Set on top of the Sholayar Dam, overlooking the tea estates of Malakkipara, nestled amongst the pristine, green patches of the neighbouring forest reserve, is Petra Family Guest House – a budgeted stay that offers all the necessary comforts for a quiet, nature holiday. Situated away from the hubbub of human existence, a stay here will treat you to the stunning natural surroundings of Sholayar dam that epitomizes the hill town of Valparai.
There’s a certain charm associated to the place where one can satiate their hunger for a nature-filled vacation. You will wake up early to the mystical whistles of Malabar Whistling Thrush that floats-in through the windows and enjoy the late mornings and evenings filled with the calming lullaby of chirping birds and the occasional, intense alarm call of the Sambar deer that has spotted the movement of a stalking predator. One can also hear the loud cackling and laughing calls of a Malabar Grey Hornbill and the cooing of the spotted doves, throughout the day.
The stay is owned and managed by Mr. Praveen, a resident of Chennai, who visits the property often to oversee operations. Praveen still wears the same excitement and has immense admiration for the place that initially propelled him to buy the land when he visited the place during the summer of 2007. Being captivated by the fairy-tale settings of the landscape, Praveen, with a careful conscience has himself conceptualized and designed the rooms and the property . The main building has a reception, a deluxe family suite and a eco-deluxe room at the ground floor. The first floor has one family room and a deluxe room that open out to spectacular, scenic tea estate views.
The dining area – a few tables and benches under an open gabled roof, is on the second floor, where the skilled cook Mr. Rajendran, can be caught live in action as he prepares to serve hot kothu parotta and crispy dosas. The idea of a live kitchen counter and an open dining area are added highlights to the property, where the delightful aroma of the delicious food getting prepared and the scenic panoramic views around, will transport one’s senses into a different world, with every bite offering an experience that’s hard to forget.
This five acre property also contains a garden, a coffee plantation, a camp-fire area and a picnic area, allowing ample opportunities for the guests to take it slow, during their time here! The garden area is built into the rock formations and made to look like part of the landscape. It holds a variety of native and exotic plant species and is a lovely place to read or drink a favourite beverage while looking out over the estate’s canopy of jackfruit, fig and other trees. A set of rocky, staircases from the garden leads out to a plantation plot that is a shade-filled canopy, where coffee saplings thrive among silver oaks and a variety of flowering plants. A picnic spot that is located on the edge of the plantation plot, is the best spot in the property, where one can pull out the camp chair and look out for birds. The small area of coffee plantation is a striking example of an agroforest that supports a variety of birdlife from the nearby forested areas.
The plot is filled with so many different kinds of fruiting trees, attracting a variety of birds that even a pair of Great Pied Hornbills pay regular visits to feast on the ripe berries. With the occurrence of other birds like the endemic rufous babbler, scimitar babbler, oriental white eye, Indian paradise flycatcher, a variety of sunbirds, bulbuls and warblers, Petra is a haven for bird-watchers, photographers and enthusiasts alike.
If your holiday is all about finding joy in little things while cherishing the quietude and the simple pleasures of living in the hills, Petra is where you can find your rewards.
The property emphasises a ban on usage of alcohol. Food is prepared to the taste and preference of guests. Local sight-seeing tours are arranged at request. Free Wi-fi and secured car parking are available.
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