Kerala Weekends – From Chennai

Kerala is an extremely underrated weekend-breaks-destination. From Bangalore, and even from Chennai. It’s extremely well connected both by roads and trains, and recently, Air Asia has started operations there with some sweet pricing.

From Chennai, for instance, there are a dozen and a half trains between Chennai and Ernakulam (Cochin)!



This makes for easy options for a 3 day break. And Kerala is one of the richest experiences in terms of what you can do and see around there – so you can keep going back for more.

Check out the Linger locations in Kerala. And get in touch for more at

Experience the Deeper India

“People from my country, they come and visit the same old stuff. The Golden Triangle – Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, a couple of popular resorts in Kerala – and that’s all! They miss out on the real India” – said Daniel of Aventura/Chalo-Spain over breakfast when he was in Bangalore. He’d just done a motorbike ride to our locations at Gokarna, Balur Estate and in Chettimani (Coorg), and is trying to get folks to visit the deeper India.


Made me think about how much of a disservice the travel industry inadvertently ends up doing to both the traveller as well as the beautiful places, cultures and people that represent the true India in all it’s variety, across geographies, seasons, the profusion of colours, terrain, customs, food, festivals – everything. And this India is outside of the major tourist locations, outside of the cities and off the bigger highways. It’s in the little towns and villages – with their unique stories. It’s when you stay in the homestays. It’s when you walk, take it slowly and interact with folks around. Coorg’s Pandhi Curry, the catch of the day along the coast, the quiet solitude of a large coffee estate, the profusion of flora and fauna deep inside a Himalayan forest – these are all small bits of that huge jigsaw puzzle that India is – and they’re best seen from outside the comfortable familiarity of a “resort”.


This is the India that Daniel is trying to showcase to his clients, and that we at Linger would like our guests to experience. It’s not about the “points”, or checklists, but the experiences of a civilization that has been through more iterations, changes and adaptation than we can usually imagine. It boggles the mind and mesmerizes even those of us who have been born here and live here all our lives. I can only imagine how much of an amazing – indeed incredible – experience it will be from someone coming in from Europe etc. It can be experienced however you like – on a bike along with one of Daniel’s tour, on a slow bicycle ride, on bus and train journeys that let you interact with so many real people in real life situations, on a road trip that stays off the bigger towns and roads – the only thing to remember is to explore with an open mind, ready to embrace the myriad surprises that greet you at every turn. Sure, not all will be pleasant, but that’s what travel’s about!

So do yourself a favour – and don’t stop with that Golden Triangle 🙂

Birdwatching At Coorg – A Recent Guest’s List Of Species

Garima, a recent guest at Chettimani, Coorg, who’s an avid birder – and whose event we’d been part of earlier – spotted 50+ species just around the property!

Here’s a few links to her checklists on eBird:

The Malabar Trogon, we’re told, was a special catch! Here’s a few shots she captured

Malabar Trogon
Lesser Yellownape
Long-billed Sunbird

For those interested, here’s an exhaustive list of birds spotted there:

Eastern/Western Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis Crested Serpent-Eagle – Spilornis cheela eagle sp. – Haliaeetus/Aquila sp. White-breasted Waterhen – Amaurornis phoenicurus Red-wattled Lapwing – Vanellus indicus snipe sp. – Gallinago sp. Spotted Dove – Streptopelia chinensis Greater Coucal – Centropus sinensis Little Swift (Indian House Swift) – Apus affinis Malabar Trogon – Harpactes fasciatus Malabar Grey Hornbill – Ocyceros griseus Malabar Barbet (Crimson-throated Barbet) – Psilopogon malabaricus White-cheeked Barbet (Small Green Barbet) – Psilopogon viridis Lesser Yellownape – Picus chlorolophus Rufous Woodpecker – Micropternus brachyurus falcon sp. – Falco sp. Plum-headed Parakeet – Psittacula cyanocephala Malabar Parakeet (Blue-winged Parakeet) – Psittacula columboides Vernal Hanging-Parrot – Loriculus vernalis Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike – Hemipus picatus Ashy Woodswallow – Artamus fuscus Common Iora – Aegithina tiphia Orange Minivet – Pericrocotus flammeus Long-tailed Shrike – Lanius schach Indian Golden Oriole – Oriolus kundoo Hair-crested Drongo (Spangled Drongo) – Dicrurus hottentottus Greater Racket-tailed Drongo – Dicrurus paradiseus Indian/Eastern Jungle Crow (Large-billed Crow) – Corvus macrorhynchos Red-rumped Swallow – Cecropis daurica Velvet-fronted Nuthatch – Sitta frontalis Flame-throated Bulbul (Ruby-throated Bulbul) – Pycnonotus gularis Red-whiskered Bulbul – Pycnonotus jocosus Yellow-browed Bulbul – Iole indica Green Warbler – Phylloscopus nitidus Greenish Warbler – Phylloscopus trochiloides Booted Warbler – Iduna caligata Blyth’s Reed-Warbler – Acrocephalus dumetorum Plain Prinia – Prinia inornata Oriental White-eye – Zosterops palpebrosus Dark-fronted Babbler – Rhopocichla atriceps Indian Scimitar-Babbler – Pomatorhinus horsfieldii Puff-throated Babbler – Pellorneum ruficeps Oriental Magpie-Robin – Copsychus saularis Malabar Whistling-Thrush – Myophonus horsfieldii Indian Blackbird – Turdus simillimus Southern Hill Myna – Gracula indica Jungle Myna – Acridotheres fuscus Nilgiri Flowerpecker – Dicaeum concolor Purple-rumped Sunbird – Leptocoma zeylonica Crimson-backed Sunbird – Leptocoma minima Long-billed Sunbird (Loten’s Sunbird) – Cinnyris lotenius Little Spiderhunter – Arachnothera longirostra Grey Wagtail – Motacilla cinerea

Weekend Family Fun : Overnight Camping Around Bangalore


For those of us living in the city, this is not just a great idea, it’s critical. We have all come from nature, we instinctively know it and belong in it, but our urban spaces often dull these connections and instinct. By now we even have tomes of research that connects our well-being to being out there, connected with nature, though of course deep in our hearts we’ve know that forever, haven’t we?

A weekend spent camping out there offers a lovely opportunity to spend a couple of days finding this connection again.

Here’s a few great reasons.


Our heads are perpetually abuzz, given the lives we live, schedules we follow and to do lists we chase day in and day out. A quick camping getaway is a great way to slow down, reduce the interrupts that drive life, and enable fresh thinking.

Be in the sun

Vitamin-D deficiency is assuming epidemic proportions these days. In recent times, the sun has been much maligned, and we forget that all the energy we have and use derives from it! We are, in some ways, mere bits of the sun, and it’s critical for us to spend some time out there soaking it up. An outdoors weekend at a campsite affords a lot of time out there, and helps recalibrate your climate-friendliness and adaptability 🙂

Campsites are in places where you can explore the outdoors in multitudes of ways – there’s boulders to climb, lakes, fields, treks to do and even farming if you want to try your hand at that.

Be there, out in the sun a bit!

Spend time together

No TV, no internet, no classes to attend, chores to finish, none of the myriad distractions that the city around you provides. You spend a lot of quality time with the family, or friends, or building a bond with the team. You face challenges together on a trek, you burn some meat trying to barbecue it over the fire, you sit around for long hours exchanging thoughts, jokes, stories and generally shooting the breeze around the campfire. This is probably the most amazing aspect of a camping trip and we feel delighted to see it happen again and again at our campsites.

Understand a different world

We live in fairly make-believe urban spaces. Milk comes from plastic packets delivered at your doorstep, and vegetables appear magically in large heaps at supermarkets. The connect with where these come from, the effort that goes into them, and the realization of how much processing and packaging actually take away from fresh food is a very precious takeaway – especially for the kids.

2013-07-14 06.49.49

And in places such as these, you observe the birds a lot more, you understand to respect wildlife, their behaviour, needs and how we can, and should co-exist with them without getting into exterminator mode.

Sleep in a tent!

This is a must-do- experience if you’ve always wondered what camping feels like. It’s not about the sleep quality – it’s about the fact that you’re in a “room” with a mere canvas skin, under the stars, and practically on the earth (except for a little softer mud pack and a few mats that we add to make it comfortable). It’s a great lesson in how little we really need 🙂


The places we live in are old, irrespective of what we know about the past of the cities we gave names and tags to more recently. Places out of town still let you explore the past – often with living remnants. From  our campsites, you can go check out the awe-inspiring Madhugiri Fort, Namada Chilume, peek into the gold mining around Bangalore, discover where and when the Marathas made incursions and left behind traces that live on even today!

Easy, Quick, Affordable!

For your first taste of camping, an overnighter’s plenty. A place about a 100-150 km from town also let’s you head out early on Saturday morning, drive there quickly, and spend a whole weekend in the outdoors. Thankfully, places around Bangalore are beautiful in every direction, there’s hills, forests, farms and the weather’s relatively benign. There’s also a lot of variety in terms of terrain, activity, food and history. It’s the quickest, easiest getaway you can do on a whim over a regular weekend, and often costs less than a movie, a trip to the mall and dinner outside!

The Palathra Heritage at Mararikulam. Getting there, and Around



At Mararikulam, off NH-47, take the Beach Road towards the Arabian Sea. Just after the Mahadeva (Shiva) Temple there, there’s a right turn onto the Mararikulam – Kanichukulangara Road. A few hundred metres into this, you will see the gate and signboard for “Palathra Heritage” on your left.

How To Get There (from Bangalore) :

Trains : Take an overnight train to Alleppey. From the station you’ll get plenty of cabs to cover the 16 odd km to Mararikulam. The cabs should charge your 450-500/-. If the train stops at Cherthala, about 10km from Palathra, you could disembark there as well.

You could also take a train to Ernakulam (Cochin) – many more trains go upto there. The distance from here to Palathra is about 50kms, and cabs should be available easily. If you find a connecting train to Cherthala, that’s a good option as well.

Buses : Overnight Volvos headed to Alleppey or beyond should drop you at Cherthala or even Mararikulam (check with them as you board) from where you should get autos or cabs to Palathra Heritage.

By Air (from Cochin) :

Take a flight into Kochi (Cochin). You should get plenty of cabs there to get you to Mararikulam, about 90km away.

Around There

  • The Beach : Marari’s famous beach is just about a kilometer away – you could walk/ride or take an auto.
  • St. Andrew’s Forane Basilica, Arthunkal : a beautiful 16th century Church about 7km away on the picturesque beach highway.
  • The Mahadeva Temple : A centuries old Shiva temple a short walk away is the only temple where Sree Mahadeva and Parvathi Devi sit facing each other.
  • Vembanad Lakea and the backwaters : The Muhamma Boat Jetty on the Vembanad lake is a few kms on the other side of the NH. Backwater cruises, and boats and ferries to the other side to get to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and to get to the Pathiramanal Island – another pretty paradise for birdwatchers – are available here.
  • Alleppey itself is a quick cab/auto/bus ride away. Old churches, ancient temples, trading hubs, the canals criss crossing town and the beach give the town a very timeless feel.
  • Fort Kochi is a great one day trip – a lot of old buildings, Chinese fishing nets, world and trading history and shopping in a very walkable few square kilometers along the harbour.

Locally, autos, cabs and even public transport (buses, trains and ferries!) are plentiful and if you’d like, we’ll call one for you. Plan a trip to the Palathra Heritage, Mararikulam for a week long vacation, true Kerala style. The property has 5 old wooden huts transplanted in a green garden, authentic Kerala food and is perfectly situated for all of the above!

For reservations : or +91-959-005-0001