This mud house at Red Wood Retreat in Kanthalloor can provide three families a unique experience in a scenic locale. While the mud-plastered walls and wooden roof fascinate some guests, others are intrigued over the small water fall behind the resort. Still others find ample relaxation in sleeping under blankets in a room without fan or air-conditioning.
The two-storey building has been built using eco-friendly methods. Crops suited for cold climates like apple are grown in Kanthalloor, an area uphill of the sandalwood plantations of Marayur. The altitude often makes the cold severe in Kanthalloor.
With the ‘neelakurinji’ (Strobilanthes kunthianus) in full bloom in Munnar, travellers visit Eravikulam to enjoy the rare sight and later head to places like Kanthalloor to spend the night. For them, Kanthalloor with its apple farms is a welcome option. There are more surprises.
Neelakurinji flowers display their finery all along the roadside. Probably, they are more abundant than in Rajamala.
The rain often comes calling in the evening, dampening the plans to set a camp fire. Rajendran, the caretaker of the retreat, is humility personified and takes care of all needs of the travellers.
Wooden seats are arranged on the lawn surrounding the building, but they are abandoned during rain.
The outer wall of the resort is covered with slices of arecanut tree wood, while the roof is tiled. While coir rope encircles the wooden pillars, the floors are covered with coir carpets. Greenery surrounds the resort, making it close to nature.
A wooden staircase built outside the structure leads to a sit-out on the upper floor. From here, guests can enjoy the sight of the lush farmlands prepared as steps on the hill slopes. The lower branches of stately trees almost touch the upper storey.
Four beds are arranged on the upper floor, where the ceiling is just an arm’s length away. The walls of the interior are paved with mud and the handprints left by the workers give an artistic feel. There are two western style bathrooms.
Behind the building flows a stream which has a water fall around six feet high. The gurgling sound of the water is music to one’s ears. But venturing into the waters, teeming with leeches, is no fun.
Visitors can relish the common but tasty combination of chappathis and chicken for the night, thanks to the culinary skills of Victoria, the part-time chef. Guests feel that true to her name, Victoria too, like the British monarch, is a queen - but of taste.
An early morning sight from the retreat is the blue smoke emanating from the kitchens in the nearby Puthoor village. One may think that this blue is more intense than the colour of the Anamudi hills forming the backdrop.
What to do at Kanthalloor
Being an agrarian hamlet, visitors will find a casual walk along the lanes a different experience. Or they can simply while away their time on the balcony exchanging gossip. The presence of the cold air may prove soothing.
With garlic cultivation the main vocation of farmers at nearby Kezhanthoor, visitors can take home the most fresh produce. They can also purchase the famous Marayur jaggery made at the factories in Kanthalloor. A stunning view of the Anamudi hills is another attraction.
Taking a stroll along the sugarcane fields and learning about humanity’s past at the dolmens are the other activities guests at the resort in Kanthalloor can engage in.
For more information on Red Wood Retreat and booking, contact phone number: 8301862738.