Giving time a break in Pondicherry 1: Loving the stay

Me: You have to take 2 weeks off. You have never seen Mysore “properly”. I don’t know how you do it. But you better.

K: Oh that’s too long.. yaada yaada .. Europe…blah bleh bluh….. I don’t like weddings…. pitter patter….

Me: You are coming. I am booking the tickets.

K: Oh that’s too long.. yaada yaada .. Europe…blah bleh bluh….. I don’t like weddings…. pitter patter….

Me: There, we are going!

K: Whaa? Okay.  I will come on one condition.

Me: I don’t like it already.

K: We must go to few places other than Mysore. After all, I am using up all my leave. Let’s do Pondicherry and Goa.

Me: Blah.. Pondicherry wow! but Goa? Too far…. wedding too long.. blah bleh…. something else? Ooty?

And that my friends is how the long dormant seeds called Pondicherry and Ooty germinated. I cannot describe the fun we had during both these trips. I am so glad that K imposed those conditions. We have been wanting to do a few places in India for long now and these were definitely 2 of them.

But after booking flight tickets, I we conveniently postponed booking the accomodation. When I finally decided on a place called Le Dupleix, I did not get an enthusiastic response to my queries. Le Pondy, our second choice was not available either. Magically, as if this was where we were destined to stay, tripadvisor showed Anantha Heritage as the #1 heritage hotel with excellent service and food. The reviews were too good and the manager had personally responded to every review. I know a few do it but somehow this seemed too good to be true. I logged into their website and was spellbound by what I saw – my paaTi‘s place! Or something very very similar to it. On a whim, I just booked a suite for us for 4 days 3 nights.

We have shelled out a great deal of money and stayed in lavish hotels and resorts but let me admit – this was by far the most unique and one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives.  I felt like I was amidst the most hospitable of people and the most considerate management by far.

This is one of those “hotels” that you will hardly notice – quaint, obscure and very deceptive along a busy road. And I am very eager to share some sneak-peeks into this beautiful place with all of you.

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Move a step closer and you will be drawn into a world of red-oxide floored homes, agarbatti smells that will ever so gently hypnotize you further and the warmth that exudes from every inch of that inanimate furniture that gives you that inexplicable feeling of having come home.

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As soon as we entered, this beautiful lady welcomed us with aarthi and tilak while Mr. Gomez, easily one of the best hotel managers I have met made sure that he had the key and the rest ready for us while Ranjan (a very sweet, extremely shy and helpful person) helped us move our luggage to our suite.

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While K did the signing, I was lost in the innumerable paintings and idols they had on display there from many years ago.

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They had tastefully and minimalistically revampED what they said was an Indo-French king’s summer palace.

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Do you spot the chess board-table here?

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The corridors along which the rooms were located had that ancient charm to them. Our room opened up to this backyard where there were tables for dining on one end.

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Whenever we go on a holiday we like to enjoy the “room”. This one right here – we made sure we cut down a bit of sight-seeing if needed, just to sit here and dream of yesteryears.

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There is something beautiful about staying in heritage homes.  K and I had some of our best moments here. To wake up to smoke coming out of the chimney signalling hot water for bath the smell of dosa batter that the cook had prepared right next to our room,  ear-to-ear smiles in that 4- manpower home, taking long baths till we looked like raisins, a simple hearty breakfast with unlimited dosas – we never felt the need for anything else. Internet was used only to read a bit about the places to visit. We mulled and asked for filter coffee at odd times of the day, had the hosts help us with sight-seeing with 0 hassles – I will never ever forget the stay here. This is not good customer service. This was all about home away from home, of the highest order hospitality. Even afternoon lunches were cooked just for us specially and served  home-style !

And just for this amazing experience alone, K and I would love to go back someday. I pray that these lovely people stay blessed and continue to touch lives this way.

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