I’ll be honest – I didn’t have too many expectations about my outdoor life in India. And by that I don’t mean hanging out, pubs, parties and the works. I couldn’t care less about that these days. But the mountains, the hills, green as far as your eye can see or just the beautiful ocean stretching out in front of you … these are not things I expected to see unless I drove or flew to the corners of India. I was so wrong! Sooooooooooo wrong!
Well, for starters I don’t remember much about Indian geography. (Yes shame on me. I remember scoring really high in Geography but I remember how it meant absolutely nothing. It didn’t mean that you actually learnt much!) The Western Ghats or the Indian mountains were merely textually represented in most books to begin with. Indian films were almost always shot in Switzerland or New Zealand or other ‘exotic’ locations back then. There really was no reference. Coming back after more than a decade to find a gazillion facebook groups on trekking, adventure sports and exploring Bangalore and other places, left me surprised. A bit overwhelmed you could say. I didn’t realize people were so nuttily into these things. Like serious nuts. The lovely, wonderful and exciting kind of nuts. So I started following these groups. Too occupied to actually join them and slightly overwhelmed to venture into ‘meetup style’ events this soon. Not yet sure if I am mentally in a space to hang out with folks I don’t know, ‘meetup style’. Too much work, too much effort and I wasn’t ready to do it.
I came up with an alternative instead. I started reading up what many were doing and doing my own research online so I could start exploring them with Daddy A and Little A. What I found surprised me! Unbelievably awesome blogs, hidden treasures, stories everywhere! Looking up farm, horse riding, fruit picking and other keywords in Bangalore brings up places you never expect to find an hour away from the madness that this city is. I started looking up all the things we did or knew of back in the US and I found almost similar things to do here. SHOCCKKKING! (Let’s not delve into how naive and silly it was that I didn’t know about any of this! And I won’t even go into how many bloggers I’ve annoyed with my standard – “what the … this is all in India, really?!”)
So what came of it, you ask … 🙂 So here I present to you our very first outdoor experience in Bangalore – the lovely Silver Oak Farms @ Nandi Foot Hills. A hidden gem. A lovely old couple moved to the foothills of Nandi in 2003 from Chennai to start their farm. Sitting on at least 3 – 4 acres of land, is their unbelievably beautiful house, designed traditional (almost seemed Keralite in style) on the outside and wonderfully contemporary on the inside. The interiors momentarily took me to the vineyards on the hills of Oregon. We went there on a lovely Sunday morning around 11. Took in the hills, perched on a bunch of rocks, sipping lovely chilled beer that they served. The kids had a ball (went with neighbors and their kids) climbing the rocks and enjoying their child friendly ‘trek’ around the slopey parts of the farm. Home made lunch @ 1.30 was just perfect. Stuffed parathas, curries made with fresh veggies from their farm. Nothing fancy, just right. They had a little turtle in the middle of their house and that kept the kids busy for hours while we enjoyed lunch and drinks. After lazing around till 3.30, we went harvesting. The little cuties with their baskets, picked up tomatoes, beets, avocados, grapefruits, spinach, cabbage …. Just Totally Entirely Completely Perfect way to end our visit there. An hour or more later, we sat around taking silly pictures everywhere and left at 5, after soaking up every last sight of the hills that we left behind. It cost us a mere Rs. 1000/head aka $15 for each adult. They charged the kids Rs.200. Considering what it costs to eat at a restaurant these days – this was unbelievably cheap!
If you haven’t been to Silver Oak Farms – you should. Check them out @ http://www.silveroakfarm.com/ and head out there one of these weekends!