ASHLEY BUNGALOW

Ashley Bungalow was built in 1868 by the Baker family and is one of the oldest surviving planters bungalows in Peermade, today. It exemplifies the exquisite carpentry of the British Raj. The original ambiance and decor have been carefully preserved to reflect the lifestyle of the early British planter. The building stands, commanding a magnificent view facing south, at the opening of a ghat on the valley which flows down gently to the plains below. The road twists and turns around the hills through the tea gardens around the bungalow and reach at the three bayed high laden front of the building. The bungalow is a sleeping place of history of the hills of Travancore, where tradition and antiquity lay asleep. Ashley Estate is one of the earliest clearings on the hills of Central Travancore in Peermade village, opened in 1862 by Henry Baker and his brothers Robert and George. They were joined by John Daniel Munro, who later became related to the Bakers by marrying Henry Baker’s younger daughter. His is the most remembered name in the hills as he was the mastermind behind the opening of various estates. As George Baker moved back to Kumarakom, Robert extended his interests to cardamom and served as Magistrate of Forestry. By 1916, the Estate passed over to Miss Munro who later handed it down to her daughter Mrs. J. A Richardson, and was kept by her heirs until it was bought by its present owners A.V George and Company in 1948. The second highest peak of the Western Ghats called Amrithamedu shoots up from the boundaries of this estate. As the bungalow is situated on an opening in the ghat, there is good scenery all around. One breathtaking view is that of the ‘Suicide Point’, a cliff in the Glenrock Estate overlooking the bungalow. There are fruit trees such as avocado, grapes, and oranges in the northern side of the garden with cardamom and other spices as intermittent plans. 

The bungalow has a three bayed high laden front and steps with scalloped ledges, making it a curious mixture of local styles and English architecture. The garden is landscaped with a green lawn fringed on the southern side with trees like norfolk, pine, cypress, blue gums, and spathodia. The thick foliages which lazily let the sun rays sieve through them, makes us feel the embrace of nature. The westerly wind sweep across the drawing-room set majestically with large doors among spans of glass running the full southern side. From the drawing-room on the western side, there is a little passage with a unique floor that ends just before a single room, tucked in a corner. Inside the room, there is a single cot with unique rod-metal work. The room is under partial shade, making it cool and soothing. A large bedroom adjacent to the passage on the western side is also unique with tar and black oxide laid on its floor, making it very peculiar to walk on. Cutting across to the dining room and further north is the second largest bedroom neatly laid with its muscular furniture made of teak wood. The eastern side has two double rooms. The first is a huge one with massive cots and furniture made in abstract Victorian and mid-Victorian styles. The corner most bedroom on the east is humorously called the ‘honeymooner’s den’ and is set up in a quiet and totally undisturbed corner. The bungalow is painstakingly restored by the present owners, A.V George and Company. 

On the high ranges, Ashley Bungalow will not only etch but truly realize your finest dreams of a summer bungalow. Escape from the heat and pollution to the cool salubrious environment of the High Ranges. Soak in the laid back and graceful lifestyle of the Munroes and Richardsons. This cozy remote getaway is located 2 km from Kuttikanam amidst the plantations of AVG Group of Companies. This sylvan sanctuary is situated at 4000ft above mean sea level among the tea plantations where heaven and earth merge. Free from the stressful city sound bytes in this nostalgic abode is the reminiscent tradition of the Raj era. The famous Periyar Tiger reserve is just an hour's drive away. Ashley is an ideal destination for trekking and gives your eyes a fascinating and hypnotizing feast of the scenic beauty of tea and cardamom plantations landscaped in misty green along with the silvery clouds.

Access: 150 km from Nedumbassery Air Terminal
               70 km from Kottayam Railway station

Accommodation: 
The property which is a popular film shooting locale consists of four double rooms and one single room and takes you back to the glory of the British era days. All five bedrooms have fireplaces and large, ventilated bathrooms. This spacious home, with a lofty domed ceiling made of wood and tiled floors, is still kept in its old grandeur. There is masterpiece woodwork, separating the dining room from the drawing-room. The large windows and good wall space of the rooms join together effortlessly to give the bungalow an elegant look. The nearby Stagbrook estate where the manager’s estate is yet another beautiful colonial building. There is also a Bison Valley temple and the ancient St. George Church in the vicinity, which is perfect for a picnic. 

Location