This is one of the oldest houses at Agumbe. It is said to be more than 150 years old. Even some parts of the famous television serial ‘Malgudi Days’ was shot here. This place is Dodda (Doddu) Mane or large house, situated in the heart of Agumbe and just a short walk from the Agumbe bus stand.
It is the best accommodation option at Agumbe. This place is like your grandmother’s house. Excellent food, limited facilities, rustic look and feel, lots of love and great hospitality. Run by Kastur Akka or popularly known as Ajji (Grandma), this place is the best way to enjoy the Agumbe experience or at least that’s what my friends and I found out during our recent trip.
The special thing here is that Kastur Akka doesn’t charge her customers a fixed fee for the stay, food and the overall service. Instead, she takes whatever her customers offer her, depending on their comfort and financial levels. She uses this money given by her customers to run this place, feed the poor and educate the under-privileged children.
But, this overall rustic experience comes with a set of rules. Only home cooked vegetarian food and that too at designated times. And you can eat as much as you want, but no wasting any food. Kastur akka and her family are Konkani Brahmins and hence this dietary restriction. No meat, alcohol or smoking inside the house. No takeaways. The house gates are open only from 5 AM to 10 PM. Clean common bathrooms and toilets are available. Hot water is also available. In fact, most of the experience is how it would be in your house.
If you are interested in exploring Agumbe and near-abouts, I would recommend this place with multiple thumbs up. One needs prior booking here as most of the time this homestay runs full. Bookings can be done by calling Kastur Akka at 08181-233075 or her son in-law Ravikumar Pai at 9448603343. Kastur Akka can converse in Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Kannada, English, Hindi and a bit of other South Indian languages.
P.S. If you don’t get accommodation at Dodda Mane, you can try Mallya Hotel - 9448814187, which is the only other available accommodation option.