The horizon was awash with myriad hues of evening sun, and just like that, the fatigue of hours of travel dissipated. My early morning flight to Bangalore had me leaving the apartment at 4 AM – and now, it was sunset, and we were still driving to get to our destination – Coco Lagoon by Great Mount in Pollachi. I hoped to catch this fiery orange sunset, refreshed, from the balcony of my hotel room, but that wasn’t to be.
No sooner had we stepped on to the property, than it began to drizzle – and the rain continued throughout my stay. I had read the news that hurricane Gaja would hit Tamil Nadu with torrential downpour around the time of my visit, but I had already booked my flights and stay.
Rotten luck getting rain in the middle of November? Perhaps!
But this resort in Tamil Nadu, and in fact, Pollachi, in general – was ideal to spend a rainy day or two!
And so, I sat in my balcony, trading the sunset for views of the tropical palm trees swinging to the rhythm of monsoon winds and being lashed by the rain. That, and a cup of tea – perfect!
Most great places aren’t on the tourist map – just like Pollachi here; but I was surprised to see quite a lot of European tourists! They do seem to find the most peaceful vacay spots faster than us Indians (while keeping them pristine, might I add)!
It was really interesting to get a download on the place from a local, Maheswar, one of the owners of Coco Lagoon. Did you know that Pollachi has the highest number of coconut trees per sq meter than any other place in the world? AND the Pollchi coconut is special – the palm trees here yield faster (once in 40 days), as compared to once in 60 days in other parts of the country/world. The coconuts are bigger and have much more water (I can vouch for this) and oil content as compared to others. It is because of these reasons that these coconuts are famed throughout South India and priced much higher than the average coconut. All this has resulted in the rice and sugarcane farmers converting their fields to coconut orchards, giving visitors unparalleled views of acres of palm trees, no matter where they are!
Wondering what causes the difference in quality, price and yield? It’s all because of the pleasant weather and soil that this region enjoys.
ABOUT COCO LAGOON BY GREAT MOUNT
By now, I bet you can already imagine what Coco Lagoon looks like, tucked away among the palm trees of Tamil Nadu’s little-known, tourist-free Pollachi. Being a resort near Coimbatore, it is easily accessible and has quite a bit of sightseeing to do nearby.
A picturesque and tranquil retreat, Coco Lagoon is known as one of the best resorts in Pollachi, ideal for a family holiday and couple getaway. Boasting of an infinity pool overlooking a man-made pond, spacious rooms and pleasant service – it is an endearing place to spend a few days. Its setting alone is the stuff that great holiday pictures are made of! For those who’d simply like to take it easy – your days can comprise of lounging around the pool and popping in to the restaurant or spa. While for restless feet that like to soak in as much of a new place as possible, Coco Lagoon organizes wonderful day trips around the property so that you can have an immersive, cultural experience.
The best way to get to Coco Lagoon is to fly in to Coimbatore and then drive down – a ride of around 4 hours. Alternatively, you could fly in to Bangalore Airport and do the same. Bangalore, being a metro, has more flights landing there and airfare is therefore cheaper than flights to Coimbatore. However, the travel time from Bangalore to Pollachi can stretch to more than 8 hours. Once you leave Bangalore’s horrendous traffic behind, the roads are smooth, and make for a great drive if you wish to rent a car and drive down yourself.
5 categories of rooms – ranging from Executive Deluxe to Pool Villa and Garden Villa are available to choose from. Mine was a Royal Suite, a spacious, well-furnished room with plenty of seating space! A dining table, work desk and side sofas in the room offered plenty of space to eat, catch up on work or watch TV on. Basic tea and coffee making amenities, air-conditioning, ample storage space and a large washroom with a Jacuzzi were a few of the amenities on offer.
The balcony overlooked the pool and restaurant from where the merry chatter and laughter along with the rustle of coconut palms in the breeze can be heard all through the day. The path to my room could have been better lit – it was quite dark during the nights. In terms of connectivity, there is very weak phone signal and you won’t find internet on your phone, so ask the reception for the wi-fi password. Internet and phone connectivity is the strongest at the restaurant.
Starting with the breakfast spread and going all the way up to dinner – the food was fabulous all through! The breakfast selection comprises of equal options of Continental and South Indian fare to suit both palates – and the food items keep changing. The sun finally chose to show up my second morning at the property, and I didn’t waste the opportunity to sit by the pool, have a great south Indian breakfast and catch up with the online world.
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The restaurant staff is wonderful and attentive to each and every diner – patiently explaining cuisines that are new to them (and me), suggesting items off the menu and making pleasant conversation all through.
If you’re wondering what to try here, their Pollachi Elaneer Soup makes for an interesting start. A signature soup is devised by the chefs at Coco Lagoon, and its main ingredients are coconut water, tender coconut flesh, carrots and mint leaves. Being a soup, it’s hot – but being coconut water, we’re used to drinking it cold – and so it’s quite a puzzling dish, in a good way.
Next, do try the Kodana Kozhi Curry, a rustic South Indian chicken curry with a coconut milk base. Thick and flavorful, this mild curry pairs well with rice – or you can mop it up with naan. Thennai Puttu is also worth trying for a new culinary experience. Foxtail millet is ground into coarse powder and formed into mini cylinders called ‘puttu’ wrapped in a banana leaf. An elaichi banana is served alongside, for you to mash with the puttu, which would otherwise be too dry to swallow as is. When mashed into a thick paste, it is to be eaten with a side of black grams.
I, for one, really enjoyed relishing the Dava Dhaniaday – with a shape and width of an Uttapam and texture of a soft dal-vada, it is made with 10 kinds of dals and millets. Every mouthful had so many textures and flavour and the crunch of onions mixed in just added to its appeal. Served with a cooling accompaniment of coconut chutney, this was so satisfying and I could have had a dinner comprising of it alone!
Being an offbeat destination in Tamil Nadu, there isn’t a lot to do in Pollachi. However, the folks at Coco Lagoon ensure you have an action packed stay by organizing everything from morning yoga to trips to an organic farm. If you’re into history, you’ll enjoy the village tour, where you can learn from and dine with a zamindar (land owner) and other locals. Lastly, you can do the ‘cotton trail’ which is a collaboration with an organic, sustainable clothing brand based in Pollachi. After attending the World Fair Trade Week, I had already developed an interest in slow fashion, and this was really interesting for me, as I’m sure it will be for you too!
I’ll get into the details of the things to do in Pollachi soon! For now, I can’t wait to tell you about Delightz Inn, the hotel in Ooty that I headed to right after Pollachi.
If you’d like to read more about my South Indian adventures, my blog posts on Pondicherry is a good place to start!
See you soon!