Contributed by Smita Jog. Smita is well travelled in India and abroad. Her hobby is to read and write travel related articles. A few of her travelogues have been published in newspapers. She has written three books on her travel experiences.
A coffee plantation owner invited us to visit his coffee estate at Chikmagalur in the second week of March. We accepted, little knowing that we would be participating in a coffee blossom festival of sorts.
The sun was at its best, hinting at an approaching summer; the tall, shade-giving trees along the road counteracted its effect somewhat and made our road journey pleasant. The occasional breeze brought along a sweet perfume with it. Was it jasmine? Summer always reminds me of the fragrance of jasmine and the inflorescence of mango and cashew trees. I looked around and found some neatly planted bushes with white flowers. They were the source of the scent (a deep breath ensured that), but they were not jasmines. The aroma clung to us for the rest of the journey. Initially we saw only a few flowers but as we approached the coffee plantation, they erupted into a riot of white bunches. Each cluster had about eight to ten flowers and the composite resembled mini-chrysanthemums.
As we entered our host’s property we were held spellbound by the abundant display of white clusters on green plants, nestling in the shade of biggies like silver oaks, jackfruits, chikoos and a variety of palm. Sometimes the blossoms resembled the flower-bedecked plaits of Bharat Natyam dancers, moving in step with their gyrating motions. Sometimes single blooms winked from behind green leaves like electric lights strung out during Diwali. On occasion they looked like the huge, serpentine garlands that are used to welcome VIPS. Sometimes the white flowers alternating with the green leaves wove long strings of festive torans. We marvelled at just how adeptly nature used principles of balance, proportion and symmetry in her aesthetic creations.
Coffee plants generally blossom after the first pre-monsoon showers, that too for just a few days. This year untimely showers had caused them to blossom early. Everywhere we looked—along roads, on the slopes, beneath silver oaks and under hotel balconies—coffee blossoms lay in vast stretches, pleasing the eyes and filling the atmosphere with their sweet perfume. And witnessing this unexpected festival were we, the lucky ones.
Find a great place to stay amid plantations in Lonely Planet South India & Kerala: