From Thiruvananthapuram, it takes about 90 minutes to reach our destination in Kallar. The road winds uphill all the way and most of it hugs the river, not little more than a stream in several places. Rubber and banana plantations jostle for space and look invitingly green on a hot summer day. Quaintly named places called Pathinonnaam Kallu (literally, 11th milestone), Pathaam Kallu and Onpathaam Kallu (Ninth milestone), that hark back to a time before Kerala moved to the metric system, indicate that the road leads to places that still bear vestiges of a bygone era.

Finally, we reach our destination: the house with the bamboo door, bamboo roof and bamboo walls, but no bamboo floor! But, as the song goes, you sure can have fun in this house owned by social scientists Ravindran and Sundari. Situated at the confluence of three rivers (Meenmutty, Ponmudi and Golden Valley), the house tempts you to shrug all cares and become a child again.

The mercury dips several degrees as you step into the house — tall trees shelter it from the blazing sun. The incessant murmur of the rivers, which, the friendly caretakers and ardent green-lovers, Kallar Harikumar and Subi N.R., tell me, is a roar during the monsoon, has a soporific effect. The rivers' constant conversation with the rocky riverbed provides a pleasing background music through your stay in the bamboo house. As the rivers are not in spate, one can easily wade across to explore the surrounding countryside.

But, daytime is best spent indoors during the summer. The two rooms, all furnished in bamboo and shades of green, blue and brown, open to majestic views of the rolling hills and have sit-outs where you can laze around and soak in the plenitude of Nature.

If you are a trekker, this is haven for you. Put on your most comfortable shoes, get the help of a good guide and start in any direction, and get the opportunity to travel up many a road less travelled, including the famous Meenmutty Falls and Peppara Wildlife sanctuary. Monkeys abound and so do various species of birds, making this an ornithologists' delight.

As dusk falls, count the stars that dot the clear skies that are not marred by neon lights and high rises. Sigh! If only this could be transported to the city.

ARANYA

KALLAR, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

USP: Riverside vistas, treks unlimited

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TiemoutMarch 19, 2010