March 8, 2013

Do the Dewalokam! (Thodupuzha, Kerala, India)

If you're looking for a retreat from the chaos of India, and you can afford to splurge, Dewalokam Farm Stay is well worth the time and money spent. 

After spending a few days with Emily and Anna on the lake in Kumarakom (read here), we all hopped in a taxi for the long ride just past Thodhupuza, Kerala. Emily and Anna had been introduced to Dewalokam through a travel agent and, when we saw the website for the property, we decided we would splurge and join them. It's definitely not cheap ($170/night), but that price includes 3 meals a day, tea time (tea/coffee and pastries), and all activities on their property. This kind of place is the exact reason why we search to find $8 and $9 rooms to stay in when we can - spending less when it's not important to us means that we can splurge on somewhere fantastic from time to time.
Us and some of the Dewalokam staff

When the four of us arrived at Dewalokam, we were greeted by the owners, Jose and Sinta, their awesome kids, and the entire staff. They put garlands of fresh jasmine around our necks, handed us fresh young coconuts to drink (which neither Tom or I like, but it was still nice), and gave us a quick blessing with sandalwood oil. We immediately felt at home on their beautiful property. That feeling lasted the entire 3 days we stayed with them. Their property is beautiful - full of spice fields, fruit trees, rubber trees, and colorful flowers, and we took several walks through the forest and farm, learning about the culinary and medicinal uses of the various plants on the property. They have water buffalo, cows, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and bees, and guests are invited to help tend to the animals. Their farm is on a gorgeous river where we swam in the cool water (they also have a pool, which is delightfully luxurious), and the entire property is eco-focused. They produce or grow 90% of all the food they serve (even the coffee!). They even use the methane gas from the  cow dung to power the kitchen - a gas line runs directly from the waste tank to the kitchen. It's amazing!

The seeds from this plant made the most beautiful red dye/paint!
Anna helping to milk a cow
We think Dewalokam is amazing - we couldn't recommend it more. The kitchen is even amazing and they serve delicious food, even inviting us into the kitchen each day to cook with the chef and learn his recipes and techniques. All of these perks are included in the cost - no hidden fees! This was such a relief, as staying here was a splurge for us.

The amazing Dewalokam chef!
One of the most delicious meals we had in India - a South Indian Thali on a banana leaf
It was next to impossible to pry ourselves away from this amazing place. The staff is warm and welcoming and the management is generous and made us feel at home. The food is perfect (breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner) and sometimes served al fresco in the gardens. The river and pool are refreshing. The farm is incredible and fascinating. I'm SO glad we went. And to spend this time relaxing with our awesome friends, Emily and Anna, made it even sweeter!

Check out all our pics from Dewalokam here. A few more of our favorites are below.

Two of our most favorite people!

Sunlight through the trees. You can't see, but there were THOUSANDS of huge bats in these trees.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon

Anna tries climbing a coconut tree!
Check out all our pics from Dewalokam here.

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