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Dare to be different

10 Votes | Average: 3.2 out of 510 Votes | Average: 3.2 out of 510 Votes | Average: 3.2 out of 510 Votes | Average: 3.2 out of 510 Votes | Average: 3.2 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 3.2 out of 5)
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Dare to be differentIt’s a popular location for honeymooners and holidaymakers, but for some reason you want to be different. There may even be genuine concerns or reasons- your spouse can not bear the cold of a hill station; the high humidity or sea breeze may be a challenge to some frail constitutions and cause health problems. But now there could even be an economic justification for what we are about to suggest.

We stumbled on it quite accidentally, while on a test drive to Kodaikanal for a photo shoot of a Ford car. The location and scenery was a compulsion- common reasons enough why people visit hill stations, besides the climate. But if you are on a one day visit, why pay double the room rate when you can stay at the foot hills enjoy better food and wider variety of better and healthier food at almost half the cost?

Once the sun sets and the lights are out, does it really matter? To find out on the first day we halted at Theni on the foothills of Kodaikanal; Batalugundu was possible alternate, but Theni being the district headquarters provided better facilities and a greater variety of choices.

We drove out of Chennai early one weekday morning- weekends mean greater crowds and pressure on hotel rooms at all hill stations and January –February is definitely off-season with plenty of discount offers on rooms. We crossed Batalagundu by 4 pm, which means we could have driven all the way up to Kodai before sunset, which in these Western parts is beyond 6.30.

We selected a room for a very modest Rs.400. The air-conditioned one was not necessary in this season even on the plains, because the entire mountain range seemed to act as a cooler for the foot hills. As an after thought we should have chosen a deluxe room or a slightly upmarket one because we discovered that there were no towels or soap. The wake up service was to be at 5.30, but the reception personnel was fast asleep and the coffee did not arrive till a reminder; the hot water was yet to warm up.

With all this we drove up the ghats and had enough time to take in all the scenic views and favourite spots in the course of the day. This time we stayed back in Kodaikanal, where it was so cold that we had to use heavy blankets. The rental for a room in size and facilities similar to our Theni based hotel set us back by more than 100% more. The service was equally bad. The water was not warm enough, the reception was abandoned.

Self service seemed to be the theme, but here even the television did not work, there was only one plug point; camera pack and mobile recharge had to take turns – in a double room with two occupants that’s very inconvenient. Moral of the story- check the rooms before you pay the advance and occupy.

Each hill station and beach resort or temple town can throw up interesting alternates at a nearby town within driving distance.


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