In my search for the kurinji flower last weekend, I stayed at the most unusual "hotel" yet -- a treehouse.
Yep, a real honest-to-goodness house up a tree. 41 feet (12.5 metres) above the ground. Located at The Wild Canopy Reserve, it stands in the midst of a private wildlife preserve in Masinagudi, western Tamil Nadu. Around it roam peacocks, Indian bison, spotted deer, langur monkeys, sloth bears, wild boar, and elephants, all of which I spotted on treks in the area. There are also tigers and leopards, although they are harder to spot.
It felt great to trade in honking horns and the hum of the airconditioner for a soothing breeze, fresh air, and the smell of the forest. I fell asleep to the sound of owls, langurs, and the occasional elephant and tiger roar. It was a deliciously tranquil and relaxing experience.
To be sure, treehousing is not for everyone. To start with, you have to climb 36 steps up a bamboo and rope ladder (closeup below). There is a bathroom with shower and hot water available, but the water supply was somewhat erratic while I was there. If it's windy, there will be a lot creaking going on at night.
And since the structure has openings on all sides, any forest-dwelling creature can flit in and out at night. In the morning, there's a good chance that you will be awakened by a langur monkey peeking inside your bedroom.
If you leave even so much as a half-eaten candy bar in your bag--like I did--you will find your bag chewed through by morning. I'm told the culprit was likely a bandicoot. (I've never seen a bandicoot, but from the description, it sounds like a euphemism for a rat.) If you leave out a bar of soap in the bathroom, that too will be devoured by morning.
But none of that diminished the fun for me. I loved my stay in this delightful place. And it has inspired me to check out some of the other accommodations in the Unusual Hotels of the World list.