What defines an experience? Is it what you see, smell, hear, taste and feel? Or is it the story that you weave in your head. For us, it’s always been the story, for which the senses are just raw material. It’s imagination, the mind’s eye that makes you buy into an experience and drive what is called willing suspension of disbelief. And so we will try to describe with words our experience at Sinnadorai’s Kadamane – You dont have to buy our experience but we hope our words have enough magic in them to seed that desire to create your own experience at Kadamane.
Act 1 – The crescendo
I stood there in the middle of nowhere – a mute spectator,
Strong winds blowing trough the valley – the bass note from a trumpet,
Pitter patter of rain drops on tea leaves – tempo for the beat,
Wisps of clouds caressing the landscape – mood lighting,
Unending rolling hills of the tea plantation – center stage,
Quick flash of lyrics running through your head – lead singer,
You are nothing but a mute spectator…
You pass the 2- kms milestone and still do not see any sign of tea estates. You wonder where the acres and acres of tea plantations are hidden.The tower, unfinished, looms yonder and then the gate – KEC appears,as if by magic.You,then see the hills draped in white wisps of clouds with a smattering of green tea leaves.
Imagine taking a white canvas and then using a fat horsehair brush to paint in large swathes of grey – large wavy strokes that dominate the white. With your finger tips you spread this dark green in patches – creating the contour of hills. Some patches are dark dirty green, almost black – the thick shola forests while the smudged effervescent green on the canvas is the tea estate.
Once you reach the bungalow and park the car, you can hear the tick tick of the engine cooling down. You can hear that only because the artists have taken a small break. And then they come back – the wind wraps around you and reaches into your core. It’s not saying hello, it’s trying to reach that warm cozy inner center of yours to say -lets fly!
Rain and Wind,you shall not miss! Wind – it comes and goes but the rain, it’s relentless. What starts as a pitter patter soon turns into this incredible beat that can drive you insane. Imagine sharing a room with a young but talented drummer who needs to practice many many hours in a day. All you can do is make that beat, irrespective of it’s tempo, a part of your thought space and try and work around it. Unlike the tick tock of a clock in a silent house, the rain sounds more like an angry animal pawing at your door trying to get in – at times slow but at times desperate. You start with working around it but after a while it becomes an integral part of your internal mechanics that when it stops, you sit up and notice.
Act 2 – The time space continuum
You walk, not to go somewhere but to get away from that sense of waiting. You don’t know what you are waiting for but still you feel that tightness around that sits like a heavy blanket. When you walk, you end up exchanging the heavy blanket of waiting for the light green cloak of invisibility. All around you is this exuberant green of tea and the smell of clean fresh air.
Wondering what clean fresh air feels like? Imagine drinking a cold glass of lemonade during the hot summer after a short walk in sweltering heat. Walking in clean fresh air is similar to that but the only difference is that it makes you feel invisible. Nobody can see you as there is nobody around you. You can let the little boy in you out of that locked gilded cage of civilization and see everything through his eyes.
It’s fun to rediscover the joy of whiling away time without being plugged in. You end up walking down mud tracks in search of cascading water. You listen to that bird call wondering if it has a red crest or a black coat. After a while, your hands forget the need to pull out a phone & check for a message. You stop thinking about time in minutes and forget the need to be somewhere or get something done. If time & space are a continuum, then it’s quite logical that time here seems to bend when the space around you is a cauldron of tea hills. Wind and rain dont pass through this place, they stop here to take a break after the arduous journey over stormy seas (Kadamane receives anywhere between 300-500 inches of rain a year).
Time here is bent around the narrow mud paths that lead you to the same place. You walk around the bend to see a small stream running through a patch of dark green trees. You walk past the bend in the road and you are back again in the fold of that invisible green cloak of tea leaves. Up ahead you see the path snake its way into another fold in the mountains. Another mud path, another bend, another stream – same destination. It’s like a maze designed by a small kid where things are predictable but you when you walk through the maze, you do not feel the weight of repetitiveness instead you feel like Icarus – with wings of dew instead,waiting for that gust of wind to lift you up into the sky.
Act 3 – The green goblin
After a while, you think you have seen all the green there is to see and begin to wonder what next? A short ride through some stones & streams takes you to the abode of the green goblin. Delicate is not his forte and he welcomes you by shouting down your ears and chilling you to the bone. But you cannot feel any of that because you are almost in a state of trance. His wrinkled skin is effervescent and you can see mist raise its head from disturbed sleep. And when he quietens down, you can hear the murmur of the white maiden – calling you from her cold crystal clear depths.
5 acres is another fold of beautiful hills which bends time. You can close your eyes and go back in time a few hundred years and sill nothing would have changed. We were lucky to have found a crack in time when the rains had still not arrived and we managed to spend a beautiful hour walking up the slopes. On a clear December/January night, this place would be the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and wait for the stars to light up the night, although stepping out of the property after 6PM is not advised,as wildlife is known to roam free in these areas.
Sinnadorai’s Kadamane bungalow is all about the location. Its picturesque, scenic, quiet, calm, peaceful, luxurious, indulgent and comfortable. Getting there is not tedious – just a 5 hour drive from Bangalore and apart from a 6 km stretch of broken roads, the rest is brilliant. The rooms are comfortable and the property has this old world charm without compromising on modern day amenities.
I am a coffee man myself but the red cup of fragrant tea managed to convert me to a tea drinker for a few days. It rained most of the time but I was happy for that is exactly what i wanted. It was cold, wet, windy and spooky most of the time – perfect recipe for the romantic kid in me to don a new cape and go gallivanting into the mists of the mountains.
Radhika Cariappa ,the property manager & team ensure that you are comfortable and the simple but delicious food is one of the many reasons we would visit again.
The one thing I just cant get out of my head is this crooked moss covered entrance to the bungalow. I wonder what stories it could tell!
Location & Drive details
Route: Nelamangala – Hassan – Sakleshpur – Aggalatti Road – Kadamane
- Nelamangala – Hassan: Beautiful 4 lane road.
- Hassan – Sakleshpur: Good 2 lane road.
- Sakleshpur – Aggalatti Road: Good 2 lane road with a few broken section near culverts. Watch out for the primary healthcare center on your left, which is where you need to take left.
- Aggalatti Road – Kadamane: First 2.7 km is bad with some deep potholes. After that its a good concrete road for 11-12 kms. You need to take a right hand U-turn at a bus stop where the concrete road ends and then after that for the next 3 odd kms its again potholed & washed out tar road.
Total distance: ~250 kms from Yeshwantpur Metro station.
Drive time: Easily doable in 4.5 hrs of peaceful driving.
Pit stops: Swati delicacy & Cafe Ossoor. Many other on the way to & in Sakleshpur before the Hanbal turnoff.
Other finer points:
- Book in advance as its mostly fully booked especially on weekends.
- Book rooms in the Partners Wing for best views and wi-fi access.
- If you have a 4×4, then take your car to 5 acres for a photo shoot.
- Do drink a cup of their red tea even if you are not a tea drinker. Its so clean and refreshing.
- They have bicycles which you can use to explore the estate.
- They dont serve alcohol. So carry your own if needed.
- Apart from BSNL none of the other service providers have range except in some specific pockets
- Ask if tea bushes have been pruned they do this once in 3-4 years and in June this year they pruned bushes in large section near the bungalow. Did not matter to me but there were other guests at the bungalow who were disappointed that its not green all around.
- Food is home cooked & delicious Indian fare. Dont expect a lavish spread or assortments of bakes and goodies!