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Niraamaya - Cardamom Club, Thekkady

Experiences

NATURE & ADVENTURE

Periyar Tiger Route
Book your date with one of the rarest animals on Earth. With only 3000 odd tigers left in the world, the Thekkady reserve is one of the few places where these big cats can prowl freely. Catch even a flash of yellow and black, and you will return awed and inspired.

Border Trekking The Border Trekking Program restricts itself to the higher terrains, ranging from 1000 to 1200 metres. Supervised by guides, the trek is lively and entertaining, with fascinating stories of the jungle. The trek is also extremely educational and you will invariably learn about the variety of tropical flora and fauna given the guide's exceptional knowledge of the jungle.

Elephant Sanctuary Grab this rare opportunity to experience Thekkady on elephant back. Take a majestic trip through spice plantations where the gentle breeze will refresh you with spice-scented air as your steed slowly ambles on. Or why not get up close and personal? Our elephant trainers will accompany you to the Periyar Lake where you can bathe these gentle giants. (If they're in the playful mood, brace yourself for a tuskfull of river water!) End the day feeding the elephants by hand – a memory that will last lifetime.

The "Indian Bison"- Gaur Standing at 5.6 to over 7ft tall, weighing a literal ton and with a daunting set of horns that can often be twice the length of its head, the gaur or "Indian Bison", (as it was incorrectly named by the British Colonials) is one of the largest animals on Earth and quite a majestic sight to behold. Herds of gaurs also frequent the Periyar Tiger Route and the Gavi Jeep Safari, nonchalantly grazing by the lake. And a chance encounter while trekking is an extraordinary experience! However do be advised, these animals are dangerous and an attack is certain when encountering an outcast from the herd.

Gavi Jeep Safari For a genuine safari experience, travel by jeep into the densest reaches of the Cardamom Hills. The safari takes you through all forms of terrain – valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands and cascading waterfalls. The rare Lion Tailed Macaques, the Yellow Necked Nilgiri Marten, Salim Ali's Fruit Bats, gaurs, black bears, wild elephants and tigers are some of the extraordinary sights you will see on your trip here.

Boating and Bamboo Rafting With the gentle sound of the river beneath you and a chance to breathe in the fresh air, a boat ride on the Periyar Lake is a must. The view as you skim past is spectacular: you might even catch elephants bathing their young ones or tigers lapping up some of the crystal clear water. If you're more adventurous, you can opt to go bamboo rafting down a river. Steer your little craft through dense forests. Skirt the rapids. And come back with a new respect for the wild.

Spice Route Take a walk down the bustling streets of Kumily Bazaar as the local spices tickle your senses. Stop over to absorb the local culture while you enjoy crisp banana chips straight from the baskets of street vendors. Travel the spice route along the beautifully maintained plantations of Thekkady. The mountain air and the scent of spices blend together to create a truly spellbinding aroma as you are guided to clove, pepper, rubber, vanilla, coffee and tea plantations of Thekkady. After which comes the daring venture into tribal settlements in the surroundings. You can also visit the Tea Factory and see how tea is made. After, take a walk along the lush terraced farms, accompanied by birdsong and the quiet trickle of mountain streams. All the while, make sure you pause regularly to capture the astounding view of the valley from the various vantage points.

Bird Watching The beautiful grove that is Thekkady is home to a vast spectrum of birds. Watch as Crimson-Throated Barbets, Sunbirds and Blackwinged Kites flutter past the horizon. Our guides will take you around, just be sure to carry your binoculars and a journal.

Jungle Scout Partake in this three-hour trek and you are not only taken on night patrols across the fringe zones of the Tiger Reserve, but you are also helping to protect the forests of Periyar. And while on your hike, make sure to listen carefully and keep your eyes peeled to spot one of the many forest avians. Whether it is the distinct calls of the Jungle Babbler or the proud casque of the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the birds of Thekkady will leave you enchanted.

Vantage Views Chellarkovil (15 km) This little village, known for its waterfalls and hilly terrains, is located in Kumily.

Grampi (28 km) Grampi is also known as "Eagle Rock" because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rock plains, lush hillside, forests and picturesque views lend charm to this destination.

CULTURE

Kathakali It is difficult to ignore the imagery conjured up at the mention of this glorious dance form. A blend of art, music, dance and drama, Kathakali has its roots in the ancient Sanskrit text "The Natyashastra", written by Bharata circa 17 AD. With grand costumes, detailed and bright make-up, mythological stories and intricate movements, an enthralling evening is guaranteed.

Kalaripayattu With careful and measured movements and of course the clash of swords, Kalaripayattu is the oldest form of martial arts indigenous to Kerala. The performances are held in the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre – a specially designed gallery in Thekkady. Rest assured, you will be seated at a safe distance in order to view the performance; and are guaranteed to leave mesmerized.

FULL DAY EXCURSIONS

Spend a magical day amidst the City of Temples – Madurai. Here you can lose yourself in the antiquity of the Meenakshi Temple, the largest temple in South India. And later, either continue visiting the smaller temples that surround the area or indulge in bargain shopping.

A visit to the Munnar Hill Station will send you home with experiences to relive and stories to relate. Provided you choose to go home, that is. Mattupetty, surrounded by tea estates, is a stunning picnic spot with boating facilities. The Echo Point uplifts the soul. At the Kundalay Dam take advantage of the pedal boating facilities and manoeuvre your way to the more picturesque spots on the lake.

Soak in the breathtaking panoramic view of all the neighbouring states at the Top Station. Or take in the majesty of nature from the Devikulam Hill Station. The aerial view makes the tea plantations seem like endless green carpeting. The Power House Waterfalls is a beautiful spot to view the mighty falls. And if you're visiting during the celebration season you must visit one of India's largest dams, the Idukki Arch Dam which is only open for only 15 days during the Onam celebrations (August/ September).

Visits Visit acres of verdant groves or learn about the magic behind Thekkady's home brew. Tea factory visit (Closed on Sundays) Timings: 9am – 4pm Travel time: 40 minutes Spice plantation tours (1 hour tours) Timings: 9am – 5pm Travel time: 15 minutes

INHOUSE

Bonfire Nights and Bespoke Destination Dining While our chefs seduce your palate with delicacies perfected with fresh ingredients sourced from the local markets, the beauty of the natural surroundings are a treat for the eyes.

Authentic Cooking Classes Our chefs also provide comprehensive, hands-on cooking classes so that you master not only the flavour, but all the nuances of authentic Keralite cooking. An experience that will leave you conjuring your very own pièce de résistance.

Cardamom Club Estate Trek Journey an invigorating 4 kilometers through the fragrant cardamom plantations. The pristine silence is disturbed only by the squawks of numerous birds native to the region. Carry your binoculars and catch a glimpse of the usual suspects – The Racket Tailed Drongo, The Pied Hornbill, The White Bellied

Treepie. While you scan the trees keep an eye out for the adorable Malabar Giant Squirrel who is easily swayed by a handful of nuts. The Periyar Sanctuary Border fence marks the end point of your tryst with nature, from which you will return via an alternate route.

Cardamom Club PACKAGES

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Wonders of Thekkady

Located high up in the Idukki mountains, the Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club is nestled among acres of Cardamom



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Kovalam: Rejuvenate you

Accommodation for 2 nights, Breakfast & dinner, Welcome drink on arrival, Fruit basket