KTF chief Sanjar Imam offers sneak peek into Karnataka’s immersive luxury experiences

KTF’s upcoming Coffee & Coast orientation trip will showcase Kambala and coffee estates of Sakleshpur.

Karnataka has some of the world’s eminent world heritage resources and ethnicities still rooted in their traditions. While the spotlight has always been on the oft-Instagrammed ruins of Hampi or the lush-green plantations of Coorg and Chikmagalur, not many stories have been told about the sprawling coffee estates of Sakleshpur or the fast and feisty ‘Kambala,’ the traditional buffalo race of Coastal Karnataka.

Nestled in a 100-acre coffee plantation, rosetta by ferns sakleshpur is perfect for vacations and workations.
Nestled in a 100-acre coffee plantation, Rosetta by Ferns Sakleshpur is perfect for vacations and workations.

In an exclusive interaction with TravelDine, Sanjar Imam, President of Karnataka Tourism Federation, shed light on the state’s tourism potential and how the Coffee & Coast Orientation Trip for travel agents, which will be held from March 24 to March 27, will play a role in drawing tourists to Karnataka.

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Sanjar imam, president, karnataka tourism federation.
Sanjar Imam, President, Karnataka Tourism Federation.

“Karnataka is a kaleidoscope of experiences that are diverse. The concept of ‘Coffee & Coast’ Orientation Trip is to showcase to a group of travel agents one such diversity that ranges from coffee growing region to the coast of Karnataka. This 4-day trip is also about showcasing the lesser known destinations within the state. The trip is educational, and the initiative is being taken to enable the travel agents to sell the destinations better having experienced it themselves,” says Imam.

Bask in the traditional elegance of malnad at rosetta by ferns sakleshpur.
Bask in the traditional elegance of Malnad at Rosetta by Ferns Sakleshpur.

The delegates of the 4-day program will first visit the coffee plantations of Sakleshpur and then travel to Mangalore, where they will partake in the unique buffalo race festival of Kambala. 

Villagers from coastal karnataka assemble in mangalore to take part in kambala.
Villagers from Coastal Karnataka assemble in Mangalore to take part in Kambala.

The group will also have a chance to experience the recently launched and one-of-its-kind Vistadome train journey through the Western Ghats that affords a 180-degree-view.

Luxury travel in Karnataka

Luxury has become cliched, says Imam.

“It is also very relative so it really depends how one perceives it. Given the rich culture, history, culinary experiences and the bountiful nature, to me a luxury holiday in Karnataka is about experiencing the destination unhurriedly and a region at a time. There is so much to be discovered and learnt. Having the luxury of time would make for a luxury holiday. So whether it is about wildlife, the hills, architecture, cuisine or culture there is a lot to be experienced. Today, there are hotels and resorts in Karnataka that are amongst top of the line in India so one can also be in comfort and luxury in literal terms too,” he says.

Karnataka’s culinary experiences

Karnataka is crazy about food, says Imam. 

“Bengaluru itself has over 3,000 restaurants! Upscale hotels and resorts attract the best chefs and have interesting restaurants and menus so one can’t go wrong with Evolve Back restaurants in Coorg, Kabini and Hampi, which also makes for an interesting itinerary. My most recent discovery was ‘Teatro’ at Rosetta by Ferns in Sakleshpur and I can’t wait to return there next week. Some other notable eateries are Pallkhi and Gajalle in Mangalore for seafood, Shikari in Mysore, Coorg Cuisine in Kodagu and Habba in Madikeri,” he adds.

KTF has been showcasing and promoting destinations within Karnataka for over a decade. 

“We have been bringing travel agents and influencers from around the country and educating them by making them experience it first-hand. The last we did was Chikmagalur Blossoms just before the pandemic and we are glad that we can now resume with the upcoming trip, which is sold out. Going forward, we will continue to showcase lesser known and offbeat destinations of Karnataka to enhance tourism. The Department of Tourism and India Tourism have supported our efforts always and they have come forward again to sponsor and support us for the upcoming trip,” says Imam.

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