Kodianthara Heritage Home - Guest House

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Kodianthara Heritage Home

Official Contact Details - Kodianthara Heritage Home

Phone: 0091 481 2524314

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Last updated: 08/19/2010

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Location & area

Appithra Road, Behind St.John Knanaya Church,, Kottayam 686563, Kottayam, India

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Review - Kodianthara Heritage Home

Review this Accommodation
Amazing homestay, heritage experience with all creature comforts.
Submitted by: smitten in 18/05/10
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  • Traveller type: Adventurer
Driving down South Indian highways, from Chennai, Tamilnadu to Kumarakom, Kerala, was super fast till Trichy. Then though the roads were not 4-lane, but very picturesque and the view compensated for the extra time that it took us to get to our Mahindra Homestays destination, Crispin and Soni's homestay - Kodianthara.
Kodianthara is located behind the St. John's Knanaya Church (not the Atamangalam church) and a little tricky to find if you do not follow precise directions. There are no sign boards but our MapMyIndia GPS brought us to the vicinity and we made it
to the gate of the church.
Thankfully, the 'all-in-one' house-help Rahul came up to the main road to guide us through the maze of canals, canal-bank homes and bridges (Haliaetus, our Xylo did a brave job of going on these roads and bridges which were just about an inch wider than him). Apparently 'tipper trucks' (used to remove the dredged shells and mud from the canals) navigate these narrow roads quite easily!
The '150-year old traditional Kerala Tharavadu home, that has been in the family for over 5 generations' is one of only 16 homes certified by the local government as a 'heritage home'. The Tharavadu house had a unique architecture with an inner courtyard enclosed within the several large buildings built in the traditional Kerala style.
Crispin's ancestors are Knanaya Christians - he gives us a detailed history lesson on how his ancestors migrated from the modern-day region near Iraq to the Malabar coast. Soni's father has written/edited a 'family book' that is so extensive and covers some 1000 pages with detailed photos of each member of the family. Apparently the community is very well linked with lots of inter family marriages - very similar to the Parsis in India - trying to maintain their unique identity.
Crispin's large family of 10 siblings used to visit the ancestral home till a few years ago when his mother was alive. Later, the brothers and sisters got busy and hardly visited the Tharavadu. So, Crispin opened up the place to a homestay experience - “this way we don't miss meeting people and the house is like a home once again”, say Soni.
The old house has been very tastefully restored and extended to accommodate the modern amenities like clean western toilets, air-conditioners and reading lamps while retaining the traditional sit-outs and central courtyards. There are elements from
every era, the ceramic tiles, the earthenware, the brassware, the wooden furniture... even the old dining table that has interestingly been decorated with a large coin collection.
With his extensive experience in the Merchant Navy, Crispin has many stories to tell - from pirates attacking ships to his experience of living on an oil tanker, from the politics of Kerala to the culture of his people, from the recipe of beef fry to the taste of the various types of banana chips, and where to buy them.
The place is a true homestay - we lived in one of the rooms next to the master bedroom, the hosts ate their meals with us. In fact one meal was so authentically traditional we even had it on a fresh plantain leaf (cut from the back yard).
The beautiful part of the stay was the constant 'music in the air' - Soni, her daughter Midhila and all the house-help are constantly playing music, either form the radio, the CD player or their mobile phones... melodious music from the popular Bollywood playback singer Kishore Kumar to the latest Malayalam and Tamil hits... a wide variety of songs!
One morning Midhila was busy cleaning the book shelf so we got to discuss the writings of Enid Blyton, mysteries of Nancy Drew, Christian fiction of Dan Brown and the philosophies of Paulo Coelho... Soni, who is a literature graduate and Midhila,
who plans to follow suit, are always ready to read new books and discuss literature.
Crispin also owns a houseboat that he rents out to people who want to be a part of the famous experience that is unique to the backwaters of Kerala. In fact there is a channel of water that flows through the property and Crispin recalls the days when he used to go to school “in a canoe... you can still use this route and reach the lake” he adds.
We should mention here the playful Tipu (Sultan?) - the family's friendly dog, a Dachshund, and the many other farm animals that roam around the three acres of rubber plantation... geese, goats and what not! In fact, watching young goats play around
and observing the geese as they traversed the path from the front porch to the backwaters of the house was the only activity we chose to do.
The best part of the stay at Kodianthara was the monsoon. The day we were leaving it poured... and it poured... and it poured... we were really lucky to experience the famous Kerala monsoon on its way in... and my! what a sight!
With our bellies full from the great 'puttu and kadala curry' breakfast, we took leave of the Crispins and were now on our way to Kochi.