65-YO Kerala Homemaker Runs Western Ghats Homestay With Treehouses


When Kerala-based couple Aman and Shehza booked their weekend journey to The Mudhouse — an experiential boutique keep in Kerala’s Marayoor — they didn’t foresee it altering the trajectory of their lives for good. 

All they have been trying ahead to on the time was a quiet getaway. It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic they usually have been bored with being caught within the confines of town. The couple noticed nature as one of the best antidote. And so they weren’t flawed. 

Their go to to The Mudhouse was like opening essentially the most thrilling chapter of a storybook and attending to reside it for actual. Aman, who comes from an architectural background, was fascinated with the upcoming treehouse on the property. He was shocked at how the village panorama blended with nature seamlessly. 

So, naturally, when it was time to say goodbye to the land, they didn’t have the guts to. Marayoor’s serenity had gotten to them. “We ended up volunteering on the house for the subsequent three months,” Shehza shares, including that it was one of the best retreat they may have hoped for.

The treehouse on the property offers glorious views of the plantations and forests around
The treehouse on the property provides superb views of the plantations and forests round, Image supply: Deepak

These three months have been a gamechanger for the couple who determined to completely transfer to Marayoor quickly after. They proceed being an integral spine of The Mudhouse up to now. 

It’s fascinating how the homestay’s journey has developed over a tangle of timelines, with quite a few individuals changing into part of it alongside the way in which. 

“And that is what makes it particular,” says Pushpa, who runs the house alongside along with her household. Born and introduced up in Kannur amongst the luxurious plantations, the 69-year-old at all times harboured a love for nature. However life in Kochi, the place she was dwelling along with her household after marriage, meant nature was robust to return by.   

“I might miss easy issues like being within the solar and working within the backyard,” she tells The Higher India

So, in 2012 when her brother Dinesh, an avid birdwatcher, stumbled upon a paradisiacal piece of land in Marayoor and urged they do one thing with it, Pushpa was greater than recreation.  

The character lover in her had lastly discovered a house.  

Dwelling an virtually alternate actuality 

At The Mudhouse, be assured that solitude and the mountains can be your greatest buddies. You’ll be greeted by delicate breezes and whiffs of sandalwood free of charge Kerala’s solely Pure Sandalwood Forest Reserve that could be a stone’s throw away. The birds, bugs and bushes right here appear to tackle a lifetime of their very own as if welcoming you to their land and beckoning you to take pleasure in your keep. Standing pleased with the haven they’ve created on a land that after boasted solely of lemon grass, the household says it has been an endearing journey. 

The concept was to construct a trip dwelling, at first. As Pushpa explains, “Since Suresh (her husband) was once within the Air Drive, we’re used to entertaining company on a regular basis. This appeared an ideal place to do it.” 

There are four cottages on the property that have been done in traditional style with locally available materials,
There are 4 cottages on the property which have been inbuilt conventional model with regionally out there supplies, Image supply: Deepak

As they stood on the land in 2012, they have been speechless. This was not like something that they had seen within the metropolis. “We have been fascinated by the few mud homes that have been nonetheless dotting the countryside. After visiting the village and studying concerning the wealthy tradition and heritage we have now, we determined to do one thing native to the place fairly than trying outdoors. It simply made sense,” notes Pushpa, referring to their resolution to construct 4 mud homes in distinction to up to date cottages. 

The shortage of assets within the space posed its personal hurdles. However the native villagers pitched in and shortly, the household was jetting off to The Mudhouse each probability they bought. The five-hour drive and the remoteness of the world was no deterrent. However whereas they did take pleasure in this, it appeared virtually a sin to depart a phenomenal dwelling like this deserted for the remainder of the yr. 

This was when Pushpa stumbled upon an thought. “We visited my son Deepak in Australia and stayed at Airbnbs throughout our journey. We thought, ‘Why not undertake the identical idea for The Mudhouse?’” 

She provides that the thought of with the ability to remotely handle a keep bought her daughter Roopa and her husband Ajith excited too. “After we got here again, they instantly set about getting a homestay licence,” she provides.

In 2016, the homestay was able to welcome its first company. 

The Mudhouse is near Kerala's only Natural Sandalwood Forest Reserve
The Mudhouse is close to Kerala’s solely Pure Sandalwood Forest Reserve, Image supply: Deepak

Highlighting sustainability all the way in which 

They are saying it takes a village to make a dream actuality. This couldn’t maintain more true than within the case of this household. Managed by Pushpa and Dinesh’s households together with Aman and Shehza, this homestay is a testomony to that. 

Besides, Pushpa says The Mudhouse has grown with the learnings of their company and the locals. 

“So a lot of our company are far more aware than we’re. Usually a visitor would say why don’t you construct a kitchen backyard? And we might simply strive it,” she provides.

“These little issues have made the place much more stunning and significant for us,” she says. 

Each nook right here boasts sustainability. 

Deepak notes that the treehouse makes use of the eucalyptus bushes. “These have grow to be so harmful within the space that the federal government is ordering the plantations to uproot the bushes fully. However we’re placing them to make use of,” he says. 

In the meantime, he says that the roof is thatched with grass discovered within the mountains close by, whereas the mud is sourced from the world. 

The cottages have all the amenities provided but there isn't a TV as the family encourages guests to go into the outdoors
The cottages have all of the facilities supplied however there isn’t a TV because the household encourages company to go outdoor, Image supply: Deepak

The cottages are decked in furnishings made out of upcycled wooden. The company are recognized to be astounded by the picket crafts across the dwelling. These are creations of Dinesh. The household totally encourages company to take pleasure in their keep right here. 

And it doesn’t damage that they’ve somewhat trick to make sure this.

“Every cottage has a verandah, a bed room and an open roof washroom however no TV. We didn’t need to hold a TV particularly as a result of we needed individuals to have a full break from town and the information,” says Deepak. 

Initially, they have been underneath the impression that company would object to this, however have been happy on receiving the other response. 

“Our company with youngsters are at all times pleased to see them outdoors exploring. We encourage them to go on walks by the village and the forest close by,” Deepak shares. With regards to walks, be ready to be greeted by 9 canine, rabbits and cows adopted by Deepak. These together with quite a few deer, butterflies and bison are frequent options at The Mudhouse.  

A principal draw right here is the Sandalwood Forest Reserve. Unfold throughout 1,460.7 hectares of land, you may inform you might be shut when your nostril catches the wealthy, woody notes. With over 57,000 sandalwood bushes in the reserve whose worth is estimated at Rs 3,000 crores, the forest attracts all types of consideration. Therefore, the place is intently guarded by forest officers always. 

The Mudhouse invites its guests to relax in the lap of nature
The Mudhouse invitations its company to loosen up within the lap of nature, Image supply: Deepak

You possibly can select to hike to the reserve or take a picnic basket and make a path of your individual. After an adventurous day, come again to a feast — the work of the native girls who’re a part of the homestay’s workers. Headed by Praveen, a chef who joined The Mudhouse quickly after he completed faculty, the workers make a superb native feast. 

“We develop most of our produce on the land,” shares Roopa, including, “Among the company’ favourites are the appam, stew, puttu, kadala, dosa, sambar, idiyappam and rooster curry. And nobody is allowed to return to town with out Praveen’s particular dal tadka and shahi tukda.”

In case you are planning your keep at The Mudhouse, remember to guide upfront. With 100 company each month, the place is sort of at all times stuffed to capability. 

The homestay is surrounded by waterfalls, plantations and forests on all sides
The homestay is surrounded by waterfalls, plantations and forests on all sides, Image supply: Deepak
The cottages at the property are made with wood, stone, mud and upcycled wood
The cottages on the property are made with wooden, stone, mud and upcycled wooden, Image supply: Deepak
The cottage doors open to the kitchen garden the family has created on the land
The cottage doorways open to the kitchen backyard the household has created on the land, Image supply: Deepak

Edited by Padmashree Pande


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