The mountain estate
Do you dream of traveling to an idyllic mountain refuge far from the hustle of the city? Come visit our homely estate in the high ranges of Munnar. To be surrounded by the majestic mountain ranges is a humbling experience. The green landscape is timeless and there is a palpable positive energy that permeates the atmosphere. Immerse yourself in your favourite novel and enjoy a warm cup of tea in the cool breeze or just take a dip in the pool with the best views of the emerald-green hills of Munnar. Repose in the bittersweet air scented by the tea & cardamom plantations. Here, you are transported to a fairy-tale landscape amidst the ranges of the Western Ghats.
Plantation & Retreat
YOUR IDYLLIC ESCAPE
At our estate, we are closely attached to the land and its history. The setting is magical: 60 acres of cardamom and coffee estates that stretch out across the slope of a mountain. We also have a splendid crop of Arabic coffee that thrives at this high altitude. The intoxicating scent from these crops perfumes the breeze. We share this mountain land with a few small and big animals. The little animals like iridescent frogs and fuzzy squirrels coexist with some of the larger visitors; shy deers and the occasional herd of serene elephants.
Life on the estate first started on a small hillock near the plantation. This spot offered commanding views of the surrounding mountains and valleys making for a perfect setting for a house. This is where the initial planter’s-bungalow was built - which till today serves as the owners’ residence. The land here is rich with decades of dedicated efforts by the planters who have grown and nurtured orchard trees and lovely gardens. The old boulders of the terrain have been retained in all their natural glory. It is this space that over the years has evolved to be a retreat - a place that we share with our guests, and whose company we enjoy.
THE WINDERMERE STORY
Our estate’s tale begins in the 1930s when a few pioneer planters ventured deep into these parts of Munnar. Back then this land was allotted for farming. Many years later, in 1987 we bought the estate from the original occupants.
In 1987 Dr. Simon John, an ophthalmic surgeon bought a Cardamom estate in Munnar. His initial venture in farming later turned to a foray into tourism in 1997. The name ‘Windermere’ was coined during the time of an earlier occupant of the land, a civil servant under the colonial British government. Guests who had visited the estate at that time had remarked that the region greatly resembled the Windermere Lake District in the UK. And so the name stuck and is still a part of the legacy of the estate.
Before The Windermere Estate became a retreat, it started as a private home for family and guests. We have stayed true to our roots throughout this evolution. We continue in our efforts to keep our retreat intimate and personal. We strive to provide a home for our guests where our efforts are geared towards a warm, familial experience for all those who visit us.
Our staff are deeply committed to caring for you and cherish this as a valued part of the Windermere ecosystem. We seek to craft an experience akin to being home and do so with an understated elegance that our guests have come to admire.
THE HIGH RANGES
Munnar with its green land and electric blue skies - is like a breath of fresh air- refreshing and invigorating. Truly the antithesis of what it feels like to be in the city. The ancient mountains are a part of the Western Ghats mountain system. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site, the ranges are a very influential geographical feature on a global scale. The Western Ghats are a natural wonder of the world, and Munnar is a great starting point to explore them. There is immense diversity in the flora and fauna in the mountains of Munnar. But this ecosystem is a very delicate one; any changes to the ecological balance of this area can have an adverse ripple effect on the climate and resources in the surrounding areas. This is why large portions of these ranges are protected as national forests and sanctuaries. These national parks are mesmerizing in their scenic beauty and can inspire a deep appreciation of nature - perfect for a day trip. From Munnar, many of these protected areas are a stone’s throw away.
The fertile lands of Munnar became a hotspot for tea plantations after John Daniel Munro, a colonial officer of the British Raj came to the hills for a visit.
He set up the North Travancore Land Planting and Agricultural Society in 1879. Its members began to grow various crops like Tea, Cardamom, Coffee, and Sisal. Gradually, in the succeeding decades, with the entry of industries like Tata and Finlay, the culture of tea plantations became a mainstay of the region. The verdant tea estates in Munnar are a great testament to the efforts of the workers. Today no visit to Munnar is complete without a trip to a tea plantation. The life on plantations today is reminiscent of the quiet pace of the olden days. The open lands and old architecture inspire stillness and reflection. They are a charming part of Munnar’s landscape. The climate in Munnar is always cool and the monsoons are a real treat to witness. Life on the plantations runs at a slower pace - more in tune with the rhythms of Nature. It is a great solace for those seeking a change from the ways of the city.
Experiences at Windermere
At the Windermere estate, we spend our days taking long walks around the plantation and the surrounding tea gardens during the day. Sometimes in the afternoon, we like to cool off with a dip in the pool - which overlooks the charming tea gardens. We cherish each meal that our chefs make for us; made from locally sourced produce and served thoughtfully. The gazebo or estate’s famous boulder are our favorite; perfect for a snack. When we’re feeling thoughtful, we like to spend time in our picturesque library. We invite you to join us and discover the joy of quiet plantation living.