Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waterwoods at Kabini - My weekend getaway

Geeta and I at the entrance of the bungalow

When Geeta and I decided to take a short weekend break, I didn’t fret even for one minute about where to go. Like the Surf ad, Joydeep hai na!:) He’s the quintessential oddroader (which incidentally is the name of his company too, check it out, He’s our ‘go to’ man for destinations and places to stay in. By the way Joydeep, one more avenue for monetization for oddroad could be as ‘locale’ hunter for film shoots no, given your penchant for the road less traveled??? 

Ok, this blog is not about Joydeep so I don’t understand why he’s grabbing so much paperballs ( as opposed to eyeballs, since this is in print, if you didn’t get it!)
Joydeep suggested Kabini and Waterwoods. My faith in him is such that I blindly booked online. 
Kabini from home is 275 kms. We left at seven in the morning, stopped as usual at Kadumane for breakfast (by the way it is on the Bangalore- Mysore route). The Waterwoods executive, Rajeshwari, who had taken my booking (more about her later had clearly told me to turn right at Columbia Asia on the outskirts of Mysore and go on the H D Kote road  ( Heggadevana  Kote) on the outer ring road. The road is dug up in places but by and large it is a smooth drive.

Rajeshwari had also told us that we have to turn right again at Chitravan resorts (which is where you  leave the ring road behind) and drive straight for the next 50 odd kms till we reach a junction named rather strangely as Hangpost  (I’m going back to Waterwoods next week, I will find out the significance of this name).
From Hangpost it it some 30 odd kms to Waterwoods. Since the drive up until now was peaceful, we kind of started to doze off, it was almost noon and the sun was merciless (do you know Mysore is a neat 2 degrees hotter always).  

As soon as we entered the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, we saw sign posts on the left which said Water Woods, Jungle Lodges and Resorts and probably Bison Camp, 12 kms. Alongside the signposts, there should also be a statutory warning, All ye enter, take care of your bones!

There is no road at all. You literally bump from one deep hole  to another deeper hole, if that is possible. Years ago I had driven from Puri to Jamshedpur and had been amazed at the roadlessnessness of it all which had tested my mettle as a driver (I lost my shirt several times but my axle was in tact !) So I’m back to the same roadless driving (this time as a passenger and I think this is harder than being a driver!)to Waterwoods. To add tadka to all of this, suddenly our driver says, hope Waterwoods is close because there is no petrol in the car! So we switched off the AC and the sweltering heat combined with the nerve wracking drive put us in right bad humour and when we arrived at Waterwoods, all we wanted was to laze in a cool place where the earth didn’t convulse.

The view of the cottage at Water Woods
First impression of Waterwoods was green quaint largeish bungalow, made for the somnolent. Even the two dogs that lazily opened their eyes when I tried to talk to them kind of looked at me as if to say, dude (or dudette, as my friend Pramod says!) , in this neck of the woods, give your mouth some rest !
We got ourselves Room No 1 after inspecting all the river facing rooms. This one did not have a balcony like the others did, but had lovely French windows wrapped around a love seat and you could see the river from any part of the room. The furnishing was basic, no wardrobe, one double bed, a chintz covered armoire, some leopard prints on the wall. 

We had a buffet lunch set in the common dining area, large windows opening out to so much green your eyes actually hurt! Good food, very polite staff, delightful experience.
In the evening, we walked up to the river. This is River Kabini which is a tributary of Cauvery, and I’m told in the rainy season, meanders right up to the bungalow. Right now, between the bungalow and the river all we saw was popping tadpoles. My god, there were  gazilions of them,  we knew they belonged to the frog family but they looked very different from the frogs we are used to, smaller in size, friskier and in a contest of we- avoid- them- or- they- avoid- us, I think they won, hands down!  

Over the next two days, all we did was chaise-longued around the river, had all our meals on the river banks,

The Geese Talk

Made friends with the geese (there was one  particularly chatty  cheerleader who insisted on engaging in monologues with us!), Went for runs alongside the river, boat safaried (the best sightings were of two crocs, one which had gone into hibernation with its mouth open!) and a whole school of otters. For more pictures check out my FB page!

Boat Safari

One last word. The staff here are polite, helpful without being intrusive, cheerful andinterested. Rajeshwari who was really my first contact with Waterwoods kind of set standards for designing a delightful customer experience. I bugged her several times on our way to Waterwoods for directions but she held her cool.  It is very rare that you have a holiday without adding conditional clauses to it, but here was one.


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