The School Estate is a boutique homestay in Coorg, India, with a history spanning 150 years. The grand old planation bungalow, erstwhile home to Rev. Richter, a 19th century missionary, and now home to the Aiyappas, continues to host travellers from around the world. Surrounded by carefully tended gardens and verdant plantations, the country home provides an idyllic setting to unwind and leave behind the rigours of city life. Plan a holiday at The School Estate to wake up every morning to bird song and freshly brewed coffee, to soak in the enchanting beauty of Coorg and to experience first-hand the famed hospitality of the Kodavas.
Reverend Christian Georg Richter was a German missionary who came to India in the mid 19th century. He arrived in Coorg at a time when Western education was met locally with mistrust and skepticism. In 1856, the reverend was appointed Principal of the Government Central School (Mercara) and subsequently, Inspector of the Coorg Schools. He set to work immediately and built a number of schools throughout the region, gradually winning over the locals. In appreciation of his efforts the British government gave Rev. Richter a generous grant and handed over two jungles, “Paramadu and Punchi in Yedenalknad” as an endowment to the schools, for setting up a coffee-plantation and to build a home for himself. A century and a half since, the plantations have come to be known as The School Estate.
The plantation bungalow, now home to the Aiyapas, was built in 1878. Apart from subtle German architectural influences, the Aiyapas have ensured other artefacts from the reverend’s era have lived on. Like a ponderous iron school bell or a century-old pool table that now serves as a dining table. Set amidst fragrant gardens and enveloped by lush estates, this bungalow was where the reverend wrote Gazetteer of Coorg, a book that faithfully documents the region in the 19th century, and its proud people, the Kodavas. In the book, Rev. Richter made special note of Kodava hospitality, remarking that “to leave a Coorg house without having partaken of any offered refreshment, be it only a sip of milk or an orange, would be a grave offence against Coorg etiquette.” That unwavering hospitality continues to be carried forward by the Aiyapas, your hosts at The School Estate.