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Olavipe

Kerala Backwaters, India

1/5 The house at Olavipe has been in the family for six generations
The house at Olavipe has been in the family for six generations
2/5 The Kerala Backwaters
The Kerala Backwaters
3/5 The airy veranda at Olavipe - perfect for tea or a gin and tonic
The airy veranda at Olavipe - perfect for tea or a gin and tonic
4/5 Antony and Rema, your charming hosts at Olavipe
Antony and Rema, your charming hosts at Olavipe
5/5 The gatehouse at Olavipe
The gatehouse at Olavipe

More than 120 years old, Olavipe has been in Antony’s family for six generations. Having retired 10 years ago (he was once head of security in Rajiv Gandhi’s government) he returned home and with his wife Rema and brother Jacob now spends much of his time looking after house guests. They are the perfect hosts making visitors feel entirely at home and like an old friend staying as a house guest. They are attentive, but not intrusive.

Over tea or sundowners  on the verandah and meals around the dining table the Tharakan’s will entertain you with stories about the house, seek your opinion on politics and swop suggestions of favourite novels to read.  The food is traditional Keralan Syrian Christian with many of the ingredients fresh from the organic estate where the family commercially farms coconuts, rice, and prawns as well as fruit and vegetables for their own use.

The gracious, slightly ramshackle house has high ceilings, polished red-oxide floors and cool, dark rooms. A teak stair case leads to a long landing and eight simply furnished fan cooled rooms with en-suite shower room. A couple of them have old high beds (to let the air circulate underneath so that you stay cool on hot nights) and a step you’ll need to clamber up to. Across the courtyard are two more rooms which offer more privacy and are suitable for those who would struggle with the steep stairs in main house. The beds are firm, there are wooden shutters and blinds instead of windows and fans instead of air-conditioning but what Olavipe might lack in luxury and mod-cons it more than makes up for in character, atmosphere and great company. 

Come here to find the ‘real’ Kerala; walk around the farm, take a rowing boat on the Backwaters, stroll to the public dock, meet local fishermen and chat to students in the nearby village. Less than an hour’s drive south of Cochin Olavipe is a true home from home, Indian style.

Accommodation:

Simple homestay with charming hosts, located on the backwaters in a heritage house with 10 en-suite guest rooms

Experience:

Inclusions / Exclusions:

About Kerala Backwaters and India

See all areas & places to stay in India
1/5 A visitor arrives at Chittor Kottaram, formerly the Cochin Raja's Backwaters' home
A visitor arrives at Chittor Kottaram, formerly the Cochin Raja's Backwaters' home
2/5 A dug out canoe can take you to places other boats can't reach
A dug out canoe can take you to places other boats can't reach
3/5 Sit back and watch the Backwaters go by from the deck of a houseboat in Kerala
Sit back and watch the Backwaters go by from the deck of a houseboat in Kerala
4/5 Alleppey in the Backwaters
Alleppey in the Backwaters
5/5 Floating fruit kiosk in the Kerala Backwaters
Floating fruit kiosk in the Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters

A vast network of narrow canals, lakes, rivers and lagoons between Cochin and Kollam (Quilon) make up Kerala’s unique Backwaters. Hidden from view from the road the area is filled with groves of mango, papaya and jackfruit, rice paddies and fields of tapioca beneath palms that form green archways over the narrowest channels. Read more?

1/5 For many first time visitors, Rajasthan is India. Rural villages pulse with vibrant colours of saris, turbans and even painted cow horns in contrast to the desert.
For many first time visitors, Rajasthan is India. Rural villages pulse with vibrant colours of saris, turbans and even painted cow horns in contrast to the desert.
2/5 Young tigers rough and tumble in the lake at Tadoba
Young tigers rough and tumble in the lake at Tadoba
3/5 View of Mt Trishul in the Himalaya while trekking in the Kumaon hills
View of Mt Trishul in the Himalaya while trekking in the Kumaon hills
4/5 A myriad of colourful sculptures representing gods of the Hindu pantheon decorate temple towers across India
A myriad of colourful sculptures representing gods of the Hindu pantheon decorate temple towers across India
5/5 The balmy Kerala Backwaters make for the perfect tropical escape
The balmy Kerala Backwaters make for the perfect tropical escape

India

Hike with views of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya, drift through lazy tropical backwaters, visit colourful desert villages and explore jungles home to endangered wildlife. India has diversity like nowhere else on earth. With such complexity, India has a unique identity that can captivate you in one moment and challenge you in the next.  We personalise your India tour to give you the experiences you want while smoothing your way through this incredible country. Read more?

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Andrea Hulme

Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.

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