Kabini has always been our go-to destination for wildlife spotting in the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. We recently spent a few days at The Serai, Kabini, and wanted to try another resort located near-by. A quick google search for Kabini Resorts took us to the website of The Peepal Tree, where you can take a lakeside villa. The name rang a bell as I could not make the trip planned 3 years ago through Bangalore Motorcycle Club due to work. Archana liked the fact that it was located next to the lake so we booked it for the weekend!
An early morning starts to beat the rush on the Mysore highway proved to be a wise decision. With the rising sun and the temperature, the number of vehicles on the road, particularly the goods carriers and the buses did slow us down somewhat but had no effect on our exuberance for the trip to The Peepal Tree, Kabini.
After a hearty breakfast of melting-in-the-mouth Neer dosas, we resumed our journey, stopping only at the entrance to the Kabini Dam on the Kabini River. A ‘NO ENTRY’ sign and the heavy padlock on the gate to the dam, proved to be a temporary dampener. Soon after, we spotted The Peepal Tree sign-boards showing the distance to the resort and our excitement increased.
Kabini, cabanas, cottages, the mind started playing games. Having stopped at the next signboard of our destination and directions from the locals, we left the road onto a narrow street which gave way to a dirt road. The Google map announced, “you have arrived at your destination” with nothing in sight except for a slice of water further on. Our persistence was rewarded when, after a turn, we reached the backwaters of the Kabini Reservoir. Deciding to carry on along the edge, another quarter of a kilometer saw us at the rear of the resort. The staff came out on hearing the sound of the Renault Duster and we were directed to the main entrance.
The main gate offers a downhill panoramic view of the resort and the reservoir. The entire resort is built keeping the environment in mind and consists of sloping roof cottages with country tiles blending with the surrounding land. The dining area is a thatched roof building at the end of which is the swimming pool and the reservoir in the background.
A welcome drink of chilled fruit juice and the no-fuss registration took us to our cottage which consisted of a sitting cum dining room, two fair-sized bedrooms with attached toilets, a fully equipped kitchenette including a microwave, and a minibar. The amenities included LED TV with TATA SKY and an AC in one-bedroom. On the whole, sufficient for a couple of adults and children.
The cottages are self-sufficient with every amenity you could ask for a weekend holiday. Each cottage comes with a private sit out at the front that opens up to manicured gardens or another small sit out at the back as well. The fridge in the kitchen came stocked with cold drinks, chocolates, and mineral water.
After freshening up we declined the offer of a room service lunch and instead opted to eat in the airy dining area where sparrows flitted in and out of the hall.
Lunch was a delight for us hungry souls and consisted of more food than we would normally eat. But the fresh air and the environs of the place contributed to stuffing ourselves. The food was yum and the service, with a constant presence of the waiter close by, though disconcerting, was very good.
Soon after we were asked about our preference for dinner evoking a response to please keep it ‘light’. During the entire duration of our stay, the food was excellent, more so, due to the fact that everything had to be brought from outside. Yet, the staff took care of all our needs. Dinners by the poolside were unique with the shimmering lights, of far off places in the reservoir and those of the swimming pool made it memorable.
The Peepal Tree offers bicycles for health freaks, vast and tranquil stretches of land along with the shoreline ideal for walking, table tennis, badminton, etc. to keep even the most hyperactive guests busy.
Apart from these, the staff took us around to the local village temple which has stood for hundreds of years, a local microenterprise employing the tribal women of the surrounding areas with employment.
The highlight of the tour was the Coracle ride which is, in essence, around the basket used by the locals to move across the water. At one point, along with the backwaters we were able to spot more than 50/60 deer who were grazing close to the water’s edge on a part of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Apart from these, there are plenty of indoor/outdoor games to choose from, books to read, plenty of bird watching opportunities, and the best one is star-gazing at night.
The stay at The Peepal Tree would rank as one of the finest in recent memory. In essence, The Peepal Tree Resort can be termed as ‘one size fits all’. It has everything for cozy couples, honeymooners, families, senior citizens. Perfect for all those who wish to get away from the hurly-burly urban chaos for a couple of nights of peace and tranquillity.
We also visited The Serai, Kabini and you can read about it here.