A Quick Getaway - Amaana Plantation Resort, Thekkady
It was Wednesday evening and my mid week frustration was at its peak. Suddenly my phone started ringing and I was amazed to see that the call was from my neighbour, Thomas. He was suggesting that a few families in our villa were planning to go on a weekend getaway, maybe to Thekkady or Munnar. I didn't hesitate to confirm, I said yes I am in. Inside, I was screaming “yeah, next weekend road trip is on..!!”
I immediately called up my wife and asked if she was ready to roll with my little naughty Zavi. She was also screaming “YES..! Let's go..!!”.
We contacted keralaholidays.com which is a popular tourism company in Kerala, India. They are Kerala tourism accredited tour company and have over two decades of expertise in organising tours. The team provided us with different options and suggested different packages, we were amazed by how they have organised and planned this in such a short notice for six families. They provided a customised tour itinerary and package as per our need and budget. They gave us three options which were as per our requirements and out of these three resorts suggested, we finally zeroed on Amaana Plantation Resort, Thekkady. A WhatsApp group was created immediately and everyone was updated about the plan, route and the like. The final route was starting from Cochin -> Kanjirappally (St. Dominic's College, Podimattam) -> Valanjanganam WaterFalls, Peermade -> Amaana Plantation Resort, Thekkady. We agreed to meet up with all the families at St. Dominic's College, Podimattam, Kanjirapally.
By Friday night, Zavi's excitement was over the top, he packed his bags and picked up his new Avengers Endgame Puzzle, few animals and Avengers figure toys. Once he was ready, he wanted us to move out and start at night itself. After a few discussions, we made him understand that there were other families too who would join us the next day morning at Kanjirappally. He wasn't convinced, and he kept his eyes wide open even while we dozed off to sleep.
Time to hit the road
We were all set to go by 8:30 am. Zavi was too excited and as soon as he walked out of the front door, his friends Ziya, Zain and Devika were also all ready and waiting to start. After a round of running about with his friends, Zavi jumped into the car and we started our drive to Thekkady. Almost an hour into the drive and Zavi was fast asleep. We reached Kanjirappally by around 11am, and waited for all the families to assemble. We waited in front of a church, opposite St. Dominic's College. I was a bit curious to know about the college and on enquiry found out that it was an arts and science college started under the Catholic Management in 1965 . After a short break, all were refreshed and we decided to move on.
As we started driving through the high range, the scenic beauty of the plantations on either side of the roads was a sight to behold. Our next impromptu stop was at the Valanjanganam Waterfalls. As Zavi had never seen a waterfall up and close we decided to pull over and do a tiny bit of exploration. We went down underneath the waterfall to enjoy the full view of the waterfalls. Few families with kids also stopped at this waterfall to admire the beauty.
A few more kilometers went by, and we reached Pattumala Matha Church, which is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite pilgrim shrine. The church is entirely built out of granite and is situated right in the middle of the tea plantations. The church and the surroundings were really beautiful and it was truly blissful to be there.
We had chit chats during a few more stops in between where we had stopped to admire the beauty of nature as well as to take some rest and pictures. We slowly moved to Amaana from there.
Amaana Plantation Resort, Thekkady
We reached Amaana Resort by around 12:30 noon. As we entered the plantation, we were welcomed by a slow running water stream, and the soothing sound of nature. The resort ambience gave us an opportunity to go back to our deeper life while enjoying the beauty of nature. This resort is located near Thekkady, which is 265 kms away from Trivandrum, 144 kms away from Cochin and 100 kms away from Kottayam. It's far away from the bustling world of noises and concrete jungle, however it's reachable as well as conveniently located.
Once in the resort, the first thing that caught our attention was a small pond right in the centre of the resort. The resort itself is a picturesque pepper and cardamom plantation. We could walk through the plantation and relax in the benches which are placed near the pond. The resort is around 20 acres of dense plantation which is another attraction. We could have a close look at the plantation and the process of harvesting. Another fascinating unit was the tree house which was very close to the pond, however due to the poor condition of the tree house we were not allowed to go in.
All the kids were delighted by the wide variety of games they could play outdoors as well as indoors. There was a park facing the pond, where there were slides, swings, football, archery etc.
All of us proceeded to check-in quickly and went in to drop in our bags, at our respective rooms. Our room was decently big with a balcony overlooking the pond. I have to mention the bathroom also here, as they also had a jacuzzi overlooking the pond. But unfortunately due to covid restrictions,the staff requested us not to use the jacuzzi.
It was lunchtime and all of us were starving. It was informed to the resort earlier itself what we preffered for lunch. We had ordered fish curry meals, some Biriyani for the kids and also fried rice. On request, we can get dishes prepared with local flavours and to our liking. Everyone enjoyed the meals and the kids and ladies went to the play area while we went to catch up with each other near one of our cottages.
We discussed everything under the sky, and suddenly we noticed plantation workers leaving the plantation. We were curious to see how big the plantation was, and how it was organised and prepared for harvesting. After getting permission from the plantation owner, we walked through the Cardamom plantation. Cardamom is popularly known as Elaichi in India. Cardamom, with its exotic aroma and flavor makes it one of the most expensive spices in the world, and is known as the queen of spices. Once it is dried, we use it to flavor curries, cakes and beverages. Cardamom is well known for its benefits, which includes preventing blood pressure and blood clots, works against acidity and improves digestion.
The plantation walk gave us a breath of fresh air. There was a proper irrigation system in place and the soil seemed to be well fertilized. We also noticed the king of spices i.e. pepper along the plantation. Pepper creepers were allowed to grow up on most of the big trees at the plantation.
After a walk of around 30 mins we reached back to the kids play area. We loved the plantation walk which was refreshing and enjoyable. At some point, I wished I had a similar place where I could go back to from the busy work schedules and away from the concrete jungle.
The kids were having a jolly good time at the play area. The bigger kids were also playing badminton, and they inspired us also to go play badminton for sometime. Also, on request the resort would provide us with fishing rods. Tea and snacks were served in between, and we went back to relax mode. It was such a nice evening, everyone settled down enjoying the climate with friends in the evening with bonfire and dinner thereafter.
Before going to bed, Zavi wanted to play his Avengers Endgame themed puzzle. He was so adamant that he had to complete that before he went to bed, so pulled out his puzzle and started to do the jigsaw puzzle. It was fun to see how he managed to segregate the different characters and identified the different puzzles. Puzzles are really good for kids and we have written an article about the same in nerdyclan.com. Feel free to read about the surprising benefits of puzzles. After successfully completing the puzzle, Zavi went to sleep happily.
As we opened our curtains, it was a sight to behold. The misty morning looked magical and the first thought that came to my mind was to capture this perfect shot. My little Zavi was also up and we thought we would just walk up to the restaurant for some tea. The climate was a bit chilly, so we pulled over our cardigans and went outside.
By this time all the other families had come out. The kids were busy with the indoor games which included chess, carroms, mini table tennis and mini golf set. As the mist lifted and the gorgeous morning sun set in, all of us proceeded to the play area. After spending some time here all of us decided to take all the ladies and kids too on the plantation walk and then go for breakfast after that. I had told Zavi the previous day that I had seen footprints of a wild pig in the plantation. It was only half way through the walk that he remembered this. Oh my God.. Then it was a rush. He wanted to be out of the cardamom plantation at the next instant. Finally all of us reached back at the play area and then proceeded for breakfast.
See you again, Amaana
The morning just zoomed past with the kids playing all around the resort, the ladies chatting away and the men lazing around. We were to vacate our rooms by afternoon and now everything was in a dizzy. All of us wanted some photo sessions of the whole group, the kids alone and the like. After clicking some memorable pictures we bid goodbye to Amaana Plantation Resort and Thekkady.
*All the pictures were taken using Sony A7M3 and ZEISS Batis 25mm f/2.
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