Our place is set on a beautiful, small farm island, which was actually reclaimed from the backwaters (Vembanad lake near Kumarakom) by the family. The farm is about 35 acres and is the largest farm on the island.
The island is a reclaimed property which was built in the early 1950’s by my husband’s grandfather. The island is called Puthankayal (‘Puthan’ means new) as it was the last island to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture.
The Villa has an open plan affair, with sufficient space for a couple with spacious, independent and located on the outer dyke facing the peaceful backwaters. The villas are named after popular local flowering plants, trees and birds.
The villas are furnished with antiques, including some beautifully carved and crafted doors and windows, which were meticulously collected over a period of time. TV and a land-line telephone are available at our residence, whilst ceiling fans assure a cooling circulation of air at all times.
We have installed air-conditioners within the cottages for your comfort. An Internet facility through Wi-Fi is available free of cost to the guests. The signal can be best accessed from our porch area, the sitting room and the waterside jetty.
There is a refrigerator and an electric kettle in each room with tea and coffee making provisions. The villas are well furnished with two large single beds, wardrobe, cupboard, writing table, and chair, settees, and chairs in the ‘sit-out’. There is a clean, dry and spacious bathroom in each villa. Extra beds are available if needed, and there is also a generator to backup the electricity in case of a power failure. All windows are netted to check the entry of insects.
There are plenty of doors and windows in each villa (18 windows and 8 doors) which open on to the farm, garden and backwaters, allowing for excellent circulation of fresh breezes and fascinating views from within. This is in keeping with the tradition of typical backwater bungalows. The idea has been to make each villa an integral part of the surroundings so that by living in one you are not cut off from nature, but feel at one with the beautiful environment.
The floor is finished in rustic clay tiles and the ceiling in wood. There is also a small verandah finished in traditional red-oxide which runs around each villa.
To complement the villas, there is a beautiful thatched pavilion on stilts, overlooking the farm with views of the backwaters. The pavilion opens on to a small, neat courtyard under an old mango tree. Most communally served meals are served in this delightful setting. We are also delighted to announce the completion of our new ‘jetty’- a covered pavilion built on the quayside where you can sit, admire the stunning views, watch the occasional houseboat glide by or just relax and soak up your surroundings and feel the cooling breezes from the nearby lake.
In designing the villas, we kept in mind all the traditional features, but also the fact that we were designing a house where you would feel at home, and not a typical hotel room with its sterile, uniform, contrived atmosphere. When all this is combined with the traditional, homely hospitality, you might just think that it is your second home.
The farm is located on a small island (approximately 750 acres) in the backwaters by Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom within the Vechoor village limits. The farm is about 35 acres and is the largest farm on the island. The island is a reclaimed property which was built in the early 1950’s by my husband’s grandfather. It was my father-in-law, the late Philipkutty, who undertook further development on the farm by bringing in a system of inter-crop farming. The island is called Puthankayal (‘Puthan’ means new) as it was the last island to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture.
Being a reclaimed property typical of the Kuttanad or backwater region, the farm is approx 2 metres below the lake level. The retaining dyke around the perimeter of the island keeps the lake water from entering the farm. Being below the lake level, all the rain water is pumped out especially during the monsoon season by using an electric motor and pump. This is critical to the existence of the farm.
The farm is made up of ridges and canals, with all the planting done on the ridges. The major crops on the farm were coconut, toddy tapping, nutmeg, cocoa, banana, pepper and many other fruits, vegetables and spices. The farm also has a few cows, geese, ducks and hens. We are members of the Vechoor Cow Trust and are doing our small part in the conservation of Vechoor cows by having three on the farm. The reclaimed island has also helped Vechoor Village to develop. It has given land to the people, plenty of employment, free grass for cows and free fuel, which were also important aspects of our initial vision and objectives.
The farm was a ‘modern’ farm when it started, but in the last 10 years we have been systematically cutting down on chemicals and relying more on organic and natural farming methods. Today we have successfully cut down by 75 to 80% all chemical inputs. At present the farm employs sustainable and organic methods of farming and we believe that in the coming years we will be a 100% organic farm.
Sadly, in 2013, we suffered a devastating flood, which killed or damaged many of our trees and crops. We are determined to overcome this, and are already beginning the necessary replanting of a wide variety of saplings, concentrating for now on coconut trees. It will, however, take us some years to recover fully from this catastrophe, which fortunately has not impacted on our guests in any way at all, and resume our usual farming practice. At present, we are still producing coconut, banana and a variety of spices, fruits and vegetables for home consumption.
Kerala, Kerala, India