SPICE VILLAGE, Thekkady [Periyar Tiger Reserve]
There’s a reason why less is more at Spice Village. And this has nothing to do with minimalism or other trendy design ideas, but something much more permanent.
Consider the facts. There is no air-conditioning. No television. No piped music. Simple pine furniture greets you when you enter your room. And beneath your feet is nothing more than plain terracotta floor.
You’ll find little room for opulence. And none at all for pretentiousness. Yet, Spice Village is a world renowned resort that’s consistently won acclaim for its service, its cuisine and the unique experiences it offers.
To see why, one needs to suspend all the standard images that crowd the mind on hearing the word ‘resort’. For the Spice Village is more than that. Imagine a mirror, a perfect looking-glass held up to its environment. A mirror that reflects the place itself, its people and, magically, its history too. Naturally, it offers little of its own to distract from the purity of that experience
Air conditioning? Unnecessary anyway, and what would it do but mask the heady spice-scents that fill the air? Piped music is no substitute for birdsong. And while there is a lone television on the premises, CGHearth Hotel Group cannot conceive of a single reason why you should wish to turn it on.
No, the experience of Spice Village emerges not from the fixtures of civilisation, but from Kerala’s lofty mountain spirit. And to know this spirit fully, we must first travel a little, back in time
Spice Village is located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the western ghats of Kerala. For centuries, the area attracted voyagers and adventurers, mercenaries and empire builders, kings and merchant princes. Men and women drawn not only by the lure of spices, but by the romance and wild beauty of the land.
The Portuguese and the Jews of Cochin visited as traders, turning the natural bounties of the area into wealth. Pepper and cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise the Periyar hills became nature’s taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature’s harbour, the port of lading for a spice-hungry world.
Later, the area came under the Kingdom of Travancore, and many of its plantations, orchards and hunting lodges date from that time. The Raj too, left its mark on the Cardamom Hills. Early efforts at conservation came from its dedicated forest rangers, who loved the land and its people as their own.
Today, it’s the rainforests, the animals and the vast silences that attract the modern visitor. On the road to Spice Village, it’s easy to feel this centuries-old allure yourself. The earth boils in a fertile outpouring, every conceivable shade of green, flecked with the crimson and gold of mountain flowers. This is a world of forests patterned in dappled sunlight. Plantations of rubber, coffee and spice. Rolling highlands and crisp, cool air.
The resort itself consists of 52 cottages, set in eight acres of respectfully tamed forest. The architecture is inspired by the jungle dwellings of the area, and we’ve taken care to use the same materials in construction.
The original inhabitants of these hills are the Mannans and the Ooralie tribes who still carry on their age old practices of herding and bee-keeping in perfect harmony with nature. They live in tree houses, or huts with a distinctive grey thatch. You’ll see this reflected in your own cottage, with its brick, split bamboo and elephant-grass design.
Private Garden Cottages
Spice Garden Cottages
Multi cuisine restaurant
Wood house Bar
Regular doctors on call
40 Pax. Theater style
Jan – Mar: Cool, dry
April – May: Summer
June – August: Monsoon
Sept – Dec: Pleasant, dry
Travel time – 05 Hrs from Cochin airport
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