Glamping getaway: The Alampara near Marakkanam has luxurious tents with a gorgeous lake view

You could also surf, kayak or go fish for your own lunch during your stay. Nature enthusiasts can also enjoy a spot of bird watching with acres of land teeming with biodiversity  
Inside the tent
Inside the tent

Entering one of the tents at The Alampara is a blend of luxury and old world charm. There is a four-poster bed that faces a gorgeous view of a lake. A white tub sits on top of a black and white chequered bathroom floor. Above it, a rustic chandelier holds centrestage on the ceiling. Located close to Marakkanam, we might be on a weekend getaway into nature with winged visitors like the black-backed gull dropping by, but this comes alongside a flatscreen TV and WiFi, a comforting thought while on vacation. Meanwhile, we are curious to discover a switchboard embedded into a study table and are informed that given the lack of ‘walls’, all the electrical wiring is underground here. 

<em>Soak in every moment</em>
Soak in every moment

Tent testing 1,2,3
CEO of the luxury boutique resort, Arun Vasu tells us that all the infrastructural elements have been done keeping sustainability in mind. That said, when we ask how durable a canvas tent is — say in the wake of a storm, his response is well-researched. “We have tested this for a few years in all elements. The tents can withstand winds up to 100 kms/hour.”

<em>There are currently four tents on the property</em>
There are currently four tents on the property

Currently, weekends are almost always full because the 50-acre property has four tents only — the larger ones spread over 700 sq ft can accomodate four guests while the smaller ones at 600 sq ft can handle three. “We may add another four by the end of the year but we want to keep the place small and exclusive,” Arun tells us over lunch at their tented Continental/Indian restaurant.

<em>Grilled tiger prawn</em>
Grilled tiger prawn
<em>Caprese salad</em>
Caprese salad

We opt for a refreshing Caprese Salad with slices of plum tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You could opt to go fishing with the locals and bring back fresh catch to the chef with some prior notice. We,  however, are happy to dive into our plate of Grilled Tiger Prawns with a garlic butter sauce sans the effort, and save our adventures for the string of watersports lined up for the evening. Think surfing, kayaking, wakeboarding and standup paddling (facilitated by Surf Turf) — all best done early morning or in our case, once the sun is a little less scorching, around 4 pm.

Need for speed
Post lunch, we head out for some exploring — armed with giant umbrellas for shelter from the heat. And quickly realise, it might have been a better idea to hijack one of the buggies that service staff use to transport guests and luggage to their rooms. But this is far outdone by a thrilling speedboat ride on the backwaters taking us out to glimpse the nearby Alamparai Fort. You could also choose a guided tour by foot to the scenic Marakkanam salt pans, which is another highlight in this part of town. We put this down on our ‘to do’ list for the next visit and instead gear up, somewhat nervously, for our first attempt of standup paddling.

<em>Windsurfing in the backwaters</em>
Windsurfing in the backwaters

Water wonderful world
Our instructor kindly takes us to one of the internal lakes with serene waters for this lesson, so our jitters aren’t compounded by the ebb and flow of a tide. And with a little concentration, we find ourselves upright, steady and steering — much to our delight. Save for one wobble and spill into the lake, which has us, if anything, only more invigorated and determined to climb back on to our board and ‘get it right’ as a group of 12-year-olds ahead of us keep balance with cheery giggles and practised ease. Kayaking, which comes next, gives us quite the upper arm workout, and our oars for some reason keep taking us to the left instead of a steady centre. We emerge from the lake, wet, spent and exhilarated. The sun is about to set. The sky is pink. Much like our flushed cheeks at this moment. We feel truly alive.

The writer visited The Alampara on invitation. INR 19,500 upwards per night.

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