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This is a rare opportunity to stay in a natural sanctuary, garden and orchard rolled into one. It is an enchanted haven set amid forested mountains and some of the finest scenery in South India.
The cottage is constructed of brick with lime plaster externally and internally. We find that this provides the most equable climate. The roof and floor are finished in terracotta tiles and the bathroom is marble. There are 2 neem wood massage benches (antique) which could be used as beds by children or smallish people.
It will particularly appeal to travellers to South India who are looking for an unadulterated haven in the hills where peace and tranquility, space and privacy are assured. Such places are rare and the orchard, extending to some 50 acres, is an enchanting place to walk, paint, read exercise or simply be.
Situated at an altitude of 1,700 meters and below the frostline, the air and light are imbued with a particular vitality and there are no pesky insects to mar ones pleasure. You can enjoy the warmth of the sun during the day but seldom feel uncomfortably hot and at night the stars are displayed in their brilliance in a clear sky.
While growing and breeding fruit trees from the Andes and Central American is our speciality, we also grow a number of flowering trees and shrubs and are actively extending the range of flowering climbers.
The cottage is situated in the heart of the orchard, 200-300 meters from the hosts house. Access up the steep and rocky approach road is restricted to our jeep.
We will be happy to provide you with nutritious South Indian meals and tea and coffee on request and at reasonable rates. Home cooked south indian food is clean and tasty and uses little oil. The cottage has a kitchenette currently rather sparsely equipped, but improvements will come on demand. Tea & coffee can be made.
To my knowledge there is nothing of any culinary interest in the neighbourhood, and our situation half way up a mountain makes getting around beyond more demanding than most places.
My wife will be happy to share her cooking skill of traditional Tamil & Kerala cuisine, mountain style, while I will be happy to give guidance around the orchard. If you are healthy and fit and eager to take longer walks in the neighbourhood there is a great deal that can be explored on foot and we could send a guide with you in whichever direction seems favourable. We would also be happy to loan our car or jeep should you wish to explore some of the more interesting sights of the area, i.e. tea estates, a riverside shrine in a wildlife sanctuary, a dam and reservoir in the hills.
This is a rural neighborhood where you may experience life in the hills in something like the traditional pattern, with villages surrounded by their cultivations on terraces or rain-fed hill slopes. Most people still get around on foot and walks in the surrounding countryside can be very rewarding.
Airport collection from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Coimbatore is our nearest airport and most convenient transportation hub. It is 140 km distant and about 4 hrs drive from the orchard.
If you wish, we can arrange for your collection from the airport and take you directly to the orchard. It is doubtful whether taxi's servicing the airport would be prepared to drive you to the orchard, as few would be familiar with the route and are seldom prepared to cross state boundaries. If you own or are hiring a vehicle we can give you directions to reach here.
Rate for collection at Coimbatore airport in air-conditioned Chevrolet Tavera: Rs.2,500. If the Tavera is unavailable we could arrange another vehicle to take you.
On the downside there are the following factors to consider:
Our electricity supply has been improved dramatically over recent years but we still get blackouts, especially if stormy conditions prevail, or there may be daily power cuts lasting about 1-3 hours. We provide lamps and candles for the eventuality and prefer to avoid generators.
Every now and again a strike is called in Kerala, and that means that any travel arrangements for that day have to be cancelled as usually no vehicular traffic is allowed. It is best for you to be aware that this could effect your travel plans wherever you happened to be.
Shopping, entertainment and other social and cultural outlets are non-existent.
During festivals and marriages etc. the locals have an odd preference for broadcasting songs at high volume often in the morning. On average, it probably only affects one day in 10 or so and rarely persists for more than 2 hours.
We expect guests to respect the cottage and nature around it.
Though highly unlikely to occur, we do not take responsibility for any loss or damage of valuables.
In case of any accident occurring between a domestic or wild animal and guest we cannot be liable. Again, such an outcome is highly unlikely.
Because we have our own domestic animals we request guests to leave their pets at home.
There is a depot of 20 USD for the key. The depot will be returned when the keys have been handed back.
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I am an Englishman and horticulturist with an early predilection for country life. I am deeply attached to cultural pursuits, but feel they can be best savored in the countryside, so tending and cultivating a garden is my primary occupation. I relish and delight in good environments and am appalled by degraded and abused ones. When an opportunity arose whereby I could choose where to live, having travelled fairly extensively, I settled on this place, Anjanad, in the Anamalai mountains of South India.
Not only are we situated at the highest zone of the Western Ghats but we are also surrounded by extensive areas of nature reserve and sanctuaries. We are fortunate that historically the western Ghats have been sparsely populated and that large stretches of primary forest prevail. Recognition of their value and efforts to safeguard forests are as advanced, if not more so in India than in most other highland zones in the tropics and subtropics. Indeed, in most other highland regions forests have been decimated over hundreds of years.
In view of this I wished to dedicated my life to restoring this one on land that had formerly been occupied by Eucalyptus grandis, lemon grass and scrub. Fortunately we share a boundary with the ancient shola forests, so that the woodland merges seamlessly. In 15 years time this should be one of the great gardens of South India, but even now it is better than anywhere else that I know (making me rather averse to traveling).