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Mugilu - Sakleshpur

Sunday, September 18, 2016Me! In words

I try to run away from Bangalore at every given opportunity. In fact, one of the first things I do each time the new academic calendar comes in for Little A, is to mark out all the long weekends and plan to do something on each one of them. One such time when I was looking for a quick long weekend escape from the city around 4 years ago, I chanced upon Mugilu at Saklespur. It seemed like exactly what we wanted - not too far from the city, not too fancy, smack in the middle of nature and with the promise of being cut off from the world. Have always loved the drive through the ghats in Saklespur since I am from Mangalore, and we drive down often. Mugilu is before the Shiradi ghats, but the views are worth a drive down at least half the way, or if you are visiting from Mangalore, then all the way up.

Driving through Saklespur especially during the rains will treat you to scenes like this all across the ghats, in case you plan to go for a scenic drive when in Saklespur

Chandan and Sapna Gurukar, a couple who have done their tours of duty as professionals in Bangalore, decided to give it up and live the farm life in Saklespur. Their estate is accessible from Saklespur town, if the roads are in decent shape, or by another route from Hassan, which Chandan will guide you from. The idea is to get to this now, not-so-little-board that says Bugadahalli and turn in onto a pathway for a while till you hit the estate gates.

Mugilu is literally the last estate in the line here and beyond its gates is a small hill, that turns lush green post the rains and a lovely hue of brown in the summer. A few cars can be parked inside the gates of the estate and those that remain out are equally safe. A steep slope down and you see some graffiti leading to the sign board that directs you to the cottages, of which there are four. There is also a covered outdoor area for dining and the lounge area, complete with books, an emptying hanging frame, power points to plug in your kind of music, and large lounge beds - all that you need to make this a wonderful getaway. This area has some lovely ambient lighting in the nights that makes it an even more comfortable place to hang out at.

The beauty of Mugilu is the fact that it gives you that rustic, being-in-the-middle-of-nature feeling, without altering the look of the estate too much. This homestay has four cottages, built down the length of one section of the estate - each cottage has a colour theme to it - blue, green, orange. The cottages face the rising sun and each morning your room will be bathed in the colour it is decked in, thanks to sunlight streaming in.

The cottages come with a balcony that overlooks the estate and it serves as a great lounging space. The stone floored bathrooms are quite the joy too, especially since each room is provided with wood fire heated water each morning. In fact, if you stay in the last orange cottage, chances are you will be awakened by a wood pecker early in the morning.The cottages are simple - not AC, no TV but with power back when needed.

A look at the orange cottage - we have now officially stayed in them all. You can take a peek at the blue cottage in the picture below. And a look at the wood fire water supply to the room.

Mugilu is as laidback as it can get. If you are looking for the trappings of a luxury holiday, then you are not going to find any of these. Good home cooked food, some great conversation, walks in the estate or even in the hills beyond - to the stream - kids love the hills here - how many times do they get the chance to let off steam by running around insanely? - give them a ball and you won't see them for most of the day. Bring a guitar, sip on chai, catch up on life and what's happening with friends, this is the kind of holiday that Mugilu promises you. And if you want a bonfire on a cold evening, that will be struck up for you as well.

And oh yes! Anytime you visit, nature will be at her best - what you see in terms of greenery, bugs and sights will have the shutterbug in you rise to the occasion.

A little beyond the gates of the estate is a stream where we once tried to photograph this lone Kingfisher you see / Sunset from the hills I spoke about / tiny flowers in various hues sprout all over the hill, making you stop to admire it all every few steps.

Some more of Nature's beauty all around the estate.

Chandan and Sapna, and their staff are all wonderful hosts and very attentive to your needs. Never intrusive, but always attentive. But special mention has to go to the dogs of the estate Shunti - to the right - for a belly rub, she will take you through the estate and guide you on all your walks. In fact, there was a time when our little one wanted to walk to the cottage on her own and Shunti willingly obliged to accompany her and wait for her at the doorstep. Shervo, the big guy is no longer around, but Kicchu the Rottweiler hangs around largely at Chandan and Sapna's home, venturing close only when he wants a share of the belly rubs.

If you are the adventurous types you may want to try and visit the Holy Rosary Church in Shettihalli Dam, a little of Hassan. This may help you navigate there, if you plan to visit from Bangalore. Depending on the season that you head out you may get to see a partially submerged church or be able to walk right through it. Here is a detailed article I wrote on Huffpost India on it.

If you are coming in from Saklespur Town, then the Manjirabad Fort is also a pitstop you can consider. There are a considerable number steps to get to the top and the fort is a sizable walk through vandalized walls, but the majesty of the ruins still comes forth. 

If you are looking for a getaway from the city, Mugilu in Saklespur should be on your radar. It promises you the clouds and more and delivers it all!

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