Sunday, 27 September 2015

Notes from a Bygone Era - A Trip to Kolavara Heritage Homestay

Once bitten by wanderlust, the disease is incurable. The symptoms start showing if you have not indulged for a while and if you ignore those also, it just erupts - you turn a blind eye to constraints and just do it! And life after a baby has no dearth of the said constraints. Beginning from the selection of place to mode of travel and planning an itinerary that does not interfere with his sleep, planning a trip is one huge challenge. But we had stayed out of holidays for quite a while and could stand it no more. Picking up baby and baggage, we set out on a trip to Shimoga. Father in law joined us this time and granddad and baby had a blast all through! We also got some much needed time away from the little one , that too while on a holiday!

Our first destination was Jog falls. Though out of season, we planned to visit it for the sheer reason that the train we took stops there at a more earthly hour than Shimoga which meant the little boss's night's sleep would be complete. There, I told you about constraints, didn't I? Jog falls was quite pleasant when we reached the place in the morning. We took a walk around the area in the cool morning time and did boating in the hot afternoon. Evening saw us drive down to Shimoga where we planned to stay for the night. Lady luck smiled at us and we got an upgrade to a presidential suite at The Royal Orchid Hotel! We checked in and after a sumptuous dinner, sank into the super soft beds. The little man slept through the night without his usual night time adventures around the bed and we slept like logs. Bliss it was! I hadn't slept like that since my baby's birth and that was 8.5 months then!

Next day, after breakfast, we set out to go to the Kolavara Heritage Home Stay.  A two hour scenic drive along Areca nut plantations and the Thunga river took us there. As we alighted at the beautifully manicured front lawns and stepped into the house, I got the feeling of having come to my grand mom's place. With its open to sky central courtyard adorned with a pretty bonsai thulsi plant and the surrounding veranda decorated by tastefully chosen ethnic chairs and joolas, Kolavara opened its arms to welcome us to a very homely holiday.

The Scenic driveway 

The pretty central courtyard

The Thulasi bonsai

Tastefully decorated hallway around the central courtyard

We were then shown into our rooms. With a wooden low ceiling from the olden days, a cloth hanger designed like in the 80s and a bathroom with steel buckets and 'chombu', the rooms were a slice from a nostalgic past.The backyard opened out to Areca nut plantations as far as the eyes could see. Pretty sit outs decorated this quiet scenic place and the corners were dotted with beautifully crafted Bonsai plants.  The entire gardens are tended by Mrs. Kalavathi, the lady of the house. True to her name, she tends the gardens, cooks the sumptuous food served at the resort and makes wine out of many fruits that grow in the Plantations! Here are a few pictures to take around the home stay.

Sit out

A lotus pond inside the property

Well tended bonsai plants that dot the exterior walls

Post a wonderful lunch, we napped a bit and took a walk around the plantation in the evening. The setting sun and an early moon shone myriad lights and shadows among the trees and we walked on feeling one with nature. All the while, the little man was letting out bursts of baby laughs, playing with his dad and granddad.

Areca nut Plantations

An early moon

As night fell, we sat in the quadrangle talking with the Narayanamoorthy family(the people who own the heritage home and surrounding plantations.They run this home stay) The most special thing about a visit to Kolavara is that it feels like you are a guest visiting Mr. Narayanamoorthy and his family and not on a paid holiday. The husband and I sang songs at their request and then we sat chatting for quite a while before dinner.

The next morning, we went for a trek up a small hill. After a point, the thicket became dense and the path quite rough. So the little one and granddad returned to the resort while the husband and I carried on. We reached a hill top and the view was well worth the trek! We sat there for a while, taking in the stunning panorama and our quiet time away from the little one. We had forgotten to take the camera. Here are a few mobile phone shots we managed.

The hills at the far end was a breathtaking view

View of the Kolavara heritage home from the hilltop

In the evening, we went for a swim in the Thunga river. The water was quite shallow and we took turns holding the baby and plunging in the cool waters. After a refreshing bath, we returned to the resort to pack and post dinner we bid a goodbye to Kolavara and the Narayanamoorthy Family. This holiday turned out to be a very memorable one for the stay in an aesthetic heritage home, the consistently sumptuous Malanad cusine, the warm interactions with the resident family and the abundance of nature all around.

I recommend this place to all of you. There are a lot of places to see at a driving distance. We did not venture out since we had a small kid. The tariff is reasonable and the place is very well maintained. The only grouse was the lack of air conditioning. We went in the month of June and it was quite hot. Monsoon or post monsoon would be a better time to go. So if you want to revel in nature, stay in a heritage home from a bygone era, enjoy malanad cusine and do some sightseeing too, Kolavara is a good place to go to!


  1. Love the post and pics Aarthy! Glad you had a good time. Can you tell me the train details? This has been on my list for a while now.

    1. Thanks Aparna! We took the Thalaguppa express. It stops at Shimoga but at a very early hour in the morning. So we got down at Thalaguppa and went to Jog falls first.
      Car is the best mode of transport I would say. We couldn't do that because of the baby.
      There is a day train option too I believe.

  2. Very well written post on a beautiful stay option. It rightly records the good time you had along with the travel details.
    Btw-It has also re- kindled my interest in growing bonsai!!

    1. Thanks Anu! Get started on the bonsai :)

  3. These are so beautiful! I especially loved the sit-out area! It is all so serene and pretty! Well-documented post of the wonderful time you had :-)

    1. Thanks Divya! The sit out was one of my favourites too :)

  4. Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.


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