Living On The Tree Tops

 By - Sajita Nair

 Ever wondered how it would be like to live on treetops? If you think it is only monkey’s business, you are mistaken. Welcome to tree houses - the latest addition in the world of travel and adventure. As the name suggests, tree houses are constructed on giant trees in verdant tropical forests. In India , only God’s own country, Kerala offers these Godly abodes. Once on top, there is enough to feast the senses - birds eye view of acres of greenery, chilly winds, quiet nights and the thrill of being on top of the world! Although living high does not come cheap, a number of visitors both from India and abroad take this offbeat destination to experience the rare and unique. It is also an ideal destination for honeymooners as it offers privacy coupled with quiet and romantic surroundings.

 A Unique Experience

 Half an hour drive by jeep on rough terrain from Vythiri (near Calicut) through coffee and spice plantations leads you to the location of the tree house. You also have the option to walk with a guide through the jungle to reach your destination. This is highly recommended, as walking on this trail can be a delight and a learning experience. The first sight of the tree houses is astounding. Two giant trees have wooden cottages built high on them. 86 ft above the ground they look like an adventurer’s trove.  There are four double rooms in two tree houses. Before you can query about getting there you are ushered into a large cane basket, which will now be your lift. By a combination of pulleys and counter weight of water, this bamboo lift winches you to the top. This is an indigenously developed mechanism to avoid using electricity and minimize noise. Access to the tree house is by a suspension bridge, connected between two trees. Once on top, the view is breathtakingly beautiful! 

Tree houses are made of ethnic, eco-friendly and locally available materials. Each of them is equipped with all facilities such as beds, carpeted verandahs, bathrooms with flushable toilets, washbasins with running water and shower. There is also a sit-out where you can relax in the lap of nature.  Indigenous techniques, skills and experience of local craftsmen, who are mostly tribals, are used for the construction and maintenance of these houses. Guides for sight seeing trips are available and currency exchange is also possible. Laundry and restaurant services are also provided.

With no TV, music system and other electronic devices to contribute to cacophony, the evenings and nights are quiet and in total contrast to the urban chaos. Living with the birds on treetops, this is the closest one can get to nature. Hurricane lamps with kerosene oil and solar energy are used for lighting. Whoever said that only babies are rocked to sleep may be proved wrong here. In the tree house, get rocked by the wind playing in the trees and sleep like a baby. When you wake up in the morning just remember how high up you are!  


Indian, specifically north Kerala cuisine is served here and hence the menu is simple. The cuisine however, offers varied tastes due to the influence of ancient Arab trade links, in this region. The food court is interactive and visitors can see most of the activities. Food is served on banana leaves as done traditionally in Kerala and no knives and forks are provided. That leaves you with a lip smacking and finger licking experience!

As the resort is eco-friendly, water is taken from the nearby stream and filtered. The energy used for this is provided by solar panels. Avoidance of conventional electricity and power from diesel generators, help prevent air and noise pollution. Food is prepared from fruits and vegetables grown in the organic farm without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Meals are cooked using biogas, which is made by the tribals from cow dung.

Explore Nature’s Bounty

Since the tree houses are set in 500 acres of Wynad forest reserve, there are a number of jungle trails one can choose from. A walk through pristine, undisturbed jungle, teeming with various life forms is a refreshing experience. Each trail promises a different adventure. You can also go for trekking with your guide or explore the surrounding areas such as Pookode lake, where you can go for boating and Muthanga, where you can see the taming and training of wild elephants.

The great bio-diversity offers a variety of flora and fauna. Monkeys, birds and occasionally other animals like sambar, wild boar and elephants are seen in adjoining forests. The various viewpoints offer a panoramic view of the valley below. As the area is completely eco-friendly, no plastics or glass are allowed. This is to protect the animals and their natural habitat.

In the quiet and serene atmosphere, doing nothing can be unwinding. Meandering in the wild or reading a book can be quite relaxing. You can also take short elephant rides on tamed elephants.

 Getting There

 Vythiri is 65 Km North of Calicut ( Kozhikode ) on the Calicut-Mysore highway. It is 150 Km from Mysore and 290 Km from Kochi (Ernakulam). It is well connected by road and bus services are also available. At an altitude between 3750 - 4500 feet, Vythiri is known for its evergreen tropical rain forest and coffee, tea, cardamom and pepper plantations. Nearest city is Calicut at 65 Km, which is also the nearest railhead and airport. Nearest bus station is at Vythiri, at a distance of 3 Km.

 The best season to visit is between September and May. Monsoon months (between June and August) can be messy as the jungle teems with leeches. These 1-inch long thread like creatures latch on to any open area of your body and bloat on your blood. The rainy season however, also has its own charms as the rains pitter-pattering on the tree houses provide for a true tropical rainforest experience.                                                

Pick Your Tree House

 You can select your tree house based on their location and monetary considerations. Vythiri in North Kerala , Idukki in south Kerala and Munnar in central Kerala presently offer this unique experience. Idukki is easily accessible from Kottayam or Thekkady and Munnar from Kochi . Apart from the tree houses these eco-resorts also have land-based ethnic and eco-friendly cottages. The prices listed are prices for the season and are liable to change. Any off-season discount applicable is adjusted during booking.

 Green Magic Nature Resort

Thalipuzha, Vythiri, Wayanad, Kerala

Tree House : Rs 9,500 ( per double room per day)

Contact : greenmagic@hotelskerala.com

 Carmelia Havens Resort

Vandanmedu - 685 551, Idukki district, Kerala

Tree house : Rs 4000/-

Apart from the tree houses, this resort has a multi-cuisine restaurant, swimming pool, watch tower, Ayurvedic body massage center, open-air barbeque and facilities for various games. It also has cave houses and attractions like boating, trekking, fishing, visit to tea factory and cardamom curing center.

Contact : carmeliahaven@hotelskerala.com

Jungle Park Resort and Tree Houses
Vythiri, Wayanad, Kerala

Tree house : Rs.6,500

Contact : junglepark@hotelskerala.com

Holiday Resort - Tree House
Near Lechmi Estate, Mankulam Road , Munnar-685612, Kerala.

Tree house (Double) : Rs.2000

Tree house (Single) :  Rs.1,600

Contact : bsix@hotelskerala.com