Catch Karnataka at its finest this monsoon by heading to these five unique resorts and homestays
Monsoons are a time when Karnataka blossoms into a nature lover's paradise. Indulge picks out five spots for a quick weekend getaway
There is nothing quite like an escape from the city right into the lap of nature. Luckily for us Bengalurians, we have beaches, hills, and everything in between, all just a short drive away. The monsoon brings out the best of the flora and fauna in the state, whether it is the valleys of Coorg, the majesty of the Western Ghats or the idyllic coastal beach towns that dot the Karavali. We choose unique resorts and homestays that are ideal for a quick getaway to just sit back and soak in the grandeur of mother nature.
Located on a winding road in Somwarpet, Ayatana Coorg, is truly a unique escape. When we arrived at the resort, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the place instantly. From the floating reception area, one can get a clear view of the rest of the resort, as it sits on higher ground than the rest of the property. However, the reception is a sight to behold in itself. Open on three sides, it is surrounded by lush green cover and the only sounds you will hear are the chirping of birds.
The piece de résistance is the private waterfall which flows into a pool, at the heart of the property. The restaurant, The Glasshouse, and recreational centre, perched on elevated land have unobstructed views of the waterfall. If you’re interested in getting a bit closer, put on your swimwear and take a dip in the natural pool fed by the monsoon rains, or opt for the swimming pool which overlooks the waterfall. The resort boasts 50 rooms, which includes 13 regular suites and one presidential suite, all with balconies opening out to the wilderness. The rooms, we’re told, are designed to feel like tree houses. Other highlights include The Bar, where one can sip on cocktails that champion local ingredients, such as bird’s eye chilli and coffee. The in-house naturalist hosts storytelling sessions around a bonfire every evening, should you want to learn about the history of the Kodavas. For an even more intimate brush with nature, wake up early and join the guided trek, where you will learn about the flora and fauna in the property.
Rs 25,000 upwards. At Somwarpet, Coorg. Details: 9945502000
Firefly by the River, Coorg
This homestay is located on the banks of the Harangi river in Coorg. All around the homestay are jungles, coffee plantations, paddy fields, pepper estates and bamboo groves. The property was started by Captain Prio Chaubey and his wife Nina, a couple from Bengaluru. The quaint cottages have verandas that offer scenic and peaceful views of the hills and valleys. The lush greenery of the western ghats during monsoons is unparalleled.
And if that’s not idyllic enough for you, one of our most favourite parts of the property are the hammocks that are hung by the river — a perfect place to cosy up with a book and take in the sounds of the Harangi flowing past you. If you’re lucky enough you may even spot some rare birds such as the famous Malabar Hornbill. Food at Firefly is curated daily and features recipes that have been gathered from homes in the nearby villages. Expect Coorgi delicacies cooked by locals, from pandi curry, to akki roti. They are also famous for the BBQs they host in the evenings. Another fun activity that the Firefly has is angling. The river is famous for Mahseer fish. Upon special request (and depending on the season), the owners, who are keen anglers themselves, will arrange angling trips for you.
Rs 5,000 ++ upwards. At Kushalnagar, Coorg. Details: 9113802007
Boulders Resort, Hampi
Just seven kilometres away from the ruins of the Vijayanagar era temples, the Boulders Resort truly believes in being one with nature. All the cottages are made along the characteristic boulders that Hampi is famous for. Nestled on the banks of Tungabhadra river in the Yamini Hills, the resort has 16 rooms with names such as Croc Cottage, Langur Cottage and Sun Cottage. One of our favourite features is the rock pool. In keeping with the theme of the rest of the resort, the pool too is surrounded by nature and you can take a dip in it while listening to melodious bird songs. The resort is also connected to the other side of the river by a bamboo bridge that offers spectacular views. Don’t miss their special waterfall trek and soak in the beautiful topography too!
The temple ruins from the Vijayanagara Empire are of course part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are unmissable. The resort is also close to the Daroji Bear Sanctuary, which is home to the Indian sloth bear.
Rs 7,000 upwards. At Bandiharlapur, Hampi. Details: 7619671890
Kahani Paradise, Gokarna
The Karavali coast of Karnataka is often rated as one of the top destinations for a monsoon getaway and with good reason. The 320 km stretch has many hidden beaches and seaside towns that are just perfect for the season. One of our favourite resorts on the stretch has to be Kahani Paradise. Sitting quite regally on a cliff atop Paradise Beach in Gokarna, the luxurious retreat is tucked away in the wilderness and offers vistas unlike any other resort in the area. Views of the Aghanashini River, Paradise Beach and the mighty verdant hill (that the resort is built into) make up the three sides of the property that boasts of two pools, several indulgent villas, lush tropical gardens and a restaurant that manages to dish out delicious local cuisine alongside authentic continental fare. This is the perfect destination for anyone who loves long treks, lazy dips in a pool and curling up with your favourite book as the storm rages outside. The sea can be quite harsh during the rainy season, but the beauty of this coastal paradise during the monsoon is incomparable. That and the fact that visitors dwindle during the season, sometimes leaving you as the only occupant around. Visits to Om Beach, Half Moon Beach, and Gokarna Town are recommended if you want a change of scenery while holidaying there.
Rs 25,000 onwards. At Belekan, Gokarna. Details: 9343281815
Baevu The Village, Ramanagara
For a complete detox from urban life, head to this 30-acre rural retreat. The farm offers a glimpse into a completely different life — one where you live in traditional mud houses or totti mane, built by local artisans using jungle timber, bamboo and baked tiles. The property has many fun activities to immerse yourself into. Take an ambling bullock cart ride or a tractor ride through the plantations or take part in a pottery session or stay up all night star gazing. Or if you want to get a little more hands-on, they also offer cattle care and organic farming sessions.
And, of course, the food at Baevu sticks to the theme — naati (local) wholesome platters. The produce is all organic and grown on the farm itself. Ragi and jowar breads, saarus, palyas and payasams make up the thalis at Baevu. Get a taste of the simple life at this halli just a few hours away from Bengaluru.
Rs 10,000 upwards. At Allimaranahalli, Kanakapura. Details: 9110635505
With inputs from Romal Laisram