A large part of wellness, for me, is maintaining my equilibrium and mental peace. When I am frazzled, my sleep, my eating habits, and motivation for exercise – it all goes for a toss. I have realized that a small vacation, just even an escape for one night from the usual scene, getting away to the hills or a lake or wherever, has immense powers of rejuvenation. I come back and can get back to the plodding daily grind for a few more months. And then it will be rinse and repeat time again.
One such place I discovered by word of mouth, having heard about it over and again from friends, is this peaceful, serene, and eco-friendly homestay in Sakleshpur, called Mugilu. About a four hour drive from Bangalore, and with decent highways and roads for a good part of the distance, it is only the last 10-15 kms that are on rough terrain and uneven roads. Mugilu is the last estate in a row of places, and you will be welcomed, first and foremost, by Shunti, one of the resident canines, who is incredibly friendly and will play tour guide when you walk around the estate or head to nearby fields. You can also take your own dog(s) along.
Unlike a traditional homestay where everyone is in one building, there are four individual and very private cottages set across a verdant coffee and pepper plantation. The place has been designed and set up to go with the ecology – nothing jarring or post modern here, just stone and wood and earthy tones. Each cottage has its very own balcony that affords a fantastic view and the sounds of bird song as well as tiny visitors by way of flying insects and the like. Each cottage boasts a different colored theme, basic rustic furniture – rough wooden bed and chairs and table in the balcony, and stone floored bathrooms with big glass windows so you can commune with nature even while bathing. You will surely forget about your troubles here!
With no television or air conditioning, (forget WiFi), and limited phone signal, this place is all about getting in touch with nature and leaving gadgets, technology, and modernity behind. Even the hot water for bathing is heated on a fire and then piped into the rooms, for a limited period of time each day. The package per night includes three meals, with tea and snacks available for a little extra, that will even be brought to you room. But breakfast, lunch, and dinner are taken in the common dining and leisure area, and honestly, it’s so pretty and peaceful there, you will probably want to hang out late into the night, like we did, before taking the short walk back to your cottage.
The food is hearty, local Kannadiga fare, and a real spread, with a good number of dishes and specialty items like Akki Roti served. The staff are really sweet, hospitable, and keep the place running smoothly, even with the owner-couple, Sapna and Chandan, who are major travelers, are not around. But when they’re around, you will be in for a treat in the form of conversation and stories around life, travel, adventure sports, and wellness. And of course you will learn more about the philosophy behind the way they run the place, and try to maintain balance with nature.
Don’t miss taking an early morning walk on the hillside behind the estate, and it also makes for a perfect spot to view the gorgeous sunsets. Of course, if you’re feeling too lazy or just not up to leaving Mugilu, you can hang out on your private balcony and enjoy the views, silence, sounds of nature, and find your center once more.
For months of operation (they close during the rainy season because of flooding and the roads becoming inaccessible), tariff and booking information, go to their website: http://mugilu.com
Note: This piece first appeared on the wellness blog I write for, Bindi & Beard