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A sensory Spice Garden holiday!
The Nilgiris or the ‘Blue Mountains’ have always held a special fascination for the nature lover. For a long time one could only experience the mountains from resorts in the foothills, but never had we ever anticipated the thrill of living in a resort which was literally in the crook of the arm of these mountains.
The Kurumba Village Resort is tucked away in the verdant, perennially green tropical rain forests of the Nilgiris. Situated in upper Burliar (between the fourth and fifith hairpin bend) on the ghat road, between Ooty and Mettupalayam and 60 km from Coimbatore this is a resort every nature enthusiast must find time to visit.
The first unusual treat is the resort is built around 11 acres of a spice garden. Imagine 11 acres of fully grown and fruiting nutmeg, cloves, pepper vines and fragrant cinnamon trees! Infact, as we sipped our welcome tender coconut drink questions tumbled out about what those oval fruit were hanging in such abundance from trees around the lobby. “Those are nutmeg trees,” explained Sanjay Narayanan the chairman of the resort,” and we are at the same latitude as some of the worlds best spice gardens across the globe,” he explained.” The spices grown here are all exported and compete with the best in the world for fragrance and quality. This spice garden has trees which are well over 75 years old so we built the resort around the trees and avoided cutting most of them.”
Walking into the open air restaurant called Bevina, nothing prepared us for the magnificent view of the mountains soaring high at such close range. The restaurant has been built at a level which rises high above the ground, on tall concrete stilts. Since the sides of the restaurant are open, the proximity to the mountains seems closer and the feeling of awe threatens to overwhelm one. At breakfast time the face of the mountain was misted over with the early morning mists still hanging around the trees. However later in the day over lunch, the flowery bamboo tokes, which brought in an elephant family to the periphery of the resort at night, were clearly visible. The gurgling stream babbling over a rocky bed at the foot of the mountain played an incessant and welcome medley to our conversation through our meals. The meals are usually buffet and predominantly south Indian fare with a couple of authentic tribal Kurumba dishes thrown in for variety.
Every room is well appointed and planned, keeping comfort as the key. What’s comforting is the owners are very careful keeping the fragile eco- system in mind. So there are gas geysers for the showers and the solid waste of the resort is converted into manure. Sit out on the private balcony with a hot cup of coffee early in the morning and enjoy the bird life including bul buls, mynas, hornbills and the occasional Nilgiris whistling thrush with its wicked sounding wolf whistle. “Vijay Cavale the birder comes here with his camera and sits from morning to evening enjoying the bird life of the resort,” reveals Sanjay.” Infact we have planted lots of fruit trees including figs and jack fruit to attract bird life.” There are 16 cottages in the resort and three suites for families and a large conference room facility for multi nationals planning a holiday cum work trip. As for the swimming pool it is the bluest and cleanest pool one could have ever encountered in a resort and all thanks to the tribals who “work from the heart,” according to Sanjay.
A trek into the adjoining forest is a must, early in the morning and you might get lucky spotting bison or elephants. Racquet tailed Drongos and red headed wood peckers can be seen flitting through the undergrowth, but what makes a wonderful sight is the gorgeous giant Malabar squirrel leaping from tree to tree swishing its magnificent reddish brown furry tail. It’s exciting to walk along the jungle path strewn with acrid gobs of elephant dung, picturing the mammoths demolishing the huge bamboo groves which they are so fond of feasting on.
So, book a weekend at the Kurumba Village resort and literally getaway from the heat of the city, to live in the lap of nature, high up in the Nilgiris mountains.
For details contact: Kurumba Village Resort, Ooty-Mettupalayam Road, Hillgrove Post, Kurumbadi – 643102. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.kurumbavillageresort.com Reservations: 09443998886 or Phone: 0423-2004850
Getting there: Take a train or bus from Bangalore to Coimbatore. Then engage a cab to drive you to the resort after calling and getting directions.
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