WELCOME TO THE WILD WONDERLAND
Spice Village is set unobtrusively on the doorstep of the Periyar wilderness on the lofty Western Ghats. This reimagined traditional tribal village exudes the spirit and ethos of this reservoir of nature.
Here, nature controls the temperature. Nature’s songs will be the only piped music you hear. Nature will be the only television you watch. Nature’s fragrance will be the only perfume you shall want to wear. Spice Village is a quiet extension of the rainforests, the rolling plantations and the orchards around, almost as though they are an integral part of nature’s design.
OVER 25 YEARS OF SUSTAINABILITY
When Spice Village was established back in 1991, it was one of the first private properties in this region. This was a huge honour and responsibility for us. Since then, we have worked with the local community, supported the local ethos and carried out environment-friendly practices. Our commitment towards environmental
sensitivity is tangible as we often try to go the extra mile, to give back to the ecosystems that surround our destinations.
For example, almost 70 % of power at the eco-living resort comes from renewable energy such as solar power, and biogas is used as cooking fuel. Biowaste from the property is reused to make paper.
The local ethos has been adopted by us and we try to support the local community by encouraging their collaboration in small scale projects and enabling livelihoods. Even our relationship with the forest is symbiotic, inspired by the native tribes who have lived in harmony with their surroundings for generations. These CGH Earth core principles are the foundation on which Spice Village was built and promoted as a Responsible Tourism destination.
BUILDING A TIMELESS STORY
Modelled on the jungle dwellings of the local tribal inhabitants, the cottages at this eco-living experience are built with split bamboo and elephant grass, surrounded by fruit and spice trees in a vast spice garden.
This raw presence of nature can be felt throughout our resort – which, more than a statement of style, was a necessity, considering the fragile ecosystem around. The skill of thatching the roofs is only known to the native Mannan tribes, the indigenous dwellers of this land, who re-thatch the resort’s cottages every year. The art of thatching using dry elephant grass was almost lost, but the skill has been given a new lease of life at Spice Village.
YOUR TRIBAL RETREAT
Spice Village offers naturally cooled rooms with airy private porches. You can opt for either the Spice Garden Cottage or the Deluxe Cottage with Private Garden. Natural materials and local woodcraft combined with modern bathrooms and interiors, is the perfect living environment for this Wild Wonderland. In keeping with our core principles, we have tried to integrate as much recycled material as possible in our property, while reducing our carbon footprint. The simple, yet elegant and comfortable pine furniture in our rooms, and our restaurants, were made from recycled old wood from packaging crates.
THE 50 MILE DIET
The 50 Mile Diet restaurant
follows the practice of reducing the carbon footprint and serves meals only made with fresh spices and ingredients, farmed within 50 miles of the resort. We believe fresh ingredients make for the tastiest and healthiest meal. This practice also supports the local communities and keeps the dining experiences authentic.
Our ingredients are sourced from the Periyar and Idukki region, which is well-known for more than just the ancient forests that dominate it. It is famously known for its Karimundan pepper and aromatic cardamom. It is the freshness of these spices that creates magic in the cuisine here.
FROM EARTH TO TABLE
Dine on multi-cuisine meals made with local, organic produce at The Tamarind Tree restaurant. Many of Kerala’s famous spices are grown in-house at our organic farms or sourced from the farms surrounding the property. They are used in the preparation of flavoursome dishes at our restaurants and most of our menus are created with these spices in mind, for they are truly the hero of our dish.
As part of our sustainability practices with the community around us, we encourage local farmers and housewives to grow their own vegetables without applying pesticides. The resort then purchases the produce from them. This practice has lead to the growth of ‘Adukkala Thottam’, (Kitchen Garden) in the region. Often, fresh
vegetables are also purchased from the staff ’s own gardens.
TOAST TO THE PAST
You can also relax and have a drink at The Woodhouse Bar which serves the best of Indian and International liquors. Originally the house of Periyar’s first ranger, AW Woods, it was restored and converted into a space where guests can unwind and enjoy a game of billiards or read a book from the well-stocked library here. Or they can simply walk around to look at the old-fashioned tripod camera, gramophone, the many black and white photos from Mr. Woods’ life adorning the walls of this elegant building and other knick-knacks. This bar is almost like a museum dedicated to a bygone era.
FUN IN WILD WONDERLAND
Spice Village offers a plethora of activities and there is bound to be something for everyone.
Relax with yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Once you’re done relaxing, pick up a racket and head to our tennis and badminton courts. In the evenings, you can learn to cook with spices at our interactive demo, or head to the Paper-making Centre and learn how to make handmade paper out of vegetable waste, old fabric waste, paper waste, etc.
Depending on the season, you could take a day trip and visit the neighbouring Abraham’s Spice Plantation for The Spice Plantation Visit. Or take the Pepper Vine Trail in Spice Village with our naturalist and walk amidst the rows of tropical spices and fruits grown on the property and understand the starting point of the centuries old spice trade. After a long day out, you can cool off at the
chlorine-free swimming pool.
LET NATURE DISCOVER YOU
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you should definitely visit our Tiger Club. The exhibits showcase the unique flora and fauna of the Periyar region, with our naturalists on hand to explain. Or better still, our resident Malabar Giant Squirrel might just decide to grace you with his presence. Our naturalists will also accompany you on the Pepper Vine Trail and conservation tours.
Go on a guided trek with the local park ranger and our naturalist across the Periyar Tiger Reserve or raft across the lake to experience the other side of the reserve’s wildlife. You never know what sights the forest will reveal to you.
Images and content credit
CGH Earth Experiences