The last stretch is a dirt track across a kilometer and a half. The car manages to gobble up the road as we reach Bugadahalli village in Sakleshpur district in Karnataka at around three in the afternoon. It is sleepy, the mist is settling fast with only the golden rays of the sun wading in. The quiet is broken by the whirring of the cicadas and chirping of the birds. As far as eyes can see, a valley stretches to the horizon and beyond till it reaches a small roofed cottage on top of a distant hill. There it rests, perhaps teasing the clouds that float just above. We are at Mugilu.
Mugilu (Kannada for clouds) is a homestay located in the coffee plantations that dot the southern fringes of Western Ghats. A secluded haven, Mugilu intends to be just that. If an uneventful lazy day in the cradle of nature is your idea of a holiday, then this indeed is the destination. You can spend an entire day reading a book on the sunny balcony with a spread of drying coffee beans for company or venture out in the adjacent meadows for a run, past the chatty locals, grazing cows and paddy fields. If you are keen on bird watching there are many that will come your way as the plantation is home to around 80 species of resident and migratory birds. Shutter bugs you’ll be delighted.
As dusk starts approaching, the valley changes its colors, first leaving the cheery green for a broody dark gray and then ultimately, engulfing itself in the silence of the night.
A day’s stay at Mugilu is reasonably priced (Rs. 4500 per couple per night) and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner; relish the warmth and flavour of home cooked Kannadiga meals. While room service is available, the menu and timings are limited and you may as well venture out to the open dining area to catch up with the owners, fellow guests or the three adorable resident dogs – Shervo, Kicchu and Shunti. Shunti is the most gregarious of them all, and may even decide to accompany you on your morning or evening jaunt. Mugilu is pet friendly, and just the right place to get your dog for a well-deserved excursion through the valleys and streams (discuss details before booking).
How to get to Mugilu: Take the Nelamangala Road in Bengaluru onto NH 48 and follow it all the way to Sakleshpur town. Call Mugilu once you reach Sakleshpur town for further directions. Roads till Sakleshpur town are fantastic and it should take 3 to 4 hours to reach. Mugilu is another 7.5km away from the town; roads are not in great shape from here, so ensure you take a suitable vehicle and a careful driver!