in independent, homely, waterfront villas run by
a family, on a beautiful farm island, in the backwaters
of Kerala. Staying at Philipkutty’s Farm is an excellent
opportunity to enjoy the real Keralan experience
in a fascinating location, with a caring family
to look after you. It is a special place, as it
provides something different, especially for those
who prefer small, friendly places, and it is the
perfect hideaway for the bespoke traveller.
are welcomed, looked after, and cared for by the
family (myself, Anu, my mother-in-law Aniamma, my
son Philip and my daughter, Anya). The homestay
concept, and the vision behind our approach to welcoming
and hosting our guests, is entirely due to the inspirational
thinking of my late husband, Vinod. I now strive
to keep that vision alive, and adapt to the ever-changing
world we all live in, with the constant support
of my staff and family.
privacy is assured, as the waterfront villas are entirely
separate from the family residence, and independent from
each other. The first villa, designed by Karl Damscen, a
Swiss architect, is a traditionally styled, antique-filled,
open plan bungalow, with sufficient space for two people
and an extra bed if needed. The other villas, designed by
Thomas Dominic, are in the same decorative style, but with
a separate bedroom, living room and ‘sit-out’ facing the
peaceful, palm-fringed waterfront.
this is set on a beautiful farm island, which was reclaimed
from the backwaters of Lake Vembanad in the early 1950’s
by my late husband’s grandfather. The working farm, which
practices sustainable/organic methods of farming, is two
metres below the lake level and produces coconut, banana,
fruit and vegetables. Accessible by road up to the bank
opposite the farm and villas, it is our ‘vallam’ (country
boat) that will finally take you and your luggage across
the wide backwater to our island.
Airport – 75 kms (Kochi) Hospital – 9 kms (Cherthala) Shops
– .5 kms (Village across) Major City – 50 kms (Kochi) Town
– 9 kms (Cherthala)
major towns Cochin – 65 kms. Alleppey – 27 kms Kottayam
– 20 km
to expect Family ambience – Local food – Home Cuisine –
Communal Meals – Personal attention – Children welcome –
Local culture and experience – Nature – Solitude and safety
– Privacy – Eco-sensitive tourism.
time to visit October to March. But if you don’t mind the
monsoon, you might like to experience this unique event
when the weather can be a little cooler, too. Discounted
rates are available from May to September.
to reach the farm We are located about 11/2 hrs. (75 kms)
from Kochi (Cochin) International Airport, 40 minutes (20
kms.) from Kottayam and 45 minutes (25 kms.) from Alleppey.
The property can only be accessed by boat which will meet
you, upon your arrival, on the opposite bank
farm is located on a small island (approximately 750 acres)
in the backwaters by Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom within
the Vechoor village limits. The farm is about 35 acres and
is the largest farm on the island. The island is a reclaimed
property which was built in the early 1950’s by my husband’s
grandfather. It was my father-in-law, the late Philipkutty,
who undertook further development on the farm by bringing
in a system of inter-crop farming. The island is called
Puthankayal (‘Puthan’ means new) as it was the last island
to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture.
a reclaimed property typical of the Kuttanad or backwater
region, the farm is approx 2 metres below the lake level.
The retaining dyke around the perimeter of the island keeps
the lake water from entering the farm. Being below the lake
level, all the rain water is pumped out especially during
the monsoon season by using an electric motor and pump.
This is critical to the existence of the farm.
the villas are spacious, independent and located
on the outer dyke facing the peaceful backwaters.
The villas are named after popular local flowering
plants, trees and birds. The first villa, designed
by Swiss architect Karl Damscen, is open plan. The
other villas, designed by Thomas Dominic from Kochi,
have a separate living room, bedroom and ‘sit-out’.
villas are furnished with antiques, including some
beautifully carved and crafted doors and windows,
which were meticulously collected over a period
of time. TV and a land-line telephone are available
at our residence, whilst ceiling fans assure a cooling
circulation of air at all times. We have installed
air-conditioners within the cottages for your comfort.
An Internet facility through Wi-Fi is available
free of cost to the guests. The signal can be best
accessed from our porch area, the sitting room and
the waterside jetty.
is a refrigerator and an electric kettle in each room with
tea and coffee making provisions. The villas are well furnished
with two large single beds, wardrobe, cupboard, writing
table, and chair, settees, and chairs in the ‘sit-out’.
There is a clean, dry and spacious bathroom in each villa.
Extra beds are available if needed, and there is also a
generator to backup the electricity in case of a power failure.
All windows are netted to check the entry of insects.
are plenty of doors and windows in each villa (18 windows
and 8 doors) which open on to the farm, garden and backwaters,
allowing for excellent circulation of fresh breezes and
fascinating views from within. This is in keeping with the
tradition of typical backwater bungalows. The idea has been
to make each villa an integral part of the surroundings
so that by living in one you are not cut off from nature,
but feel at one with the beautiful environment.
floor is finished in rustic clay tiles and the ceiling in
wood. There is also a small verandah finished in traditional
red-oxide which runs around each villa.
complement the villas, there is a beautiful thatched pavilion
on stilts, overlooking the farm with views of the backwaters.
The pavilion opens on to a small, neat courtyard under an
old mango tree. Most communally served meals are served
in this delightful setting. We are also delighted to announce
the completion of our new ‘jetty’- a covered pavilion built
on the quayside where you can sit, admire the stunning views,
watch the occasional houseboat glide by or just relax and
soak up your surroundings and feel the cooling breezes from
the nearby lake
designing the villas, we kept in mind all the traditional
features, but also the fact that we were designing a house
where you would feel at home, and not a typical hotel room
with its sterile, uniform, contrived atmosphere. When all
this is combined with the traditional, homely hospitality,
you might just think that it is your second home.
is definitely one of the highlights of staying at Philipkuttys
farm. The cuisine is mostly local and cooked by my skilful
mother-in-law. Being a traditional agrarian household, lavish
meals are more or less the norm and pretty much a way of
life. All meals are included in the price, including complementary
bottled water in the cottages.
Meals are served communally, either in the family dining
room or outdoors in the thatched pavilion. We are glad to
cater for any special diets if needed and also provide for
vegetarian options too. When time permits we also love to
join you around the communal table. We also cater for lunch
parties for non resident guests but only by prior arrangement.
We also offer cookery demonstrations for resident guests
who are interested in learning the local cuisine, or we
can always offer a more ‘hands-on’ experience if you prefer..
cuisine is predominantly Syrian Christian with a strong
backwater influence. Most of the dishes served are centred
around fish, farm vegetables and fruits, duck, chicken and
occasionally other meats, supplemented with rice and rice
based local breads like appam, string hoppers etc. Some
of our specialities are Karimeen (pearlspot), fish fry,
fish molee, prawn and scampi preparations, duck roast and
curry, and red hot Kerala fish curry to name a few.
consists of several components. We serve toast with home-made
jams, farm-made yoghurt with fresh fruits and local honey
and eggs prepared to your preference are always available.
There is also an Indian component which may be sweet or
savoury, such as dhosas served with chutney, sweet or savoury
pancakes and similar tasty delights. Desserts are usually
puddings, fresh fruits and some local treats. Coffee and
tea are served after breakfast and lunch.
Enjoy a sunset cruise every evening on a vallam (country
boat) out on the open backwaters. The sights, breezes, sounds
and smells of the late evenings are indeed very soothing.
If you are lucky you might also catch the moonrise. Take
a canal cruise through the narrow, winding canals on a vallam
or motor boat and catch a glimpse of the unique backwater
villages and way of life. Please ask for current hire rates
for a boat and driver, payable to the boat owner.
For bird watchers the backwaters and the farm offer ample
opportunities for sighting kingfishers, woodpeckers, egrets,
cormorants, herons, coucals, snakebirds (darter), teal,
and a wide range of both wetland, woodland and garden species
as well as birds of prey like the magnificent Brahminy eagle.
A trip to the local Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary can also be
arranged, again at a small extra charge for transport and
Ask for a cooking class from mummy and learn the nuances
of the local cuisine.
Go on an escorted farm walk with one of our family or staff
and learn about farming below lake level as well as the
different crops cultivated.
Undertake a wider sightseeing and exploration tour of the
countryside on a bicycle. A sketch of the region can be
provided and you can get to enjoy the coconut groves, vast
paddy fields, canals and villages that blend into each other.
You could also walk to the nearby village and the market,
across on the mainland. Most of the roads in the mainland
are flat with little or no gradient, but be prepared for
some potholes! Visit the Ayurvedic Centre opposite the property
for a consultation.
Try out rejuvenating massages and Ayurvedic treatments for
various ailments during a short or longer term course of
treatment. Please ask in advance for their treatments and
Try fishing (rods available). We now have our very own Chinese-style
fishing nets, an ancient and traditional method in this
area. Guests may enjoy watching and participating in hauling
up the catch in the evenings. This is a seasonal activity,
depending on water flow, weather and time of year.
Visit St. Mary’s parish church at Vechoor. This is an old
Syrian Catholic church with a history dating back to over
500 years. Services, including mass, are held once or twice
daily, and you are always very welcome to attend.
Visit the local temples in the village. A little further
afield, the Vaikom Siva temple is the biggest and most famous,
which you can visit by bicycle, taxi or the colourful local
tuk-tuks for a very reasonable rate. Yoga – an experienced
Yoga master is available for sessions both for the beginner
and more experienced practitioners. Fees and times can be
arranged with the teacher on arrival.