Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Noiseless, Pollutionless Holiday Story, Part I - Kamarajar Saagar Dam!

We had been planning to visit Munnar and other exotic places with natural wealth in Kerala, for many years now! A couple of days before Deepawali, we decided to do it!  We booked for our stays at Munnar and then my son said that we would visit a green valley like place with a Dutch cottage on our way, a lake at Aathoor, near Dindigul. Since we had planned to go by car, it was easy to divert a bit and visit this beautiful lake. I had read an article about this cottage in The Hindu, long back and wanted to visit the place!

Nobody would believe that after crossing the dusty, crowded Dindigul town, we would find this green patch with an old cottage, which was very homely to spend a couple of days (we stayed overnight, though!) peacefully.  We reached there in the afternoon after having our Deepawali oil bath, wearing our new clothes!  The road itself goes through the village and very narrow too!  No vehicles, so no noise or pollution!  First, we saw the lake which was looking beautiful and serene, with lots of colourful butterflies and moths! They were too fast and so couldn't capture them in my camera!

Kamarajar Saagar Dam, Aathoor...a small reservoir.
The GPS was finding it difficult to locate the Double Dutch cottage, which we had booked for our stay.  We asked some people for directions and reached there!
The Double Dutch Cottage, where we stayed!

Double Dutch Resort is located in the Kamaraj Valley in a small agricultural village, Aathoor, near Didigul.  This place is 300m above sea level, so the weather is quite cool, throughout the year, the owners of the cottage said. Click on the name of the cottage and you can have more details of the place, how to reach etc.  Because of our short stay, we couldn't go for scenic walks and view the greenery spread over the whole place.  Some more cottages which are run by Britishers and other foreigners, nearby, seem to be good too. The cottage looks very ordinary from outside, but is beautifully decorated inside!

The place is surrounded by trees and plants which reaches the beautiful lake with the background of the mountains!  We just sat in the veranda of the cottage and watched this beautiful view and kept on clicking the nature's beautiful gift to us:

The relaxing veranda (pic. from their brochure!)
We noticed some colourful butterflies flying here and there, here!

2-3 varieties of pigeons are found here, it seems!

I love this picture the most! Click on the pictures to have a better view!
This was taken after our walk up to the lake through the trees and bushes!

Solar lamp!

The green mountain...clouds...isn't the place beautiful?
We came across some heavy rains on the way from Chennai, but here, it was drizzling and so even some ordinary flowers were looking exotic like this:

This looks so beautiful...I remember eating this flower and seeds, when we were small! They were all over fences!

Beautiful colour combination!
You have already seen this flower and the beautiful spiders in my earlier post, here.  That picture also was taken here!  I have got more pictures of flowers which you will see in my later posts on the title, 'Wordless Wednesday' or 'Foto Friday'!

Now, I must say how we felt staying in the Dutch cottage!  The owners, Ge and Gemma, a very friendly couple, made our stay very comfortable. Read more about them here, which is very interesting! We stayed in the veranda most of the time!  Watched a variety of birds flying here and there  and then, the Weaver birds which had their nests just in front of the veranda, caught our eye!  We were hooked to the chirping sounds of these birds! They were really busy birds, building their nests.  Let me dedicate a separate post for them, who made our stay, memorable!

We had vegetarian food, which was just below average.  If it was good, then we, vegetarians can stay for long! We liked the ambiance  of the place more than anything.  The dining table was also kept in the veranda, which was the best place in the artistically decorated cottage with Indian/Netherlands' touch! Because it was Deepawali night, lots of diyas were kept in the veranda  and on the dining table too, which looked more beautiful because of the open surroundings! The hosts had arranged for a show of fireworks for the staff who stay there at the cottage. Ge said that the mosquito time in the veranda was from 5 - 7 pm.  Nobody knew where they went at other times!  Our room had a mosquito bat too! But we caught only a couple of mosquitoes because we had left the door ajar after 5 pm. for sometime!  The rooms were neat and we slept well without A/C, with the windows open to the woods! No TV in the room and we were not getting signals most of the time for our cell phones!  So, it is more peaceful to stay here and the family will come closer giving enough time to each other without the TV, cell phone distractions! Sometimes we used to get some signal in our cell phones in the veranda and used it to talk to our relatives - well, briefly!

There were only a couple of more guests when we were staying.  So it was calm without much human sounds!  We also were chatting in soft tones, which was unlike us! The Dutch guests also were very nice people and we had a happy atmosphere all the time.  The hosts, Ge and Gemma are very familiar with our India and they love our country like they love their country, Netherlands.  They help in a local school physically and monetarily too.  A lady had come from Netherlands, to teach in that school and had been staying in this cottage for more than 5 weeks, it seems.   We really felt at home there.  We must make one more visit sometime in the future and explore the other surrounding areas of the place.

We left for Munnar, the next day morning.  Ge and Gemma got up early to send us off with a happy feeling, which was a rare gesture with commercialised hotels we see everywhere! Thank you, Ge and Gemma!

P.S.: Click on the picture to have a good view!


ashok said...

beautiful place and equally beautiful photography...cheers!

Sandhya said...

ASHOK: Thank you, Ashok! This is not a very famous place, but slowly people are coming to know about it! If you want peace and silence, you can visit here!

Anonymous said...

nice virtual tour

Bikram said...

Wow sandhya bhen this is beautiful.. India is so beautiful I tell you.

I want to go tooo now :)


Ramakrishnan said...

Lovely pics of the lake and Double Dutch cottage. Nice descriptions. Noted in my diary for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

Destination Infinity said...

This is what I call a dream holiday. The 'No-TV' part was like an icing over the cake! Europeans do have an eye for beautiful things, don't they? These places are in our very own backyard but we fail to notice them. But they get to know about these places and introduce them to us! I am sure that if we explore a bit, we can find so many such wonderful places inside India. I found one at the Azhiyar dam near Gobi.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

KRISHNA: Welcome to my blog, Krishna! Thank you!

BIKRAMJIT: You will love this place, Bikram!

R.RAMAKRISHNAN: Yes, this is a beautiful place. People who appreciate solitude/silence, will like this place! Nice place to go with family! Pure air and nice greenery to the eyes! They have got separate cottages for families! You can even cook your own food there, it seems, that will be very nice!

DESTINATION INFINITY: What you said is very true! Our people didn't locate this place, they did! They get lots of foreign tourists as guests, I was told! They prepare all types of food, which is a plus point for foreigners.

Yes, no TV part is the son loved that part too! He just wanted to sit in the veranda and read his pillow sized book! No disturbance!

We have got many places like this here, itself. I will post more pictures of other places...they are out of this world! This holiday was the best one for our family!

I will tell my son about the Azhiyar dam place. He was the one who arranged this holiday! He doesn't like crowds or popular sight seeings. He enjoyed this trip very much.

dsdsds said...

Oh my god.. should have been like paradise.. i am bookmarking your article in case we want to visit.. so tempting.. yeah it is a rare display of hospitality which is very rare

Swaram said...

Thanks for sharing about this wonderful place Sandhya. Ge and Gemma sounds so warm :)
Lovely pics!

Saritha said...

Beautiful pics sandhya.Munnar is in my list of places i would visit before i die.

Why don't you upload more pic in FB,you can decide who can view your pictures.

Sandhya said...

HEMA: Yes, the hosts expressed their happiness like we do when our relatives or friends come home. Very friendly people. This is a very good holiday retreat! You will like it! They have got separate cottages where you can cook for yourselves too!

SWARAM: Yes, they were very good hosts!

VARUNAVI: We visited this place on our way to Munnar. Munnar pictures come later!

Will try to upload pictures in FB too, in time!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics of the lake, Sandhya!

This seems the perfect place for a vacation!

Anonymous said...

A variety of pigeons and nests of weaver birds make the place awesome! But I agree one needs atleast average veg meals :)

Look forward to the post on Weaver Birds. I am sure you took pics of their nests too :

Kavita Saharia said...

This summer Chandan had a one week trip to Kerela and since then he has never stopped singing praises songs.This cottage looks like a place that i would love and how sad that the veg food was not that good.I hope the owners take care of this point.Gorgeous captures and as always great description.Have a nice week Sandhya.

kanagu said...

I never heard about this place but the photos suggests me that it a must visit place..

A silent, non-TV, no mobile is the place we can call as heaven now :D :D

Thank you very much for sharing and especially that mountain pic is breathtaking :)

Sandhya said...

MANJU JOGLEKAR: Yes, if you love to be alone amidst greenery, this place is the best one, Manju!

INDIAN HOME MAKER: Yes, you know me! I am posting the weaver birds' nest, tomorrow!

KANAGU: As I have written here, I read about it in the Hindu article, long back but had forgotten. My son came across this place now and we visited and are very happy about it!

I am sure you will like it, Kanagu!

Shail said...

Ahh looks and sounds heavenly!

Renu said...

looks really beautiful..would love to visit..

Anonymous said...

awesoem snaps.. would love to visit this place, never heard of it though.. thanks for the intriguing information.............

keep inspiring....

Ruprekha said...

How sweet a post! Your narration made me actually get the smell of the flowers and rain soaked hills! Lovely place.

radha said...

Such a nice peaceful place. And you gave a good account. Next time, you should get a discount for the unbiased publicity that you have given the resort!

SM said...

beautiful shots

Sandhya said...

SHAIL: Yes, the place is heavenly, Shail!

RENU: Please do, Renu!

DREAMSCAPES: This is an interesting place to visit with family, Princess!

RUPREKHA: Yes, this is a lovely place to visit for a peaceful vacation, Ruprekha!

RADHA: Let us see if they offer without our asking for it!

SM: Thank you, SM!

Wini said...

This is a very unusual holiday and it is vacations like these that really stay in your mind for a long time! Who would have guessed that such a little-known place could be a beautiful vacation spot!

The Dutch Cottage sounds very unusual and nice. And so do Ge and Gemma! :)

Kavita Saharia said...

Sandhya ,i had posted one comment here too but i don't see it .It had happened to me in another blog too but all the comments got republished by itself after few days.Don't worry.

Kavita Saharia said...

i saw the comment and it is gone again.

Roshmi Sinha said...

Wonderful pics! Nature in all her glory ... India is such a beautiful country, yet we know so little.

I love reading your posts. Your narration has such a tranquil feel to them...

Sandhya said...

ASHWINI SRIRAM: We are living here for so many years, but have never heard about this place - well, until we saw the article in Hindu! Really, great place amidst our concrete dirty jungle. Yes, this was a memorable trip for us as a family!

KAVITA: I never saw your comment in this space even once. Now, again it has happened with Mr. Bhatia's comment, in the next post! It looks like some ghosts are here!

ROSHMI SINHA: When you see the first picture, unless you know the place or read about it, it can be called New Zealand too! OK, I am exaggerating a
bit! But it IS beautiful!

Thank you, Roshmi! Your comment means a lot to me! You are such a great writer and your appreciation boosts my morale!

Gemma said...

Dear friends,

Thank you for your kind words about Double Dutch Resort. We hope we will meet again in future.

Gemma, Gé and staff Double Dutch Resort

Sandhya said...

GEMMA: We had a good time at your place. It will be in our memory always! Thank you, Gemma and Ge!

Toby in India said...

Hello Sandhya, what a nice way to talk to you again after the nice lunch and afternoon at your house. Ge sent me the link to your blog.
Lovely pics of the lake and the weaver birds. They are still very busy around their nests. BUt I didn't see any babies yet. I will try to find the nest of the Taylor birds again. It was very close to Kannivadi House but maybe it was washed away as there was heavy rain here as well.
We had a nice time at Mamallapuram and Pondy and it was nice to come 'home' last night and work in the preschool today. Now, off to bed. Your bowl is shining on my bedtable. Warm greetings, Toby

Sandhya said...

TOBY IN INDIA: Nice to see your message here, Toby!

Do the weaver birds come near the verandah? Bulbul birds had nested in our small garden, sometime back. When the parents taught them flying lessons, the babies were flying all over. The were sitting in our verandah too! I was so happy to see the babies so close!

Nice to know that you enjoyed Mamallapuram and Pondy! Enjoy India! Thank you!

Roshmi Sinha said...

Thank you Sandhyaji for your kind words. Keep posting as often as you can...

Shail said...

Wow. What a beautiful place. The view is awesome. A really nice find. May be I'll be able to go there some time in the future :)

Sandhya said...

ROSHMI SINHA: I missed to acknowledge your comments, sorry! I don't see you nowadays, where are you?

SHAIL MOHAN: Yes, it was a beautiful place, I still remember, even after 5 years! You will definitely enjoy...a cozy place! Thanks for the comment, Shail!

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