Travel

Just Nature and you

RUSTIC CHARM 'Serenity Resort Photo:K.Ananthan.   | Photo Credit: K_Ananthan

Scenic villages, road-side temples, coconut groves, tamarind trees and guava sellers whiz past on the long drive to Sethumadai. The destination? Serenity Resort, set inside a 15-acre farm and surrounded by looming hills. There's a waterfall nearby, and the soothing sound of the water hitting the rocks and gurgling down into the forest is a constant.

We reach the resort, started as a homestay in 2006 by Chitra Devi, around lunch time, after a 70-odd km drive from Coimbatore. A rustic treat awaits us — a tangy sambar made of shallots and tender brinjal from the kitchen garden, ghee rice, appalam, poriyal and creamy curd. All this served under a thatched dining hall set away from the main house. We have company too — Shadow and Silver, the resident dogs, who tail us everywhere.

The main home, designed by Chitra's son Rajeshwaran, is a work of art. Timber from the eucalyptus trees on their farm has been converted into pale cream seaters and cots with silk-cotton cushions and throws. Dark brown teak pillars break the monotony. Kerala tiles embellish the floor and the ceiling.

The reception is a great place to lounge in. Just sit back and watch innumerable birds take off against an orange-tinted sky. Entire peacock families preen in the fields. A brilliant blue kingfisher, a drongo and a wagtail vie for attention. A family of colourful bee eaters hops from one fence to the other.

The resort has three well-appointed, spacious rooms with air-conditioners and an attached bath. The matching bedcovers, pillows and towels lend an aesthetic touch. Mercifully, there are no television sets and cellular phone connectivity is poor — the guests end up appreciating Nature. Curl up in the afternoon for a snooze and wake up to the aroma of hot bajjis or bondas and a cup of tea redolent of wood smoke.

This is also said to be the best time to spot the local elephant, deer and gaur herds. Later at night, the wild boars have a field time, digging the fields to find plump groundnuts.

Once the sun sets, the sounds from the forest take over. The birds have roosted and stars begin to glow in the vast expanse above. Fireflies dance in the air and come to rest near you — lighting up your world, patch by little patch.

A little before dinner, the helpers have a camp fire blazing. There's a slight nip in the air, and the fire feels just right.

Dinner is at the reception, served buffet style — soft rotis and a delicious vegetable gravy cooked over a wood-fired oven. We opt for vegetarian food and Chitra's upset she can't showcase her cooks' specialities — Pollachi chicken varuval and Kozhi milagu kuzhambu.

The rustic touch is evident at breakfast too — crisp, brown wafer-thin dosais served with tomato bajji and coconut chutney. There's bread too, but its no contender to the dosai.

Things to do

Ask the staff to take you around the local farms

Go birding. There's a wealth of birdlife around the resort

Visit Top Slip, a popular tourist spot, 18 km from the resort

Head to the watchtower on a tree and take in the sights of the forest

How to go

From Pollachi (42 km from Coimbatore), take the road leading to Anaimalai and Vettaikaranpudhur. Take the diversion at Sethumadai, and reach the Deivakulam Kaliamman temple. Cross a bridge overflowing with water, drive past a farm and follow the direction boards to reach the resort. The resort is 29 km from Pollachi.

Tariff

A room is priced at Rs. 4,000 (all inclusive) for 24 hours (inclusive of three meals). An extra bed costs Rs. 1,500 a head. Children between three and 13 are charged Rs. 750. There are group rates for 20-plus members. For details, call 98422-36069 and 94861-36069 or visit >www.serenitytopslip.com

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 10:09:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/travel/Just-Nature-and-you/article13383145.ece

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