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.
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.
Would you live to visit Stuart Hill, Madikeri?
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