Let me take you to a place where you will wake up in the misty mornings, will hum the tunes of the chirping birds, and will tread your nature trails, where the picturesque flora and fauna will fill your heart with joy, where you will surrender yourself to the mysteries and miracles of nature, you will spend your days and nights in the vast expanse of spice plantations, you will not want to come down from your private tree house or jacuzzi villa and where you will not shy from saying that you are totally in love with Thekkady in Kerala. Such is the prowess of Carmelia Haven and I can vouch for it because I am talking from my own experience
After spending two blissful days in a luxury houseboat in Alleppey, I reached Carmelia Haven to be spoiled, pampered, and thrilled to the core. This was my first visit to the Idukki district and I was already in love with the fresh waft of air, verdant landscape, winding roads, little hills, plantations,s, and abundant greenery. Situated in Vandanmeddu, Carmelia is an old beauty sprawled over 55 acres of tea and cardamom plantations. The moment you enter the property, the mixture of scented air, a vast expanse of plantations and the silence of nature grows on you. The check-in was smooth and easy and the ride to the villa was a teaser of the splendid time that I was supposed to spend here.
My room and the swimming pool
After the four-hour road trip from Alleppey, the cozy bed in the large and spacious room looked inviting but the swimming pool just outside these villa rooms was equally tempting. I had a packed day else I would have jumped into the pool right there. More so, there was a curiosity to explore the premises of the resort too. The lunch was set in the Columban restaurant and a vehicle was already waiting to take me and my friends to Periyar Tiger Reserve. On our request, the resort had already made arrangements for the afternoon boat cruising in the Periyar lake and the night jungle trail.
Also, Read – Highlights of Kerala Travel Mart 2022 and my Pre-KTM tour
Munnar – 1 day in Munnar and my stay at Silver Tips Hotel
It was one fun-filled and memorable day at Periyar and you can always read about it here.
Boat cruising and night scouting in Periyar Tiger Reserve
And I discovered some wall art at Periyar too
By the time we returned to the resort, it was already eleven. I was tired, hungry, and all unclean. Trust me, it was nothing less than bliss to find warm-hot water for a quick shower, good food, and a comfortable bed after the thrilling adventures of the jungle.
Day 2 At Carmelia Haven
After a great sleep, I woke up to a whistling sound. Later when I curiously asked around about the sound, I was told by the staff that it was Malabar Whistling Thrush, a bird native to the western ghats, also known by the name of whistling schoolboy and it had a habit of whistling at dawn. Wow, this was an interesting learning. Soon after freshening up, I walked towards the restaurant to catch up on some breakfast. Well, it was not a lavish spread but I liked the fact that it had a place for traditional and local cuisine. I ate some idlis, puttu, kadala and uttapam.
If you are wondering what is puttu, let me explain as I had eaten it for the first time too. Puttu is basically steamed rice & coconut cake which is eaten with kadala curry which can be made from chickpeas, Kala chana, whole Bengal gram, etc.
The offroading experience at Kailasapara estate was the surprise package of the trip
Ever since I had learned that Thekkady was more about cardamom plantations than any other spice, I was extremely curious to know all about its growing, harvesting, and selling process. The trip to Kailasapara was supposed to take care of all this but what we did there was more than expected. A thrilling offroading activity, the small hike to the grotto, a visit to Silver oak, and the walk around the kitchen garden well-taken care of by the owners was my favorite part of the trip. I was really glad that all guests who stay at Carmelia are taken to Kailasapara for a different set of activities. It could be hiking, camping, fishing, barbecue, lunch, or more.
Kailasapara boasts 1500 acres of land and it has one of the most picturesque settings in Thekkady. Once you are on the hillock, the beautiful view of the lake and the 360-degree view of the lush green plantations transport you to another world.
Cardamom – Cardamom is one of the region’s major spices of Thekkady. The altitude of the area suits the growth of the spice. The walk around Kailasapara helped me to learn that 70 percent of the national production of cardamom happens in Kumily. The quick lessons on winnowing, drying, processing, and packaging also helped to learn the processes involved in growing cardamom.
The Sadhya (feast) at the Kolumban restaurant will always be memorable. I was very hungry and it was a great opportunity to eat more than 20-25 dishes on one banana leaf. Sadhya is generally associated with the Onam festival. The number of delicacies prepared is unlimited and a whole gathering sits together and feasts together. Every item on my platter had a special significance, was plain at the right corner and there was a way to eat it too. I relished the whole meal.
Nature walk, Vegetable Picking, Gaming, Cooking with the chef, Bonfire fun over Lavish dinner!
After the great meal, I slept for an hour only to refuel myself for the evening activities. We started with the nature trail but this wasn’t a small affair to cover 55 acres of property. And finally, I decided that I was going to use the next morning only and only for my walk to absorb every little thing about the natural beauty there. However, it was good learning to see some of the commonly used spices, plants, and everyday fruits and flowers. We also went for vegetable picking. The theme of the dinner was ‘farm to plate’. All that we had picked was used to make delicious curry. I had never seen square beans and mango ginger and I not only plucked them but also tasted them. Before dinner, we had some time which we used for playing Carrom and foosball in the recreation room.
The second night ended with a cozy bonfire and happy dinner. As promised to me, I kept the morning to myself, walked around and checked every nook and cranny of the property, and later took a dip in the swimming pool. So I did not miss out on anything except the spa. I wanted to indulge but there was no time. Overall, it was a rejuvenating trip to Thekkady and I have been missing the fun I had in the superb company of fellow travelers who love to blog like me.
P.S. The property has a tree house and it gives you a feeling that you are living in the jungle and watching over the activities from your room. Next time, I would love to stay there.
13 thoughts on “Welcome to Carmelia Haven in Thekkady”
Oooo the meal you had on the banana leaf was the most intriguing to me! I’ve never used a banana leaf as a plate. And you said there were 20-25 dishes to choose from! Yum 🙂
This place looks so pretty and serene too. Your accommodation looks wonderful and very comfortable. A completely unknown area to me, but I’ll remember it for sure after reading this. From farm to table sounds pretty delicious too.
I had been to Thekkady once but the stay experience was nothing like this, it was in a buzzing market area. The bird you were speaking about Malabar Whistling Thrush, I will check out its sound in internet because I too heard a very pleasing sound in the forests of Mahabaleshwar, but our guide couldn’t answer what bird was it. 🙁 Also, till today I didn’t know what exactly is a grotto, thanks for clearing that doubt in my mind with both words and pictures!
The place looks so serene and enacting, food on banana leaf seems so intriguing 🙂
Carmelia Haven looks like the perfect place to base yourself in VandanmedduThe swimming pool looks very inviting and the perfect place to unwind. I’ve not heard of the spice Cardamom but it would be interesting to see where it’s grown and try it!
This sounds like my dream retreat, wow! The lake is absolutely stunning and the cooking with the chef would be so cool! I loved the amount of information you learned while you were there, I had no idea that there was a place this pretty in Thekkady. I am not sure I would enjoy being woken up by those Malabar Whistling Thrushes, that part I would be happy without!
Wow what an experience! I like such busy days exploring one new thing after another. I grew up in Kerala so most of these weren’t new but nostalgic. I just wished I was there now. Long since I had a sadya.
Staying in Carmelia Haven looks perfect retreat with full of nature, beautiful cottages and delicious Keralite food. Swimming pool really looks inviting. I also don’t know about Grotto and good to know from your post. Jeep tour around Kailsapara estate is looking adventurous and full of fun.
The more I read about Kerala the more I want to go! I love how lush and naturally gorgeous the landscape looks. Carmelia Haven looks like a fabulous retreat from it all, and that food looks absolutely amazing! I think you’d likely find me out by the pool more often than not–what a great place to relax.
Carmelia looks beautiful! I think I would love to go offroading at the Kailasapara estate in the jeep the most, seems like a thrilling experience. it’s seems so nice to wake up to the sounds of the malabar whistling thrush and all the beautiful greenery. The food sounds really yummy too, especially puttu.
wow, I think this is the perfect destination to enjoy holidays.