You are spoiled for choice in Thekkady !!
Choose from an evening of vivid Kerala culture, to wildlife adventure and bird watching.Many visitors come to the destination to try and spot the elusive Tiger and to watch the Asian elephant in all its glory but few know that Periyar Sanctuary and Thekkady is an Ornithologist's and Lepidopterist's dream hideaway.
Watch Malabar grey hornbills and raucous Racket tailed drongos from the indulgence of your porch , better still trek in our estate and try and spot the threatened Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) or larger Great pied hornbill (Buceros bicornis) with its magnificent casque and almost pterodactyl style of flight.
Highly recommended is a morning of languid bamboo rafting or a visit to the Elephant camp.To those who prefer something less adventurous a visit to a Tea Estate and Factory established in 1941 or an amble through a spice plantation could be the perfect evening out.
Thekkady has something for every lover of nature.
Dining By Design
Longing to experience an intimate candlelit dinner or a romantic barbecue by the bonfire? We are ready to create an experience beyond your dreams.
For those with special requirements, our dedicated chefs will be pleased to surprise you with something simple, yet unforgettable.
Here are the selections to match the magic of every moment We take pride in offering you wide ranges of cuisine made only from the freshest and the finest ingredients available on the market.
You could pre-book online or at the Retreat with our retreat Manager and Chef.
Niraamaya Culinary Discovery (Cooking Class)
A cooking class which showcases the wealth of traditional local cuisine, and provides a memorable experience for guests on their vacation. This is an opportunity to learn authentic traditional recipes from the region. Our Chef has collected dishes that have been passed through generations in a time honoured tradition.
Hands on classes by our Chef's that teach the nuances of aromatic spices, herbs and fresh ingredients that each Niraamaya destination is blessed with.
Choose from just an afternoon of discovery to an advanced 7 day course. You could pre-book online or at the Retreat with our Head Chef.
Kumily Cultural Immersion
A short ride from the Retreat is bustling Kumily bazaar; here the Mudra Cultural Centre helps preserve two vibrant forms of Kerala’s arts
Kathakali is a dance drama based on the Ramayana. Originating in the 17th century it features brightly coloured face paint and elaborate headdresses. In Kathakali, the story is enacted purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements. While originally these were dusk to dawn extravaganzas the Mudra Cultural centre organizes a one hour glimpse of this rich performance.
Try and go early and watch the Artists put on their make up and learn how the facial colour depicts the nature of the actor in the play that follows.
‘Legend tells of a legendary warrior’…Everyone has heard of Kung fu, but few have heard of Sage Parasurama who founded Kalaripayattu the 'mother of all martial arts’. While a Buddhist monk took it to Shaolin in China, Kalari started to go extinct in Kerala with the advent of the gun. Recent years have seen a revival in this martial art form.
It draws inspiration from the power and strength of various animal forms and uses unique weapons and daggers. At the Mudra Culutral centre kalari is preserved and daily shows are organized to keep public interest in this ancient art form.
Kathakali : 7 pm to 8 pm
Kalaripayattu : 6 pm to 7 pm
Please Speak to our retreat Team or request online to facilitate the purchase of tickets for these shows. Transfers will be charged extra.
Gavi Jeep Safari in Periyar Tiger Reserve
For a genuine safari experience, book a jeep into the densest reaches of the spice hills in Gavi. The safari leaves early in the morning and enters Periyar Tiger Reserve.
The jeep will take you through all forms of terrain - valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands and cascading waterfalls. It includes 3 hours of trekking with a local tribal and an optional 2 hours of paddle boating. Try and spot the common Nilgiri Macaques or rare Lion Tailed Macaques, the Yellow Necked Nilgiri Marten, and black Bears. You are almost assured with a close encounter with Wild elephants that criss cross the road at will, or the Malabar giant squirrel that leaps among the tree tops .
And yes look out for one of the rarest animals on earth. The Periyar Tiger Sanctuary is one of the few places where these big cats can prowl freely. Elusive as they may sound, catch even a flash of yellow and black and you will return awed and inspired.
Departure 5:30 am return 5 pm including optional 3 hr trek and 2 hour paddle boating.
Please note that only limited persons are allowed in daily, so advance booking is recommended.We highly recommend that you order a Niraamaya Signature picnic Hamper for this day trip Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate your booking and ordering your picnic lunch, or better still request online.
Boating or Bamboo Rafting
With the gentle sound of the river beneath you and a chance to breathe in the fresh air, a boat ride on the Periyar Lake is a must. The view as you skim past is spectacular: you might even catch elephants bathing with their young ones or if lucky a tiger lapping up some of the crystal clear water.
Or else Go bamboo rafting across a river and through the Periyar Lake. Watch the amazing waterbirds from low slung rafts, as you let your fingers run through the water.
Leave the raft for guided short easy treks to spot wild gaur, deer and herds of elephants from a safe distance. If this experience is not relaxing enough then…opt for the full day of Bamboo rafting!!
- Boating on lake – 1 hr
- Bamboo Rafting Half Day – 3 hr walk and 1 ½ hr Rafting
- Bamboo Rafting Full Day – 6 hr walk and 3 hr rafting
Please note that only limited persons are allowed in daily, so advance booking is recommended. We highly recommend that you order a Niraamaya Signature picnic Hamper for this day trip Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate your booking, or better still request online. Transfers will be charged extra.
Nature Walk or Border Hiking
A plethora of animals and birds await. On a nature walk through the sanctuary.The extremely adventurous could opt for a 6 hour trek or even brave the wildlife at night !
Enquire about the Night Patrol through the edge of the Sanctuary with Jungle Scouts Partake in this three-hour trek and you are not only taken on night patrols across the fringe zones of the Tiger Reserve, but you are also helping to protect the forests of Periyar. And while on your hike, make sure to listen carefully and keep your eyes peeled to spot one of the many forest avians.
Whether it is the distinct calls of the Jungle Babbler or the prehistoric whooping sound of the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the birds of Thekkady will leave you enchanted.
- 3 hrs nature Walk
- 6 hrs Border Trek with 1 ½ hrs rafting
- Night patrol depending on Season
Please note that only limited persons are allowed in daily, so advance booking is recommended.
We highly recommend that you order a Niraamaya Signature picnic backpack for the day trip
Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate your booking, or better still request online. Transfers will be charged extra.
Tea Factory Visit
India is the largest producer and exporter of the World’s favourite brew. Take a trip to neighbouring Vandiperiyar town and visit a working estate and factory that was established in 1941.
The Plantation has beautiful valley and hill views framed by lush green tea bushes. The 700 acre estate exudes a pleasant aroma as the fresh leaves and buds are plucked, gathered and sent to the factory for processing.
At the factory you will learn how leaves are dried on metal beds, shredded on a conveyor and then crushed into powder. This tea powder is then left to ferment which brings about the characteristic smell, colour and flavor.
A quick heating arrests the fermentation and the factory is ready to provide 1.2 million cups of tea to the world everyday!!
Please note that only limited persons are allowed in daily, so advance booking is recommended. Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate a booking, or better still request online. Transfers will be charged extra.
Chef’s Spice Plantation Visit
While visits to the estate can be arranged, we recommend that you go along with our Chef for a Culinary Discovery Let him explain the secrets of each spice and bring back a treasure trove to prepare you a surprise dinner.
• A three course Kerala or Western fusion spice influenced dinner Rs. 1500 per person + taxes
Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate bookings , or better still request online. Transfers will be charged extra.
Picnic with the Asian Elephant
30 minutes’ drive from the Retreat is the Thekkady Jungle elephant Camp.
Grab this rare opportunity to experience India on elephant back. Take a majestic trip through spice plantations where the gentle breeze will refresh you with spice-scented air as your steed slowly ambles on. Or why not get up close and personal? Our elephant trainers will accompany you to where you can bathe these gentle giants. (If they're in the playful mood, brace yourself for a tuskfull of river water!) End the day feeding the elephants by hand – a memory that will last lifetime.
Choose from an half hour joyride atop Asia’s biggest mammal, to spending half a day watching the elephants bathe as well as get fed between their timber moving duties.
- Half Day
- Half Hour
- One and a Half Hours
Please contact our Retreat Team to facilitate bookings, or better still request online. Transfers will be charged extra.
Bird Watching Trek up Mount Miracle
The environs of Niraamaya Retreat include our coffee and cardamom estate that sprawls right upto the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary Border.
Our eager team will accompany on this 4 km trek to the top. For the inspired choose to do this trek at dawn and watch sunrise at the ‘heavens gateway’ from Mount Miracle.
This walk is a great opportunity to catch local wildlife such as the Gaur or ‘Indian Bison’ and various species of deer.
The highlight is looking out for the diversity of birds that team this area. White bellied treepies, Rufous woodpeckers. Better still listen for the songbirds like the Waynad laughing thrush, and the melancholic tune of the ‘Whistling Schoolboy’, the endemic Malabar whistling thrush.
While Malabar grey hornbills are easily spotted the ‘steam locomotive’ sound of a flying Great pied hornbill or the Malabar pied hornbill will remain embedded in your memory. Spotting these majestically casqued rare Hornbills could make your vacation unforgettable.
Our team could put together a small picnic backpack for you if you wish to linger longer in nature.
Keep some time aside to browse through our handpicked selection of local crafts, statuettes and exquisite fabrics.
We pride ourselves in promoting local South Indian artisans.
Take home a souvenir or gift from the vibrant culture of India. The boutique is situated next to the Reception.