Indhrivanam

An ecological mountain retreat
Welcome to Indhrivanam!

Indhrivanam, located in Kumily Thekkady in the South Indian state of Kerala, is a unique place to stay with only one detached stone cottage available for tourists. The cottage is situated in a small private forest with hundreds of rosewood, rudraksha, mango, jackfruit, avocado and orange trees, creating a setting you won't find elsewhere in Thekkady. Indhrivanam is ideally suited for a couple or small family, Indian or non-Indian, who want to get away from the crowds of India, for people, for instance honeymoon couples, who would like to enjoy their holiday in privacy, for foodies who enjoy the luxury of having vegan/vegetarian meals prepared especially for them, and for anyone wanting a stay that is low impact on the environment, fauna and flora.

Indhrivanam means a sense of forest in Malayalam. The word indhrivanam is made by joining indriyam, meaning a sense of, and vanam, meaning forest, and by adding an h that more accurately reflects the pronunciation of indri. The name is a reflection of reality as the 2 acre property is almost entirely under tree canopy. In addition, the canopy is layered, which makes an ideal habitat for our slender lorises (a primate that is very rare and usually only found deep in the forests of South India and Sri Lanka), Asian palm civets, giant squirrels, Indian squirrels and more than 50 types of birds, including Malabar grey hornbills. Roaming at ground level are wild boar, barking deer, sambar deer, mouse deer, hares, rabbits, porcupines and monitor lizards.

Staying at Indhrivanam is a different kind of experience as the focus is on ecologically sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting and the use of dry toilets. For people wanting conventional luxury (swimming pool, flat screen television, and room service), Indhrivanam is not recommended, but for people seeking the luxury of privacy, peace, nature, ecology, helpfulness, comfortable living in a very nice stone cottage, Indhrivanam may be the perfect place. Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to categorise Indhrivanam. We are a retreat in the sense that by staying here you are retreating from the outside world. We are a resort in the sense that the property is large. We are a boutique hotel in the sense that very few people stay here at the same time. And we are a homestay in the sense that we deliver a homely, informal and friendly atmosphere.

If this appeals to you, please do read on!

Covid-19 safe

With 2 acres of property, plus plenty of free space around the property, and only one guest cottage, total privacy and significant distancing are the rule, not the exception. We have 48 hour gaps between guests, and all areas are thoroughly cleaned between check-out and check-in. The property design and practices are the future of tourism where safety and almost no risk of spreading communicable diseases is a priority.

Should the unexpected happen where medical assistance is required, we have a 24/7 doctor on call arrangement with a local clinic. Our nearest hospital, Alphonsa Hospital in Anakkara, is located less than 5 kilometres from the property.

Kerala is the land of frequent powercuts. Sometimes for 1 minute, sometimes for 1 day, and at least 3000 times a year. Rest assured! At Indhrivanam all buildings have a 24/7 power backup system.

If you worry about where your money is going by staying at Indhrivanam, we can assure you that nobody is getting rich from this business, and that any money generated, including any profit, stays in India. For the forseeable future (decades), any profit will be used to maintain and add to the property.

We do our best to maintain a natural habitat for animals by having a continous canopy on most of the property, we use rainwater only, and we minimise the use of unnatural products and harmful chemicals. In short, staying at Indhrivanam is an entirely pain and cruelty free experience for all fauna and flora.

Indhrivanam is a property of undulation: some places are level whereas others are a little up and down. Consequently, we are, regrettably, not that well suited for people who have walking difficulties, and completely unsuitable for people who are dependent on wheelchairs.

All stays at Indhrivanam are on what is popularly called Modified American Plan, i.e. including free/complimentary breakfast and dinner. Lunch is not available. The food is vegan which, in an Indian context, means pure vegetarian without dairy products. Meals are served in the main building. Breakfast is available between 07:30 and 10:00. Dinner is available between 18:00 and 19:00. The breakfast consists of homemade (often sourdough) bread with various homemade nut butters, relishes and a very tasty cashew cream cheese. There will also be fresh fruit, e.g. oranges, papaya, watermelon, pineapples and/or bananas. If you prefer an Indian breakfast, we make adai with sambar and chutney, or vegan Indian omelettes. Dinner is usually something from the Indian cuisine, North or South, a fusion, Jain or a new invention! Please note that we do not have a menu. If the food part of the stay doesn't suit your tastes or timings, there are plenty of restaurants in the nearby towns, some of whom we can recommend if required.

We offer safe private parking on the property. We do not have accommodation for drivers, but can arrange this on a different property.

We can arrange pickups by taxi from your previous location and drops to your next destination, but we can also help create a mini travel itinerary for you based on public transport if you are of a more adventurous disposition.

There is free wifi Internet covering most of the property. It is in the form of mobile Internet from Airtel's 4G network. Speeds are between 2 and 20 Mbps depending on the amount of network congestion. Idea/Vodafone is okayish on the property, while Jio and BSNL coverage is very patchy.

The stone cottage has 24/7 hot running water.

At Indhrivanam we will always attempt to limit our negative impact on local and global environments. One way of doing this is to avoid the risk of polluting groundwater reservoirs with sewage. Therefore, expect to meet some of the coolest composting toilets ever!

There are free laundry facilities on the property.

The property is 100% supplied by rainwater. We have a storage capacity of 70k litres.

There are two very friendly local dogs living on the property: Ashna (11 years old) and Teddy (3 years old), who are both sterilised and have up-to-date vaccinations. However, as they are territorial in relation to other animals, we cannot accept bookings from people travelling with pets.

If you are looking to spend your holiday in the company of a television, you will have to carry one in your luggage, plus accessories like, for instance, a satellite dish.

The stone cottage

Play stone cottage video
The stone cottage

The stone cottage (there is only one) is located in its own 1 acre piece of woodland. It is made from local hand-chipped rock, and has a traditional terracotta roof. Very little concrete, paint and chemicals were used in the construction, and the wood used for doors and shutters is locally grown silver oak, a non-indigenous tree with low absorption of CO2. The cottage has a front veranda (12 m2), bedroom/living room (20 m2) and attached bathroom (6 m2). The bedroom has double/twin beds with extremely comfortable king sized duroflex spring mattresses. In the cottage there is an electric kettle, coffee, teas and clean drinking water.

The tariff per night is as described in the table below, and depends on time of year and number and age of the persons staying. The maximum number of people we can accommodate are 3 adults or 2 adults + 2 children. Persons aged 12+ are counted as adults. If you are staying for 3+ nights, you will receive a 20% discount. For stays of more than 10 nights, please contact us for further discounts. If you are interested in booking a stay, or you have any questions, please use one of the contact methods listed at the end of the page.

If you are 2 couples/families, there is a 200 years old, restored and upgraded traditional Kerala teak house on our neighbouring property, The Garden Hideaway, which can be included in the stay.

Before contacting us, you may want to check our Internet reviews on Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Google and Booking.com. We got a nice mention in an article by Mahananda Bohidar on halabol.com (pdf, 476 kB), we really appreciate the considerate blog posts from Barbara Bell, who stayed at Indhrivanam in 2013, and Shivya Nath, who stayed at Indhrivanam in 2020, and, finally, we were reviewed favourably in Lonely Planet Magazine India (pdf, 1 MB) in August 2015.

Adults Children October - March April - September
1 0 5450 4450
1 1 5900 4900
2 0 6300 5300
2 1 6750 5750
2 2 7200 6200
3 0 7150 6150

In addition to the cottage, there is only one building at Indhrivanam, which we usually refer to as the main building. In the main building, food is served, there are office facilities, reception and so on. It is also where you find amenities like computer facilities, laundry service, a very small library of books, playing cards, dominos, backgammon, scrabble, carrom and detailed maps for local walks.

Activities in Thekkady

Activities

Indhrivanam is located only a few hundred metres from the perimeters of Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR), the main attraction in the Thekkady area, and 9 kilometres, from the main town in the area, Kumily. From a nature preservation perspective, PTR is most definitely in the top five of the best run tiger reserves in India, and from a tourism perspective, PTR is probably unrivalled; there are a number of well-constructed walks and treks in PTR that suit any level of fitness with varying chances of spotting wildlife, including elephants. The tiger, however, remains illusive.

In addition to the activities in PTR, there are a number of activities of varying quality in the Thekkady area arranged by private service providers. We have created a page with all relevant information about the recommended activities in Thekkady.

Contact form
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