VIJAYSHREE RESORT AND HERITAGE VILLAGE

HAMPI ROAD, HOSPET

USP: A luxurious stop over to explore Hampi

H ospet station in the morning is like every other station in a small town — bustling with porters and impatient vehicles. We get into the dazzling white car and sail forth to Vijayshree Resort. We leave the town behind and bowl along this dusty road. Suddenly in the middle of all that brown is a vivid splash of green and we sweep into the resort.

We enter through a 100-year-old antique door. A traditional welcome later, we are shown to our cottages. We are assigned the presidential villa. With a sitting and dining area, apart from the huge and well appointed bath, and comfortable bed, the cottages feel like home, or at least like a home I might aspire to. I decide not to try the Jacuzzi as I was fascinated by the shower stall with its multi-pressure jets.

It is time for breakfast at the coffee shop, 24 Hours. After the taking of toast and tea and many other pan Indian delicacies, it is time for a tour of the property which uses solar energy, has water recycling plants and has over 60,000 trees.

A lot of thought has gone into the furnishing of the rooms and premises. The lamps are from Taiwan while the ceilings have been hand painted. The property includes a 6,000 sq.ft. pool, an entertainment centre, the Nirvana spa, which offers a range of massages and beauty treatments, and the wedding and conference halls.

Lunch is served at Ajeeth, the multi-cuisine restaurant. After a short rest we head out to the Tungabhadra Dam and are suitably awestruck by the red river. We are back at the resort by 7.30 and head for the Heritage Village adjacent to the resort.

This is rural India (or to be more specific Rajasthan) with a vengeance. There is the camel ride, the decorated bullock cart, dance, song, puppet shows, mehndi, astrologers and a magic show.

The sit-down Rajasthani dinner is something else. We sit on the floor around a chaukat as course upon course arrives and just as you'd be convinced you couldn't eat anymore, another delicacy arrives. The resort is vegetarian and does not serve liquor.

As I rest my head on the pillow and idly switch channels on the big fat telly, I think of exploring Hampi the next day. But that is another story!

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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