Every now and then, I end up staying at properties which I do not wish to leave and pray that I can return there soon. Recently, when I did a 3 week monsoon motorcycle ride across Kerala and Karnataka, I was lucky to come across quite a few of these gems. One such property is an authentic Kerala backwater retreat about 15 kms from Kochi, one of the most happening destinations of Kerala. This property called the Gramam Homestay (which literally means village homestay) is run a local couple and is located right on the backwaters of Kumbalangi village.
This place enjoys remote location, you have you own garden, your own private sunset spot over the backwater, oodles of nature and calm atmosphere. This homestay offers 2 types of accommodation. One, a private backwater cottage and second, a room in the main house. While the private backwater cottage offers tons of space, 4 beds, a kitchen and an open to air shower, the rooms are smaller (but still comfortable for a couple) and offer 2 beds with a balcony and attached bathroom. The couple running the homestay stay in the main house and they offer organic grown, home-cooked Kerala food to their guests at breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is included in the room tariff, while dinner needs to be ordered in advance. They do not serve lunch. Dinner costs INR 400 per person.
The couple running this place are kind, helpful with directions and also arrange local activities if you are interested. During the off season, the room costs 2000 rupees while the cottage costs 4000 rupees. And during peak season, the room costs 3500 rupees and the backwater cottage costs 6000 rupees. The place doesn’t have a TV, which is what I prefer, but if you wish to stay connected, they offer free wi-fi and phone connectivity is pretty good here.
The homestay is close to small local shops and restaurants in case you are planning a longer stay and for anything special, the city of Kochi is just a 20 minute drive away. One of the specialties of this Kumbalangi village is its Chinese fishing nets, which you can see at close range all through the day and night. Since, there are hardly any tourists here, you can spend quality time here watching the fishermen at work without being asked many questions like near Fort Kochi.
It is best to have your own transport (self or rented cars, motorbikes or cycles), if you wish to plan to explore Kochi and around. You can also take the public buses, but you might have poor connectivity at stretches and it will be slower.
Since the homestay’s backwater side faces west, do not miss the opportunity to watch the sun go down from either your backwater cottage or any of the many benches built by the water on the homestay property. While I was staying here, I always ensured that I caught the sunset. If you wish, you can also arrange for a local backwater tour by boat during the sunrise and sunset hours and get closer to the fishing nets.
If you wish for a relaxed getaway near Kochi where you can enjoy home food, read your books by the backwater, enjoy a beautiful garden and be close to Kochi, but still stay away from the traffic, this place has to be a fabulous choice for you. I would definitely want to return here and would recommend this homestay and the couple running it.
For more information about the location, the property, the tariff, the activities, the facilities and much more, look up the Kerala Gramam website. All contact information can also be found on their website.