Anaikatti is a sleepy hamlet about 30 mins from Coimbatore, at the beginning of the foothills that are part of the Palghat pass in the Western ghats. Sterling Anaikatti (like most sterling resorts) is another 15 mins away, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. This is one of the smaller resorts compared to other Sterling resorts. Beautiful all wood buildings and the beautiful River Siruvani flowing besides it. You cannot get into the river but there are nice sitout spots from where you can relax just watching the river flow by and hear the gurgling of the water.
Day 1: We started early from Bangalore (6AM). Breakfast at Murugan idli Krishnagiri around 7ish. Sailed past most of the toll booths on NH44 because of early morning and weekday (Monday). Crossed Salem and got onto NH 544 towards Coimbatore. We hit straight to Isha because we had done significant speed and reached around 1245PM.
It is definitely worth a one time visit. Beautiful. Massive. Peaceful. The Dhyanalingam shrine, where one needs to sit down and meditate for 10-15 min is amazing. There is a certain vibration / feeling that one gets when one sits in front of that huge lingam and the lamps and the silence, and the whistling of the wind.
We walked around all the other shrines. had simple meals in the cafeteria there. Good simple stuff. Saw the tallest face state of Adiyogi (Yep – it is a Guiness world record holder it seems).
On a lighter note, I am sure someone advising Sadhguru (while building Isha) was a big fan of Jurassic park. The tall arched entrances, the arecanut tree plantations, the wooden nameboards, the cursive handwriting. All too familiar. Son was making fun that a t-rex was going to jump out from nowhere.
Reached Sterling Anaikatti in the evening. Rest of the day/evening was just walking around the resort. It is indeed a very peaceful place. No dikchak DJ crowd. Mostly families with children who have come for a relaxing break. Suited us. ymmv of course.
Day 2: First of three outings. Jeep ride to Edavani. This is an area about 30-40 mins from the resort through the mountains, crossing a few mountain streams (which just run over the road), eventually stopping a few km before the road ends. To go beyond, one needs permission because it is an area where tribals still habitate. One of the oldest living tribal populations in the area. The jeep driver stops at another of those mountain stream crossing places where we could get off the jeep, and get into the stream and just relax. The ice cold water was so clear and fresh.
Day 3: Second outing was called River walk. Again a jeep ride for about 30-40 minutes takes us to the banks of the river Bhavani. And the driver took us on a mini trek (no slopes) through dense vegetation along side the river all the way to a place where the River Siruvani and River Bhavani merge. And on the trek back, we were shown a spot where we could jump into the water. Safe rocky place. This was becoming a pattern 🙂
Day 4: Third and final outing was to a place called Maranati. This is an exciting jeep ride. About 20-30 mins of regular road and the last 15 mins was full off-roading on mud/rock paths on a 45 degree incline. At the end of it was a small water fall and a bit of slow rapids, where we could, yeah – you guessed it, jump into the water. We spent a lot of time here much more than the other two days. The other side of the river resembles a water hole like you see in Nat Geo. Our jeep driver told us that this was part of the Nilgiri Bio reserve, and in the late evening / nights, one can spot wildlife (mostly elephants) coming to drink water. We spotted only peacocks at the time we were there.
On all the three days, we were back for lunch at the resort. Evenings were mostly spent playing shuttle, TT, or board games (advantages of taking the car – we took on a bunch of games from home).
There is an evergreen forest about an hour away called Silent Valley. You drive up an hour and then the forest department takes you for a 4 hour jeep ride in the forest. Unfortunately we could not go because tickets were all booked up. Our jeep driver was saying, it is good to explore if you book that in advance (even before you land up).
The stay was comfortable. The rooms were a bit small. There are two types of rooms here – normal and premium. We could not get the latter. Premium rooms are slightly bigger and are an independent cottage types, whereas the normal rooms are 6 rooms in a block – two floors of 3 rooms each. There are only 6 premium rooms in the entire property. So try booking early. Food was decent – nothing to write home about.
Day 5/Return: Started early again 615ish. Dawn was just breaking. Easy 45 min ride to Coimbatore. Had breakfast at Annapurna Sai baba colony. And then headed to Marudhamalai Murugan temple. Reached around 8ish. Had a great darshan, and then started back to Bangalore.
Lunch at Aasai Dosai Saravana Bhavan (Salem) around 1245 and back in Bangalore around 5ish. All in a good relaxing trip.