The Shola Crown | A Gem We Discovered | Part 2
Visit www.sholacrown.com and use Discount code 'KAY20' to get a 20% discount during your stay there. Only valid when you book through their website. Last post we stopped at hiking down from the tribal village in the Jeep. If you have missed my previous post, here's where to go!
After this, we were too tired to hike down - not we, specifically me! Heh! So, yes the jeep that I mentioned about came to take us down, and also, because if we were to hike down, we would never make it in time to see the sunset. To reach the sunset point, it is Purely an Off Road Drive to “Kallippara” . Once on top, you get to experience the sunset over the hills and the Anayirankal Dam . We drove through lush green cardamom forests through roads that were barely the width of the Jeep we were in itself. We held our breaths. Atlast, we reached a point where there was a house. A family resided there. They had cows, hens, and dogs. The milk that we got at the Hotel was supplied by this family's cow, and was delivered by them every morning. Ah the organic and fresh life!
And, then from there we climbed up. There is this thing though. I am really scared of dogs, and cats. But they always tend to follow me. Ah, I had a scary climb upwards trying to get away from the dog. But the dog just wanted to stick with me. Our travel companions from the Hotel Kinock, and Selvam tried to keep the dog away. We had no maps or GPS to guide us there. We followed Selvam from where to keep each step to reaching the top,and our return back after the sun had set in the dark. We reached the top after a tiring climb. I was exhausted really! I didn't want to continue, but I had no choice. I had to keep going. I definitely did, and the view from the top was stunning. I was really exhausted to take any pictures from up there. But, I still did. It was too pretty not to capture. Even, the pics I took doesn't do it justice.
Day 3 at The Shloa Crown
Early next morning at 3:30 am we were up, as we had quite a drive to Kolukkumalai from where we would watch the sunset. Kolukkumalai is about 7,130 feet (2,170 m) above sea level and is 12 kms from Shola Crown. Kolukkumalai is known for its picturesque sunrise and beautiful tea farms. Kolukkumalai belongs to the Western Ghats, and separates Kerala and Tamilnadu. We set out from the hotel, and went up to a small shop. Only certified vehicles could go up there. We waited for our jeep to arrive. Did I mention we were almost frozen? We didn't expect it to be that cold. Myself, I am atleast fully covered. However, the others who were accompanying me - Mr. M and Kinock didn't have anything on them for the cold. Selvam was always with his jacket, and beanie. He never came anywhere with out it.
Once the jeep arrived, we all got in. The drive was purely an off road drive, and as we went up, the temperature kept dropping. We were frozen by the time we were halfway up. The Kolukkumalai is also the place where the highest tea estate in the world is. We reached a point where we had to get down, and the only solution we had was to walk upwards. There was a little tea shop at the point where we had stopped. It was freezing cold, and we decided to warm ourselves with whatever we could do like a hot cup of tea. The wind was very strong, and really cold. I am sure if we were to go back, we would definitely try and atleast have an extra layer or two over us.
The path upstairs was quite narrow, and it was really dark as well. We wanted to reach the top before the first rays of the sun hit even showed up. The fact that the previous night was clear actually gave us the opportunity to witness an incredible sunrise. Had it rained like the first night, the view would have been completely covered in fog. The sunrise was an incredible experience. As much as we were freezing, the view was worth it all. As the first rays of sunshine came up, the cities of Tamilnadu started coming into view. It was still dark on the other side of the peak. We were standing in such a way that we could view both sides. The path was really narrow - the width for two people to stand comfortably. As more light came in, the tea plantations on the Kerala side started coming to life. The view on both sides - gorgeous in its own way was an enjoyable scenic experience. I'll let you see the pics of the sunrise to let you decide why we stayed there for 3 hours in spite of the fact that it was really cold.
Would you believe seeing all these pics that they were all from the same place? The view kept changing every few minutes of sunrise. Had it not been so cold, and windy we could have stayed there for several hours more. What a feast to the eyes!
Once the sun was well up, we went and saw camping sites which were in there. We then moved onto explore more of the area. This hotel had so much around the place in the form of nature we clearly didn't have enough time. There was a place where tree houses were built and rented out. Turns out the ones who come and take a break here were mostly software engineers who wanted to be out of reach from their companies when they were on vacation. I had never been inside a tree house which was made to live in. I had been to one while I was in Sri Lanka but then that was just good enough to have a picnic. Not live in there. These tree houses came with bathrooms, and more than one room too. Some fancy tree house that is! I am definitely not comparing it to a hotel here! :D
By then it was almost past 10, and we were feeling a bit tired. We came back to a delicious spread of breakfast right next to the infinity pool. The view was priceless, and the weather just perfect!
We then left for Friday prayers to Tamilnadu as the nearest mosque was there. There is no township where the hotel stands. It is a standalone boutique hotel with only nature surrounding it.
We then visited a village which was at exactly the lap of the hill.
After which, we drove to a vegetable farm. The vegetable farm was a bit dried up due to the fact that the area was devoid of rains. It was pretty saddening to see the withered state of most of the crops. Had it been in its natural state it would have been a pretty lush sight to explore. Regardless, it still was a scenic sight.
We then headed back to the hotel to pack up, and leave.
A journey which we definitely didn't want to end. The Shola Crown has just opened its doors for visitor and is in its soft opening phase. Right now would be the best time to explore this place, and the bountiful nature that surrounds it. The place barely has any tourists, and is very clean, and neat.
This was our farewell meal before we left the place. The people that make The Shola Crown are so very hospitable. They pay so much attention to detail, and make sure the guests are always comfortable, and have an enjoyable experience. On discovering the fact that I really enjoy sour stuff like green mangoes, and tamarind, they went out of their way to make sure I get to experience them all whilst I was there.
Each goodbye is always a reason for new doors to open. The memories from The Shola Crown was going to stay with us for a long time. We really couldn't have enough!
Now that you have read my post, are you tempted to go there? Let me know your thoughts in comments below.
After reading this all, if you still feel like you should see more of this paradise on earth, then this is for you!
This collaboration was also very meaningful for me because it was my first collaborative project with a travel brand outside the GCC. And also, because this property has never been reviewed before, and this post is the first of the reviews you get to read about The Shola Crown. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you. Special thanks to The Shola Crown for the outstanding hospitality.