Floating over a forest canopy in a verdant green oasis

Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club’s mountain-view cabins are designed to embrace vistas of Thekkady’s enchanted forest and emerald green hills. From within the segmented wood-and-glass encased tree-top cabins of Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club, Thekkady, the view stretches over lush wilderness punctuated by spice plantations.

These mountain-view cabins are as much about the intense green outdoors as they are about their minimal design. Set amidst picturesque cardamom plantations on a steep terrain in Thekkady, they rest on stilts, perched within tree canopies. In the night, they resemble lit-up floating cabins that emerge from within the landscape, like beacons of light.

Designed by Bengaluru-based architectural atelier Kumar La Noce, the cabins form three interconnected volumes that include the outdoor pool with adjacent stepped decks and a spa block. They are all raised on stilts and sprawl over 500 sq mts of dense forest. The cabins are elegantly designed and punctuated by glass windows in strategic portions to reflect the outdoors when they are shut, and offer views of the majestic mountains when they are open. Bhavana Kumar, co-architect on the project says, “The 40 sq.m cabins feature floor-to-ceiling wood-framed openings that are designed to enhance the impact of the dramatic views while ensuring privacy.”

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The space without

The emphasis is on leveraging the great outdoors. The retreat, a hideaway that ensconces you in a verdant natural world far from civilization, sits on the edge of the breathtaking Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and cardamom plantations.

Leave the windows open in the night and wake up to views and sounds of the forest. The cabins open to generous decks that allow for an immersive experience with the landscape. Sip a cup of tea on the deck early mornings and indulge in a spot of bird watching. The forests abound with birds such as the Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, Great Indian Hornbill, Laughing Thrushes and Blue-winged parakeets. On some days you may also catch the Malabar giant squirrel scurry up a tree trunk.

If you get lucky you may spot an elephant crossing a green corridor, from one forest stretch to another.

“The structures are envisioned as light floating volumes in order not to disturb the natural harmony. They are crafted primarily out of rich reddish hardwood sourced from sustainably managed plantations,” says Kumar. They blend in harmoniously with the abundance of nature.

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Inspired by the location

 

Walk around the neighbouring Kumily town in Thekkady and you will notice that the architecture of the mountain-view cabins references the wood-framed glass enclosures of quaint village shops and the plantation cottages in the area.

The floating cabins are minimal so that the focus stays centred on the outdoors. The minimal interiors, with a pop of colour, are luxuriously fitted with hand-crafted teak wood and rattan furniture, rice paper light fixtures and en suite bathrooms. As the forest and the plantations are the real stars here, even the shower areas have porthole windows framing the view like picture windows.

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Exploring Thekkady

 

The resort offers several opportunities to explore Thekkady. From safaris within neighbouring Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, tracking elusive tigers and cruising down Periyar River to spending time within spice plantations, experience the wonders of the rich natural world while staying at Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club, Thekkady. If you are to visit in the next few months, you may be able to undertake a journey to see the blooming of the breathtaking Neelakurinji flowers, a once in a 12-year-phenomenon.