But the landscape changed drastically after entering Kerala - coconut and banana groves, beautiful palatial houses even in the smallest towns, winding roads. Two things that stood out were these houses - in all kinds of color (canary yellow, sea green, orange, peach, pink, lilac/lavender, many shades of blue) and the huge number of gold shops in each town .. it appeared to me that every fourth shop in each town center was a gold shop!! What took our breath away was the magnificent homestay Serenity where we spent the next two days in utter bliss. Nestled quietly in the midst of 60 acres of coffee plantation 6 kilometers off Chundale main road , this 200 years old rustic house offered us all we could wish for ... and more!
Its rustic ambiance and earthy interiors were so refreshing, we forgot all about our the 7-hour long journey and got ready to eat & drink around the bonfire that our wonderful host Reji had kept ready for us. We called it a night around 2 AM after gulping many breezers and tucking in a sumptuous Kerala meal.
We woke up next morning to some not-so-familiar sounds of birds like wild hen, crane, kingfisher & woodpecker and decided to explore the coffee plantation. It was a misty morning indeed and Vandana was all geared to battle it :). Thene there were coffee blooms, pepper creepers, touch-me-nots, palm trees etc.After a heavy breakfast of pootu and curry, we headed to Banasura dam about 30kms away. It is the largest earth dam in India. On our way, we stopped for some photos at the tea gardens adjacent to our coffee plantation. After a 1 hr drive, thirty minute wait and a 20 minute speedboat ride in the dam, we were already itching to go back to our welcoming abode. We decided to leave in the evening for View point about 10 kms away from our home to capture the sunset. We never managed to make it as we slept like logs till 7.30 PM and it was already getting dark.
And Reji, our host, had a surprise ready for us when we woke up - barbecue!! More breezers and food followed - dinner special was Kerala Parotta with Chettinad Chicken/veg curry. Yummm!! We kept eating and drinking around the bonfire until we could feel the wetness of mist on our hair.
We planned to go to Edakkal caves the next morning on our way back to Bangalore. In the morning we decided to explore a different trail and ended up discovering a temple and some tribal houses in the plantation. By the time we got ready after having mouth-watering appams, it was almost noon. We had to drop the idea of Edakkal caves in the interest of time and had to leave for Bangalore. But I don't regret it as this will give us a reason to go back to this amazing place again and do rest of the things next time around.