The charms of Periyar are many, but by very nature, they can get a mite strenuous. So what does Spice Village offer the terminally sedate? A great deal, as it happens. Just a gentle walk about its 35 acres is an education in botany. Or you can spend a languid morning with a book from the library. Then, there's the 'dhaba' style Indian roadside chai we serve in the afternoons, complete with a 'cutting' tumbler.
Bird watching and fishing enthusiasts will find new experiences to take home. And if you catch something, why, the chef will be happy to fry it up! Finally, Spice Village has a fine ayurvedic facility offering extensive massages and treatments. And fitness? Take your pick: Tennis, badminton, Volleyball or Yoga?
Depending on the season, you could take a day trip and visit a neighbouring pepper plantation. Walk amidst the rows of vines creeping upwards on trellises. The correct time to pluck the peppercorns is when they are beginning to redden, just before they are completely ripe. Try your hand at it, but be sure to wash up before touching your eyes or nose! Walk past the rows of mats on which the plucked peppercorns are left to dry. The scent of pepper mingles with the fresh mountain air. This is the starting point of the centuries old spice trade and that delicious flavour which makes such a difference to foods worldwide.
All Indians will tell you (just don’t ask them why) that the real India can only be seen from a rattling top of a village Bullock Cart. Ours are somewhat kinder versions of this ancient standby, with better tyres and a suspension . Watch the hilly countryside slowly drift by to the slow clip-clop of hooves and the ringing of the cow bell. This is how we all travelled for millennia, and in the peaceful environs of the Spice Mountains, it really feels like you've left the 21st Century behind.
Keen on learning some magic from the chef? Spice Village's master chefs share some of their skills with you at the evening cookery classes. Here you will learn the secrets of traditional Kerala and seafood cooking. And of course, you will enter the magical world of Indian spices. What they are, how to use them, combine them, and savour the special magic they bring to even the most commonplace foods. Best of all, your friends at home will be cardomom green with envy once you return with your new found secrets.
Fantastic place, you feel at one with nature! Extremely beautiful surroundings, you feel as if you are in the heart of the Kerala rain forest. Great staff, very friendly and helpful, very professional. Amazing restaurant, some of the best food we had in Kerala.