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Sunlit and Slow Living in Coorg’s Stuart Hill – In Photos

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Coorg’s Laid-Back Stuart Hill in Photos. Karnataka, India

I’ve written so much about our month on Stuart Hill in Madikeri town of Karnataka (in the linked memoir) that I’ve reserved this piece for photographs of the hill and Madikeri town.

Blasts from the past: travel guide to Coorg and finding isolated Madikeri guest houses

Our unhurried life on Stuart Hill near Raja’s Seat is obvious from the pictures, of which many I took drenched in the sun. Mostly we worked for a couple of hours, I spent time with the homestay host (whom we called aunty), we drove for food, watched the six homestay cats play around, and walked around the hill. 

The countryside of Karnataka is beautiful. I don’t think one can see it in a lifetime. But little by little, from weekend trips to extended stays in the state, we can see how much of this Southern land is covered by forests (in between residents stay on hills and planes) that people follow their traditions and culture strictly (even though many youngsters have now moved to Bangalore to work) and that natural resources and food is abundant there.

I’ve spent years in Karnataka and come close to neither seeing it all nor tasting all its cuisines and dishes. But here is a long, informative narrative of Karnataka from a traveler’s perspective, and this guide can help you find crunchy and delicious dosas in South India.  

Visiting Stuart Hill and putting up in one homestay there was part of our plan to live slowly and explore meaningfully. I take about one week to make sense of a place. Be it the guest house, the surrounding trails, or the people around. Only after that one week do I know if the hosts are kind, whether I can ask for extra chutney in breakfast, whether the place is peaceful enough to write, and if the internet works well. When these basic daily things sort out, one can relax, work, and go out as much without returning to a room/flat/floor filled with rainwater or only to find your host has made your bathroom shared. 

Little inconveniences we faced in our three-week stay in Stuart Hill homestay (explained in the memoir) didn’t hamper my experience enough to not write about this quaint alcove in crowded Coorg, a place that suffers from over-tourism. I would very much love to return to Stuart Hill if only to eat another fish biryani at Machlee or see locals rattle their auto-rickshaws up the steep lanes of the mountain. 

Hope these photographs bring you joy. 


Karnataka highway. Enroute Bangalore to Stuart Hill, Madikeri. The swaying coconuts always make Karnataka roads picturesque.
Mangalore-style fish curry rice on highway enroute Bangalore-Madikeri. I’m always happy when I find fish curry and rice.
A Ganesh Statue clicked on the way from Bangalore to Stuart Hill. Notice the four heads. Maybe there is a fifth behind.
Swirling roads of Western Ghats, Coorg Karnataka. Driving is a helpful skill in exploring this Southern state. Buses and trains run but don’t connect all the places a traveler may want to visit.
View over the Madikeri town, Coorg. Notice the red-tiled roofs and the water tank in the distance.
View of the mountains around Stuart Hill. People are starting to use solar energy.
A South Indian temple on Stuart Hill near Madikeri town
The same temple near Stuart hill in a close-up. Only a fewer things can surpass the beauty of South-Indian temples.
Sunrise over Stuart Hill, Karnataka
A snack shop in Madikeri town. South India has colorful sweetmeats waiting for you everywhere.
Sunrise over coffee estates around Stuart hill in Coorg. Most of Karnataka is still forest, and that’s a good thing.
A scary face to send the evil spirits away, homestay Stuart Hill. North Indian homes also hang a scary face, mostly outlines of a face painted in black over upturned mud pots. But Southern homes ward off the evils more artfully.
Ainmane organic coffee and honey shop. This one had wax inside the jars too.
The view of a large house from Stuart Hill. Behind the mountains sprawl.
Enjoying some soupy momos in Madikeri town.
Another sunrise above Stuart Hill. People wake up early in those parts of the country.
Kadumbuttu, or rice balls, popular in Kodagu cuisine (Coorgy food). The insides of the rice balls is really soft.
a drink in machlee restaurant stuart hill madikeri
Basil or sabja seeds drink in a restaurant on Stuart hill. The seeds are known to cool down in the summers and are a popular ingredient in South India.
sunrise over coffee kingdom of coorg
Another sun rise over coffee hills of Madikeri. Light falls and darkness melts away.
Hotel Mayur Valley View, Stuart Hill, Madikeri. It’s a government hotel with panoramic views of the valley, great food, and drinks.
one sunny afternoon in our Stuart hill homestay.
full moon rises over Madikeri town in Coorg. That evening we were driving back to our homestay in Stuart Hill. And I couldn’t go without zooming into the moon and clicking some everlasting pictures of the beautiful one.
very oily dal in a restaurant on the highway near Stuart Hill
A night view from Stuart hill. As orange as it gets.
Fish Biryani at Machlee restaurant, Stuart Hill
fish on a highway restaurant in madikeri
a grilled fish at the Mangalore-style highway restaurant Fish Curry Rice. Do a favor to yourself and ask restaurants to tone down the chili. Because if you have a mild taste, the South Indian chilies will scorch you. Most dishes carry red chili, green chili, dry red chili, and black pepper. Kid you not.
madikeri spice garden
Spice Garden, Madikeri. All the pepper from the farms go into that rasam, fish masalas, and squid pepper fry.
madikeri town coorg
A View of Madikeri Town. In the distance you can see the church above which the moon had shined in one of the previous photos.
coorg hills 1
Western Ghat hills.
budding coffee plants coorg madikeri
Budding coffee flowers on Stuart hill. (February)
budding coffee plants coorg south india
More coffee flowers
garden of our homestay stuart hill madikeri
our breakfast table. A beautiful morning every day.

Would you live to visit Stuart Hill, Madikeri?


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