The town. Mundakayam is just starting to come on the tourism map of Kerala. It is a flourishing town on National Highway 220, almost halfway between two popular tourist spots – Kumarakom and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Many places of great interest to travelers are easily accessible from Mundakayam. The natural beauty of the areas surrounding the town can be gauged by the fact that over a hundred movies have been shot there. It is also the entry point to Kerala’s
Mundakayam is prosperous place and the people have a distinctive way of life. But !50 years back it was a thick forest inhabited by hill tribes. In 1843 Pastor Henry Baker ventured into the area where no white man had ever set foot before.
He found a number of herons nesting around a quiet pool and named the place Heron’s Pool. Translated to Malayalam, the local language, it became Mundikayam>Mundakayam (Mundi=heron, kayam=pool).
Many other sahibs followed Baker to seek their fortune in planting – tea, rubber, coffee, spices. The most famous among them was the Irishman J.J. Murphy.
The house. The quaint bungalow was the residence of the well-known planter and industrialist, late Jose Kallivayalil (my maternal uncle). Many important personages including political bosses, top officials, British nobility, and other nationalities had enjoyed Kallivayalil’s legendary hospitality there. Now his son Chacko and his charming wife Sheila have converted the place into a home stay with the name Heron’s Pool.
What is amazing about the 70+ year-old building is the amount of teak and rosewood with intricate work used on the walls, flooring, trellis, and furniture. The eight feet long dining table is made from a single piece of teak! The food there has been traditionally good.
Given below is a photo of the front veranda:
The bungalow has a lovely cobbled nadumuttam (inner courtyard) with a large guava tree in the center. On one side is a veranda which can be used as a stage for cultural events.
The house is nestled in a plantation that has several types of cash crops. It is on NH 220, about 3 kilometers east of
The book. ‘Above the Heron’s Pool’ (ISBN 0 907799515) by Heather Lovatt & Peter de Jong is an interesting book which deals with the history of the
The ship. SS Heronspool was freighter of Ropner Shipping Company. In a valiant night engagement with the German submarine U48 off the