I have often wondered why being close to nature acts as an antidote to many modern-day problems. While the reasons are plenty and might be different for everyone, the fact remains that it presents an opportunity to escape the frenzy of city life and contemplate. From the body to the mind, it bathes us in a sea of tranquillity.
So whenever there is a chance, we make our way to the serenity offered by nature and surrender ourselves in its comforting embrace.
Plantation stays in India offer one such opportunity, where the stillness is only intermittently broken by the sound of birdsong.
Our dwellings in the city leave little scope for this tete-a-tete with the wild, let alone experiencing its many wonders. A quaint abode in a plantation estate, however, is where you can closely observe nature unfurling.
So pack your books and pick your cozy nook from the list below;
Kalaketty Estate Homestay, Kerala
Sitting firmly between Kottayam and Periyar since 1930, this Syrian-Christian home offers sweeping views across paddy fields and surrounding forests. Alongside rubber, this 150-acre estate also grows cocoa, vanilla, pepper, rice, bananas, and pineapples.
The old-world charm of this home beautifully blends with nature as the accommodation features lime and egg-white plastered walls, teakwood and mahogany doors, red-oxide polished floors, and the warmth of a lovingly prepared Syrian-Christian meal with ingredients sourced from their backyard.
Rajakkad Estate, Tamil Nadu
A compact and blissfully serene homestay located about 1000-feet above sea-level in the Palani Hills, this 18th-century building has been relocated here with the utmost care and rebuilt to blend seamlessly in its environment.
The interiors adorned with vintage art and contemporary furnishings add character to the building while complementing its surroundings.
The accommodation remains intimate, with just seven tastefully furnished bedrooms. The estate is nevertheless vast. Offering coffee and pepper plantation walks, short hikes to hidden waterfalls with picnic spots, and panoramic views across the craggy granite hills of the Western Ghats, it promises a slice of heaven for the seekers of bliss.
Wild Mahseer, Assam
Carrying a colonial legacy, this conglomeration of three planter’s bungalows built in the 1800s is an ideal place to wind down with a book amidst the quietude offered by a tea estate.
Sitting comfortably in the Brahmaputra valley, the Wild Mahseer is located within the 22-acre Addabarie Tea Estate.
Apart from tea tastings, it is an ideal location for venturing into the wild, quite literally. The Kaziranga National Park, a bio-diversity heaven, is located a short drive from this plantation stay.
Run passionately by the locals, it stays true to its namesake – Mahseer, which is considered to be the toughest game fish. The Wild Mahaseer invites you to experience the raw beauty of nature.
Halli Berri Estate, Karnataka
With no known Hollywood connection, this estate lets you enjoy your coffee guilt-free. An all-women owned plantation, it is a sustainable farming project which is Rainforest Alliance certified.
Aptly located in the Baba Budan mountains, their sustainable practices are a homage to the man who introduced coffee to this region.
A family-owned and run homestay, it stays true to its ethos in giving a truly close to nature experience. Do not forget your walking shoes as hiking and plantation trails are aplenty.
For animal lovers, the Bhadra Tiger Reserve and the Sakrebailu Aane Elephant Camp are just an hour’s drive away. Their café is an apt place to sample the brews and the views after a day out exploring the plantation.
Glenburn Tea Estate, West Bengal
While Darjeeling and its surroundings are home to several estates, Glenburn Tea Estate stands out for its exclusive experiences, pampering hospitality, and some of the best mountain views.
Affording panoramas of the Kanchenjunga, it is located above the River Rungeet and offers a stay experience that draws heavily from the vineyards of Europe.
Here you get to watch the tea making process right from when the leaves are plucked till it is poured out into your cups.
The painstakingly restored bungalow, dating back to the late 1800s, forms the core of the stay. The luxurious interiors are beautifully balanced with the warmth of their staff. You can choose to relax or explore the outdoors with hikes, picnics, fishing, and cookery classes.
Banasura Hill Resort, Kerala
Named after the hill that forms a unique backdrop to the resort, the Banasura Hill Resort offers its guests a 35-acre farm to explore in Wayanad.
An eco-resort, it is built entirely of mud dug outright from where it stands, offering guests a close to nature experience like no other.
Offering activities like coffee & pepper plantation trails, coffee tastings, nature walks, treks to waterfalls, and ample room to lounge around with a book, it has a space for every kind of traveler. The furnishing of the rooms is minimalistic yet elegant and intimate, staying true to its surroundings.
Old Kent Estate, Karnataka
Located in the heart of the coffee country, the Old Kent Estate promises a unique opportunity to witness the unfolding of life in a coffee planter’s bungalow.
The tastefully refurbished lodge is a heady concoction of colonial legacy coupled with warm Indian hospitality. The 200-acre estate offers plantation trails and tastings along with enough space to lie low and read.
After your day out, relax by the pool, enjoy a nice read in the private library or pamper yourself at their luxurious spa. Finally, wind-up the day by indulging in an elaborate Anglo-Indian fare, finishing off with a generous cup of their estate’s specialty coffee.
Photos: Author and Pixabay