By early evening we reached Dukes’ Forest Lodge. It is a bunch of a beautiful and serene cottages in the middle of 200 acre rubber plantation. When we saw Duke’s hoarding and took the turn from main road, my eyes widened and Meenu’s jaw dropped. Haha, seriously. There were huge trees on both sides and for the first time we hear the sound of forest.Going forward, the huge trees were replaced by small rubber plants on both sides and then big rubber trees. Still it sounded liked forest.
It was a very short summer-monsoon vacation. We decided to stick around Trivandrum itself as it was start of monsoon and our mode of transportation was my scooter. I didn’t want to get wet and catch cold and spoil my long awaited days off. So we were searching for places to go near Trivandrum other than our usual hideout at Varkala, we found this less popular place called Duke’s Forest Lodge which is very close to Ponmudi hill station in Trivandrum. I have no idea why it’s less popular, this place is amazing and the best getaway from a hectic work schedule.
We started from Trivandrum on a Sunday afternoon, after having brunch with my sister in law. Meenu was meeting her for the first time. It didn’t look like they are seeing for the first time as both are chatter boxes and enjoyed each other’s company. That was fun. After that we did a little shopping and then headed to the destination. Most roads in Kerala are beautiful. Especially those leading to Hill stations. Even though there were no great restaurants on the way, we snaked a lot and had an amazing ride.
There were small cute hoarding on every 20 meters which made it impossible to loose track. We finally reached at the reception area. The whole place was built in ancient Kerala style architecture with enough modern touch. Near to reception was the first dining area with a small courtyard and some Kerala style decorations. After checking in, we stepped down to the second dining area from where the swimming pool and Kallar river is very close by. As we were pretty tired from our ride we decided to have some rest.
We chose a pool villa. A moderate sized and clean pool with Jacuzzi was on the ground floor and a hude bedroom, one drawing room and bathroom and balcony was on first floor. I will have a separate post on our cottage interior.
We stayed 3 days there. One day just ate, slept and relaxed, one day had a plantation tour and trekking, and the third day we took a trip to Ponmudi and Kallar waterfalls. Even though we were on a such relaxed schedule for 3 days, I felt like staying back there for rest of my life. That place was just like me – calm and quiet. Even though the whole property belonged to a private party, we felt like we are in the middle of a deep forest. The days were filled with mild wind, fresh air and sunlight whereas the nights were filled with cricket sounds.
The climate was in our favor for all the three days. Our plantation tour was amazing. There was a guide with us so that we don’t get lost in the 200 acres plantation or in the Kallar river. While on trekking, we realized that even though rubber trees took most of the area they also has coco plants, pepper, cardamom and even a small farm. We walked around a lot, clicked a few and got amazed on how beautiful nature really is.
Duke’s Forest Lodge is the best place if you are person like me, who enjoys the calmness of nature. If you can’t stay calm for long, don’t worry you still got a nice swimming pool and board games. Still not enough ? Get an authentic Ayurvedic massage. I felt the massage a bit overpriced, charging 9000 rupees for one person, but the very affordable Organic stuff in their small store made me happy. I bought a hair oil -100% organic one.
The best part is the nicest staff and the hospitality at Duke’s. They are the best people I have ever came across in my travels. Duke’s forest Lodge is not just for my type but every type of people.