Castle Homestay Near Chikmagalur - A Travel Review

Castle Homestay lies at the foothills of the Baba Budan range and makes for an ideal getaway weekend. Read this review to know more about Castle Homestay.

Nestled amidst lush coffee plantation, a mere 250 km from Bangalore, Castle Homestay lies at the foothills of the Baba Budan range and makes for an ideal getaway weekend. Homestay, as the name suggests, conjures up this image of a home away from home and seemingly lives up to its name. Attribute it mostly to the gracious hospitality of the host Peter and his amazing family. There is also home cooked food, tree houses and tents amidst coffee and pepper plantation liberally laced with a jungle safari by jeep and on foot, River rafting, Coracle rides, fishing and more. Sounds exciting? Read on for an account of how our holiday unfolded:-

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12 pm.One bright sunny day, a handful of us, an adventure enthusiastic family reached Castle Homestay which lived up to the image we had conjured, that of a vast expanse of untamed jungle waiting for us to explore, of course after we had freshened up and gorged on a steaming hot Kerala spread of boiled rice, typical Kerala style sambar loaded with veggies, piping hot rasam, yam stir fry, kappa, fish curry, pickle and papad.

3 pm to 6 pm.Tummies satiated , we embarked on a river side adventure for which we were escorted aboard a rumbling jeep, jumping and jostling on a coarse pebble stone pathway, the ride to the river itself serving as a mini adventure. The calm and serene Bhadra River beckoned us for that invigorating dip and leisurely swim to beat the unrelenting midday heat. Even those of us who did not know swimming could wade as far and as deep, as we were bundled up in life jackets with a rope tied to our waist which the life guard could pull in at the slightest tug of wanting to get out of water. Thus, securely we swam and floated at will in the Bhadra River.

Upon exiting the waters we were enticed with the idea of leisurely coracle ride so that we could now explore the river further and ride the currents. There was a mini panic of sorts when we spotted this huge spider sitting smugly in one corner of our coracle when we were halfway into the waters, when we couldn't turn back nor stand up , nor even move an inch for fear of literally rocking the boat !! Meanwhile Peter and his gang of expert boys, managed to catch some fresh water fish and set up a mini bonfire so that we could fry and relish our fish on the spot .The plan however went kaput when we realized that we had forgotten to pack salt!! Alas.

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6 pm- 8 pm. Upon return, we were served with a welcoming concoction of lemon tea while we promptly handed over the fish that we had caught to Peter's home where it would be marinated, tossed in exotic spices and fried, succulent and ready for our consumption later that night. We then relaxed atop the tree house balconies, not missing for one bit, the hectic schedules of the city life we had left behind, until the sound of foot tapping music and the rustle of leaves diverted our attention to the bonfire that was getting ready below.

What is more welcome than sitting cosy , warm and bundled up around cackling fire on a chilly October night, bang in the centre of the forest, with family, chatting , joking , contemplating and eating. For the benefit of our palates, freshly cut pineapple, barbecued chicken and an assortment of veggies on skewers was duly served. Ah, bliss ! And just then it got even better.

Peter announced a night forest trek then, and so, armed with a bonafide rifle and the experts, we set off into the rushes surrounding back of the property, in the quiet of the night. Walking in a single file, barely breathing and eyes widened in an attempt to spot another pair of gleaming eyes! Well, hopefully, or not. Though we returned without any game, we were richer for the thrilling adventure that it had been! For those of us who were not satisfied with the safari-on-foot, there was a jeep safari arranged, where they would drive us into the thick of the forest, in the dark of the night after a scrumptious dinner of course.. And scary it was, for we dreaded the thought of any wild creature pouncing on us, due to being vulnerable and exposed, but nevertheless, even the smallest of us would not back off from the excitement and adventure this promised to be. Let me just tell you that it lived up to our expectation and more. We returned to the property full of energy, taking endlessly and still raring to go.

12 am to 7 am We retired for the night in our compact tree houses, oblivious to the ominous sounds of the forest, filled with beautiful dreams( or nightmares) of our day time adventures.

7 am- 11 am We knew it was going to be yet another fine day when we were woken up to the melodious chirping of birds and the omnipresent aroma of coffee. The birding enthusiasts among us were returning, lugging their cameras with a smug and satisfied smile on their faces and a camera full of pictures after an early morning bird- spotting adventure. A hot breakfast of the fabled 'puttu-kadala' and steaming hot idlis with lush green chutney served as a breakfast to remember. After breakfast we sauntered around the property for a bit, excitedly identifying trees and plants and clicking pictures to immortalize the happy memories. It was soon time to leave for Bangalore, the last 24 hrs not being enough to soak in the beauty and enchantment of the place, and hence promising ourselves to stay longer the next time around.

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We did just that, the next time, but that is another story.

Thanks for reading. I'm open to further comments and discussions and can be reached on Facebook via the id Rashmi Pai-Prabhu. Pictures of our vacation have been uploaded as well.


Guest Author: Vinaya16 Dec 2016

Wow,Rashmi...beautiful description about the Castle homestay in Chikmagalur, so much that I could visualise each n every moment of your stay... very well worded!!

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