It is not so much for
its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle
something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so
wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
R. L. Stevenson
Till about two centuries back this part of the Western Ghats in Kerala with its thick rainforests and large population of wild animals was considered almost inaccessible. Public attention was drawn to this place when Col. J. Pennycuick, designed the Mullaperiyar dam in this region in 1895 submerging virgin forests, resulting in the Thekkady lake. J. R. Vincent a prominent British planter of the times in Mundakayam Valley, bought the initial clearing of over seven hundred acres just above the lake in 1926 for planting cardamom, and named it the Downton Estate. He built a colonial style ranch home, the Downtown Bungalow in 1930, which is now refurbished by the present owners and offered to discerning tourists as a souvenir from the colonial days. The lovingly maintained 19th century bungalow still retains its charm and character with exposed ceiling beams, Georgian water boiler and marble walk-in bathtubs.
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> A morning jeep ride through the plantation lasting about 2 hrs right up to the Periyar lake catchment areas receding into the forest boundary offering an opportunity to see the wildlife in its natural habitat.
> Guided treks through routes identified within the plantation designed both for the leisurely and the more adventurous.
> For the ornithologically inclined this place is ideal for watching birds of rare species. Here one can see the hornbill nests and feeding in the season.
> The evenings can be spent through a scenic drive in and around the valley with acres of meadows, cliffs and precipices that cut down into the Sabarimala ranges.
> For the weary traveler there is always the option to curl up with a book amidst the eerie silence only the jungle can offer.
What we offer
Downton Estate, Pachakanam
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Pachakanam lies on the border of Kerala’s Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts, both touching the western outskirts of Tamil Nadu. From Vandiperiyar, a town on the NH 212 connecting Kollam to Madurai, one deviates to the right and thereafter it is all large expanse of tropical wet evergreen forests on both sides. These forests are on the other side of the famous pilgrim destination Sabarimala but the dense forests in between make them mutually inaccessible. With the tropical evergreen forest consisting of rare trees of varied species and huge sizes we feel the warmth of nature at this unusual piece of land gifted to us to explore and enjoy. The Downton Bungalow is set amidst a manicured cardamom plantation of six hundred acres. From the Bungalow there leads up the hill top in the deep forest, a mud road that forks in to more than one pathway that serpentine through the thick foliage offering the trekkers and the night riders rare views of flora and fauna.
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