Location: Elephant Valley, Kodaikanal
Plan: Spend two days at Kodai Camp
So June went by with no adventures (big or small). My conclusion is that it was a good month without monotony to get away from.
I have friends whose family live up in the mountains of Kodaikanal. With the rolling ranges, sprawling forests, meandering streams- it makes it the perfect place to call home. Lucky for us city-folk, they've expanded their home into a campsite. Since a visit here last November, I've been dying to come back.
After ten not-so-fun hours in a bus up the mountain roads, my stomach and I were glad to finally reach. Nestled in Elephant Valley, about an hour away from Kodai Town, the campsite is encompassed by pristine views. We (Nikita, Nuthan, my brother and I) set off for a late morning walk up the road from the site. Unfortunately the water levels in the stream were quite low in comparison to our last visit, but the rest of the walk was beautiful- with the clouds slowly uncovering the tops of the mountains.
The walk included an exciting discovery. Just off the road, the earthy colours of the plants and stone walls was interrupted with a bright purple gate. Beyond the gate, a little stone house sat in the middle of an overgrown yard. The tiny cottage had a stucco wall on one side and steps leading up to a porch on the other. So much attention to colour- the alternating blue and white columns, the mustard door and window and the red flooring.
A gap in the wall allowed us to wade through the knee-high grass for a closer look. The bushes of orange mallow flowers and the views beyond made it the quintessential cottage.
We headed out to Kodai town that afternoon. It had been about 18 years since my last visit to the town. My memories of cycling around the lake and horse rides were refreshed. Hiring cycles from one of the many vendors around the lake, we rode round the 9km circumference of the lake. The lake was dotted with peddle boats, the waterfront with stalls, cyclists, vacationing families and honeymooning couples. Beyond the lake, Kodai has a variety of cafes and bakeries, gardens and antique stores.
But after the croissants and wood-fire pizzas, we found that the best food in Kodai was off a roadside cart. It seemed that every second stall around the lake served hot tea and bread omelette. Clearly, this was something special here. Laced with green chilies, the fluffy omelette sandwiched between white bread was the perfect end to our hill-station saunter.
A cozy night in the tent only improved when the rain started. To be lulled by pitter-patter would have sounded too fictional, if it wasn't true. Waking up in the mountains somehow never requires an alarm. We went for one more walk in the valley after breakfast. More pictures and one last look at my dream cottage, and the weekend suddenly came to an end. (Only another painful bus ride between then and a Monday morning back at the office)
This trip veers away from the definition of adventure and towards that of relaxed getaway. A great trip, nonetheless. Hiking those ranges definitely looked inviting- another trip to be planned, I guess.