The lone tree stands sentinel, its barren arms dramatically reaching out to the sky, as if frantically beseeching its avian guests to adorn its starkness.
And as if unable to refuse the compelling plea, birds of several species obligingly descend upon it, flitting in and out of the network of dry branches, sometimes pausing to perch and at times hopping or flying away, just to return in moments. Of course it is an added incentive that a wild berry tree has intertwined itself with the base of the dry giant, enveloping its lifeless torso with its living presence, enabling a combined and complete package of boarding and lodging for its feathered friends.
The iconic symbol with its multitude of potential perches, is synonymous with the little farm on whose ground it rises out of. This eye catching specimen looms into view as soon as you enter the place, framing itself against the distant view of the serene blue Kabini backwater and the horizon which it hugs alongside.
This is the vista that greets you at the charming little homestay called the RathnaPrabha Farm, a cozy home which lies in the Heggada Devana Kote taluk of Mysore district in Karnataka, India (and which similarly provides boarding and lodging for its human guests 😎)
One of the popular budget stays for visitors who arrive mainly with the intention of embarking on the Kabini jungle safari, this little farmstay also contributes its mite towards keeping its guests entertained in between jungle jaunts and if you want to know how, then stay by my side as I take you inside to explore this pretty property.
About the owner –
Karthik the owner of RathnaPrabha farm, has a vast experience of over 24 years in various positions across a range of industries. He is a man of many talents and skills and can don multiple hats and do a bit of just everything.
He is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who believes in giving back to society. Some of the activities he is engaged in are, Comprehensive Tribal Rehabilitation in Nagarahole, collaborating with the forest department to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and sponsoring local schools with learning resources.
He is also an avid wildlife enthusiast and nature photographer and his other passions and hobbies include travelling and adventure.
It was his enthusiasm for the outdoors which urged him 12 years ago, to buy land in the vicinity of the verdant environs of the forested area and thus was created his holiday home called RathnaPrabha farm.
About RathnaPrabha Farm –
Situated alongside the main road and yet giving the impression of being tucked away amidst rusticity, the 2 storeyed home stands on a picturesque 2.3 acres of land surrounded by lush greenery, colorful flowers and melodious birdsong.
This tranquil oasis in the heart of the countryside, was initially built for the personal use of the owners. But when one has friends and family who have the skill to spot potential in other people’s assets, then it becomes unavoidable to share the bounty with them 😉
Well this is what happened with this place and fortunately for people like us, the home was also opened up just a year ago in 2022, to welcome strangers with a similar zest for nature and wildlife. It also permits pets, which makes it an attractive place for pet owners who like to travel with their animal family members.
Karthik purchased the farmland 12 years ago and initially built just the ground floor portion of the house. The first floor and terrace are a recent addition, considering the demand for the homestay and the increasing number of guests.
The homestay has been named after Karthik’s parents, where the first half derives from Nagarathna, his intelligent and charming mother and the latter from his respected father Prabhakar.
Features and Amenities –
Apart from the main house, the premises also contain the staff quarters and kitchen.
The rest of the land has been cultivated and bears a range of produce like banana, tapioca, cotton, ginger, tube rose, marigold, ragi etc.
There is also a cowshed with a lone cow which I did not get to see and also a couple of friendly Indie dogs who made their presence known as soon as I entered.
The stay –
The house is an independent 2 storey structure which is simple but modern.
Booking options would be the entire ground floor house or the rooms on the first floor.
The ground floor called the Farmhouse, is a 1050 sq ft single bedroom house. It contains a large living room, a common bath, a bedroom with attached bath, a fully equipped kitchen, a small room where a driver or extra person can be accommodated and an airy verandah furnished with a large and inviting swing that beckons you to sway away as you admire the scenic beauty of the fields and backwaters.
The Farmhouse can sleep up to 8 people.
The first floor is accessed externally by a flight of narrow stairs and offers 2 rooms, each with ensuite bathrooms.
Bright and airy, the rooms promise a very comfortable and hygienic stay.
Peacock is the larger room and features a king size bed, a sofa cum pull-out bed, a basic pantry area with a mini refrigerator and heating facility and a cupboard with towels, bed linen and a safe. The view is as pretty as a picture too.
This can comfortably sleep 4 people.
The smaller room Blue Jay is adjacent to Peacock and has a sized queen bed and a sofa cum bed. This can sleep 4 people too.
There is a small open balcony common to both these rooms from where one has a more expansive view of the scenery than from the ground.
However, the best vantage point of all is the overhead terrace from where in the evenings, one can enjoy the multihued drama being performed in the sky as the sun sets behind the shimmering waters, infusing the atmosphere with a magical glow. This is also a good time for the camera to capture the birds as they come to roost on their favorite tree.
When the moon is in a mood, it puts on a show for you too.
The staff –
There are presently 2 staff members, Rathnamma the cook cum caretaker who lives on the property and Rajesh the guest assistant who is there during the day to help with the cleaning and other related chores.
Meals can be procured from Rathnamma with prior notice. The food is very simple and basic but wholesome. Fresh milk is also available on the farm. The charges for the food are very nominal and can be discussed during booking.
Only pure vegetarian food is permitted and cooking of non veg, consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited.
For those who prefer eating out, there are a few small restaurants in the vicinity. The map is provided below for a couple of places.
Shree Siddalingeswara Hotel – https://goo.gl/maps/fYx2hbeDXAy7qup67
Manjunatha Tiffanies – https://maps.app.goo.gl/GDSghNpgVsuVoy597?g_st=ic
Khedda – SH-33, Mysuru, Pakshinota, Manandavadi Road, Hunasekuppe
Things to do in the vicinity –
The main attraction in this region of course is the safari and the proximity of the Kakanakote safari gate which is a mere 6.5 km (10 min) drive from here, makes it a very easy access from the homestay.
The safari can be booked online up to a month in advance. 50% of the tickets are reserved to be sold across the counter an hour before the safari begins but it is advisable to pre book online since one cannot predict the queues and on the spot availability especially on holidays.
Kabini bus safari booking link
Choose the Kakanakote gate option while booking.
Before proceeding, I would like to show off my ‘prized catch’ at the safari 😎
This beauty was in addition to all my other sightings which you can read about in my next blog post – My Kabini Safari
Apart from the safari, guests can go on early morning walks along the local roads that go through the villages and witness rural life as it unfolds for the day.
In the evenings one can visit the sunset point at the backwaters, the access to which is via 5 km of road. While going by vehicle is the fastest way, walking is also an option if one has the time and ability.
Sunset point Kabini backwaters
Coracle boat rides can also be arranged at designated places in the backwaters at mutually convenient times, based on the feasibility due to various factors like weather, availability etc.
For those who are keen on forest drives, the homestay suggests the following route which one can do a round trip on or even take while eventually heading back to their home.
The route is RathnaPrabha (Homestay) – Tholpetty – Kutta – Through Nagarahole forest – Kalhalla range – Moorkal Range – Veeranahosahalli gate – H D Kote – RathnaPrabha … or towards your destination.
Wildlife sightings are usually common on this route but of course there are no guarantees and everything does depend on the mood of your fate 😎
Things to do in the premises –
The farm house also has the potential to keep its guests entertained in various ways.
With its own set of winged visitors to gaze at and opportunities to interact with its resident cow and the 2 Indie dogs, one can have non safari related interactions with the resident fauna.
The aforementioned tree plays host to nearly 55 species of avifauna like bulbuls, doves, grey hornbills, Brahminy kites, Brahminy starlings, koels, barbets, drongos and many more.
There is a small collection of books which guests can choose to read from while chilling out on the airy and comfortable verandah which is also equipped with a swing. The balcony on the first floor and the overhead terrace are also great vantage points from where to enjoy multihued skies featuring sunsets of varying dramatic quotients depending on the weather and visibility.
Visitor Profile –
The property is available to guests only through references or after scrutinizing the visitor profile, hence it is not randomly open to all.
It is mainly offered to nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It is also a perfect getaway to enjoy some peaceful and pleasant family time.
Guests of all ages are permitted at the homestay. There are no age restrictions of any kind, on the category of visitors.
There is no lift to the first floor and the access is through an external stairway. There is no wheelchair access even on the ground floor.
The homestay is simple but comfortable and though it is mainly meant for safari goers, its rustic charm makes it attractive for artists, photographers, bird watchers and also those who want a rejuvenating break from the mundane, to just hang around in the lap of nature.
Best time to visit –
Kabini is a year round destination so the homestay is open through all seasons.
However, the peak time is considered to be during October to March weather wise and April and May for better sightings in the jungle. June to September is the monsoon period and while this is also a great time to be amidst the lush and verdant rain washed surroundings, it may be possible that safaris will get cancelled due to bad weather.
Phone and internet connectivity –
Signals are quite stable and strong and phone and internet access is sufficiently reliable.
What is available and what you should carry –
Being a remote rural area, there could be long unscheduled power cuts, hence solar powered backup is available basic needs like lights and fans. However, these should be used sparingly since one cannot predict the duration of power failure.
While towels and bed linen are provided, it would be practical to carry one’s own. Likewise please carry your own toiletries and other items of personal nature. Remember that this is not meant to be a hotel or a luxury resort which provides all bed and bath basics.
Items like mosquito repellants are available on request. The home is in a village and it may not be possible to procure medical or other items in an emergency, hence make sure that you have whatever you might need.
Warm wear is advisable in the non summer months because mornings and evenings can get quite chilly especially on the safari.
Caps, masks (the safari trails are quite dusty), cameras, binoculars, walking shoes and such items will come in handy.
As always, carry your Aadhaar or any photo Government id copies.
Additional Information –
The homestay is pet friendly.
There are facilities to accommodate drivers.
Parking is easily available.
Cooking and consuming of non vegetarian food, alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited on the premises.
Check-in is typically after 12.00 noon and Check-out has to be done before 10.00 am.
It is a self help property and hence do not expect room service. The caretaker will clean the place on request and guests are expected to leave the house in order, without leaving behind plastic waste and other items which are difficult to dispose off in the village.
When I stayed there, I requested a thorough clean up of the room and bathroom before I used the place. Also, I would have preferred a more elegant way of serving the food and dinner ware, instead of the plastic bucket that was used to carry the items. I should mention though, that for the price charged, the amenities are quite comfortable and generous.
I conveyed my feedback to Karthik, who was very receptive and assured me that changes would be made for the better. Rajesh too was very amenable to requests and willingly complied with whatever was asked.
Getting there –
Google maps to RathnaPrabha Farm
Booking and contact –
Bookings can be done via Airbnb or by directly contacting the owner at the phone number below.
Please contact them directly for the charges.
Hosamala Road, Antharasanthe, Mysore, India, Karnataka
Phone – +91 098450 31370/+91 8088555000
Please Note –
My narration is based on the inputs I received from various sources as well as my personal experiences.
I would really appreciate your feedback and comments in the comment box below.
For more pictures see My Facebook – RathnaPrabha Farm (Coming soon)
This itinerary was specially curated hence some of the features might have been personalized accordingly. Before booking, please check the facilities offered in your package.
Oct 26th – Oct 28th, 2023