Philipkutty's Farm
Kottayam, Kerala.

Stay in independent, homely, waterfront villas run by a family, on a beautiful farm island, in the backwaters of Kerala. Staying at Philipkutty’s Farm is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the real Keralan experience in a fascinating location, with a caring family to look after you. It is a special place, as it provides something different, especially for those who prefer small, friendly places, and it is the perfect hideaway for the bespoke traveller.

You are welcomed, looked after, and cared for by the family (myself, Anu, my mother-in-law Aniamma, my son Philip and my daughter, Anya). The homestay concept, and the vision behind our approach to welcoming and hosting our guests, is entirely due to the inspirational thinking of my late husband, Vinod. I now strive to keep that vision alive, and adapt to the ever-changing world we all live in, with the constant support of my staff and family.

Your privacy is assured, as the waterfront villas are entirely separate from the family residence, and independent from each other. The first villa, designed by Karl Damscen, a Swiss architect, is a traditionally styled, antique-filled, open plan bungalow, with sufficient space for two people and an extra bed if needed. The other villas, designed by Thomas Dominic, are in the same decorative style, but with a separate bedroom, living room and ‘sit-out’ facing the peaceful, palm-fringed waterfront.

All this is set on a beautiful farm island, which was reclaimed from the backwaters of Lake Vembanad in the early 1950’s by my late husband’s grandfather. The working farm, which practices sustainable/organic methods of farming, is two metres below the lake level and produces coconut, banana, fruit and vegetables. Accessible by road up to the bank opposite the farm and villas, it is our ‘vallam’ (country boat) that will finally take you and your luggage across the wide backwater to our island.

Distances Airport – 75 kms (Kochi) Hospital – 9 kms (Cherthala) Shops – .5 kms (Village across) Major City – 50 kms (Kochi) Town – 9 kms (Cherthala)

Other major towns Cochin – 65 kms. Alleppey – 27 kms Kottayam – 20 km

What to expect Family ambience – Local food – Home Cuisine – Communal Meals – Personal attention – Children welcome – Local culture and experience – Nature – Solitude and safety – Privacy – Eco-sensitive tourism.

Best time to visit October to March. But if you don’t mind the monsoon, you might like to experience this unique event when the weather can be a little cooler, too. Discounted rates are available from May to September.

How to reach the farm We are located about 11/2 hrs. (75 kms) from Kochi (Cochin) International Airport, 40 minutes (20 kms.) from Kottayam and 45 minutes (25 kms.) from Alleppey. The property can only be accessed by boat which will meet you, upon your arrival, on the opposite bank

The farm is located on a small island (approximately 750 acres) in the backwaters by Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom within the Vechoor village limits. The farm is about 35 acres and is the largest farm on the island. The island is a reclaimed property which was built in the early 1950’s by my husband’s grandfather. It was my father-in-law, the late Philipkutty, who undertook further development on the farm by bringing in a system of inter-crop farming. The island is called Puthankayal (‘Puthan’ means new) as it was the last island to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture.

Being a reclaimed property typical of the Kuttanad or backwater region, the farm is approx 2 metres below the lake level. The retaining dyke around the perimeter of the island keeps the lake water from entering the farm. Being below the lake level, all the rain water is pumped out especially during the monsoon season by using an electric motor and pump. This is critical to the existence of the farm.

All the villas are spacious, independent and located on the outer dyke facing the peaceful backwaters. The villas are named after popular local flowering plants, trees and birds. The first villa, designed by Swiss architect Karl Damscen, is open plan. The other villas, designed by Thomas Dominic from Kochi, have a separate living room, bedroom and ‘sit-out’.

The villas are furnished with antiques, including some beautifully carved and crafted doors and windows, which were meticulously collected over a period of time. TV and a land-line telephone are available at our residence, whilst ceiling fans assure a cooling circulation of air at all times. We have installed air-conditioners within the cottages for your comfort. An Internet facility through Wi-Fi is available free of cost to the guests. The signal can be best accessed from our porch area, the sitting room and the waterside jetty.

There is a refrigerator and an electric kettle in each room with tea and coffee making provisions. The villas are well furnished with two large single beds, wardrobe, cupboard, writing table, and chair, settees, and chairs in the ‘sit-out’. There is a clean, dry and spacious bathroom in each villa. Extra beds are available if needed, and there is also a generator to backup the electricity in case of a power failure. All windows are netted to check the entry of insects.

There are plenty of doors and windows in each villa (18 windows and 8 doors) which open on to the farm, garden and backwaters, allowing for excellent circulation of fresh breezes and fascinating views from within. This is in keeping with the tradition of typical backwater bungalows. The idea has been to make each villa an integral part of the surroundings so that by living in one you are not cut off from nature, but feel at one with the beautiful environment.

The floor is finished in rustic clay tiles and the ceiling in wood. There is also a small verandah finished in traditional red-oxide which runs around each villa.


To complement the villas, there is a beautiful thatched pavilion on stilts, overlooking the farm with views of the backwaters. The pavilion opens on to a small, neat courtyard under an old mango tree. Most communally served meals are served in this delightful setting. We are also delighted to announce the completion of our new ‘jetty’- a covered pavilion built on the quayside where you can sit, admire the stunning views, watch the occasional houseboat glide by or just relax and soak up your surroundings and feel the cooling breezes from the nearby lake

In designing the villas, we kept in mind all the traditional features, but also the fact that we were designing a house where you would feel at home, and not a typical hotel room with its sterile, uniform, contrived atmosphere. When all this is combined with the traditional, homely hospitality, you might just think that it is your second home.

Food is definitely one of the highlights of staying at Philipkuttys farm. The cuisine is mostly local and cooked by my skilful mother-in-law. Being a traditional agrarian household, lavish meals are more or less the norm and pretty much a way of life. All meals are included in the price, including complementary bottled water in the cottages.

Meals are served communally, either in the family dining room or outdoors in the thatched pavilion. We are glad to cater for any special diets if needed and also provide for vegetarian options too. When time permits we also love to join you around the communal table. We also cater for lunch parties for non resident guests but only by prior arrangement. We also offer cookery demonstrations for resident guests who are interested in learning the local cuisine, or we can always offer a more ‘hands-on’ experience if you prefer..

The cuisine is predominantly Syrian Christian with a strong backwater influence. Most of the dishes served are centred around fish, farm vegetables and fruits, duck, chicken and occasionally other meats, supplemented with rice and rice based local breads like appam, string hoppers etc. Some of our specialities are Karimeen (pearlspot), fish fry, fish molee, prawn and scampi preparations, duck roast and curry, and red hot Kerala fish curry to name a few.

Breakfast consists of several components. We serve toast with home-made jams, farm-made yoghurt with fresh fruits and local honey and eggs prepared to your preference are always available. There is also an Indian component which may be sweet or savoury, such as dhosas served with chutney, sweet or savoury pancakes and similar tasty delights. Desserts are usually puddings, fresh fruits and some local treats. Coffee and tea are served after breakfast and lunch.

Activities Enjoy a sunset cruise every evening on a vallam (country boat) out on the open backwaters. The sights, breezes, sounds and smells of the late evenings are indeed very soothing. If you are lucky you might also catch the moonrise. Take a canal cruise through the narrow, winding canals on a vallam or motor boat and catch a glimpse of the unique backwater villages and way of life. Please ask for current hire rates for a boat and driver, payable to the boat owner.

For bird watchers the backwaters and the farm offer ample opportunities for sighting kingfishers, woodpeckers, egrets, cormorants, herons, coucals, snakebirds (darter), teal, and a wide range of both wetland, woodland and garden species as well as birds of prey like the magnificent Brahminy eagle. A trip to the local Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary can also be arranged, again at a small extra charge for transport and entry fees.

Ask for a cooking class from mummy and learn the nuances of the local cuisine.

Go on an escorted farm walk with one of our family or staff and learn about farming below lake level as well as the different crops cultivated.

Undertake a wider sightseeing and exploration tour of the countryside on a bicycle. A sketch of the region can be provided and you can get to enjoy the coconut groves, vast paddy fields, canals and villages that blend into each other. You could also walk to the nearby village and the market, across on the mainland. Most of the roads in the mainland are flat with little or no gradient, but be prepared for some potholes! Visit the Ayurvedic Centre opposite the property for a consultation.

Try out rejuvenating massages and Ayurvedic treatments for various ailments during a short or longer term course of treatment. Please ask in advance for their treatments and price list.

Try fishing (rods available). We now have our very own Chinese-style fishing nets, an ancient and traditional method in this area. Guests may enjoy watching and participating in hauling up the catch in the evenings. This is a seasonal activity, depending on water flow, weather and time of year.

Visit St. Mary’s parish church at Vechoor. This is an old Syrian Catholic church with a history dating back to over 500 years. Services, including mass, are held once or twice daily, and you are always very welcome to attend.

Visit the local temples in the village. A little further afield, the Vaikom Siva temple is the biggest and most famous, which you can visit by bicycle, taxi or the colourful local tuk-tuks for a very reasonable rate. Yoga – an experienced Yoga master is available for sessions both for the beginner and more experienced practitioners. Fees and times can be arranged with the teacher on arrival.



Tele : +91-11-41612107, 26823836. Mobile : 9810002772, 9910002772.