Doddamane is actually a 140 year old house located a short walk from the Agumbe bus stand. If you have grown up in the 90s watching the TV series adaptation of R.K. Narayan's Malgudi Days, you will find the homestay, and in fact, the whole town very familiar. Yes, Agumbe is the make-believe town of Malgudi. And this homestay was used as Swami's house in the TV series. For all you Malgudi Days fans, here's another reason to go to Agumbe.The homestay is managed by a very sweet lady, Kasturi Akka, who will take care of you like her own child. She made me some of the most authentic South Indian meals I have ever had, that also included a herbal tea made from 29 different herbs grown in her own garden. I reached there in the morning and by afternoon I was on a video call with her sister's granddaughter in UK. That's how homely the place started feeling within a few hours. The following dialogue is another testimony to that. "So when did you start this up as a homestay?""This is not a homestay. This is granny house."I melted. And in case you're wondering, there is no payment for the granny house. While leaving, you just pay howsoever much you feel like paying. I took a night KSRTC bus from Bangalore and reached Doddamane around 9 am. After keeping my bags and having breakfast, I tagged along, in a Zoomcar, with a few people I met in the homestay itself. We went to Kundadri sunrise view point first and then Sirimane falls. Kundadri view point was very misty ( just like all of Agumbe ) so nothing worthwhile could be seen, but the drive was very scenic. Sirimane waterfall was in full flow due to the monsoon. From there we went to Sharadamba temple in Sringeri which is located on the banks of Tunga river. The temple is very beautiful architecturally. We had our lunch in the temple premises. The langar closes at 2:30 pm, so plan accordingly.
If your vacation goal is to stay at Swami's house, you can stay at Dodda Mane, the house where once Shankar Nag's dream project, Malgudi Days was shot. It is Kasturi Akka's house who didn't charge anything to the film team back in 80s when the series was shot there. Today when the visitors arrive at this house, the lady of the house offers them a warm welcome providing all the basic comforts they need to spend the night and allows them to pay whatever they want. She utilizes the money from the visitors to run this house, feed the poor and educate the underprivileged people of the town.Contact number for Dodda Mane: 08181- 233075
Doddamane is just off the main bus stop. The locals pointed us in a direction and said we couldn't miss it and they were right. It's an old house, styled from ages ago. It's has a Mangalorean styled tiled roof with a central court yard used for picking and drying clothes. The corridors around the central yard house rooms, halls, kitchens, gardens and bathrooms. The floors are all red oxide covered and the walls are stone. The doors and windows have been maintained since being built. They are made of cast iron and wood. The house was also the stage for the popular Kannada serial "Malgudi Day's" We were greeted by a happy old man who has kept up with time and updated himself with an iPad and wifi connection. It was s little disappointing to see that technology has caught up with such places, but that's just my opinion. Ajji is one of the nicest people we have met. She was very charming and observant. She immediately took us under her wing. She cooked us a traditional lunch with local produce. They spoke to us as though we were family. More than the antics, the house stood on a foundation of age old tradition. The custom here is strange. You pay the hosts what ever you feel is appropriate. They do it for the company and to share culture more than the money.