Tree Houses have been one of its kind of accommodation available in destinations across the Western Ghats in Kerala. From basic infrastructure and creature comforts, today Tree houses are built and are open for guests by a handful of resorts and other Nature Retreats. So this time I thought of posting a blog post about what a Tree House is all about, what it offers, how much would one need to pay for a Tree House and finally a few details about some of the best ones in Kerala.
What is a Tree House all about?
First of all I thought of starting with the definition of a Tree House. What exactly is a Tree House all about, for most of them the definition is very much evident in its name. It is supposed to be a structure build on top of a Tree Supporting its branches or its trunk. When you google the word “Tree House” it gives out slightly a different meaning. It says “a structure built in the branches of a tree for children to play in.” At the same time Wikipedia displays a more precise meaning “A tree house or tree fort is a platform or building constructed around, next to or among the trunk or branches of one or more mature trees while above ground level – Wikipedia”. The reason why I am putting up these definitions is because I have noticed that different people give out different meanings or different versions for Tree Houses. At time even an elevated cottage is named as a Tree house. So my definition would be something extracted from all of these, A Tree House is a temporary or a permanent structure built atop a tree above the ground level supporting on its trunk or its branches.
Tree House from a Guest perspective
A tree house is a nature friendly accommodation and would be ideal for anyone who is looking for nature friendly specialty lodging. The takes you to the true sense of being in the lap of mother nature. With large trunks around, the Tree house give an aerial view of the surroundings, mostly lush greenery of the tropical forests in Kerala. The Tree House is one of the places where you have ultimate privacy and enjoy the nature around you in complete calmness and exclusivity. It is not a hotel room, it is not a cottage, it is entirely a concept where you stay over the Trees and enjoy the best of the best views around you. It would be mostly ideal for honeymooners who would love to a have slice greenery and nature to their whole travel experience.
Origin of Tree houses
Tree Houses were built from the ages of the ancient man. When man used to be in the forest or to close proximity to forests, they used to build tree house as a temporary shelter to keep them away from the wild beings of the forest. The Tree Houses were just temporary structures erected atop the tree where at least two people could sit or sleep. The size was very small and had a rope ladder or a ladder itself to climb up. In villages they used to build small tree houses for men to sleep during night and stay as a security to protect the farmland from any attack, if not a tree men used to build elevated outposts to protect their fields. The below picture would give you an exact idea of what a Tree House would actually be, we found this while on an expedition to the Annakulam forests of Munnar where we met a few tribal men at Kuruthankudi. The head of the tribe who is referred to as a “Moopan” had a small Tree House for himself in the middle of his tapioca cultivation on the banks of a small forest stream. He erected the tree house with some wooden sticks available in the forest and covered it with rug sacks. They call it an “Erumadam” in the local language of Malayalam. It is from these “Erumadams” that all of the tree houses in Kerala got inspiration.
What to expect from a Tree House
The Tree House just like its name is an exclusive accommodation option offered by a few resorts in Kerala. Most of them are found in Munnar and Thekkady where the Western Ghats and the forest areas are prominent and there are ample trees to build up Tree Houses. It’s a concept and makes it a variety accommodation option; most Tree Houses are very small in size and are just for a couple or maximum 3 adults. The Tree House offers just bare minimum furniture, an attached bathroom which would be almost the size of an Indian Railway Coach bathroom, anything more than that could be considered as a luxury. There would be a balcony and would be relatively smaller in size, just to enjoy the ambiance and view around. In most cases the Tree House is approached through a wooden stair case to carry the luggage and for frequent movement. Rope ladder and other primitive methods might seem to be interesting but might not be convenient and practical. Space is a constraint in Tree houses, however there would be ample space for two adults to move around. Never expect room service in a Tree House, cause there would never be ample space to dine inside there. Being atop the trees, the beings of nature who were there earlier could be frequent visitors, while during one of my stays in a Tree House, the Giant Malabar squirrel once visited us, we were kind of stunt and did not do what to do, on the other hand he attracted by an apple there at the teapoy also did not know what to do. Finally he managed to get his way out back into the Trees. Another thing that would be annoying for many would be wide variety of insects you would see around when the lights are on. Most of the Tree house operators put up an ecological notice stating that it’s an environmental sensitive zone and insects being part of the ecology cannot be kept away, as it is literally not possible. The best thing is to put the lights once you make sure all the windows are closed. There would be many other aspects that you would come across, expect the bare minimum, and understand that you have encroached the Tree and the beings surrounding them, at the same time you are still part of nature, your stay would be just great!
Where can you find Tree Houses in Kerala?
Kerala is one of the very interesting places for a Tree House Holiday. Most of the Tree Houses are located in the Western Ghats of Kerala where most of the forests are concentrated. The Tree houses are mostly found where there are a lot of Trees. Towards the commercial aspect one could even build a tree house on a single trunk of the Tree with modern clams and screws. But its directed by the forest department of Kerala that the Tree should not be affected and hammering screws and nails on a Tree would attract penalties. Munnar, Thekkady, Athirapally waterfalls are some places where a Tree House is very much common. Check out Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat in Munnar, where you get to see a Tree House erected on top five large trees with a very interesting view of the waterfall at the valley and the forests around the property. The chinar wildlife sanctuary in Munnar offers tree house stay inside the forest areas, there are very small ones where you trek into the forest, stay in a Tree House and come back the next day, the idea is to sight animals within safe proximities. The Vanya at Thekkady is a beautiful example for a real tree house, where they will take you to the forests, in the outskirts of Periyar National Park. They take you there in a Jeep with almost three staff members to take care of your needs. Animal sighting is difficult; however it offers a true forest ambiance. The tree house at the Athirapally rain forest is another good one, a small one with a view of the Athirapally waterfalls, a beautiful Tree House with a romantic view of the waterfalls in the backdrop.
How are Tree houses priced in Kerala?
The Tree House being specialty lodging, different Tree Houses in Kerala start from five thousand up to twenty five thousand. Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat in Munnar offers Tree House stay starting at around six thousand Indian Rupees and the Vythiri resort in Wayanad being the most expensive one. The Tree House Stay is in generally priceless, building up a tree house for guests is no joke, it take a lot of time money and effort to get the right ambiance security and exclusivity to get the whole thing done. The materials used are mostly wood and plywood, more than the materials it is the skill and effort that counts for this skill oriented work. There has to go a lot of ideas to carve out a wonderful tree house experience. For an interesting Tree House Experience in Munnar you can check out The Tree House in Munnar at Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat!
Tree House at Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat in Munnar
In Munnar there is a wondrous Tree House set up at Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat at Kallar (15 kilometers before Munnar town when you travel from Cochin) Ela Ecoland is located on hill slop and is a cardamom and coffee plantation. The property is a fine nature retreat with a couple of tents, a two bedroom rock house and a tree house. It is more of camp than a resort, the tree house there is more than 120 square feet size and houses a bathroom and has got a large amazing balcony where you get to connect with nature in its real sense. Elevated around 50 feet above the ground level, the tree house gives a wonderful view of the mountains, the Kallar river and the waterfalls just before it reaches Ela. This real tree house in Munnar does amaze a lot of guests coming down from different parts of the world. The bathroom is equipped with 24 hours hot and cold water, it has got intercom to connect to the reception, and basic lighting and camping furniture and a queen size bed to make the stay pleasant.
The Tree House at Rain Forest Athirapally
The Rain forest resort at Athirapally does have a tree house with an amazing view of the Athirapally waterfalls, you do not have a full size view but it has got a partial view and the gushing sounds of the waterfalls will make you real adventurous. Elevated from the ground, the Tree House is merged along a single large tree and its branches with clamps. The exclusivity and its location makes this Tree House very expensive – It is one of the best ones in Kerala.
Tree house at Vythiri Resort
The Tree House at Vythiri Resort is one of the premium tree houses in Kerala. It is located in the Northern district of Kerala named Wayanad. Vythiri resort is one of the very first resorts in Wayanad that offers the sense of being inside the forest; it has a beautiful stream that flows through the property. The Tree House is outside the campus and has a very lush tropical forest surrounding. The tree house is approached through a hanging bridge and gives out a very adventurous feel. The Tree House is priced really high and is for the splurging nature lover in you.
That was a brief about the Tree Houses in Kerala, in case if you are looking out for Tree house pacakges which also includes other similar accommodation faculties in Kerala. We at Tripdayz offer some of the very interesting forest and nature related packages to Kerala. To be in touch, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the enquiry form available at Tripdayz.com