I visit the Kabini reservoir, about a 4 hour drive from Bangalore, and on the boundary of the Nagarhole National Park. I come back rejuvenated after a weekend of relaxation.

This has been a gratifying year, in terms of travel. It was about a year ago, when I was holidaying in Jaisalmer, that I decided to make this my year of travel. Kabini is my 10th destination this year. Quite an achievement in 11 months time.

Unlike my other destinations, I’m in Kabini to just relax and connect with myself. To think about what the upcoming year should be about. Travel will most definitely be a part of it. But what else?

If you’re in the mood for some contemplation and relaxation, Kabini is the place to be. The banks of the lake created by a damn on the Kabini river, give you the ideal setting to get lost in your thoughts. To observe, think out loud, and connect with yourself.

I’m staying at Red Earth, one of the best accommodation options in the area. Started by Ravi (coffee planter & botanist) & Rachel (film maker), the place has been very carefully planned and executed from the ground up. In a lot of ways, Red Earth is a way for the two of them to give back to the society that has given so much to us all. In tune with that mantra, a large part of the staff at Red Earth is from nearby villages. The architecture is local, each of the huts made with red clay and baked to perfection. The vegetation, flair and fauna on the property is all local, and in some places grown without the use of pesticides or chemical agents.

Rachel herself is friendly and approachable. Her enthusiasm for what they’re doing here at Red Earth is infectious. She’s animated while entertaining guests and showing them around the place.

Each of the accommodation huts are unique, a master piece in themselves. Made of red clay which is local to the region, they were baked in the sun for the clay to solidify and strengthen, giving them the rustic look they so proudly hold today. The insides are tastefully done too, with comfortable beds, a jacuzzi and patio in each of the huts.

While the huts are gorgeous, my favourite spot on the resort’s ground was at the Wonkey Monkey cafe, a lakeside cafe that serves chai and biscuits in the evening. The Wonkey Monkey is where the red earth meets the Kabini – two lifelines becoming one entity.

The cafe has some lounging chairs and muddis to settle down and spend some time at peace. It also has a wonderful vibe, allowing you to soak in the sights of the Kabini in all their glory.

While you’re there, do try out the coracle ride. It’s only once you’re on the coracle and surrounded by water do you realise the vastness of the reservoir created by the dam on the Kabini. You on one tiny coracle, and thousands of litres of water all around you. You also realise how dense the vegetation is in this area – at least in this season, right after the monsoons.

Another place that I quite liked was the Wetlands bar. A snooker table coupled with warm, old school furniture & old school some jazz. You get the mood of the place, don’t you? It’s a great place to unwind at the end of the day.

There’s also the beautiful spa that offers Ayurvedic as well as Western spa treatments. Just what you want on a relaxing holiday.

Getting to Kabini is pretty easy if you’re from Bangalore. It’s about a 220km drive, and takes 4-5 hours. Follow the Mysore highway till you hit the Mysore ring road, then follow the ring road till the other side of the city and follow on from there.

Next time you’re planning a weekend getaway from the city, and want a relaxing and calming weekend, do put Kabini on your list.