Elephant Valley, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
The 110-acre Elephant Valley includes parts of an old pachyderm migration route and, between April and October, herds of tuskers can still be seen weaving their way through the region’s ancient Shola jungles. The densely forested Palani Hills (only a few hours from Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala) have a startling diversity of flora and fauna: delicate orchids cling to moist rocks near waterfalls, Malabar whistling thrushes cajole prospective mates with their melodious calls, and bison placidly soak in mucky ponds.
Guests at Elephant Valley’s bungalows often spot these animals going about their day as they begin theirs—with cups of frothy filter coffee, from beans grown on their 45-acre pesticide-free coffee plantation. The resort also has a large organic farm that grows avocado, sweet lime, pepper, guava, and lemon, blossoms of which liven up the air. The 20 sparsely elegant villas and rooms are tastefully done up using wood from reclaimed doors and windows, have solar lighting and cast-iron stoves for chilly nights