For a short period of time that my husband and I were in Bangalore, we wanted to try and cover all the places that could be reached within a couple of hours drive. Chikmagalur had been in our list for the longest time, so we decided to tick that of our bucket list. I was really excited about this particular travel as we had booked ourselves a unique stay. A stay in a geodesic glamping dome – a first for us!
If you haven’t heard about the term glamping, it basically refers to a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping. If you are a Bangalore Vasi and looking for a glamping experience, book your stay at Birds Eye Estate Geodesic Glamping Domes, Chikmagalur.
Bangalore to Chikmagalur is about 6 hours drive. We left on an early Thursday evening and got to our stay by noon.
The road through the last few kilometers was unconstructed, and it was a very difficult drive manoeuvring through narrow lanes, but it was all worth the pain. The weather when we got there was just amazing. We were greeted by a male staff and from his accent I could make out that he was a Malayalee. I immediately grinned in my head. He unlocked both the domes and then left for us to explore them and then choose one between the two.
So there are basically two glamping domes – and the catch is that the owner either rents them out both to the same person or group, or does not rent them at all. Now since we wanted to have that experience and we were just two of us, we had to pay for both the domes. For two domes, it cost us Rs. 8000/- per night. Unfortunately the price does not include any meals – not even breakfast. But the food is pretty affordable and you get a good portion. Alternatively, they also have all the necessary equipment and the ingredients in the dome in case someone wants to cook.
The price per night is on the high side because there is a complimentary bonfire and jacuzzi experience that is included in the price. Now if you are enjoying the dome experience with friends or family, the price would not be such a bummer since Rs. 4,000 per dome is decent, plus the glamping experience is quite unique in itself. So for a once in a lifetime experience or just to get a first time experience of something different, you may be willing to pay a premium.
Now, coming to the question – if we can work out of there? No, you simply can’t! It’s very hard to find a stable network. Although they did mention that you get good Jio network, it was still pretty bad. So if you are looking for a glamping experience amidst nature, and want to cut off from the world, and get a social media detox – this would be a perfect place and experience for you!
So we settled in and were quite looking forward to our experience for the next two days. It was amazing how, no matter how the temperature got outside of the dome, it stayed pretty chill inside. Furthermore, there was also a cooler in the dome that the owner provided which we honestly did not even need to use, as the weather inside the dome remained just ideal.
And then my husband got into his usual routine of observing structures, being a civil engineer and then explained to me how the entire dome was set up and how it could al be easily dismantled. He used big construction jargons and I nodded like I understood everything. 😀
We quickly got freshened up and it was soon past lunch time and we were famished. The lunch arrived soon in a huge tiffin box and it was Sadhya (Long course South Indian meal). The food was delicious and tasted just like it was just out of a Mallu mom’s kitchen. We filled our stomaches to exhaustion and rested for a bit.
Once we were up, we asked for some milk to make some coffee. The staff brought us a milk packet along with a filter coffee machine. My husband used his small VNIT brain into figuring out how the machine must be used. Finally after a lot of contemplation and figuring out various possibilities he worked out the right method. Honestly, we found the usage of the quite amusing. The flavour of the local coffee was pretty good and more than the taste we enjoyed every bit of the process in making it.
The weather during evenings just got blissful. We had a long chat over coffee and then I settled with a book that I had carried along – A Thousand Splendid Sons by Khalid Hosseini.
The sun soon set and it got pitch dark. In the daily hustle and fast paced city life, you are so used to the noise that the pin drop silence seemed like quite a luxury.
We finished our dinner and informed the staff to arrange for the bonfire. I got dressed in a shimmering grey top and shorts and my favourite pair of dangling earrings and my husband picked his favourite black kurta and jean. We settled across the bonfire while melodious 60’s music played in the background from our bluetooth device. It was a beautiful evening that came to an end with us running out of logs to fuel the fire.
Next morning, we woke up pretty early and joined our staff as he went pepper plucking. My husband and I are sucker for new experiences that ways! The estate that we headed to was at a walkable distance from our stay. We were joined in by another man and a woman.
The man climbed up the tree and cut the pepper loops in slow-mo while the woman collected them and put them in a sack. It fascinated me how women working in estates dressed themselves in men’s shirts and pants, and carried them so wonderfully. I saw real good fashion there. It was a fun experience understanding the entire cycle from pepper planting to selling.
We got back to our domes and finished our breakfast. Brewed fresh aromatic Chikmagalur filter coffee and enjoyed it while still discussing about our pepper plucking experience. I then got back to reading my book because Khaled Hosseini makes you do that 🙂
The weather suddenly changed and from nowhere the rain god just poured like there is no tomorrow. Sliding into that bed, in the comfort of the quilt, and the view of rain drops trickling down in straight lines through the exterior of the dome, while reading one of my favourite authors brought a smile on my face! I genuinely feel lucky and blessed when nature plays out beautifully during our various travels.
It was soon lunch time and we enjoyed a hearty lunch while enjoying the cold weather. The rain soon stopped and the mist took over. It felt like it was now the right time to click some pretty pictures.
The weather got pretty cold by the evening and I’m not a person who honestly enjoys cold weather unless I’m all equipped. So, I was preferring to stay indoors. But our jacuzzi experience was pending and it felt like it was about right time now to go for it. So we called in the staff to make for the arrangements.
Now with your partner by your side, a jacuzzi experience can be very romantic. However since the set up is in the open, it is kind of always playing at the back of your head. Although the hot water from Jacuzzi surely helped us feel better, it was still a disappointment since there was no privacy. Nevertheless, we still had a good time. My husband loves water and he sure was very happy to have had this experience.
After a good bath, I got back to my book again and spent an hour speedily skimming through the last few pages and completed it. The way the author describes about life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and `the constant living in fear of if the Afghanis will see another day is heartbreaking. But as all stories do, Laila and Tariq reunite and it is a happy ending. With that, after discussing the book briefly with my husband, we retired for the day.
The next morning, we woke up just in time for breakfast. Post a heavy breakfast and a cup of good filter coffee, we packed our bags and relived the best moments from the last two days in our head in quick succession. It was soon time to check out and say goodbye! It definitely was a short trip yet a meaningful one for us.
The drive back was pleasant with views of lush coffee estates. Overall, it was a very good glamping experience that we totally enjoyed. Tashakor Chikmagalur for all the memories, until the next time!