Sunday, October 07, 2012

1854 : Review of The Last Shola @ Yercaud : A bungled travelogue

Spousey wanted to spend time at a coffee estate for a vacation…and the result is the following Open-mouthed smile
Dates : 23-25th Sep 2012 (cut short by a day…you will soon know why)
Odoage : 55o kms – Bangalore – Salem – Yercaud and back
Where did we stay : The Last Shola @ Yercaud
Overall Rating : 4/1o ….strictly for the believers Smile. In one word avoid.

Highlights (or lowlights maybe):
1) Raavan was running fever at the start. We asked him, “Yes!No!Yes!No!Yes!No!Yes”.
2) Eventually settled for a yes.
3) Drive till Yercaud was fantastic.
4) Inspite of the supplied directions, if you can reach this deadpan destination in less than 1.5 hrs from Yercaud, without getting lost….then you are a genius, you should work as a human Garmin.
5) The road to The Last Shola from Yercaud is more like Indiana Jones’ The last crusade.
6) We left at 930am Bangalore, reached eventually at 430pm on 23rd.
7) Raavan and folks left for a walk in the plantation around 530pm and had the only good part of the trip – plucking oranges and Jackfruit.
8) The coffee and the food at the estate is terrible. And the nearest food place outside the estate is 9 kms away and about 40 mins to drive at least on a roadless path, with no lights….it’s a choiceless choice.
9) There is nothing that even remotely looks like a reception, or someone who can understand a city’s dwellers trauma – this place is like Tihar, fend for yourself.
10) If you have kids then I would say you have to a nitwit to choose this place.
11) Around 9pm at night, the ghosts and demons from within the estate tormented Raavan no end. He could not sleep in the room. He eventually slept till 2am (midnight) in the trusted Honda City, amid a wild forest. How charming !!
12) The place is desolate, without lights, without hot water, without a decent fan…and yes, its not Yercaud, so its pretty warm and sultry….more than Bangalore at least.
13) Next morning, I decided in interest of all folks (still sane), that we should get out of this madcap place asap.
14) Started driving at 9, after the most dead breakfast, I have ever eaten during vacation, and the worst possible coffee.
15) We drove till Salem (almost!!) – 90 mins…and guess what some jackass bunny protesters had shut the highway. And they trapped us as part of the blockade. After 70 mins of negotiation, and a senior IPS officer to help, we drove all the way back to Yercaud and then climbed downhill via Kuppanur and Ayodhapatnam, and by the time we reached Salem again, it was already 2pm.
16) The roads in Kuppanur are one of the most treacherous ghats I have ever driven on, worse than even the ones at Munnar….really bad….and really desolate.
17) Eventually reached Adyar Anand Bhuvan, post Salem at around 230pm, had lunch, filled fuel and then started off.
18 ) Reached home at 615pm on the same day.
19 ) For the next 3 days, the demons from The Shola haunted Raavan’s 10 heads.



Look I am a city dweller, but I am not addicted to creature comforts. I am fine with no network (there is none at all within 3kms of the estate), I am fine with no pool, I am fine with mosquitoes.

But is there an excuse for :
1) dingy cottages.
2) No lights
3) no emergency equipment within the estate. If I had broken my leg, or my mom would have had her 3rd heart attack – we would all be dead….quite literally.
4) No one on the estate who can speak english at all.
5) Terrible terrible food on a vacation.
6) You cannot fit into the bathroom unless you are a midget.

The shoddy place has a no refund policy (to be fair, they told us before we landed there)….but we left a day earlier….should not someone have called us and asked “what bloody happened?”. No cross-connection like that at all. Not a single call or conversation. Why am I not pleasantly surprised?

In summary. AVOID in big capital letters….if wild is your idea, goto WindFlower, goto Kabini, goto Jungle resorts, but not this demon infested place.

On the plus side, I have a few folks I need to bump off, I am going to gift them vacations here Smile




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