2012 has been a year of amazing holidays. We wrapped up the year with yet another lovely holiday at the Elephant Valley Kodaikanal. Hill stations have become commercial trash – but there are still jewels like Destiny Farm (Off Ooty) and Elephant Valley that still exist. Situated 20 Km before Kodai (2 Hr drive from Kodai Road) – its a perfect haven for nature lovers. Set in a valley with a lovely stream flowing thru it ( where Elephants come to drink water in sumer) – its peace & tranquility symbolised.
The resort is a 100 acre property with 20 rooms. The rooms are rustic but efficient & functional (or as my daughter would say “lovely halli place” ). They are spread across a vast area and some are a good 10 – 15 min walk from the central office / restaurant. So please check this out when booking.
Hot water available in morning and night. No TV , No Intercom , Limited Cell Phone connectivity & no room service . But yet we managed to spend 3 days and the time just flew. A lot of credit for that goes to the fact that we were a group of 3 families and the kids kept themselves busy with horse rides , treks , innovative games and many iPads.
With 100 acres there is a lot of forest to walk around – and the trek is a must do. You can do a 2 hr or even a 6 hr trek. We did a 3 hr Trek and the kids jumped on to ponies – so they were not tired (the Resort has a stable of lovely horses). As you walk around you see Coffee plantations , Pepper carpeting the barks of large trees , sweet lime , goose berry and a variety of exotic fruits trees – all set in lush green canopy. The guide ( 55 year old Madaswamy) was swell as he enthralled us with stories of elephants and bisons that came right inside the resort in summer to drink water.
The kids love the horse rides – and its priced at just Rs 250 for a one hour trip. That was a big hit with the kids and Captain & Chetak (who the kids renamed Black Beauty) became their best friends
The resort also has a lovely farm where they grow a wide variety of fresh organic fruits & vegetables. Almost all the food prepared at the resort is from the farm produce. Surprisingly its not very cold – last week of Dec the temp was about 15 Degrees Centigrade. The valley effect and cloudy nights helped in keeping the place warm.
Food at the restaurant is very homely and tasty. Limited in variety but spans both Indian & Continental dishes – Veg & Non veg. Breakfast & Dinner are buffet meals. The service is excellent but being peak season the guys were really overworked. More than 50% of the guests were foreigners – a large % of them French.
Room rates vary from Rs 3300 – Rs 7200 ( Inclusive of breakfast) . We stayed at the Tectona – the only room with 2 bedrooms . The Tree House is located a distance away and one needs to cross the stream to reach there. The honeymoon suit is again tucked away in wilderness. Food is very reasonably prices – so a 3 night trip inclusive of 2nd AC train fare from Bangalore to Kodai Road , transfer and a 1 day sight seeing trip to Kodaikanal should be in the range of 50K for a family of 4.
On the way back we managed to stop by at the famous Meenakshi temple ( Claimed to be 3500 Years Old) at Madurai. Madurai is 40 km from Kodai Road ( 1 hr drive) – so from Elephant Valley to Madurai is nearly 3 hrs. You can also plan a 2 night stay at Elephant Valley and then do a night stop at the Taj at Madurai. Just remember to book your return tickets from Madurai to Bangalore.
Overall a wonderful trip – and what made it memorable was the group of 3 families. Thanks LAN & Rakesh for joining . Lets now look forward to the next trip to Kashmir in April
All trip photos can be viewed at the following Flickr Link http://www.flickr.com/photos/vak1969/sets/72157632381025548/with/8324642786/