Windermere River House: Where time goes for a stroll - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Windermere River House: Where time goes for a stroll

The Gorgeous Windermere River house property at Neriamangalam

In our fast paced lives, each of us crave for a break. But, unfortunately, this break (where we go to a dream destination) ends up being more stressful than our regular day in the city. The reasons could be many: jet lag, flights at odd hours, changing weather, changing sleep patterns, cramming a lot into a small schedule, food issues, that thought of work piling up when we return, too much road travel and so many other things that we have all faced during our travels.

So, how do we end up enjoying and loving our holiday and yet return home fully refreshed physically, mentally and emotionally? There is no set template to find the answer, but slow travel, oodles of nature, a quiet environment, yoga, physical activity, lots of sunshine, a good bed, delicious food and minimal connectivity seems to do the trick for me.

One such place in peninsular India that offers oodles of the above is a new boutique luxury property called Windermere River House, that is tucked between the calm Periyar river of Kerala, the dense Neriamangalam forest, rubber plantations and the tall Western Ghat mountains. Set in a small 2 acre space, it offers you that perfect tropical countryside experience with all the ingredients for a totally relaxing holiday. For bookings, do look up their website or go through Rare India, a great portal of those special properties across India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Location! Location! Location!

The location of the Windermere River House property is such that one will fall in love with it even before stepping into the property. The small and winding countryside roads that lead you to the property once you deviate from the Munnar – Kochi highway are a delight to the senses. Tall trees, small streams, pretty villages and an overall sense of solitude is what makes this place so special.

And then there is the property itself. On one side of the property is the Periyar river that is dammed just further down. On the opposite side is the dense Neriamangalam jungle and the tall mountain peaks of the Western Ghats. On either side are rubber plantations interspersed with spice farms and other tropical trees. And all this just an hour or so away from the bustling city of Kochi, which means that this kind of a nature rich relaxing holiday is so easily accessible from any Indian city with an airport.

Traditional Look with Modern Luxuries

Lush green Windermere River House property
The Windermere River House property, which is surrounded by beautiful nature, is in itself a treat to the eye. Built in traditional Kerala style architecture, it is that perfect combination of minimalistic tropical style mixed with modern day luxuries. It’s infinity pool facing the Periyar river is the perfect place to relax and unwind. It’s 5 traditionally designed rooms are ideal for couples or a small group of family and friends. It’s balconies are perfect for spotting birds with a hot cup of tea or coffee in hand during the day and counting fireflies in the night.

The kitchen churns out a lip smacking combination of traditional and continental food. If you love fish, this is the place to be, as cooking the fresh catch of the day in Kerala curry style is their specialty. The chef is also super accommodating, which means that you can ask him to cook a special menu just for you.

Perfect for Yoga or Spiritual Holidays

The dedicated open air yoga and meditation center facing the infinity pool and the river and the presence of yoga mats in each room means that this is the place to truly unwind. When you do yoga or meditate here, all you can hear is the sounds of nature and your own breathing. That is how quiet this place is. While I was there, I enjoyed doing yoga both at early in the morning and at sunset. This was followed by a session in the pool and good food and coffee. And that’s why when I returned home, I was all fresh and rejuvenated both physically and mentally. 

Great for Sunbathing and Reading

Enjoying the relaxed atmosphere at Windermere River House, Neriamangalam, Kerala

The lush tropical weather, the bright sunny days, the sound of the birds, the mild gurgle of the Periyar, the sensational infinity pool, the umpteen green spaces and the open air lounge nearby makes this a great place for those lazy swims coupled with book reading, sun bathing and dreamy afternoon siesta sessions. Nothing beats the feeling of sleeping in tropical shade after a good yoga and swimming session followed by an absolutely delicious Kerala meal that is starch heavy. That kind of sleep is so care free and is so hard to come by in this time and era.

Motorcycling, Fishing, Nature Walks, Cycling and Birdwatching

Sunset colors during a motorcycle holiday to Windermere River House, Kerala
Whenever you feel like you have relaxed enough and wish to do some kind of activity, this place provides you with many options. If you prefer walks, you can go for long forest walks or to the nearby villages. If you wish to go a bit far away, you can borrow the in-house bicycles and head over the suspension bridges, the burial sites and the far away villages. If you are a motorcycling afficionado, you will certainly love the winding roads that take you to the different waterfalls and the Thattekad bird sanctuary.

Birders will have a field day almost everywhere as this entire region is known for its birds. Malabar grey honrbills can be spotted every morning and afternoon right from the balconies in front of your rooms. Other birds that frequent the Windermere River House are the purple sunbirds, brain fever bird, night heron, mynas, barbets, bee eaters and so many more. If you feel like spreading your birding wings a bit wider, you have the neighbouring Neriamangalam forest or the iconic birding trails of Dr Salim Bird Sanctuary at Thattekad.

I foresee this place to be a huge hit with anglers. The only flip side is that you will have to carry your own fishing equipment. The perennial Periyar river and the fact that it get dammed just a bit further downstream ensures that you are never too far away from that special catch.

What else to see around here?

Valara Falls, Kerala

1) Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: If you a birder or a nature lover, you will definitely enjoy the rich bird, butterfly and insect life while walking on the Salim Ali birding trails inside Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.

2) Inchathotty Bridge: A 20 minute bicycle ride or a 5 minute motorcycle ride would take you to Kerala’s longest suspension bridge that connects the mighty Periyar river.

3) Neriamangalam Forest: If you feel like a forest walk, you can get permits from the wildlife department and go in search of more exotic bird and wildlife species inside the dense Neriamangalam forest.

4) Valara waterfall and other waterfalls: A short drive from Windermere River House towards Munnar are a plethora of waterfalls that are set amidst pristine greenery. These can make for great photography and picnic spots.

How to reach here?

Kochi would be your nearest domestic and international airport. Windermere River House is about 60 kms by road from both Kochi and Munnar. If you follow Google maps, it is about 7 kms from the intersection near the big Neriamangalam bridge on the Periyar. It is best to have some form of transportation as buses would not be able to provide you with last mile connectivity.

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