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Malabar memories – 1

January 15, 2017

​The last week of December 2016 saw us heading out to the beautiful land of coconut palms and backwaters.The enchanting land of Kathakali, Theyyam and Mohiniyaatam.The land of picturesque house boats and delectable Sadhya. Yes, Kerala it was and I am still in nostalgia land even though it has been a couple week of weeks since we are back from there. 

The finalised plan was to visit Bekal fort & beach and a couple of temples in the vicinity. Then proceed for a day cruise on a house boat in the backwaters. Finally visit Udupi Sri Krishna temple and head back home.

Mid last year as V and I were discussing the holiday plan for December, he suggested Allepey/Kumarakom and a cruise on a house boat. As we were almost finalising on a Allepey centric holiday, we stumbled upon information on the Valiyaparamba backwaters near Bekal. Suddenly, our holiday plan took a 360Β° turn and a northward leap and bang! the base shifted to Kasaragod.

Once the house boat and train ticket bookings were taken care of, I pinged a dear friend for suggestions for a good hotel for our stay. His home town is very close to Bekal and it was he who suggested Thalatoor Heritage. The rave reviews TH had received on TripAdvisor plus the friend’s recommendation finalised TH as our accommodation at Kasaragod.

Right from the first phone call, there was this warmth about Aunty. As I tried to address her as Mrs.Shyamala, she told me to just call her ‘ Aunty’ ! We discussed our accommodation plan and food preferences. After speaking to her a couple of times in between, our itenerary was also planned.Then, it just came down to waiting for the vacation to begin.

The long wait of about 4 plus months finally came to an end and our family of five, including my MIL,  was finally chugging away to Kasaragod. 

An uneventful train journey, breakfast in the train( courtesy the train running late by a couple of hours ), landing in Kasargod by mid morning, being picked up by the calm Balu, snugly fitting in the extra large Kerala Auto which could could accommodate a big suitcase, two traveller bags, one (plus one) backpack, three adults and two kids, riding through  traffic free roads, passing through narrow lanes, a bumpy ride on the last stretch and zoom! we were at Thalatoor Heritage.

We are almost there..

Almost a century old, Thalatoor Heritage is in the midst of a 7 acre property with a kolam, a meandering stream, a paddy field, arecanut and coconut palms, a variety of fruit and flowering trees and pineapple shrubs.It stands pretty on an elevated plinth done in bright red paver tiles. The house though renovated , holds much of its heritage charm.

Prickly beauty

As Aunty and Dr.Nair (Uncle) greeted us warmly and ushered us in, it felt like we were visiting our relatives in their charming country side home. Aunty’s exuberance and geniality makes for a wonderful host as does Uncle’s calm and composed demeanour.

Sipping our welcome drink, a pale pink and absolutely refreshing juice of ‘jambaka’ fruit, we exchanged pleasantries with our hosts.The delicious juice was the first of the things to indicate the gastronomical treat we were in for.

Our room on the first floor had a red oxide flooring with wooden ceiling. It was comfortable and had views overlooking the rear side of the property. The only sounds we would hear there other than our voices, were those of the birds chirping, Paachi – the pet dog’s occasional barks and the tuk tuk of the auto as it came to fetch us for the sight seeing trips.

Our room..

View from our room

Another view from the first floor

Apart from the hospitality, the highlight of our stay there was the food! There is no doubt that Aunty is a cook par excellence. She pampered us with food that satiated our taste buds and served us with lip smacking fare – Aapam, puttu kadala, Rice roti, banana flower cutlet , Olan, Mor kozhambu, Mini Idlies in curd, Orange pudding, Ela Ada, Kozhukatta, Adapradaman and lots more. How I wish I had noted down the names of all the dishes! Even the mediocre tasting drumstick leaves curry and Karela fry tasted yummy with Aunty’s cooking.Little T,  Our finicky younger one, would lick her hands and polish her plate clean during the afternoon meals.S, the elder one tucked in delightfully to her tummy’s  content.

I am sure even the blandest food Aunty makes for her family would be spicier than the food she cooked for us! She kept in mind my request for a complete vegetarian menu with the lowest spice levels and delivered it perfectly! Also to her credit, none of the dishes ever got repeated during any of the meals. We had a total of five meals, all prepared and served by Aunty during our stay there for two days. 

Dining table conversations had Aunty sharing stories of how she and her nephew excitedly ventured in to the homestay business, their teething troubles, interesting experiences with guests and tidbits about her children and grandchildren. Post every meal, T got in to this routine of dancing merrily to ‘Lungi dance’!

If meal times overflowed with food and conversation, early mornings was a blend of divine and soothing tranquility, with the notes of Uncle’s Shloka chants reaching our sleepy ears in the room above. Our mornings and evenings were spent in visiting the nearby attractions.

We were so impatient to start gorging on our food every time that it never occurred to V or me to click snaps of the food before any of the meal. It was already dinner on the last night by when realisation dawned. As V set to click a couple of snaps, Aunty wryly remarked, ‘ There was such a variety of dishes on the table these two days and you chose this meal to take snaps? Hhmph!’ Ha ha! Due to our heavy lunch, Aunty had kept the dinner menu a little simpler and hence the remark.

On the morning we left, Aunty had kept ready our breakfast  of  Idly and chutney neatly packed in banana leaves to take with us for the journey. After we bid good bye, we left with wonderful memories and promises to return to savour all the good times at Thalatoor Heritage once again.

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2 Comments
  1. Hello Nithvin πŸ™‚ Coming here after ages makes me so so happy! And then your post – such a heart warming one. We went as far as Kannur in 2015.. will surely visit Kasargod some time and will keep this post in mind πŸ™‚

    • Am surprised you still get updates about my blog! But happy happy that you do and to see your comment here πŸ™‚
      Yes, you will love it I am sure πŸ™‚

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