Kuttikkanam and Peermade
Unspoiled and verdant, the rolling hills of Peermade were named after the 13th century Sufi saint, Peer Mohammed. A global traveller and a friend of the Travancore Royal family, Peer Mohammed settled in Kuttikkanam in Peermade and is buried at the foot of Peeru Hills. His tomb itself is small and unassuming. Another good reason for visiting the spot is the breathtaking view of the hills set against blue skies.
Peermade is only a village with most of the sights being scattered in the vicinity, but not actually in the town. A good base for tourists is the nearby small town of Kuttikkanam, only a 4km away on the Kottayam Kumily Road. Kuttikkanam is home to some of the better known resorts in the area and is also closer to most of the local attractions.
The 160-year old Summer Palace of the Travancore maharajas is located down a dirt road at a spot 10 mins off KK road from Kuttikkanam. The building and the grounds are in a state of disrepair.
The Sahyadri Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Factory and Treatment Centre are ventures of the Peermade Development Society (PDS). Treatments here take from one hour to four weeks, depending on the package. Accommodation is available and all consultation happens under the supervision of doctors.
The Ayurvedic Factory, located a kilometre away, makes for a scenic walk. Visitors are asked to remove their footwear (rubber slippers are provided instead) and cover their hair with hairnets. Inside, one gets a glimpse of the various stages of processing of Ayurveda ingredients in to a medicinal decoction. The tour is definitely interesting and informative.
A recent venture of PDS, the Sahyadri Organic Tea Factory and Plantations was established in 2001 as a scheme focused on small tea growers of the region. Housed in a white-washed building, the factory can be viewed from specially designed vantage points so that visitors get a feel of the process without disturbing the production line. The organic tea itself can be purchased from the Sahyadri Organic Products outlet at Kuttikkanam.
Where to Stay and Eat
Peermade and Kuttikkanam have excellent high-end to mid-range options.
KTDC's Tamarind Easy Hotel
Tel: 04869 233250
Tamarind is among the cheaper options, with 9 rooms.
Tel: 04869 232082-92
Ashely Bangalow is set in Peermades's Stagbrook Tea Estate. One of the oldest planter's bungalows in the region (built in 1868, by the Baker family), the decor and the ambience bespeak of its erstwhile British grandeur. The bungalow has 5 rooms and organises trekking and wildlife tours, tea estate and tea factory visits.
Tel: 04869 232491-98
Thrisangu Haven is housed in about 15 well manicured acres atop a hill in Kuttikkanam. The elevation affords a breathtaking view of the area. The resort has 30 rooms and a range of facilities including a playground, a community centre, a bonfire site and a multi-cuisine restaurant. They also organise trekking expeditions from the neighbouring Thrisangu Hills.
Wood Palace Heritage Resort
Tel: 04869 232266
Wood Palace Heritage Resort in Kuttikkanam is a charming option. The resort's name is derived from the architecture of the building, which is modelled on a traditional Kerala illam. Each of the 10 traditional rooms has a balcony overlooking a valley and faces westwards, making of beautiful sunset views.
Misty Mountain Plantation Resort
Tel: 04869 232064, 233265
Misty Mountain in Kuttikkanam is a homestay. The resort occupies one corner of the Glenrock Estate, but its proximity to the main road belies the feel of being on a plantation. The resort offers 6 rooms and a cottage. A multicuisine restaurant, a common room with television and Ayurvedic massages arranged at the Sahyadri Treatment Centre are other facilities on offer.
Mundax is a homestay near Kuttikkanam Junction. They have two rooms here and the tariff includes all meals. Mundax also offers travel assistance, a library, a meditation room, yoga lessons, an organic spice garden, ayurvedic massage, trekking, bamboo rafting, elephant rides and jungle safaris.
High Valley Resort
Tel: 04869 232812
Cottages of High Valley Resort are spread across a slope and surrounded by tea garden in Pattumala, 6km further down KK Road from Peermade. Nearby is the Pattumala shrine of St Mary, a famous pilgrim centre whose statue of Virgin Mary was brought here from the Velankanni shrine in Tamil Nadu.
In Peermade and Kuttikkanam there are no independent restaurants outside of the resorts, where all tourists dine. Most of the resort eateries are multi-cuisine.
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