Foto door officiële website

Elephant Valley – Rustic charms

The splendor of Kodaikanal may have thinned like hair on a balding man’s head, but 22 km away, an enchanted valley survives. Cradled by the Palani Hills, Elephant Valley is spread over 100 hectares on the edge of a reserve forest and offers more than just elephants: clear, clean air, people doing things slowly, more birds than you can count and more trees than the eye can see scan. This eco-lodge is like a cup of manna for the jaded traveler.

Old-fashioned village houses, bushes covered in hibiscus and horses grazing in a wide open space are a charming throwback to an older world, but the stream that runs through the resort makes it happen for me. It starts in the mountains but is cleaner here. Its clear waters gurgle over rock and wind their way to the edge of the cliff where they fall 40 feet in strips of foam. There is something primal about the source of a waterfall, I discover one morning, as I sit on a stone bridge a few feet from the drop, looking out at the golden hills.

On Elephant Valleypeace is interrupted by excitement. It is located on an elephant migration route and it is not unusual for visitors to see elephants, bison or wild boars, I said. During the dry season, they often go to the stream in the evenings and even frolic in the resort’s coffee and pepper plantations. ONE, a bison slept all night near your room, Äù Kalai (waiter, bird watcher and enthusiastic conversation partner) tells me exuberantly. Although I see few animals during my stay, I feel the proximity of the forest. In the half-morning light, monkeys swing over the silver oak. Lobster tracks on the banks of the stream indicate that the two prowled by at night. In mid-afternoon, a chameleon in the garden goes from crimson to gray in seconds. Towards evening, a squirrel signals urgently to another in the thicket, an SOS crutch-kruked out.

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It is possible to get closer. The resort organizes trekking and horse riding tours to the nearby forests and hills. My not so little horse is a feisty one and comes up to me to show me foaming waterfalls and dolmens, megalithic tombs standing in clearings. The more indolent pleasure of birdwatching keeps me in the water for hours. There are over 300 species of birds to be found in these areas, an abundance of chattering, chirping, cooing delights, a riot of color in beak and wing. And they often hang near the stream. I’m surprised by my own patience. I find myself doing unexpected things: marking the exact way a red-eared bulbul climbed the top of his mount and checking out a yellow wagtail prop.

Photo by official website

For those not interested in birds or walks, there is plenty of soggy tranquility to enjoy. The houses are far apart and most have generous seating and their own private garden with flowering shrubs, banana palms and other trees. In the evening the rain comes. It drives us to our rooms where wood fires warm us as we settle down to dinner. The next day the hills look even more beautiful. The legendary romance of mountains swirls in the air. It’s enough to turn his head. By the time I wind through the winding roads home, I am full of fresh water, birdsong, contentment. The activities offered are Horse Rides (INR 250/1 hour per person), Short Walking Tours (INR 250 per person) and Complimen

planting tours and vegetable growing tours. Weekend adventure packages are available. Trekking in the forests is not allowed without a guide.

Quick Facts

When to go: March to June

Address: Elephant Valley, Ganesh Puram, Perumalmalai, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Telephone: +91-454-2230399


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