Kochi: Welcome to Thani Illam, a home stay with a difference. Located at Thottuva, near Perumbavoor, here tourists have to stick to the customary traits and rituals followed by the hosts, Mr. T. S. Parameswaran, and his wife S. Saradammal, both retired State Government employees. Eco-friendly to the core, this award winning home stay was the winner of the Kerala Government’s most innovative project in the year 2002. It also forms part of the ambitious Gruhastali project of the Department of Tourism for the preservation and popularization of heritage buildings.
Guests are not served non-vegetarian food or alcohol and smoking is not allowed at Thani Illam. Some of the rooms of this breathtaking home stay include rooms that were transferred from ancestral homes of the yore, which dates back to 500 years or more. This room constructed on top of the garage as a separate unit was transplanted from the couple’s grand parent’s ancestral house at Kottayam. It was reassembled without losing the original charm and this fully wooden room is named the Kulappura,” says Parameswaram.
Thani Illam was originally the ancestral home of the legendary novelist and film director, Mr. Malayattoor Ramakrishnan. The present owners purchased it in 1994 and refurbished without spoiling its original charm and traditional flavor. The rooms have wooden ceiling and cement floor which makes it cool and comfortable even during sweltering summer days. Some rooms have terracotta tiles and enchanting high wooden ceilings which makes them breezy. However, bathrooms have all the modern fittings and amenities for the convenience of the foreign tourist and to comply with international tourism norms.
The traditional gate or the ‘Padippura’ with tiled roof welcomes the guests to this elegant home where time stands still. The couple has set apart two rooms for tourists. This home has been the venue for most of the creations of the eminent poet including the famous book ‘Verukal’.
The English guests are served traditional Kerala delicacies like hot boiled bananas and other vegetarian dishes- a rare experience for many. Apart from all these, Keralite dresses are also provided to the guests to go in line with the rustic theme of this nondescript village. The wardrobe is a modified ‘pathayam’, which was originally used to store grains. Tourists can also pick up the nuances of Kerala cooking if they have a penchant for it. If you are looking for a tranquil vacation, no other place can beat the charisma of Thani Illam set amidst stunning nature spectacles and lush greenery. Many foreigners throng this enchanting home to relax and unwind beating a retreat from the maddening pace of the city life.
Children below 12 are offered free stay and meals and if all these were not enough, for the guests who stay for more than a week, the Sunday fare comes totally free! Guests are only happy to go with the rules of this elegant home stay. No rooms are air conditioned as the wooden ceiling ensures natural cooling at all times.
The guests get to experience a stunning slice of Indian culture by way of classical dance, ayurvedic treatment or yoga sessions from local folks. And going by the feedbacks of the tourists, this trend is here to stay as most of the guests look for pure ethnic fare rather than the cookie cutter, commercial packages that are available all over the world.