Home in a Village – the homestay started early this year (2018) after the hostess Ponnamma’s husband passed away and her son, a hotelier himself, wanted to create a way for her to flourish as a hostess and share her penchant for life with others. Ponnamma welcomes each guest with warmth, happiness and open arms; that makes staying here a blessed experience.
And of course nothing compares to her food which is fresh off her farm – she rears the cattle and the poultry and makes her own spices! In fact, guests can’t resist joining her in cooking up scrumptious meals and sharing their own stories and recipes.
And then there is the ambience itself – right in the middle of the village, it’s the perfect place for a city-detox, of savouring the pastoral life firsthand and of experiencing the warmth and the generosity of the simple folk here.
Each day is a new adventure and slow travellers will love exploring new places here everyday.
At ‘Home in a Village’ you can live in a traditional Kerala house with mud tiles on the ceiling and corbel designs, styled after village life in the south. This Unhotel is uncomplicated, with four comfortable air- conditioned rooms with modern baths. Since the host family itself stays here, safety is assured while allowing enough space for privacy.
Wake up to the smell of fresh Kerala food being cooked early in the morning and spend long days relaxing on the patio outside the rooms, drinking filter coffee, masala chai with the lovely hostess (Ponnamma has lived in North India so makes good chai) and learning about the nuances of village life.
This Unhotel prides itself in being a haven for foodies. While Ponnamma ( and her family when around) will whip up some fresh Kerala cuisine, guests are most welcome to join in this gastronomic experience, share their own recipes and learn new ones.
All spices are grown in the backyard; even the chickens are reared on the premises, producing fresh eggs everyday. And if you’d like to know your food before you eat it, walk down to the freshwater lake nearby and bid at the auction for fresh seafood which can be cooked your way at the Unhotel!
Wireless internet is available at this Unhotel though we strongly advise switching off (for most of the day) and taking in the atmosphere. Home in the Village also has a recreation zone replete with table tennis, board games and a modest collection of books to spend some quality time with the family.
Take back some authentic spices, homemade masalas and chutneys from the in-house spicery.
While the chef/food connoisseur in you may just want to stay in the kitchen and learn new recipes (besides gorging on the delicious Kerala fare) during your stay, ‘Home in the Village’ has many activities to do. Guests can visit a local cashew factory and witness the personal care, precision and labour that goes into extracting each cashewnut. Visits to the nearby paddy fields can be arranged where you can engage with the workers and get a better understanding on how small women-based groups are the force behind the revival of paddy cultivation in Kerala.
Take a canoe tour to the beautiful Munroe Islands; visit local churches and temples and take part in local rituals; visit a neighbour and understand the bond of village life or just stroll (or cycle) through the village to see it for yourself.
Venture out on day tours to the famous Varkala beach, Kollam, the Thenmala and Palaruvi waterfalls, the Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple and the Alleppey Backwaters.
If Kollam is just one of your destinations in the area, you can go on a gastronomic tour organised by Unhotel to other parts of South India and Sri Lanka as well.
This is a an uncommon experience of sampling simple village life in South India. Amongst the most authentic homestay experiences you will have anywhere in India. If you are a foodie who can’t resist a good recipe and seeking solitude, no hotel in the country can match this amazing personalised village stay experience.
Slow travellers will love this experience of staying in a quintessential Kerala village as will die-hard foodies. Afterall how often is it that you get to have your own version of cookery-show with a warm granny with years and years of experience! Great for families even with small kids.
Not for the South India equals beaches, temples and touch-and-go crowd. Not for those looking for a luxurious hotel experience and uncomfortable staying in another person’s house. Not for tourists with a daily to-do checklist.
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