It was the bumpiest drive of my life. The bone-rattling 20-km stretch from Mukkali to the watch tower at Silent Valley National Park took about 90 minutes, but, an agonising backache aside, it was well worth the trouble. We spotted Malabar squirrels and lion-tailed macaques, chased butterflies and kept our eyes peeled for snakes and leeches, as we trudged through the most pristine evergreen rainforests of the Western Ghats—one of the many perks of staying at By The Siruvani, a Sterling Holidays Resort, snuggled on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border near Anaikatti.
The resort is about an hour away from the nearest city, Coimbatore, and the scenic drive takes one past lush green fields punctuated with coconut trees; the meandering roads are dotted with cute little tea shops and bakeries. Don’t be fooled by the insignificant entry gate to the resort; once you step in, you’ll find yourself amidst tastefully built pinewood chalets that seem to blend with the rest of the landscape marked by swaying palms and abundant greenery. And then there’s the Siruvani river that flows gently in the background. The water of this river is believed to be the sweetest in all of India (and the second sweetest in the world), so a stay at the resort is therapeutic in more ways than one.
Each of the 33 rooms is designed with simplicity and comfort at its core with sweeping views of the Siruvani river. Food at the in-house restaurant is typical multi-cuisine fare, but if you look closely, there’s an entire section dedicated to local specialties. I couldn’t get enough of the puttu and kadala curry, the delectable chicken curry with a side of flaky Malabar parottas and fluffy appams.
Evenings were spent munching spicy pakoras and sipping on piping hot tea by the poolside, book in hand. Sterling takes its holiday activities seriously, so I signed up for a trek into Silent Valley National Park—and you must too, if you like the wilderness. You could also opt for a late-night drive into the neighbouring tribal villages, or simply unwind at the resort as you listen to the river rumble.