Call of the countryside

December 30, 2010 08:17 pm | Updated October 17, 2016 11:01 pm IST

Experience Nature's bounty At Double Dutch Resort Photo: Soma Basu

Experience Nature's bounty At Double Dutch Resort Photo: Soma Basu


Athoor, Dindigul

USP: Pastoral bliss

Ge Mol and Gemma den Baer from Holland started this as a family home in 1994. But, when their friends started coming back to this comfortable stay in a rural setting, the Dutch couple began to wonder about the worth of their property in the scenic Kamaraj valley in the spurs of Palani Hills.

With an elevation of 300 mt above sea level, a perennially beautiful lake, a garden with a riot of colours and a storehouse of 150 species of brilliantly-coloured tropical birds and butterflies, the couple realised the 6.5 acres they owned in the lap of the mountains was a great way to bring people close to Nature. By 1997, construction was expanded, and it turned into a modern guesthouse divided into two sections.

One part houses five rooms along a wide bougainvillea-covered verandah facing the blooming garden and a shimmering lake. The other side has a small cosy cottage, perfect for newly-weds.

All the rooms are named after villages in The Netherlands, such as Hank, Krommenie, Noordwy and Kerhoout, and the breakfast of home-made jams, butter, cheese and cookies enhances the Dutch feel. But, nothing beats the warmth and grace of the couple who hold lovely conversations, regaling you with stories from their country and their experience as backpackers when they first landed in India in 1981 and fell in love with the country.

“We always try to find out what the guests prefer to eat and how they would like to spend their time here. Accordingly, we plan a unique Dutch-Indian blend,” they say.

Dinners are on the roof-top under a star or moon-lit sky, and there's a mystical stillness in the air occasionally interspersed with sounds of Nature. There is an element of suspense in the menu, for the cook may whip up any combination from Indian, Continental, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai or Dutch cuisine.

Even for those who want to do nothing but laze about in the idyllic surroundings, there are folding chairs and hammocks by the lakeside. Nothing more can act as a balm on frayed nerves than watching or feeding the inhabitants of the couple's mini animal farm — from peacocks and owls to cats, dogs, rabbits, hens and ducks.

How to get there

The resort is 25 km from Dindigul, 55 km from Palani, 65 km from Kodaikanal and 90 km from Madurai. Drive up to the Sembatti crossing and turn into Athoor village and follow the sign boards.


The budget rooms are priced at Rs. 1,500, the Economy rooms at Rs.1,800 and the Deluxe Rooms at Rs. 2,500 (inclusive of tax, exclusive of food). For enquiries, call 04543-294499, 94438-28742.

Things to do

Take a walk up to the waterfall or the cave temple, or along the rice fields, peanut gardens and coffee estates, and in coconut and palm groves.

Go bird watching or trekking. Take motorbike rides and experience a slice of Indian village life or visit the rural market. Swim in the lake or take a coracle ride. Visit the nearby towns of Madurai, Kodaikanal, Dindigul and Periyar.

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