By Gautam S Kumar:
Kodagu has been long regarded as one of ‘the‘ tourist destinations towards the south of the country. A hill station on the Western Ghats, it is a destination primarily popular for the Buddhist settlement at Bylakuppe. But what impressed me most about the district wasn’t the magnificent golden temple, or the pristine Talakaveri (Place where the river Kaveri originates). It is a home stay off the city (or rather above the city) away from most of human civilization, that I found bliss in.
Honey Valley is a home stay at Kabinakkad in Kodagu district in Karnataka. Formerly the largest producer of honey in the world, the facility has been converted to a home stay since 1994 after a disease killed off most of the bees in the area. Honey Valley does not offer its visitors with adventure sports, or luxury treatment like many of its rival home stays in Kodagu, what it does offer is something way more valuable and something that one can never get enough of, inner peace. Successfully creating an atmosphere for a peaceful ‘minimalistic‘ stay. A standard room in a cottage in the valley comes with a bed and just one light bulb in the centre of the room for lighting. And surprisingly, it more than serves its purpose. All the electricity used in the valley is produced within it, using energy from the numerous waterfalls.
Activities at the valley include exploring the jungle around it, and just relaxing and unwinding. Even the most restless of souls is sure to find peace at this divine location. With the only sounds one hears being the soothing sounds emanating from the jungle, the valley provides the perfect atmosphere to just sit and think. They have a library where guests are allowed to borrow any number of books to read during their stay. With minimum distractions and all the time in the world, it is heaven on Earth for everyone and anyone who loves a good read (I’d personally recommend reading the collection of Richard Bach novella they have at their library).
Arguably, the best part about Honey Valley is its animals. Not the ones in the jungle, but the ones inside the settlement like the cows and dogs (especially the dogs). The dogs that one comes across here are as friendly and love-able as any. From just keeping you company when you read to voluntarily acting as your personal tour guide as you explore the jungle they manage to make your stay all the more pleasant. Each dog has its own story to tell and it is amazing how good they are with all the guests. And one can’t help but feel safer with a dog leading the way when one goes exploring into the jungle. Amazingly, whichever dog is on ‘guide — duty‘ ensures that one isn’t lost and accompanies the explorers wherever they go while maintaining a distance (Something most of their human counterparts around the world should learn from).
No description about a home stay would be complete without something about their food. And with Honey Valley, you get the best food in all of Kodagu (although a bit overpriced). Kodagu is famous for its ‘panni-curry'(pork gravy) and pork roast and I would recommend the pork at Honey Valley to anyone with a ‘meat-tooth’. The meat is cooked to perfection and almost melts in one’s mouth. Their avocado fruit salad is also worth a mention. The food is prepared on an on-demand basis and is served lavishly. For vegetarians, sadly the food might come off as a bit disappointing with Kodagu being proud of its meat and not so proud of its vegetables. The home stay offers breakfast lunch and dinner along with snacks (sandwiches, French fries) to munch on in between meals when one is busy reading.
The owners of the Valley are also a bunch of warm and friendly people (the older ones are quite chatty too) and will make one feel like they are among long lost relatives. Honey Valley thus offers everyone a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. By providing the guests with the best that nature can offer, refreshingly clean air, a peaceful environment and serene surroundings the valley provides its guest something most places can’t even dream of, peace. So take a break. Have a cup of coffee. Relax and be one with yourself at Honey Valley.