Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bison Wells, Off Kodai

(This writeup that has been in my drafts folder for close to two years now.)

Located about 30 km from Kodaikanal is one of the best getaways I have been to. I went there on my honeymoon in May 2005. We reached Kodai after a lovely drive from Munnar. After lunch at Kodai, we met George who owns the place. The road to Bison Wells is not motorable unless you have a 4 wheel drive with massive ground clearance. We had to leave our car at a garage that George had arranged. The drive to the cottage in George's '64 vintage Nissan truck was an experience in itself. It took a little more than an hour to reach the place. We were accompanied by our cook for the next two days, Antony. George had planned the menu after taking our preferences in advance. Bison Wells is not the place where you can get any provisions if there are last minute changes.

After we reached the cottage and settled in, George and Antony left us to ourselves till dinner. The cottage is basic, built from mud and wood. It faces a valley in front and it's surrounded by a pine forest. It can accomodate two. There's an attached bath, without running water. Water is filled up in a drum from a well nearby. There'e no television, A/C, fan or lights in the room since there's no electricity either. It's as basic as it can get. And that is the charm of the place. You will be cut off from civilization for your stay at Bison Wells. Thankfully, your cook will be a call away in another hut nearby.

On the first day we took a walk to a lake downhill. Other than a truck that passed by, there was absolutely no one in sight. There was a settlement some distance away from the lake. After spending the evening at the lake-side, we were back for dinner by seven. In a place this basic we didn't carry much expectations about the food. But here came the surprise. It was a candlelight dinner in the cottage. The fried rice and curry was heavenly and so was the red wine.

At the camp, you can sit in the lounge and catch up with your reading. You'll hear no sounds other than bird calls or squeaks of the Malabar squirrel. You can also trek around the place. George can arrange a guide if required. If you are lucky you will spot bisons on the trek. We went for a moderate trek. The views were very good. We didn't spot any bisons though despite George's efforts. The place is safe for short unguided treks as well. After 7 or so in the evening, you have to tuck yourself into bed. It was very cold when we went there in May.

For all this, you will be surprised by the tarrifs. Rs. 1500 per night inclusive of all meals for a couple. The jeep ride to the place is expensive though. A two way trip to Bison Wells from Kodai will set you back by Rs. 1600 at least.

Here's the web-site if you are planning a trip:

Some photos I clicked during our stay there:

1 comment:

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