The magic of Marayoor!
In a world where travel is slowly moving towards sustainable and eco-friendly practices, Marayoor in Idukki is already way ahead in its ‘green’ practices…
In an era where the world is awakening to the allure of eco-living and the undeniable charm of reconnecting with our desi roots, one destination in South India stands as a paragon of this timeless philosophy — Marayoor, nestled in the verdant embrace of Kerala’s Western Ghats. Here, the denizens of this quaint village have seamlessly adapted to a lifestyle that is as ecologically conscious as it is culturally enriching. As the world circles back to its origins, Marayoor emerges as a beacon of slow living, inviting travellers to embrace the grace of village life that includes living in clay huts and tree houses with self-sustainability being a driving force for the project.
Although Marayoor is an hour’s distance from Munnar, we recommend you journey from Coimbatore. Why you may ask? One must traverse through the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, a mesmerising aerial view of Thoovanam Waterfalls and a Sandalwood Forest along the Tamil Nadu–Kerala border to get to this village in Idukki district. That’s right, the journey is as enchanting as the destination itself. Unlike the other drives through the forest, here you are sure to spot more than just bulls, baboons and bunnies.
Perched atop a steep hill in a rain shadow area of this town promising picnic-perfect weather, stands The Mudhouse Marayoor — a sanctuary for those seeking respite from the clamour of urban life. This boutique eco-retreat offers five traditionally designed earth houses and a treehouse that come with open-roof showers, all nestled amidst meadows adorned with local blooms and mini terrace farms that provide the guests with farm-to-table culinary experiences.
Are short walks that take you to lush sugarcane plantations, cycling around the village, hiking up a hill on the back of the property — what makes Marayoor an idyllic holiday destination? We’d like to think so. Although these slow experiences take centre stage, in Marayoor, the tapestry of self-sustainable village life unfolds in myriad ways. One can also seek offbeat adventures around the village. Enjoy a night safari through the neighbouring forest before an off-roading experience across Marayoor that unveils its rich archaeological heritage through the Muniyara Dolmens. These ancient burial chambers, dating back to the Stone Age, are as old as 10,000 BC and bear witness to the region’s historical significance along with the Ezhuthu Guha rock paintings in Koodakavu.
If you want to delve more into nature then simply take an hour-long stroll by the canal by the property and find yourself at a private waterfall avec a clear flowing stream. A short drive from the property will take you to the Irachilpara, Ullavayal and Kanthalloor Waterfalls; and many more such wonderful vantage points. Take it from us, the views from here are as serene as they are jaw-dropping. And don’t be shocked if you run into an elephant or two at any of the water bodies here — it’s a part of daily life for the locals.
Whether it’s witnessing the age-old art of traditional jaggery-making, where locals craft this sweet delicacy using eco-friendly practices, or immersing oneself in the captivating folk art forms of the region’s indigenous tribes, the village offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. Here, you can partake in organic farming or learn the secret recipe for making strawberry wine. Alternatively, join hands with the local community to understand the intricate process of sandalwood cultivation — a symbol of sustainability and fragrance. And they will be more than happy to coach you on how to build a house from clay or on a living tree.
The best part about these experiences is not the fact that they connect you with the earth or that they provide a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of self-sustainable living that defines Marayoor’s way of life, but that you can have all this on your itinerary even as a female on a solo-trip. Your safety is guaranteed.