Ever been to a home built, literally, on a rock? If you haven't, check out Mayapott Bungalow near Thekkady. If you're looking to give the outside world a miss and commune with Nature, then this trendy property, set amidst 100 acres of cardamom plantation, and belonging to the Pottamkulam family of Kerala, is the place for you.
Mayapott is almost like an illusion, much like its name. The three-room bungalow rests in the “Chekuthanmala” (Devil's rock) valley and is built around a huge rock, which apparently used to be a resting place for hunters.
Built entirely of rock from the region, the bungalow is unique since little cement was used to bond the rocks. Each rock was painstakingly templated on to the other and it took nearly three years to build this property.
The bungalow remains enveloped by mist and clouds round the year. Built as two portions and connected by a wooden bridge that curves around the natural rock, below which gurgles a crystal clear stream, each of the rooms has two large panelled glass windows opening out to a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills. The views are particularly awesome during the monsoon when water gushes down the stream, which for the rest of the year remains gentle and calm.
Mayapott breathtakingly incorporates all natural features of the site — the huge rock, the boulders, trees and the stream, and the wood (‘mullu venga') that is used around the house can withstand the wet weather.
The rooms are neatly laid out with plenty of natural light, and air and rock protrusions have been retained inside the home. Children can enjoy a bit of rock climbing within the room itself.
The open-to-the-sky bathrooms too need special mention. A part of the giant rock forms one of the four walls while the other three are tiled walls with modern fittings. The flooring is natural — with pebbled floors. No water is wasted as it seeps back into the ground.
Managed and marketed by Green Apple Homestays and Tours Ltd., members of the caretaker family fill in as cook, guard, and helper. Food is served hot and fresh as per the choice of the guest, and there is no fixed menu.
This rainforest bungalow also houses a huge pond that gets filled up during the monsoons, and is used to irrigate the entire estate.
Things to do
Trekking, either within the estate for which small paths have been marked, or to Chekuthanmala.
Take the plantation tour or visit the famous Periyar wildlife sanctuary.
Else, simply dip your feet in the stream and gaze at the birds and butterflies.
Indulge in some amateur rock climbing.
Feast on the goodies rustled up by the cook.
Read a book in the stylishly-done hanging study room
How to get there
Thekkady is 125 km from Madurai. The bungalow is another 25 km (a 30-minute drive) from Thekkady on the new highway. From Kochi, it is 175 km and from Thiruvananthapuram, 250 km.
Rs.10,500 (inclusive of tax and food). Rs. 9,000 during off-season. For enquiries or reservation, call 0484-2335673 or e-mail