For a quick summary, scroll down to the end of this post
"Is this the right turn to 'Travancore Heritage'?",
"Yes sir", Pat came the reply by the guy who did not take his eye of the tea which he is preparing in the road side shop. We had traveled around 5kms from the international tourist destination Kovalam and the road side sign board,now read Poovar - 9 kms. I swerved the vehicle out of the Poovar route into the narrow sublane. A typical village road, but with lot of houses around.
"Amma, Will there be many games and prizes to be won?" my son queried.
"I don't know, everything is arranged by one of my colleagues in office", my better half answered who is visibly tired, thanks to her extended working hours yesterday.
"Amma, Will there be a swimming pool too?" my little daughter asked in her customary tone, as if it is mandatory to ask something, following her elder ones never ending queries.
"Yes there might be !!, We are going there only na. Let us find it once we are there" sounded a little bit harsh though.
I had some doubts too... How many members are there in the team, are they all friendly, will there be kids and so on, what are the facilities in this resort.....but it is better to keep quite as the moment demands silence and wait until the events unroll.
Only yesterday night did I decide to be part of this outing of my wife's team mates, with the cricket world cup final on the very same day pulling me back, and the oppurtunity to have a good time with wife and family by the beach side tempting me to join.
I could now see the wide open gates of the "Travancore Heritage" Resort. The resort resembles a typical traditional home and kept up to its name. Overheard my wife talking with her team mates and got to know that all of them has arrived and has gone for a walk.
Let us step inside and get to know more about the resorts "heritage" claims.
Wow the lobby is neatly set up with antique furniture. The standing Ganapathy idol carved out of stone is really standing out. The board which explains the resort's facilities itself is made out of wood.
My god!! Lot of activities are hidden inside. Ayurveda seems to be the Unique selling point coz it might be the one which attracts foreign tourists here. Two pools,lots of indoor games, etc. my kids and the kid inside me is happy.
Expectations are rising sky high as we are stepping out of lobby into a beautiful restaurant by the side of a pool christened "Cliff top pool", and eventually getting out of the reception building whose external appearance had a proud outlook akin to the palaces.
My camera was getting ready for a clicking spree for the poor thing know that it will be subjected heavy work out during the day, opening and closing its shutters atleast a thousand times.
This seems to be a hilly area. The thick cover provided by the trees around is not allowing us to give a wider field of vision and everything seems to be hid behind the trees, something which is really good.
The cottages are now making its presence as we are treading downhill through the neat walkway.
The word Marvellous, will not do justice to the way they have adhered to the traditional construction methods. The wooden panelled walls, the tile paved roof and cottages positioned in such a way that the occupants will feel right in the midst of woods in a green topped hill is something truly addictive. A perfect dwelling place for those seeking solace out of their daily chores (read managers!!).
Some duplex cottages are present too, with each one of them having ample space in the front.
The gentle sea breeze will no wonder make life in one of these swings very pleasing
But something even more beautiful is awaiting us as I could get a glimpse of the horizon ahead. The gush of air rushing against us also is increasing more and more as we are moving down.
There in the beautiful lawn we could see some people sitting, who happens to be the members of this team outing who were enjoying the sea breeze and the breathtaking view ahead.
Yes we are on the edge of a cliff now, a cliff overlooking the sea.
The view of the sea from top of a cliff is really mind boggling and it is something which cannot be caught on a camera as the scope of vision is limited. We are now on top of the chovara cliff and this is the closest point of the cliff with the sea. Two years back I have been on top of this cliff, during my exploration of unknown but beautiful beaches near Kovalam (You can see the log here).
Well the customary pleasantaries are being exchanged with some smiling homosapiens around, but my eyes kept its sight set on this location.
Half an hour already whizzed past in this exquisite ambience.
Someone is announcing the whole team to go down the cliff for their is a small ground there for some team activities and our tread starts.
A tower like object is in front of us and the sign board reads - "Elevator". Wow there is an elevator to go down the cliff. Great. Wait there is are some steps to go up tooo.. Let me just climb up.
The ladder like steps is making some sound as I slowly tread up, but as I am gaining altitude the complete demography is unfolding.
The resort is built in two parts, one on top of the cliff and the next part underneath it without disturbing the natural undulations of the land. The upper area from where we just came houses the main reception building, which contains a restaurant, two conference rooms, a cliff top pool and individual cottages amidst thick vegetation.
The lower part underneath the cliff has a multi storeyed building which houses many rooms overlooking the sea, a beach side pool, a restaurant and some playing area. I can see all of them from here. Just watch this
The journey down is pretty quick and looking back the elevator looks like this.
The multistoreyed appartment complex was looking more beautiful from here and the most attractive thing is that all of the rooms seems to be facing the sea. The swimming pool in front the apartment complex is positioned in the most apt location. A dive to the pool followed by a good rest in one of those beds feeling the sea breeze can make your day for sure.
Since we are on a "Day break" Package which means using the resort's facilities for a day only, we are not able to spend the whole day in the pool though.
Within no time teams were formed, rules announced, a volleyball is seen flying around, irrespective of gender some diving is happening, claps heard, whistles blown, scores announced, some deafening triumph roars heard, kids getting amazed to see there parents rolling in the dust and all of us soaked in sweat !!
Just like any sports, the team spirit rose after the game, everyone woke up from dreaming inside the natural dreamworld and the whole team got along together pretty quickly. Eventhough I knew just one or two members of the team, after this game I felt part of the team.
Another two hours whizzed past, something else was getting into our discussions, the cricket world cup final. Only 1 hour more for the game to start and to our joy the hotel staff has set up a television in their mini conference hall for us. Our plan is to move to the conference hall after lunch.
The antique shop just near to the poolside is a good sight too.
Right near to the antique shop is the restuarant. What is that net like thing in front of the restaurant. Wow it is a model of the chinese fishing net, something that is a speciality of the backwaters of Kerala, an innovative fishing tool whose technology might have transferred to Keralites by the Chinese visitors many hundreds of years ago.
How beautiful it is to see them in huge numbers in those backwaters, just reminded me of the ashtamudi trip where we got to view a lot of them (Click here to see the real chinese fishing nets in action)
The resort property ends right after the restaurant and the gates to the beach is housed here.
We are tempted to go to the vast beach which we saw earlier from the top of the cliff. But now its time for lunch and every one is walking back to the restaurant on the cliff top.
We are now back in the reception building, sitting together around a neatly set table, with everyone involved in good conversation, mostly about the impending final and discussing about the playing strategy as if it really matters on how the team will play.
The ceiling work of the restaurant was truly reminiscent of the palaces.
It resembled (only to a minimal extent) one of those ceiling works of the magnificient Padmanabhapuram palace (To take a complete virtual tour of the palace, click here).
Some of the team members got into the pool by the side of the restaurant which tempted my kids and myself to plunge, but since the kids will be hungry I decided against it. The food was good for it disappeared in no time. Everyone began to move to the conference hall as it is time for the game to start. Somehow I was attracted to the pool just like my kids and soon I could feel the slow massage of pool water against my whole body as I glided through the pool. I felt really happy that I could achieve one of my new year resolutions (See the story here)which was learning swimming, by february itself. Now I am sort of addicted to water and swimming has become a kind of passion. For me it is the only single person oriented workout which can be done without feeling bored.
The water in the pool seems heavily cholrinated and I forgot to take the googles too. Opening ones eyes in such pools underneath the water can be quite dangerous and I could feel the itching immediately if I open it underwater. My kids too was enjoying as there was a mini pool where I could leave them alone.
The news arrived that Sri Lanka team is batting. Great!! now I can swim for some time more as I won't miss India's batting.
Almost one hour passed when my wife came to inform that some more games are being arranged in the conference room.
The mood in the room is quite different, watching the game with a group of people can make it completely special, the cheering, the ooomphs, the aahs, everything is happening as if we all are on the stadium. Reminded me of the days when we watched the 1996 world cup at the hostel.
In the midst of the game watching another announcement came for a game inside the room and everyone readily agreed. The rule of the game was announced and I simply fell in love with the purpose the game serves. 5 person standing in a line, an image to be shown to the last person, he/she draws the image using his/her finger in the back of the person standing in front, this person draws what he understood to the next one in front and the final person has to draw it on paper. A classic case of requirement gathering where the customer and analyst speaks in two different languages.
More interestingly the images shown had some artefacts too, which means some unwanted lines were drawn, for example a circle on the roof of a house. If one draws the circle on the back of a person, he can never associate it with a house. So the ability of the person to convey the important specifications first hiding the artefacts also is being tested.
The game evoked great response and the images drawn triggered lot of laughter.
Another game announcement soon followed which is more strategy oriented. Throwing a ball to the person behind, who will inturn throw to next person without looking back until the ball reaches the last person in the line. Now he has to throw it to the person in the front, finally reaching the first person. The team which does this in minimal time is the winner. If any person fails to catch it, the game has to start over again.
More cheering came and for a moment the world cup final took a backstage as a bunch of excited professionals began to pass the ball.
Kudos to those who organised these games and made the preparations, each and everyone participated and the purpose was served. Time just flew and till now we had not visited the beach.
Quickly tread down, into the elevator, move down the cliff, walk around the sea face building, the pool, the restaurant with chinese net and into the wide open beach through the gate where the security announced that the gate will be closed by 7 pm, so return early.
This is truely a wide open beach, with an initially grassy patch followed by the sandy area.
Turning back I could see the cliff and the resort, but completely hidden behind the trees.
Only the elevator tower can be seen.
There is another resort - "Somatheeram Ayurvedic resort" right next to the Travancore heritage, which can be seen in this picture.
This resort too has not disturbed the natural beauty of this place.
As we move ahead, I could spot a rocky terrain at a distance, the very same place where I stood for more than an hour enjoying the beauty, some 2 years back. I had climbed down to that rock from the Azhimala temple.(See the photos here)
Eventhough it was tempting to have a dip in the sea, has to rule it out, coz time is running out faster than expected. Darkness is spreading quite fast too thanks to some rolling clouds.
As we slowly walk back to the resort, the main point of discussion was completely about the travancore heritage and how the day unfolded.
By the time we reached back the resort, all lights were switched on and I am again reenergized for another photo shoot. Just watch how beautiful the cliff top pool is with the restaurant building in the background
Inside the restaurant too the lighting has made it look quite different.
The whole team is waiting for us at the lobby as it is time to depart. Surprising to know that I could get out of the cricket fever and completely missed the first part of the game. Srilanka's batting is over and within 15minutes or two the dashing openers of India will take to the crease.
As I cranked the engine for the return back after bidding bye to a wonderful team who organised a fantastic outing, the thoughts of this outing was sharing its space along with the cricket final.
What happened in the final during India's batting is history, but what unravelled in front of us at Travancore Heritage will remain history in our minds !!!
A Quick Summary of Travancore Heritage Resort
Around 6km from Kovalam. In the Kovalam - Poovar Route
Located in chowara cliff overlooking the sea. Organised in two parts.
On the clifftop:
The reception, car parking lot, restaurant, conference rooms, cliff top pool, neat little cottages. Two cottages has got private pools too. Each cottage is so isolated from the other that one feels that they are in their own world.
Down the cliff:
A multistoryed building overlooking the sea with many rooms, a pool just in front, a restaurant and easy access to beach. (I assume these to be more economical than the other)