Set on the western end of the tea planting district of Anamalais, where the thick, untouched jungles once sprawled across with a diverse variety of flora and fauna, is the pristine rainforest patch called The Candura Jungle. Ensconced in dreamy, mist-covered hills, overlooking the shimmering, blue waters of the Sholayar dam, is the property that derives its name from the bygone colonial era of the British Raj.
Harking back to the time, the planters during the British era cleared the jungle for tea plantation. Established as a tea estate in the year 1929, the property was built as an accommodation for the staff.
Consisting of eight rooms, the plantation resort is now perched at an elevation of 3,250 ft. where the estate land sprawls across as verdant, manicured tea gardens with unending layers of hills and rolling grasslands in the backdrop.
Throughout the day, the property offers sweeping, panoramic views of Sholayar dam on the south, lavish tea plantations in the east, protected forest plots for conservation on the north and west, making it the most scenic estate property in the region. No matter where you are in the property, the blanketing views will offer a sensational visual treat for your city weary eyes to feed on.
While you can cuddle up with some hot, freshly brewed tea during the rainy, monsoon months, when the mist spraying clouds hover around during most of the time, the winter and summer months will allow you to tread out, explore and soak in the resolute serenity around.
The dramatic skies above lush green valleys and hills, sunlight slashing across manicured tea gardens, the glistening waters of Sholayar Dam that agleam in the sunlight are some of the captivating sights to savor during the stay.
The mornings and evenings are the best time to explore the resort surroundings when you can witness the sky transform into a riot of colours. The best place to enjoy the sunrise and sunset in the property is a man-made lake that lies adjacent to the dining area which serves as serene abode for guests. Here, one can sit down by the lakeside and revel in the silence, only broken by the lapping of ripples, chirping of the birds and swaying of the lotuses and lilies. As the gentle breeze blows, you will find yourself amidst a sweet oasis of harmony. During the nights, a cacophony of croaking, symbolising the sound of frog love, adds to the scene.
The resort offers exciting opportunities for ardent nature lovers to go on trekking, bird-watching, nature walks and jeep safaris, amidst the tea estate that are bordered by forest patches. These activities are accompanied and lead by a Naturalist who guides and educates the guests on the bird-life and other wild animals that occur in the property.
The brown fish owl trail and the black eagle trail – the two routes planned for the activities, are not only rewarding for bird-watching and wildlife sighting but offers picture perfect panoramas.
The architecture of the property is quite simple and contemporary with acute gabled roofs sheltering the main building and long windows fashioning each room. All eight rooms are spread across the sides of the main building with two simple sets of staircases connecting the rooms on ground and first floor.
The pillared verandah that runs seamlessly on the first floor becomes a fairy tale spot at dusk, where one can soak in the serene quietude around. A sumptuous meal served at the common dining hall, is a fitting end to the activity-filled day.
Though located in a corner of Valparai, the food served here is rather an elaborate affair. You will be spoilt for the culinary options that include delightful south Indian and Continental cuisines. The lemon cheese cake served here is so utterly delicious that nothing would stop you from eating every crumb on your plate! The other specialties include Vermicelli Kheer (Semiya Payasam), Chettinad Chicken Curry and Moong dal tadka.
For a traveller seeking to experience the bliss of tea plantation stay, Candura Sholayar serves up all the thrills of a Nature holiday and leaves you fully satiated, yet asking for more.
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