While on our way from the Thingalur Chandran Temple to the Guru temple, we came across the Sara Regency Hotels & Resorts property in Kumbakonam. Since we did not book any rooms in advance for our Navagraha Temple Tour, we stopped here to check if we could get some good deal on the rooms and at the same time have lunch there. The hotel is big enough with ample space for parking. It is on the highway clearly visible to the motorists.
Sara Regency Hotels and Resorts, Kumbakonam
We walked inside the hotel through the spacious reception towards the lift that took us to the dining hall in the first floor. The hall was comfortably spacious and adequately furnished. Few guests were having their food. We ordered for a combo meal and a paneer Manchurian. The Manchurian came in first, we cleared it in one go. The hungry stomach does not wait for anything!
I did struggle to finish the south Indian combo meal with so many varieties in it. I liked the phulka with beetroot, rice with spinach curry, sambar and dal. The payasam was awesome. It was the “vatha kolambu” a slightly sweet, tangy and super spicy curry that pulled the taste buds out of my tongue. Anybody not used to this spiciness is sure to drop tears and scream out.
Advance booking for next day stay
It was safer to book the rooms in Sara Regency and head to our next destination. The rooms were available but the price was higher when compared with Goibibo and for the obvious reason we booked two rooms through the mobile app. The deal was Rs. 3600/- for two double bedrooms.
Back to Kumbakonam
After visiting six out of nine Navagraha temples, we checked into the Sara Regency by 8 pm. I thought of relaxing with a pint of beer. Unfortunately, the hotel stopped serving liquor when the court banned its sales on the highway outlets.
The Beer Hunt
With the half-tank of diesel in my Swift car and Satya besides me, I ventured out with determination to buy at least one bottle of beer. I followed the Google maps on my smart phone docked to the dashboard. When I reached out to the destination, the TASMAC shops that Google map showed did not exist there. Instead, I found some eateries and the ATMs.
No liquor at Kumbakonam
A passer-by told me that the court has banned the liquor sale in the city and that I will not find the TASMAC shop anywhere in the city limits. He suggested exploring the nearby villages or Swamy Malai to try my luck.
It was about 8.30 pm and the Swami Malai road was very dark. The drive was exciting though. The roads were very narrow with the streetlights showing up occasionally and people visible only on the junctions. Satya was with me, we were on a treasure hunt for a treasure that we never found. In fact, we were not desperate too. The adventure is worth remembering.
Return to the room
The rooms were perfectly clean and the restrooms adequately disinfected. I did not notice any kind of perfumes sprayed, the smell was neutral. I loved the woodworks and the furniture. A mini refrigerator was of no use to us (no beer). Mineral water was complimentary. There were biscuits and other snacks that was not complimentary. The tables, compact sofa and even wall mounted TV looked impressive.
With respect to food, I am going to be neutral here. It was not good neither bad. Be the vegetarian lunch that we had on the first day or the chicken biryani that we had for the dinner. Somehow, I found one dish that I can be positive of – the Jeera rice and dal.
The kettle catches fire
On 1st May 2018, we were getting ready to visit the Rahu Temple, the last of Navagraha temples. I was in the washroom when Satya put the kettle on to heat the water for coffee. When she switched off the kettle, it did not but kept boiling the water until it evaporated and caught fire. In the process, she tried to reach out to the socket but did not know where it was. (It was behind the mini refrigerator)
Within minutes, the fire spread to the plastic tray and the items placed on it. Satya called me out and pulled out the key card from the socket near the door to shut down the power. The power went off in the restroom but I somehow managed to come out with only a towel in my waist.
The smoke had filled the room and I could see the plastic tray on fire. My little one was crying loudly and Satya panicked. There were no fire extinguishers in the room. I did not use the water thinking it might be an electric fire.
We all three came out of the room and I ran downstairs and informed the hotel staff who in turn called out his team. He ran towards the room and pulled out the wire connected to the main socket. The kettle melted fully and the plastic tray was still burning. The unused mineral water bottle came in handy.
The defective kettle
The management immediately shifted us to another room. We all were still shocked recollecting what went wrong. It was the defective kettle!
It took us some time to come to the normal terms. We had to go to the Rahu temple and had no time to waste. We checked out of the hotel by noon.
About Kumbakonam in Wikipedia