For the best view of the Athirappilly waterfalls in Thrissur district, a traveller should head to the Rainforest Resort. The overwhelming greenery of the forest, mango trees all around, and the waterfalls at a stone’s throw, draw visitors to the resort.
As soon as a traveller turns to the Athirappilly-Vazhachal road flanked by thick vegetation, one can feel the temperature falling. Even during hot summers, this area offers a pleasant weather.
However, a traveller along this road will never come across a sign board indicating the route to Rainforest Resort. General manager of the resort Jomon explains why. “There are just eleven rooms and we do not wish to commercialize the venture,” he says.
“When I bought seven acres of forest 30 years ago, there was no plan to open a resort. This idea materialized only16 years later,” he adds.
Even then, we ensured that the forest was not destroyed.
A stone-laid path leads to the reception area. On the right is a stunning view of the falls. The restaurant is near the reception beyond a lawn. Guests can enjoy their food with the falls in sight.
The rooms are on two floors and the furniture is arranged in a minimalistic style, adding to the overall beauty. The wide windows allow the forest to virtually ‘creep into’ the rooms. Another attraction is that all rooms open to the greenery. Each bathroom is a Jacuzzi. Rooms are available in luxury, premium, celestial, and cottage categories. Luxury rooms have mini bars. Protective measures have been taken against insects and dust from invading the rooms.
A unique facility of Rainforest resort is the tree house which has been designed by a Swiss architect. One can stay closest to the forest here.
There are several swimming pools in the resort, for kids as well as for adults. The path down the pools lead to the forest. Facilities are arranged for sun bathing as well as for meditation.
A trip to the forest
The resort arranges experienced guides to take visitors deep into the forest. The first sight that greets you is the wide variety of mango trees. Ripe mangoes can be plucked and eaten. As many as 15 different distinct tastes can be enjoyed. Monkeys, deer, wild squirrels, bears, leopards, butterflies, and hornbills may give you company. They are in the area to feed on the mangoes as well as jackfruit, cashew fruit, and other delicacies.
The guide lists the names of the numerous trees and plants, many of which will fail to register in your mind. A short 1.5 km walk from the resort takes you to the Athirappilly falls.
“There are facilities to venture into the deep forest and go very close to the waterfalls. There is nothing to worry as the guide, who is a local man, is thoroughly familiar with the terrain,” says Jomon.
A stay at the resort offers a package which includes breakfast and dinner. At noon, traditional ‘sadya’ is offered.
As the Parambikulam forest is nearby, visitors who are interested will be taken there too. Trekking and cycling from the resort are other amenities. The resort will provide you food and water for the trek.
Most of the bookings at the Rainforest Resort are done online. The remaining is through travel agents. Most of the guests are foreign tourists, who often make it a point to visit again, according to the resort management.