OVER THE HILL

USP: Tune in to birdsong

The one-hour drive to Poovar passes by in a flash if you keep your nose pressed to the car window. For once you leave Thiruvananthapuram city, the road goes through places that are still untouched by the hustle and bustle of the city. Rustic houses with tiled roofs, lazy river banks, verdant stretches of tapioca, coconut palms and glimpses of the sea here and there make you forget the clock.

Almost near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, our driver takes a sharp U-turn from the main road and hits a road that takes us uphill to a quaint resort that has been designed by its owner — award-winning architect T.M. Cyriac.

Once, this was a barren, brown hillock that had lost most of its top soil. Now the four-acre plot is a verdant patch filled with fruit trees, plants with medicinal value and flowering plants. Bird song, the wind in the trees and the pounding of the surf far away enhance the languorous mood of a warm afternoon.

Of the seven rooms here, five are spacious, air-conditioned with thatched roofs and open-to-the-sky bathrooms. Done up in rustic tones, the rooms have an unbeatable view of the sea and the estuary. Some of the rooms have paintings by the eminent artist Namboodiri. Sink into the low beds, open the windows and voila! Now you realise what it is like to live in a room with a view: the greens of the swaying canopy of coconut trees seem to merge with the azure blue of the Arabian Sea as the Neyyar river joins the sea in swirling streams of blues and whites.

After feasting on the view and the ethnic Kerala meal that is served in an open dining area, if you still have the will power to explore the place, then begin with the exterior of the building that is adorned with paintings by Ajayakumar, Principal of the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram. A tennis court is also there if you want to work up an appetite for the sumptuous dinner.

Once the sun begins its westward journey, the place to be is in or on the side of the Infinity pool. Or park yourself on the comfortable chairs in the Gazebo near the dining area. Snack on short eats and meditate on eternity as the sun paints the sea in every possible shade of gold and red.