Every time we venture out to travel to some place for vacation or for photography ( both of which sounds and feels same for me ) – we end up spending a lot of time on reading about which place to stay, how far is it from the nearest location you would be visiting etc. We do end up getting in touch with a bunch of our friends who would have gone there in past to suggest us some good places to stay and eat. Fortunately or not i was left with very less options on paper when i planned for my Waynad trip last weekend. Most searches on web led me to resorts of sort of various budget ranges which were directly or indirectly controlled by one single booking centre or in other times looked and sounded too commercial. Owing to the fact that i carry gear which usually tend to be more expensive than i initially tend to plan to carry, i often stay away from budget places or homestays. But since a while the Homestays concept has caught up very well across India and especially in south we can now start seeing homestays which give facilities and hospitalities (and security) far better than any well known resorts around in that area and at a very affordable rates.
One of such which i bumped into was Kodajadri Drizzle in Waynad. Initially i was very skeptic on how this would be but looking at the Tripadvisor ratings and also the type of quick and efficient response i got from the people who run this property I just decided this is where am heading to. Ganesh and his family run the homestay and his twin sons ( Vinoop and Anoop ) take care of all the backend stuff like bookings and co-ordination etc. Right from the time i fist mailed about asking for availability and facility along with pricing till the point till the point i finished my trip and came back home, the folks were in constant touch informing about weather conditions, driving directions, updates on places which i intended to visit which might have been closed on that day etc. The homestay is located couple of kms off the Kaniyambetta main road which connects to Kalpetta town. Its about 300kms from Bangalore and can be reached either via the Sultan Bathery route or via Kabini and should ideally take about 6hrs with a single break ( unlike us who stopped a lot while going after mysore for shooting the forest ). Once you take the small service road which leads to the homestay, you will be asked to park the car ( unless you are driving a 4×4 ) at the neighbouring house parking lot and then picked up in a 4×4 jeep through a slushy adventurous 1km streach leading to a 100yr old house courtyard adorned with plants and trees. The sound of the chirping birds keep haunting you through out your stay. From what I spoke to Mr Ganesh, we realised that this is a 100+ yr old house belonging to his father which about 4+ yrs back has been converted to make it into a homestay. Ganesh and his family stay in the same house and they are at your service at any point of day. The rooms are very spacious with attached changing rooms and modern bathroom and not to forget the tv and wifi. Food is something which definitely needs a mention. They serve pure veg satvik food for breakfast and dinner and one just can stop falling in love with this homecooked food. The food is a mixture of both local cusine and also dishes which can cater to the people who come visiting from other parts of the country. Fresh puttu along with black channa gravy for breakfast on one of the day was definitely the highlight. They also provide you with all guidance and printed material which can help you plan to visit the nearby tourist places. Infact as i mentioned above, they ensure you are in right path and place and also keep you posted about other places which we would have told them that we would visit and if that is getting closed, they intimate you through SMS about the situation. Coming back to the homestay, the huge garden in front of their house is a paradise for birding and bird photographers. During my stay there was hardly any moment where i could say i didnt hear or see a bird. I even wrote a separate blog over at JTN about Birding in Waynad about my experience about this aspect. Overall i can say that its a highly recomended place if you plan to visit Waynad for a weekend or even a short stay and want to explore nearby places and want a budget option and want to have a local feel than staying in a commercial place. The place is good for families and group outings as well. For more details about the homestay and to get in touch with them you can visit their website > http://kudajadridrizzle.com