We spent the morning of Day 3 of our trip chilling at the bungalow which was our Oyo stay in Madurai. Our plan for the day was to drive to Kanyakumari where we had booked our stay at Indien Hermitage Resort.
After a quick breakfast at a crowded eatery, we headed to the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, even if it is just a transit, one cannot leave Madurai without visiting this ancient, most revered temple. We had a rather quick darsanam of Lord Sundareeswarar but there was a long queue and the darsanam was stopped for half an hour for a puja at the Meenakshi Amman shrine, since we were getting late and the kids were a little restless, we had to leave the temple without getting a darsanam of the presiding Goddess of Madurai, Meenakshi Amman. The head of our family has not stopped chiding us at every given opportunity every since !
Madurai – Kanyakumari – the last stretch of NH44
The NH44 connects Srinagar and Kanyakumari, a total distance of more than 3700 kms, is the longest highway in India. We have travelled on his highway many times towards Bangalore, to Adilabad, Madurai, this was the first time we were driving South beyond Madurai, the Madurai – Kanyakumari route being the last stretch of this wonderful highway passing through the entire stretch of the country.
As always it is a joy to drive on this super smooth highway, the only problem was that we could not find too many good places to stop for lunch. We stopped at Capsi Family Restaurant somewhere before Tirunelveli, the food wasn’t something to write home about but the good thing was the place was clean and had good washrooms, so no major complaints there.
We drove via Tirunelveli, we couldn’t find the world famous Tirunelveli halwa anywhere on the highway. It would be a good idea to have food joint selling this heavenly halwa ! One sight that you won’t miss when you are near Tirunelveli is the view of lakhs of wind mills for as far as you can see on the plains. We did not stop to click pictures but the wind farms of Tirunelveli are an amazing sight from the highway !
Shortly after we crossed Tirunelveli, we passed through the Nanguneri Toll Plaza, which is the last toll plaza on NH 44, we think this is the last toll booth in the South of India, from here, all the way till Antarctica, probably, there is no other toll plaza, Kanyakumari is 64 kms away and beyond Kanyakumari, there is no land mass till Antarctica ! Here is a picture of the Nanguneri Toll Plaza !
We wonder if the people at the Toll booth realise the uniqueness of their work place !
A hermitage for the modern soul
Every other day, you wake up, think about your hectic route and wish you could run away to some hermitage ! If you are one of those people, Indien Hermitage Resort is the ideal place. Away from the noise of the world, this resort is located in a village 12 kms before Kanyakumari.
The beauty of the resort is the silence, the scenic landscape and feeling of really living in a hermitage.
Just look at how pretty the cottages are, the imposing hills right behind are a treat for the eyes.
Initially, we had plans to drive to Kanyakumari and see the sun set but the moment we settled down in our cottages, we loved the place so much that decided we were not leaving the resort till our check out time !
The resort is run by Mr.Raju, a very enterprising, straight talking, no-nonsense host. The food is prepared by his wife and the homely touch to the food is wonderful. After some refreshing tea and pakoda, we spent a lot of time chatting with them, sharing anecdotes from our lives.
One of the best things about Indien Hermitage is the swimming pool.
Just lie back on water, look up at the sky, the trees and the hills and forget the world !
The whole evening was spent by the pool side, in the verandah of our cottages and walking along the resort doing just nothing. A perfect, relaxing time with family, nothing else comes close to that feel !
Around 8.30 PM, we headed for dinner, the food has to be ordered by evening because it is prepared specifically based on your order. The food was lip smacking good ! When you are with family, all you do is talk until you fall asleep, that is how our day ended.
Like in a real hermitage, we woke up early in the morning to sounds of birds, we could see peacocks on roof tops and sunlight streaming in from the branches of trees – when you are in such environs, you are automatically drawn into a meditative state. Sit down to do some Pranayama, there was absolute silence except for the sounds of nature and your own breath telling you how alive you feel !
Just sit back and watch nature spread its magic !
A little while later, we decided to have a quick dip in the swimming pool but the morning freshness and the cool water were so inviting that we spent close to 2 hours swimming and relaxing in the water !
Soon, it was time for breakfast, the usual fare of Idly, vada, Pongal, Sambhar but once again, it was the personal, home made feel that made all the difference.
Post breakfast, our check out time was nearing, our host asked us to check out the beautiful sights around the resort and sent one of the attendants along with us. We walked to the woods at the edge of the resort and climbed on to a water tank. This was the sight before us !
That is the tail end of the Western Ghats ! The Western Ghats end near a place some 8 kms from where we stood, it was just unbelievable that we were seeing the end part of the mighty Western Ghats. This was another highlight of our stay at Indien Hermitage.
By 10 AM, we were ready to check out, we had a thoroughly enjoyable stay at Indien Hermitage, if we ever plan a trip to the Southern most part of our country, we are sure to stay here again !
- The tariff at Indien Hermitage is around Rs.4000/- per room per night, you could try booking online through those hotel booking websites, you might get a good deal like we did.
- The place is off beat but totally safe. It is located in a rural area and not your typical resort, it is more like a nature retreat hosted by a local family. If you are respectful to the locals working at the resort, you will have a memorable stay.
- Kanyakumari is about 30 minutes drive from the resort.
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