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Relive the legacy

COSY GETAWAY Ashley Bungalow Photos: Soma Basu  

ASHLEY BUNGALOW

KUTTIKKANAM, IDUKKI DISTRICT

USP: Feel at home

From being a popular film shooting locale, Ashley Bungalow has now turned into a homely retreat. Nestled in the midst of 500 acres of lush green tea plantations with a riot of rare and colourful blooms, fruit trees and aromatic spices, the bungalow has five rooms that are open to guests.

If you want to relive the glory of the British era then this summer bungalow at 4,000 ft above sea level is a good option. An elderly couple will take of your food and other needs.

The bungalow built in 1868 by the Baker family is believed to be the oldest surviving planter's bungalow in the Peermedu region, an hour's drive from Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It exemplifies the exquisite carpentry of the British Raj which has been well preserved.

Let your imagination run riot while lazing in this cosy remote getaway. Only then will you hear music by moonlight and the clip-clop of hooves on the flagstones. Feast your eyes on the misty green landscape scattered with silvery clouds. And even the mug of garden-fresh steaming ginger or elachi tea with a masala omelette, crispy toast and jam, tastes heavenly.

The bungalow has a three-bayed high laden front and steps with scalloped ledges, making it is a curious mixture of local styles and English architecture. The spacious home where the Richardsons and Munroes stayed until the 1950s has a lofty domed wooden ceiling. The drawing room is majestic set with huge glass doors in a semi-circle and a wooden door that separates it from the dining area.

There are two double rooms and three single rooms with massive cots and teak furniture made in the Victorian style. All the rooms have fireplaces and large modern bathrooms. Meals are simple and are freshly cooked.

(The writer was at Ashley Bungalow at the invitation of the resort.)

How to get there

Kuttikkanam is 180 km from Madurai, 205 km from Thiruvananthapuram, 135 km from Munnar and 40 km from Thekkady. The bungalow is two km from Kuttikanam junction, from where you need to drive towards Elappara and turn left as the road curves. When you cross a tiny board drive another km till the Bison Valley junction and take left. Follow the pebbled track till you reach the grand white bungalow.

Things to do

Roam along the walkways dotted with flowers, avocado, grape and orange trees, cardamom and other spices.

Walk through herbal gardens and medicine bottling units.

Visit the tea factory or the nearby Stagbrook estate where the manager's bungalow is yet another beautiful colonial building.

Get a relaxing massage done at the nearby Sahyadri Ayurvedic rejuvenation centre.

Trek to a cascading waterfall with a natural bathing pool called “madamma kulam” or drive down to twin rock Erumulachikallu for a panoramic view of the High Ranges.

There is also a Bison Valley temple and the ancient St. George's Church in the vicinity. Go on a picnic to Panchalimedu or party on the bungalow lawns.

Tariff

The entire bungalow can be hired for Rs.12,500 per day exclusive of meals.

Single rooms are also offered. Peak and off season rates vary.

Call 09447051805 or log on to www.stayhomz.com for details.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:57:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/relive-the-legacy/article2226740.ece

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