The look and feel of 'Kanthalloor Gardens' evoke feelings of romance. Love blooms in this resort as in movies or stories. The summer showers in Kanthalloor were not heavy and as a result, the mist and cold are more severe. This benefited the sugarcane crops and fruit farms, along with honeymoon travellers.
Since the start of the season, Keralites have rushed in to enjoy the weather. In short, honeymoon tourism has arrived in the hills of Kanthalloor.
The garden in Kanthalloor
Kanthalloor, a picturesque village in the hills near Munnar, came to be known as a honeymoon destination only just more than a year ago. It is not as crowded as Munnar, but has much more attractions around, making it a favourite of newlyweds. For the couples who choose to travel off the beaten track, Kanthalloor offers a choice of around 200 resorts and Kanthalloor Gardens is one among the most popular.
Designed in the model of an old traditional house of Kerala (‘tharavadu’), the resort boasts of verandahs, corridors and spacious rooms, turning it a much-sought after place of stay.
To reach Kanthalloor Gardens, pass the Pius Road and head to the Keezhanthur School. A little further from the school on the right is the Kanthalloor Gardens. The resort is right beside the road.
The landscaping of Kanthalloor Gardens is also interesting. The land on the southern side has been converted into a vegetable garden where step farming is carried out. On its left is a large compound. From the long verandah, guests can enjoy the sunrise.
The restaurant is on the left side of the compound. It is a beautifully decorated hall built with wood and roofed with grass and straw. The food is served under the light of lanterns. The lunch comprises rice, ‘sambar’, chicken curry, ‘thoran’, a side dish, pickle, curd and ‘papadam’. Breakfast and dinner will be prepared as per order and can be a dish from any cuisine, be it Israeli or Italian. Manager-cum-chef Visakh ensures that the guests are satisfied.
On the southern side of the resort is an acacia garden. A flight of stone steps leads to an area where camp fires are lit at night. Travellers can enjoy the warmth of the fire sitting on benches arranged around. Those interested in song and dance can make themselves merry and there is also a gallery from where viewers can enjoy the fun.
Yet another attraction of the resort premises is a play area set up by clearing some trees on the left side of the camp fire. Guests can carry out some physical exercises to beat the cold during daytime here.
Kanthalloor Gardens is an eight-key property. Each room has a large cot, ‘dewan’ chair, dining table and office table, all arranged neatly. The interiors reflect a genuinely luxurious feel.
The resort provides a special package for newlyweds. The tariff is Rs 7,500 for two days and nights and includes breakfast, supper and visits to nearby tourist attractions. The trip covers Watch Tower, Lemon Grass Oil Plant, Tribal Village, vegetable garden, waterfall, the jaggery-making units at Marayur, the dolmens at Anakkottappara and Museum.
Some couples enjoying their honeymoon at Kanthalloor also visit the Karuppandavar Temple at Ottamala. It is a shrine belonging to the tribal folk and is located under a huge banyan tree. Women do not enter the temple, which is believed to be over 500 years old. A unique feature of the temple is its peculiar festival, during which 50 goats and an equal number of chickens are sacrificed and a feast made out of them which then is served to the local people.
Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus) blooms in the hills of Kanthalloor too, along with Munnar. The latest season was in July 2018. Travellers to Munnar are unaware of the presence of the flower in Kanthalloor, but people from Tamil Nadu flock to the area to enjoy the sight.
Kanthalloor Gardens is not a resort that allows only honeymoon travellers. It sees a regular footfall of families and friends’ groups also. Most of them spend one day and night here to visit the nearby attractions. “The number of youths checking in has increased after we provided green tents to stay at night,” says Visakh.
There are only three hamlets of human habitation in Kanthalloor - Edakkadavu, Peradikulam and Kovilkadavu, which are surrounded by farmlands and forests. It is in this area that Kanthalloor Gardens resort is located. The charming property offers visitors a chance to be close to nature while enjoying the hospitality of rustic rural folk.