Gone Fishing Cottages, Tirthan Valley

Gone Fishing Cottages, it is what the word getaway was aptly made for. Located in beautiful  Deori village of Tirthan valley, by a gushing stream is small cluster of wooden cottages designed and conceptualized with love to every detail. Golden marigold bloom everywhere, an in-house café and a hammock right in the middle of courtyard was my glimpse of the property.   

Perfect for anyone who wants a tranquil getaway and enjoy a far away feeling (from the busy world) be it with your family, friends or go solo (like me). From lazy afternoons spent having juicy local fruits, soaking in winter sun by a water stream (or in it) that is just few steps away from the cottage, to nights spent on private deck having perfectly grilled trout and heap of mashed potatoes, my stay at Gone fishing cottages was a mountain fantasy come true.  

The beautiful property is enveloped by step farming fields and blooming orchards on one side, while on the other side, a thick forest of tall cedar and pine trees rests. Gone fishing cottages is both private and welcoming with its incredible host (mother hen- Dimple) She runs the place making sure every little detail from crisp curtains to aromatic toiletries (which she makes employing local women) delicious dishes on menu to surprise desserts.

 This family-run homestay comes with a whole lot of grandeur and warm hospitality – If you love dogs, there are five of them, if you love books, they are racks full of them in the cottage, and if you like nature well take a walk and you are surrounded by best of panoramic views.  

Its cottages, with their bare stone walls and rustic, wooden furniture add to your experience of wilderness living. The rooms are spacious with hint of coziness and pool of natural light flowing in, in mornings and long glass doors that open to your own little private balcony. You can book the entire cottage that comes with 2/3 rooms each or a room in one. The cottage comes with a kitchenette, table with high stools and living space where you can spend lounging around or you could spend hours gazing at the stars at the private deck right outside the cottage. The hosts not only love nature but are also conscious about it, you will notice multiple recycled things all over the property – utilisation of empty alcohol bottles as light shades, twine-entwined lamps, soap stands out of pipes and more.

Whether you’re working from home, a bird watcher, group of friends or two people in love – if you are looking to spend time in nature, I assure your experience at Gone fishing cottages will be nothing short of a rejuvenation.  

Know more: http://gonefishingcottages.com/

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Ayana Fort Kochi

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Kerala has attracted travelers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices, Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the one of the best place in Kerala for a rich multicultural experience.

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The fort Kochi area has its own quaint charm, It is buzzing with tourists, but each at their own pace – this part of the city has a ‘homestay’ in every corner! I chose to stay at  ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ for a lot of reason the main being its prime location. One of the biggest delights of Fort Cochin is just wandering and exploring the atmospheric old streets, the mosque, the synagogue, temples and churches, the colourful houses and shops in Jew town and the picturesque Chinese fishing nets and soaking up Cochin’s colourful history.

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Boutique hotels are on rise in India, they are the perfect combination of creativity and luxury, without missing out on comfort, the rooms are spacious and inviting; it is affordable yet high class. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a luxury boutique hotel with  16-rooms that showcases an ideal marriage of history with modern luxurious comfort. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a 200-year old courthouse that has been meticulously restored and then renovated to its rightful glory. The hotel and its surroundings take you on a trip down memory to centuries old history. This element of old and new, existing side by side is evident in each area of the hotel.

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With large public spaces, the property lends itself well to showcase art and the Ayana team endeavors to make the hotel a platform to build awareness towards Indian contemporary artists. The hotel’s monochromatic black and white palate lends itself to the striking artwork showcased throughout the property.  Ayana’s commitment to promoting Indian artists is clearly visible as you walk through the hotel, currently they house paintings from established artists such as Amitabh Sengupta and Dhiraj Choudhary, as well as many budding artists, displayed all over the property.

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Luxury Suite: I wasn’t expecting a big room considering the fact that it was a boutique hotel, but to my delight i stepped into a spacious room which was a welcome surprise. The interiors of my room, just like the rest of the hotel was tastefully done and looked elegant and classy. The team has paid minute attention to each aspect of the interiors. Perfect blend of designs and striking colors define Ayana Fort Kochi rooms. The checkered floors have been created using traditional Indian cement tile and give a sense of colonial charm to the entire property.

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The room has a theme of black and white that created a soothing contrast and in addition to it was a splash of blue to add some color. It had a queen size bed with comfortable mattress and soft pillows, a sofa with round table and lounge chair facing television, just beside the huge glass doors that led to a cute and compact balcony that overlooked the street below and also gave a view of port with ships leaving and arriving.

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Food: Ayana places a high priority on food and offers fresh local produce and authentic flavors. One can feast their senses at a stunning restaurant, ‘The Old Court’, overlooking a private garden. It offers a sundry menu based on organic vegetables and only the freshest local catch. The rooftop café has been designed in an Art Deco style and is filled with the exotic fragrance of the Raat Ki Rani tree, growing wild across the area. It was too hot and Humid for me to have a meal here so i choose the old court for my meals or ordered in room. From south Indian to Italian there is nothing they miss out on, however i would suggest you to go local, enjoy the appam with stew, masala dosa, prawn curry, fish and eat your heart out, because once you are back home you will be craving every bit  of it.

Experiences &  Activities: The hotel is equipped with a roof top pool and a fitness suite –that offer mesmerizing views of the sun and sea.  From attending a rooftop yoga class to sculpting the body with strenuous work out at the gymnasium or just cooling off at the roof top pool, Ayana provides for all modern-day luxuries in a very historic setting. In keeping with the luxury component, Ayana is one of the few hotels in Fort Kochi offering a full-service gym.

The hotel also offers curated activities and guided tours for guests based on their preferences and choices. I enrolled myself for an evening of  Kathakali, Kalaripayattu a traditional dance performance and a Backwater tour which is a mandatory thing to do when in Kerala.  They also offer a spice tour and a fishing tour.

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