Exploring the authentic heritage experience of a Kerala plantation offers a very interesting aspect of the state; it’s another world altogether compared to a life lived out by the iconic backwaters, its bustling commercial hubs or port towns. One such gem lies between Thekkady and Kochi.
The Raj-era Manjappally Plantation Bungalow is a 125-year-old heritage building that has been awarded the Grihasthali Award by the Tourism Department of Kerala. Located in what was a richly forested area the structure was overseen by the enterprising K.V. Joseph Pottamkulam from his makeshift home in a treehouse nearby. The development of the property was carried on by his son, K. J. Varkey, who post-Independence, brought inefficient management practices to the running of the estate. The fortunes of the estate are now in the hands of his son, George Varghese Pottamkulam and his wife Rosamma who reside at the bungalow. As their guests, you will get a ringside view of how an estate, where coffee, rubber and spices, fight for space, is run. Later you will indulge your senses at a Syrian Christian lunch with the family.
Why you will love it
- Soaking in the rich nuances of the history and heritage of the estate.
- Enjoying the back-to-nature magic of this gorgeous setting.
- Learning all about the bounty of varieties of spices, coffee, rubber and pineapples … and their journey from the plantation to retail shops
- Availing of an opportunity to learn from a cooking demo, specially arranged for you.
What you will Experience
There’s a whole lot of exciting things you can do and learn on a visit to one of our plantations. As you set out on a gentle trek through the estate you will enjoy the poetic inspirations of the tree-clad hillsides, sun-dappled clearings, babbling brooks and the morning mists that veil the estate each day.
The trek leads you through acres of rubber, coffee, pineapple and spices. Stop a bit to see how rubber is tapped for its sap… coffee beans being picked – in fact, a plantation at work. Learn from the experts at work the various stages of processing sap into commercial-grade rubber, brewing aromatic coffee from coffee beans and cultivating spices and tropical fruits. Walk deep into the plantation, and you’ll chance upon a tree-house. Clamber to the top to savour the bird’s eye vistas of the lush surrounds!
Sample the best of authentic Kerala cooking, as made in traditional Syrian Christian homes. Lunch will be served on the large front lawn. Steep yourself in the rich nuances of estate life clustered around tables in little groups of 4 or 5, under a large mango tree, surrounded by birdsong, gentle breezes and friendly conversation.
For those of you interested in expanding your culinary skills, we can have arranged for you, a special cooking demonstration by our family members.