I travelled Kerala extensively last year, but one experience that I would go back for (again and again) is the backwaters. There is something so serene, so beautiful, about the smooth gliding waters navigating through greens of endless palm trees, the softness of the rays of the sun, you just can't help but fall in love! Besides the obvious visual appeal, the backwaters also serve as a way of life for many in Alleypey and Kumarakom, acting as a daily means of transport.
And what better way to experience the backwaters than staying right in the middle of them, which is exactly what my stay at the lovely Philipkutty’s farm in Kumarakom was all about. We drove from Kovalam to Kumarakom and it was a fairly uneventful ride till we reached the farm - well almost! There was no way to get to the property except cross the backwaters on a boat and leave your car on the other side :)
A villa from the outside
If you want a uniquely Kerala experience then you will love Philipkutty. The farm has just 5 villas, all facing the backwaters and done up in a very traditional manner, full of pretty antiques, with a rustic clay tiled floor and wooden ceiling. All villas are also named after local flowers, plants and birds and ours was called Mandaram. Our villa had a separate study area and facilities like a mini fridge and tea-coffee maker. And the best part of the villa is the sit out on the porch just facing the backwaters – perfect for curling up with your favorite book and a hot cup of coffee.
The farm is managed and run by the Kutty family including Anu, her son Philip and daughter Anya, and mother in law Aniamma (who I called aunty) who stay on the farm itself and are extremely caring and hospitable. I was hugely impressed by how the family (especially Anu) manages the staff and property, the homestay was the brainchild of her late husband Vinod, and it’s extremely moving to see the way in which she is trying to keep that dream alive.
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (COK)
Distance from airport to Kumarakom: ~80 kms
How to reach: Take cab from Cochin airport OR if travelling from Trivandrum, hire a cab directly to Kumarakom (~ 160 kms)