained their distinct culture and traditions by way of cuisine, dress, festivals etc.
This landscape of this unique district is a tapestry of mountains and hilly regions with their verdant swathes of rainforests, innumerable water bodies and waterfalls, trekking trails, wildlife etc and hence it is but natural (pun intended) for it to draw tourists to it like a magnet.
Coorg shares a border with the state of Kerala and it also has the Karnataka districts of Mysore, Hassan and Dakshin Kannada as its neighbors.
About P K Ponnappa’s Court –
Located most conveniently around 5 kms from the main town of Madikeri, lies a 25 acre lush coffee estate, which is the setting for this cozy little holiday home.
P K Ponnappa’s Court is a homestay which offers a mix of cottages and rooms set in the midst of the coffee estate. The entire built up area occupies a compact space very close to the entrance of the premises and all the buildings are within 100 meters of each other.
As mentioned earlier, the theme is designed in the colors of black and white, with such attention to detail that even the most random elements are made sure to match, which apart from the décor and furnishings, also include the resident Huskies and a few birds like the oriental magpie robins and wagtails 😉… and let us not forget the panda and his collection of friends who add to the décor of the garden.
The dream of creating a place to entertain visitors, is credited to its owners Sowmya and Bharath, who envisioned it a few years ago and gradually but surely put together this labor of love. Hampered by covid which sent plans awry, this place finally began welcoming its visitors barely 6 months ago in November 2022. This relatively new venture, is now operating with full gusto and is poised to do even better in the times to come, with more features and facilities on the cards.
But for now, my story will tell you about my experience and hopefully in future I will be able to bring to you more tales about this place, once the enhancements are in place.
About the owners –
The husband and wife duo Bharath and Sowmya Ponnappa, own and run this place with a warmth and passion that is clearly visible in every aspect.
Bharath is a hockey player and Sowmya is a lawyer. Her father Mr P K Ponnappa after whom the property is named, is a lawyer too.
Though the couple have promising careers in their respective professions, they have decided to stay connected to their roots and their land by way of promoting their Coorg culture and cuisine to the outside world.
Striving to be great hosts, they perform all their activities with liberal doses of love and affection, resulting in a personalised experience for their guests who are made to feel pampered and at home, rather than at an impersonal hotel.
I had the pleasure of meeting the soft spoken and mild mannered Bharath who was the perfect host, taking care of all our requirements and being totally hands on wherever needed. A true mark of a passionate host.
Sowmya was away in Bangalore but I hope to meet her someday too.
Features and Amenities –
The black and white checked entrance is easily accessible along the main road, within which lies a short path flanked by coffee shrubs and other fruit trees and flowering plants.
The track leads to the main villa and spacious parking lot. The villa is set in an elegant courtyard paved with interlocking tiles.
In one corner is a little shrine which holds a statue of a very peaceful looking Buddha. A brick fireplace lies nearby where bonfires are lit in the evenings.
The splendid view from the villa encompasses the lush green plantation as far as the eye can see and it is a soothing affair to sit here and commune with nature to your heart’s content.
Proceeding inwards, we have the second building which houses the kitchen on the ground floor and 2 party/event halls on the upper 2 floors.
A large kennel lies adjacent to this building, where the family favorites reside. The friendly huskies are happy to just lie there undisturbed or even play with you if you are so inclined.
A short stone paved path eventually leads to the cottages which are situated amidst the coffee plants. The serene location sets them apart from the main area but they yet have the advantage of not being too far away so as to create apprehension of any kind. The 2 cottages are located within a few feet of each other but still manage to remain private and exclusive.
At present there are just these 2 cottages but work is underway to build a few more.
Apart from all these features, there is only the vast green plantation all around, abounding in coffee shrubs and silver oak trees interspersed with fruit trees with chikoo, avocado, banana etc and a profusion of flowering shrubs which defy the existing theme and add their own splashes of color. Of course, no one is complaining or suing them for this (I did say I would control the legal jargon only for a little while 😎)
The Stay –
Depending on individual need and preferences, guests can opt to book the cottages or the individual rooms in the main villa.
A short video showcasing the features and activities –
The Main Villa –
This is a neat ground plus 2 storeyed building which consists of 6 rooms in total.
The ground floor has a porch and a common dining area which is open on the sides. It also has 2 bedrooms and a common sitting room and a kitchenette in between.
Likewise, the first floor too has 2 bedrooms and a common sitting room and a common verandah space at the landing.
The topmost floor has 2 smaller bedrooms which are separated from each other by an open area.
A set of black and white steps are the only access to the higher floors and there is no elevator.
The aesthetics of the rooms are designed based on wildlife which is pertinent to Coorg and each room has its own animal or bird theme with painstakingly matching colors and thoughtfully complementing elements of décor.
One can choose to live with the tiger, peacock, elephant, parakeet or even butterflies.
Apart from this, each bedroom is individually furnished with a double bed, ensuite bath areas with showers, toilet, washbasins etc, also color coordinated with the resident species of wildlife 😍
Each room can accommodate two adults.
The corridors and balconies of the villa provide scenic views of the surrounding plantation and courtyard.
Amenities like cupboards, hangers, coffee tables, 24 hour hot water, drinking water, electric kettles, tea/coffee powder, bed and bath linen, basic toiletries, mosquito repellents etc, are provided in the rooms.
The Cottages –
The charming cottages peek out through the green coffee shrubs, clad in their sleek black and white façade.
A cosy little porch at the entrance leads to a small lobby which functions as a little kitchenette. Equipped with a microwave, jug kettle, sink, tea/coffee and drinking water, this is a handy space for a quick reheating of a pre-packaged meal or even reconstituting a ready to cook pouch of food.
A large bedroom lies within the cottage, with a huge and comfortable 4 poster double bed which is all metal if you please!!! A full length mirror, a cupboard, some chairs, a mini fridge, a large screen TV, a faux fireplace and a large battery pack (in case of power failure), are the other items in the room.
Needless to say, that apart from the bright red brick of the fireplace and a few minor items, everything else fits into the black and white story in a show of total discipline 😃This includes the kitchen equipment, the bed and bath linen, the tiles and even the umbrella … and this warrants multiple mentions, just to acknowledge the commendable attention to detail and effort that has gone into it.
Apart from the usual facilities, the ensuite bathroom is equipped with an electric geyser and also a Gudda bath. The gudda is a traditional copper pot which is embedded in a brick encasement in the bathroom. This is filled with water which is heated from the outside using firewood. This pot is also called Hande in the Kannada language. In the Konkani language which is my mother tongue, it is called Baan and I am familiar with this manner of bathing since I too hail from a plantation background from Chikmagalur.
Apart from the common fireplace near the main villa, there is an exclusive pit outside each cottage which is earmarked for bonfires. A pair of folding garden chairs are available to lounge around in front of the cottages.
Each cottage can accommodate a 2 adults and 2 children. Please check with them while booking, for more specific details.
The halls –
Hall 1 – The hall on the first floor above the kitchen, serves the purpose of a party hall and is equipped with a large screen, music system, dance floor, bar counter and other such features.
Beds can be provided to turn the place into a dormitory to accommodate large groups of people.
Hall 2 – The 2nd floor has a much larger space which can be used for conferences and such events. There is a food and drink dispensing counter at one end and a dais at another end.
The halls are meant for the exclusive use of the resident guests and outsiders are not permitted to use them in order to ensure the privacy of the guests.
The extended porch at the main villa serves as a common dining area and is furnished with a dining table, chairs, wash basin etc.
The staff carry the food from the kitchen in covered containers and serve them at the table, where you await with a hungry smile 😉
This sort of community dining fosters a sense of camaraderie among the guests but if one is particular about privacy, one can also opt to dine in one’s room or cottage where the food will be served. This also makes sense in case of rains etc, when the guests do not wish to move out of the cottage for their meals.
Multi cuisine fare is served at the homestay but for those who are passionate about sampling hyper local food, the cook does dish up many local Coorg delicacies. For the rest, there is a set menu to choose from, though one can also make special requests like Jain food or allergen free dishes or baby food etc, which will be fulfilled if possible.
Breakfast is complimentary for the guests and usually consists of bread, butter, jam, eggs to order, a South Indian dish (like idli, dosa etc) and any one local Coorg item like akki rotti, neer dosa, noolputtu, kadumbutt, paputtu etc with all the relevant accompaniments.
One can opt for a choice of beverage like tea, coffee, milk, Horlicks, Boost etc, as a part of the meal.
Lunch, tea time and dinner are a la carte and are prepared as per pre-order. Being a small set up where everything is prepared fresh at every meal, the menu has to be decided before arrival, so that the kitchen staff can be well prepared. The homestay caters to individual preferences and hence each guest can order their dishes of choice.
Barbeques are organised in the designated zone, with prior intimation.
The costs for all the meals are based on various factors.
For food options outside the homestay, Madikeri town has quite a few multicuisine and regional options. Usually guests find it convenient to have lunch outside and have only their breakfast and pre-ordered dinner at the homestay.
Activities within the plantation –
Barbeque, bonfire and camping in tents can be arranged with prior notice. Costs are as per specifications. Timings of the barbeque are from 7.30 pm to 9 pm.
The home theater and dance floor in the hall, is also available for the use of the guests.
There is also the usual set of indoor games like carrom, chess, puzzles etc to keep adults and children occupied.
For those who prefer a quiet time, just chilling out in the garden or in the balconies of the villa, is an ideal way to spend a real Do-nothing holiday. Of course in my case, the various species of birds tended to greatly tempt my camera and I was flitting around instead of sitting around! A good zoom lens is the best but I had to make do with my little one.
The owners also posses another plantation which is 20 km away and they can organise a trip to this place too. They have their ancestral home here and in the vicinity there is also a dainty hanging bridge and a secluded part of the Harangi river which is not frequented by the public and hence is almost exclusively available for the guests of the homestay. A picnic can be organised by the banks or one can just spend some time here playing in the water and enjoying the view.
This outing by the river can also be clubbed with a visit to a nearby waterfall called Kote Abbi falls (not to be mistaken for the main Abbey falls near Madikeri).
The Kote Abbi is a smaller waterfall and one can feed the fish from the bridge and even sit around for a while at the tiny ‘Maggie stalls’ which add the quintessential feel of a hill station. Tiny shops selling local home made wines, pickles and spices are scattered all over the place and one can choose to shop here too.
These activities are charged based on various factors and one can discuss this at the time of booking.
Things to do in the Surroundings –
Coorg is tourist land which means it obviously has plenty to interest the average traveller. Being a hill station, it naturally offers opportunities for trekking, hiking, visiting waterfalls etc. The owners of the homestay can assist with cab bookings or tour itineraries if needed.
A few of the popular places of interest within a 50 km radius are –
The Tibetan settlement and Buddhist Monastery at Bylakuppe.
Dubare elephant camp
… and many other places.
Visitor Profile –
Guests of all ages are permitted. There are no restrictions of any kind, on the category of visitors and that includes unmarried couples, bachelors etc, as long as it is clear that illegal activities are not going to be indulged in and that peace and decorum are going to be maintained.
The homestay is within the gated plantation and hence there might be other guests on its premises. Visitors have to be mutually sensitive to the presence of others.
The place is currently not fully suitable for guests who are differently abled but the upcoming cottages are being designed to rectify this.
This is also a pet friendly property with additional charges for the animals. And of course the guest is expected to supervise the pets at all times to ensure their safety and that of the surroundings and of other people’s on the premises.
To summarize, this homestay is ideal for any type of occasion, whether it be a rejuvenating break from the mundane to get away from it all or celebrations of intimate nature or family events etc.
It is a perfect place for artists, photographers, adventure enthusiasts, professionals who want to ‘work from forest’ and those who want some Me-time to do just NOTHING but chill!
Best time to visit –
Coorg is a year round destination. The weather especially within the coffee plantations, is pleasant even in summers. Rainy season has its own charms, though outdoor activities may be restricted. Winters are cold but actually quite lovely and are also a great time to visit.
To summarize –
March and April are when the coffee buds burst into blossoms and drape the shrubs with ethereal white, jasmine like flowers.
May is summer, where the sunny daytime turns extremely pleasant as evening falls and the coffee plants sport the green baby coffee berries, which the flowers have transformed into.
June to August is the rainy season. A great time for pluviophiles and those who are content with staying indoors and watching the magic shower around them.
September to November – Very pleasant weather. Not as chill as winter. A good time to be outdoors. The landscape is lush and green after the rains.
December and January – Peak winter. Invigorating chill temperatures. A wonderful time to see the coffee plants adorned with ruby like ripe red berries. Can also witness the coffee picking and processing.
February is glorious in the springtime. A lot of bird activity. Nature at its vibrant and colorful best.
Pro tip – Coorg is always crowded during the Indian school summer holidays of April and May. This period is considered the peak season. If one is not bound by school schedules, then going there during non peak seasons will ensure a better experience. During the rains and other off season periods, one might also be able to avail of a discounted tariff.
Phone and internet connectivity –
Currently signals are poor in most patches of the property, including the cottages. They do provide a free Wifi connection but I found that to be unreliable too. However, efforts are on to get a more stable system.
There is no intercom in the rooms or cottages either but that is also being planned in future.
What is available and what you should carry –
There is a generator for power back up, in case of a power failure. The cottages have their own individual battery back ups.
Considering the terrain and possible activities, carry a pair of walking shoes, a cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, a backpack, a camera etc.
The type of clothing you need, is weather dependent but being in the midst of a plantation, it is cool throughout the year especially between sunset and early morning, so it is always a good idea to carry at least 1 coat even if it is summer. Winters are quite chill, hence equip yourself accordingly.
Daytime is warm in the summer months, so carry light, cotton wear.
And as always, carry your ID card with you.
Additional Information –
A very spacious open air parking is available.
Paid laundry service is provided.
CCTV cameras are installed in outdoor areas for security.
Loud music or any activity that is disruptive to nature and to the general peace, is not permitted.
The space can be used for celebrations and personal events, family gatherings etc.
The host is always accessible on the property and he is the point of contact for attending to all guest related matters.
Accommodation is provided for the personal staff of their guests. Check with them for the rates.
Getting there –
The nearest airport distance wise, is the Kannur International airport which is 90 km away and the road journey takes 2 hours. Kannur also has the nearest railway station.
Next is the Mysore airport which is 135 km away and takes around 3 hours.
Then comes the Mangalore International Airport which is 140 km away and the drive via the ghats (mountains) takes around 3.5 hours.
Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, which is the best connected one in comparison with the above airports, is 300 km (6 hours).
Driving down from Kannur, Mysore, Mangalore, Bangalore, is the most convenient way to get to the place.
One can also take a bus from these places. The homestay is around 6 km (around 15 minutes) from Madikeri Bus Stand.
Taxis and autos are a possibility for last mile accessibility.
Of course the homestay will be able to make arrangements for transportation if required, from any of these cities or even from the local bus stand.
Things of interest en route from Bangalore –
A few major places of interest on the way are –
Booking and contact –
Cauvery Layout, Mekeri Village, Madikeri 571201
Phone – +91 88677 90981 / +91 83100 06063
Email id – email@example.com
Please Note –
This trip was in collaboration with PK Ponnappa’s Court and I thank them for the hospitality. My narration is based on the inputs I received from various sources as well as my personal experiences.
For more pictures see My Facebook – PK Ponnappa’s Court
This itinerary was specially curated hence some of the features might have been personalized accordingly. Before booking, please check the facilities offered in your package.
May 17th – May 19th, 2023