I had an awesome vacation last week (July 23rd - 29th) at my uncle’s woodhouse, aka Serene Woods, in Thandikudi, near Kodaikanal. It was my second vacation for the first time in less than 3 months times. Because only in the 2nd week of May I visited the same and stayed for a week with my family including two cousins and grandma, but this time it was a kind of get-together with couple of my aunt/uncle families, it was a celebration sort of moment. Last time I haven’t spent enough time at the woodhouse but was at much leisure exploring some nook and corners of the Kodaikanal Hills by staying there. This time I went quite blank to enjoy what comes my way and we spent most of the days at the wood-house/cottage, eating, sleeping, taking photos and chatting except a day drive to Poombarai.
Last year my uncle organised a ceremony formally informing the built of the woodhouse and cottage but for some unspecific reason no one from our side (maternal aunt) could attend the event. And from then on, they are planning to bring us all there to compensate the event (even if they haven’t built woodhouse we would be somewhere together) or give treat to share their happiness. But before they could come up with a plan we landed there on our own and experienced the woodhouse and cottage that built amid the coffee, pepper and orange plantations. This was my 4th time visit to Thandikudi and second time stay at the woodhouse. Our journey started too late this time and reaching out the suburb (Chennai) took more than 2 hours – due to some traffic jams and detours – it was almost dark when reached the Serene Woods.
|Oranges grew in the vicinity of Serene Woods|
The first day was spent quite at the woodhouse and cottage. It is a two story building with the ground and underground goes down the road and the woodhouse comes atop. But only woodhouse has ramp facility to allow me to stay there with much ease. The woodhouse contains a big hall and spacious two bedrooms with a king-size bed and a single cot on each room with attached bathrooms. And it has a wonderful wide balcony overlooking the woods and wild vegetation on the backyard. The cottage on the ground beneath has a similar partition with a veranda and open staircase come steps gallery to sit, chat and retreat along a bonfire pit in the courtyard. The underground holds the kitchen and room for the caretaker and the cook. The cottage has a parking facility and space to park two big SUVs.
|Interior of the wood-house (hall and bedroom)|
We were 14 people in two cars (Innova and Scorpio) took charge the woodhouse/cottage for 6 nights and 5 days was blissful. Except day one we experienced rain daily. Though it rained almost every evening, the weather was wonderful throughout with bright sunshine in mornings and chirping of birds (in different notes) at the dawn and dusk become my favorite moments. It was cheerful being together with cousins, uncles and aunties and cooking ourselves what we like, despite have a cook, and it was indeed enjoyable sharing the moments at nature’s lap. Just for a day I was brought down to the ground floor cottage, as I haven’t been there, and we had a small bonfire celebration at night. It was refreshing to watch showing around the woods from the balconies of the wood-house kept enchanting.
The last day was spent at the premises of the Thandikudi Murugan Temple; since it was a special day at the temple, leaving our parents there we (cousins) went on and off the area and had the lunch at the temple itself. Being to Thandikudi for forth time, the landscape becomes familiar to me but still hold breath with the transformation happening through the mist wrapping the peaks and mountains. First time experienced mist outside the woodhouse and at night the effect seems fabulous in the presence of night lamps, illuminates the cottage around. Since it was the beginning of Orange season, I could see the orange trees in the vicinity thrives in green and yellow. The Serene Woods is facilitate with the facilities of a home, including free Wi-Fi, television and power generators to make feel comfort and connected! But overall I enjoyed the natural environment and being together with dear ones.
|A group photo before leaving the Serene Woods|