We recently spent a week at Bamboo Banks, which is a 40 acre farm in the jungle, at the foot of the Nilgiris in the Mudumulai Game Reserve. Bamboo Banks is owned by our long time family friends, the Kothavala family. Siasp and Zarine Kothavala started Bamboo Banks forty years ago. Siasp now runs the guest house with the help of his son, Zerasp, and daughter, Shahanaz. I’ve been going there since I was a kid for family vacations, and the place is full of happy memories for me.
The drive to Bamboo Banks takes about six to eight hours from Bangalore, depending on traffic. The drive through the countryside is full of interesting sights.
Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is also a declared Tiger Reserve. It’s in the Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, and shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. The Wildlife Sanctuary is home to endangered species including the Royal Bengal tiger and Indian leopard.
Mudumalai National Park is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
Bamboo Banks is a magical place, with lush greenery that is beautifully landscaped. Zarine Kothavala was passionate about gardening, and you will see her beautiful touch throughout the property. There’s a donkey and his three horses that roam the property, munching away and keeping the lawns nicely trimmed.
There are also two emus, several turkeys, pea hens and ducks that wander about the property!
You can also watch the monkeys play in the trees and around the pond.
One morning we awoke to monkeys scampering on the roof of our cottage! Another night I watched spotted deer eating the grass just outside the bedroom window. We often heard animals calling in the night.
Guests are warned to stay in their cottages after dark, as animal do come on the property. There’s an electric fence; however, there have been a couple of occasions when elephants have come on the property. Recently one came to eat up Shahanaz’ vegetable garden! Ask Zeras to show you photos on his phone of the…interesting…evidence left behind by an elephant in front of the main house.
Zerasp took us on two different jeep rides on the property, one in the day, and another in the evening.
We saw saw spotted deer, wild boar and a peacock.
When we went again in the evening, we saw more deer, wild boar, and a stunning sunset from the tree house (marchan).
Guests can also purchase a jeep jungle tour in the early morning or in the evening, just before dusk, when the animals come out to feed. Two different sets of guests were lucky enough to spot a tiger while we were there!
One day Shahanaz took us to see the nearby town of Masinagudi and the surrounding countryside.
We also stopped to see a local temple.
Another evening Shahanaz took us to the Elephant Camp in Mudumulai to see the elephants getting fed just before dusk. Wild boar also flock down to see what scraps they can find. On the way back we saw a bison along the road!
Bamboo Banks is a place to relax and unwind. There’s a lovely pool with out door seating, hammocks and a swing. There’s also a trampoline. Adults can relax while the kids happily expend their energy!
One afternoon the donkey and his three horses arrived to have their lunch by the pool.
There’s also a kids’ play area with swings, a merry-go-round, teeter-totter, trampoline, and slide.
There are also ATVs to ride around the property.
The food was amazing! Guests are always served multiple dishes at each meal, with a wide variety of Indian and European food. We will be working on losing the extra weight for weeks to come!!
We spent seven wonderful, relaxing days there. It was hard to say good-bye. Thank you to Siasp, Zerasp, and Shahanaz for yet another amazing visit to Bamboo Banks. We are already looking forward to our next visit! See the link below to book your stay!