In Kurumbadi, life unfolds like a timeless fable... The misty Nilgiris still stand watch over rainforests so dense, moist and green that the sun's rays struggle to penetrate to the forest floor, and bison and elephants roam free.
Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere, an ecological hot spot, Kurumbadi is 14 km from Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
And the Kurumba Village Resort, named after one of the five ancient tribes of the Nilgiris, celebrates the destination's uniqueness. Fifteen cottages snuggle in a spice plantation amidst fragrant overtones of nutmeg, clove and pepper and are shaded by jacaranda, jackwood and rosewood trees. Studded with tribal motifs, they are large, airy and equipped with modern conveniences while the open-sided thatched roof restaurant serves delectable cuisine (including tribal options). This is an ideal bird watching point as is the swimming pool surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills.
Every morning, you can wake up to the sweet thrill of the whistling thrush, the sight of a tangled forest and the sentinel Nilgiris that soar beyond the large picture windows.
In the course of your trek, you will experience the beauty of the wildlife which intermingles masterfully with nature.
Back at the resort you can join other guests in the thatched restaurant. Later you can drive to Coonoor, 15 km away, to inhale lungs-full of a different world - colonial India overlaid with the buzz of the modern. Upper Coonoor was wrapped in the glistening green of tea plantations and strewn with vantage viewpoints, evocative of another un-spoilt world of waterfall-streaked valleys and misty mountains - Lam's Rock, Dolphin's Nose, Lady Canning's Seat. In those scenic spots, the modern world with its frenetic heart beat seemed to have stopped to catch its breath.
Your love affair with the beverages tea becomes intense when you stop sample a creative tea-based lunch menu at a colonial plantation bungalow dating back to the 1800s and now a home stay called Tea Nest, located 3 km away from Coonoor. We savoured tea mushroom soup, fillet of fish wrapped and grilled in tea leaves, tea spiked spaghetti, a tea sorbet and even a tea-infused soufflé….
Picturesque Tea Nest is part of a cluster of three green-roofed colonial cottages with gables, high ceilings and lace curtains embedded in 1,800-acres of emerald-green tea plantations and surrounded by misty granite mountains sloping down to curving green valleys. Post lunch, you can slip Nilgiri tea on the sun-drizzled patio and garden of the resort. It is a perfect vantage point to watch wild ponderous bison move like dark shadows through the plantation to graze on unwanted undergrowth.
You can ride on the vintage steam engine toy train - the Nilgiri Passenger - which has chugged into history as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The doughty little train coughed and wheezed over the mountains and into the valleys as you gaze out of the windows at the forested slopes shimmering in the warm glow of the setting sun.
Later you can be back to the cosy comfort of the Kurumba Village Resort mantled in the quiet that lovers of nature seek. As you dine in the charming restaurant you are charmed by Pukka Suran mountain with its mysterious dark hump and the forest, a deep green slash across its ample belly.
How do you reach there?
Coimbatore is the nearest airport 56 km. away.
Buses and taxis ply to Kurumbadi. Alternatively, take the toy train from Mettapulayam to Ooty, which goes via Coonoor.
The Nilgiris are studded with everything from farmhouses, home stays guest houses to five star resorts. However, Kurumba Village Resort is the only deluxe outpost in Kurumbadi and is located on the Ooty-Mettapulayam road.
Once you have visited the scenic splendour of Kurumba village Resort and the Nilgiris, you would be drawn to visit it again and again.