We stayed at Elephant Valley for two nights during a two week tour of Southern India in March 2012. We loved it so much that we could easily have stayed there for the rest of the tour!
The accommodation is basic but clean. No air conditioning, but because it's so high up in the hills the ceiling fan provides quite adequate cooling. The air is clean and fresh and the whole place runs at a completely different pace to the Indian cities that we had grown accustomed to.
The restaurant is a large, open, thatched hut in the centre of the farm and the food is truly spectacular. Our meals were self-service buffet style but with plenty of choice and some amazing tastes and flavours with much of the food grown on the organic farm (get the staff to show you around the vegetable patches!)
The farm was harvesting and drying it's pepper crop whilst we were there which was quite fascinating and we wondered around the open plan farm looking at a newly born foal in the stables, watching the hens herd their broods of chicks around scratching for food and avoiding the surly looking geese! ;) They also grow coffee so it's very possible that you could witness a coffee harvest too.
We took a guided walk up to the "single tree" high on a ridge overlooking the valley. It was quite a trek, especially the bits out in the open sun with no shade but we walked past ancient Indian burial grounds that looked remarkably similar to Cornish Dolmens and around a huge waterfall crashing into the valley below. Quite spine-tinglingly magical and well worth the effort!
The scenary, both on the way to the valley and in the valley itself is nothing short of spectacular. I was up early both mornings, out with my camera exploring the farm in the early morning light and trying to photograph some of the native birds and wildlife (with varying degrees of success. The farm has plants and flowers, many of them very beautiful growing all around!
On our second night a local village held a funeral and we could hear the funeral drums and mourning singing going on long on into the night and again at dawn the following day. Normally I would be annoyed at such a thing but here, in this setting it made a very powerful impression and became part of the experience. It was very eerie to hear drifting on the wind but also a quite magical thing to experience in this place.
Don't forget to uy some of their home grown coffee beans to take back either for personal use or gifts - it's quite simply the best coffee I have ever tasted!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elephant valley is the last settlement on the border of the National Forest which extends into wildlife sanctuaries of Kerala. It is uniquely situated on an elephant migration route that is centuries old. This land and the rivers we share with local people blessed with prestigious vegetal and animal species including: native birds, leopards, deer, bison and elephants. Its remoteness allowed it to escape the ravages of 'modern' chemical agriculture. ... more less
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