Located in the southeast region of Idduki district in Kerala, the little town of Kumily in Thekkady has an interesting history. Once a part of an independent kingdom under the Thekkumkoor rajas, it came under the control of the Travancore kingdom when King Martanda Verma led his campaign towards this region. By the end of the nineteenth century, Britishers got hold of the land from local rulers and went on a plantation spree. Everything from cardamom, pepper to cinnamon, tea and coffee was grown here, gradually attracting workers from all over South India.
Thekkady had always been on my bucket list since it was there that my father, a tea planter, started his career. Growing up in the tea estates of Darjeeling where my father moved later, comparisons between the tea cultures of these two regions were a part of everyday conversations. So when I finally managed to plan a trip to Kerala, a visit to Thekkady was inevitable.
The stunning scenery on the drive up to Spring Valley in Thekkady from Kochi kept me hooked to the car window. The Cardamom Club Thekkady by Niraamaya Retreats was my home for the next two days. Surrounded by forests and spice plantations, the cottages reminded me of typical plantation bungalows with spacious verandahs facing landscaped gardens. Apart from the cottages the property has a few remarkable enhancements like the wooden stilt cottages and the infinity pool which were the result of a recent revamp carried out by the expert Indo-Italian architecture firm, Kumar La Noce.
The rooms have lovely floor-to-ceiling windows to savour the stunning views of the Cardamom Hills that surround the property. The interiors have been done up in muted tones with tiny pops of colour here and there.
The new Niraamaya Spa, again built on stilts, made with Bangkirai wood from sustainable plantations in Indonesia, is the perfect combination of functionality and elegance. The design is simple and minimalistic, pavilion-style with a sense of openness to highlight the stunning tropical landscape. Spread across 1200 sq. ft., the spa features a lobby and fully-equipped therapy rooms with private outdoor sit-outs. The interiors follow a warm palette complementing the green backdrop.
Set amidst verdant forest canopy, the new 15-metre infinity pool overlooks the valley and the verdant mountains beyond. The terraced decks from the all-day dining restaurant, Café Samsara lead to the pool and offer the perfect perch for an early morning Yoga session or to enjoy the lush green views of the forests. In the evening the deck beautifully transforms into an outdoor space to relish the pure mountain air.
Location: Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club - Thekkady V&V Estates, Spring Valley, Kumily 685 509, Kerala, India
Contact: Front Office: Tel: +91 48 6922 3905 ; Reservations: Tel: +91 80 4510 4510
Things To Do: Apart from Kathakali and Kalaripayattu performances in Kumily town, the resort also arranges ferry rides in Lake Periyar where you can spot a variety of wild animals. Other activities include visits to the tea factory and spice plantation tours