Thekkady in Kerala recently bagged the “Top Emerging Destination” award from PATA ( Pacific Asia Travel Association). Nestled within the western Ghats Thekkady is not about a commercial town to move around, but something more than what we could imagine. The Wildlife and the rarest of the rarest beings, flora and fauna is what Thekkady is all about. Apart from the nature beings of this place, the plantations of Spices like cardamom and pepper are other new things you get to learn from Thekkady. The forest department that takes care of the Periyar National Park and has an array of activities for the adventure and nature enthusiasts. Home to the hornbill, Periyar of the Western Ghats is a treat for the Homo Sapien in you.
Now we take you to a different side of Thekkady, up there in the chain of hills towards North of Kumily town, the village of Chellarkovil, meet Josin a young entrepreneur who runs a small property named Beaumont Plantation Retreat, a simple setting within the hills, where you get to interact with the local life of these cardamom hills. He himself is a cardamom planter, with his few acres around, he runs a plantation retreat named Beaumont Plantation Retreat. Josin took over Beaumont Plantation Retreat a few years ago since then he has been a host to a lot of guests who come down to Chellarkovil to see the quaint side of Thekkady. Josin take guests to the nearby view points, plantations, some birding activities, he says the Western Ghats is so rich by nature and the Periyar National Park is just the tip of the Iceberg. With a cup of Masala chai, we continued our chat to more interesting things like the Mangala Devi Temple on the other side of the hill that opens only once a year.
The Beaumont Plantation Retreat is one of its kind of a small retreat, having located on a cliff atop the hill, one would have a very wide panoramic view of the Cumbam Theni valley of Tamil Nadu. Just like as if in a flight to Madurai, you could see lot of square fields, mostly of mango, coconut, pomegranate, and other vegetable farms. The Chellarkovil waterfalls is another interesting view from here, where the water falls from Kerala and Reaches down at Tamil Nadu and flows into a canal there after. Many of the guests come down to Beaumont Plantation Retreat just to see the wonderful view from here. Apart from all of these, Beaumont and the surrounding areas are a home to a lot of ethnic and migratory birds, most of them identified at Periyar National Park. Geographically the national park is not far away, as the crow flies the national park is just across the nearby hills. Since the location is an overlapping area of the hills and the plains you could spot birds of both the terrains. Geographically a few meters away from the hill to the plains, the temperature drastically fall down by 10 – 15 degrees.
Say hundred years back men from the plains of Kerala, got into the forests, cleared out forest and started agriculture, starting with tapioca and basic food for survival. Later they moved on the plant cash crops, like the pepper and other spices. Cardamom was still then a wild plant in the forest, slowly because of its ideal weather for cardamom cultivation, everybody moved into cardamom cultivation as pepper and other spices had becomes relatively difficult to keep away from diseases and the returns were not that great. Cardamom gave a financial uplift to the whole of the cardamom hills, it did not take much time for cardamom to get popular in these hills. Today the hills around Thekkady produce some of the top quality cardamom in the country and for that matter best in the world. Josin take many of the guests staying in Beaumont for these cardamom plantation tours, like the farm to market program where they glance you through the plant, the harvest, the processing, and finally the sale of it through auction centres. Its a learning experience where you understand the journey of a cardamom crop before reaching your department store shelves.
This small plantation retreat is open to guests with just seven rooms, four traditional cottage rooms, a garden room and two valley view rooms. Two traditional cottage rooms make up an independent cottage, they were bought from Alleppey when an old Traditional Kerala House was dismantled and recreated here at Beaumont. Just like old Kerala homes, the traditional cottage rooms are designed for two adults and has got a modern tiled bathroom attached. Both the room together have a large balcony with some nice cane chairs. The garden and the Valley view rooms are in the main block and are normal rooms that could accommodate an extra mattress as well. Garden room has a large balcony and the valley view rooms have a very interesting view from the large common balcony.
Beaumont offers ample space for Yoga session, a yoga master from the nearby town comes to Beaumont to guide yoga sessions for guests. The Nearby Ayurveda Hospital offers consultation, massages and therapies which many of the guests use very often. There are a couple of cycles available to explore the nearby villages and towns and is free of cost at Beaumont Plantation Retreat. In total this place is a off beat experience for the discerning traveller who is not fond of luxury but luxury elements of nature. You would be surprised to see the the variety of butterflies and moth they spot here, they put up an ecological notice here, since everyone might not approve of it 🙂 In total Beaumont Plantation Retreat is a very interesting place for the off beat traveller who is looking for some quite time relaxed, enjoying the activities around this little plantation retreat.