Thekkady Resort: Amritara Shalimar Spice Garden
Not far from the town of Thekkady, in the hills of Kerala, is Shalimar Spice Garden Resort. Kerala, popularly referred to as God’s Own Country, needs no introduction, as this southern-most state of India undoubtedly features on everybody’s list of dream holiday destinations! The land of backwaters, beaches and spices is also home to tropical greenery and national parks. On the fringes of one such famous reserve (the Periyar Tiger Reserve) lies Thekkady, with its splendid succession of hills and spice scented plantations. Thekkady Resort
Originally conceptualised by an Italian designer — Maria Angela, this picturesque haven called Shalimar Spice Garden Resort is part of the Amritara Hideaways Group that has recently joined hands with the world renowned travel and tourism company called Anantara who are old hands at providing first-class leisure holidays! Besides Kerala, Amritara Hideaways also have resorts in Karnataka and in Uttar Pradesh and are slowly but steadily acquiring more properties in other parts of the country as well.
Nestled amidst coffee and cardamom plantations, this lovely retreat is typically ‘Kerala’ in its general appeal. Connecting the resort to the outside world is a wooden walkway bridge that will lead you to a number of steps at the top of which is a ‘Padipurra’. A Padipurra is basically the entrance, in lieu of a gate, which is found in most ancestral homes of Kerala.
The quaint resort with its cottage style accommodation merges beautifully with the surroundings.
You’ll find that the architecture is also Kerala-style; basically a mix of indigenous materials, stonework plinths, laterite walls and the roof structure is made of timber with palm leaf thatching. Pillars, columns, rafters and supporting brackets are also an integral part of this kind of architecture.
The concept of Thachu-Shastra (science of carpentry) is evident throughout the Shalimar Spice Garden Resort as there’s no dearth of timber in this part of the country!
The accommodation includes eighteen rooms and cottages plus two ‘Honeymoon Cottages’ which are made all the more alluring with sliding doors, spacious rooms, tiled flooring, comfortable beds, cane furniture and large attached bathrooms.
Stained glass windows add a beautiful effect with the light streaming in different colours during the day.
The interiors are simple yet elegant, using muted colour schemes and diffused lighting.
The cottages all have cosy sit-outs where you can curl up on one of the chairs and watch the beautiful sunsets or you could lounge in your hammock and simply marvel at the sights and sounds of the surrounding natural habitat.
The resort’s very own eating joint, the ‘Falling Leaves Restaurant’, is a true delight to the eyes as well as the palate; antique Kerala wooden furniture and hanging lanterns gives it a rustic ambience that complements the ‘out in the woods’ setting perfectly, while the variety on the international menu will leave you amazed!
Besides Italian and Continental food, this is your chance to try out some mouth-watering Kerala cuisine as well…..it doesn’t get more authentic than this! Large arch shaped windows in the restaurant provide a splendid view of the outdoors while you enjoy your meals.
Adventure enthusiasts can go hiking up through the meandering scenic hills of Thekkady or take a boat ride on the Periyar Lake. The tribal villages of the area give you an insight into their way of life. A visit to the nearby tea gardens will have you breathing air that’s clean and pure as ever, while a walk or an elephant ride through the neighbouring spice plantations will leave you intoxicated with the aromas of nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon.
Back at the resort, an Ayurveda session is sure to relieve your tired nerves. The science of Ayurvedic healing and Kerala have an age old association. The purpose of Ayurveda is basically to maintain harmony between the four elements; the balance is imperative in order to achieve holistic health. At Shalimar Spice Garden’s Ayurveda Centre, professionally trained experts offer you the right remedies for your ailments as well as rejuvenating massage therapies which are the ultimate in relaxation.
You’ll have absolutely no trouble meditating in their Yoga Centre as the only distraction would probably be the sounds of birds chirping or the faint rustle of leaves in the wind. The resort’s swimming pool is also quite tempting with its clear blue water and relaxing environment.
You can spend the evenings with a good book from the resort’s well stocked library or experience the laid-back atmosphere of the ‘Red Lounge’ over drinks and chatter!
The pace of life at Shalimar Spice Garden Resort is ideal for those of you looking to get away from the maddening chaos of cities; here, there are no traffic jams and blaring horns, no concrete jungles or pollution.
Instead, what you’ll find is an astounding oasis where you’re one with nature!
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing ’the hills are alive with the sound of music’ — it’s only natural to be overwhelmed by the Shalimar Spice Garden Resort experience!