The building was built keeping in mind the terrain and environment by Renju, a planter hailing from the plantation township nearby. Renju is a keen wildlife enthusiast and nature lover and the Periyar Forest Lodge was his dream project. The spot was chosen not only for it's scenic location but also for the concentration of wildlife in the vicinity. For those who are active the estate offers ample opportunities for walks and birding but for those who like to watch wildlife in comfort, the bungalow also offers this as well.
Built of stone and timber the Lodge is a sturdy structure necessary to keep some of the pachyderms at bay. The upper floor with 3 rooms and a wide viewing verandah for wildlife viewing in comfort is the main floor for accommodation. All three rooms are large and have private en-suite facilities. Good wholesome food from ingredients sourced locally cooked by our resident chef is served in the dining room during dinners and outdoors for breakfast and lunch.
The property is located deep in the Periyar Tiger Reserve and hence there are some practical problems being in the location that it is. Access to the property is only through the forest check-post at Vallakadavu. As per Forest Department regulation vehicular traffic is permitted only between 0600 and 1800 hrs. You will have to pay the entrance charges as stipulated by the Kerala Forest Department and after due entry is made. You then drive through the forest to Downton Estate@Pachakanam which is about 12kms from the check-post. From Downton Estate you get on a jeep for a short 2km transfer up the estate road to the Periyar Forest Bungalow. Due to limitations we are unable to provide parking and facilities for drivers at the bungalow. Driver lodging and parking will be provided either near the check-post or at Vandiperiyar.
There are no commercial establishments like shops and restaurants in the area. The nearest decent shopping is in Vandiperiyar that is about an hour's drive away. As this is the case we are restricted on serving what is farmed on the estate and what is available in the town of Vandiperiyar. Both electricity and communications cannot be relied upon as it is supplied by overland cables that often gets disrupted by falling trees and bad weather. There is no mobile coverage at the bungalow and though there are a couple of spots in the estate where you may get coverage it cannot be relied upon. Should there be a power failure there is a back-up generator that will function from dusk until 10 pm and again from 0530 until light. Torches will be provided in all the rooms. Should there be a power failure then the geysers for hot-water will not be operational but it will be provided otherwise.
The property is surrounded by thick jungle and you get to see a variety of wildlife right from the property. While you are very close to nature you should also appreciate that the jungle noises is heard around the clock. While you hear the chirping birds and howling Langurs in the day, nightfall brings totally different noises. The jungle never sleeps! Also while you are in bed you may hear the civets and sometimes monkeys jump on the room. Don't be startled as you are perfectly safe in your room. All the rooms are sealed to keep insects and creepy-crawlies out and have wire netting on all the doors and windows. Just make sure you don't leave them open!
Some matters that you should know and consider before you stay with us,
# To enjoy the sounds of the jungle and hear the calls of the wild do ensure that the noise levels are kept low as we are surrounded by the Tiger Reserve.
# We make an effort to conserve water and electricity and try to reuse and recycle where possible. Do switch off the lights and geysers when you don't need them. Electricity is very erratic and is not fully reliable. While we do have a back-up generator we would like to limit it's use to the minimum keeping in mind the impact on the environment.
# Please ensure that the netted windows and door is kept shut at all times. While you let in fresh air this helps you keep the insects, bugs and crawlies that may want to share your room where they belong...outside!
# We offer a two day service of bed linen and towels but will be happy to change it on request.
# In trying to limit the use of plastics,filtered and purified drinking water is provided in bottles for your use. However if you would rather have bottled water then please do ask for it.
# Do not wander off on your own. We do have a naturalist who would be available to take you around. While it may seem very safe it is unfortunately deceptive. We are surrounded by the Periyar Tiger Reserve and it is very common for wildlife including elephants to roam the estates.
# The nearest basic shop is at Vallakadau ( 12kms away) or at Vandiperiyar which is a larger town (20kms away)