Birds & Animal Kingdom: Watch the birds and pet animals in their natural habitat in close proximity to the guest dwellings. The warmth and friendliness they exude towards mankind is to be seen to be believed. Attention-grabbing sights of rabbits, parrots, lovebirds, white geese, pigeons & doves will enthrall you. Wooden nests are made for them where they come to roost.
They play the part of a perfect host in welcoming the visitors-the chirping of these birds...while short stature trees like manchiam, vembu, pine etc sway their heads in cool breeze as if in a trance. The shrubby tea, pepper, cardamom and ginger grass keep their heads fluttering as if in dance, dispersing a pleasant aroma to the surroundings.
There is an aviary where a large family of parrots and lovebird coexists without any kind of hostility.
Occasionally these innocent-looking creatures are let out into the meadows to linger around with guests.
The sprawling Vagamon hideout lies within 25 acres of land with a palatial lake at its centre, which is a landmark. In surrounding areas, you see uneven hills and dales decked with greeneries and canopies formed by little woods. Far behind, silhouetted against the blue sky lie barren black rock hills, inviting you to explore her. Kick off your winding nature trail now through various elevations, through the green growth of tea, cardamom and other plantations. Man-made cobbled stones are paved along the main pathways meandering the landscape. Wooden bridges are also provided above water stretches at certain junctions to allow crossing over. Trek the safety hills to enjoy the thrill of mountaineering. Cool wind blowing on your face will never make you drop. Fresh air of the verdant surroundings acts as an elixir that keep you energetic and wanderlust. Sun here will never make you weary, for it never ever sheds out its scorching heat. The changing mood and tint of the mighty sun over the hilltops can be viewed through the bedroom windows of your cottages, as there is barely any thick growth over the hills that hinders your vision. Most mornings as well as nights are misty, but the situation can change all on a sudden. Morning sun rays seeping down through the fogs presents a picturesque sight yes indeed, the world is beautiful !
If ever you feel travel-sore you can take a dip into the lake or make a leap into the private natural pool. At a shadowy recess in the hideout earth has been carved out to make it a swimming pool that ensures adequate privacy. A little bit of frolicking with water you can as there is also swing made of rope hanging from a tree branch leaning towards the centre of this pool.
The walls of the pool are built with jungle rocks (cut out from hill rocks by hand), and pressed together with clay. The pasty clay, taken from nearby areas, becomes a right kind of substitute for cement. The water in the lake and pools are fresh for there is a frequent inlet of fresh water from its origin, which is the fountain-like springs found in several places at higher altitude. Medicinal plants, and plantations like pepper, cardamom etc. planted in its course only add aroma and medicinal quality to the inflowing spring water. Your breathing of the fresh and invigorating atmospheric air here comes to be the first phase of your rejuvenation therapy and your bathing in water bodies becomes the second one.
You can also enjoy a cruising on the lake in country boats or in Machans (round boats) or in Bamboo rafters. But don’t get amazed when you see the flock of geese which you saw, just a moment before, waddling around you, wading through the water, as if to give you a company. Just call them their name, in a few minutes, they are by your side, so that you can watch them at close quarters.
The spot is the best bet for anglers. They can begin angling early morning and continue it till they are really fed up. Don’t fear you are going for an overkill, because there is an abounding population of fishes in different size, shape and colour in the hideout’s natural lake. It is here that guests spend hours after hours fishing either for fun or in order to fish out their choices to be included in their list of ‘food of the day’.
The hide out encompasses a wide variety of lush green vegetation, which adorns the ups and downs of the hills around. Tea, which dominates the flora is planted on terraced hill slopes. Cardamom and pepper are also planted in a mix with the tea at several places. When you savour a morning cup of tea, with the pleasant scent of cardamom poking your nostrils, remember that you are getting to taste the tea and cardamom, seen outside. Besides these extensive spice plantations, there are spots where plantains, several other fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants are grown and well cared for. In yet another location, you come across a line of honeycombs.
A small area portion of the hideout is kept apart for poultry and cattle farming. When the guests decide to go for an intake of more a nutritious food supplement in the form meat or egg, it is brought in from here. You need just order it. Pure milk, meat or egg, you can have it on your dining table in no time.
Here, it is again, you who choose where to live. Three types of uniquely constructed cottages are at your disposal. Row of jungle stones cottages array on one side, wooden cottages (Erumadams), propped on wooden poles juts out from the second side and clay cottages borders the third side, all overlooking the fresh-green hued natural pool. Like anywhere in the hideout the use of artificial substances like plastic has been reduced to minimum at the cottages also. Curious natural materials make up your homes here. Whatever be the construction, tribes at Vagamon make it all with eco-friendly materials. The rooms and bathrooms are fitted with modern amenities one would expect for their comfort. The furniture and fixtures are with lot of innovative planning to ensure an Eco-friendly ambience, at the same time all steps have been taken to make the stay most comfortable and relaxed. Roofs are thatched with well pressed bunches of a typical lengthy grass. A kind of plant leaves is also sometimes used along with bamboo and wooden poles. Tribal natives of Vagamon do this with mastered ease for they are used to such construction. Oil with the smell of ginger extracted from the above type of grass is used for cleaning the room everyday. Fresh oxygen flowing in from herbal plantation outside, smell of the oil used in cleaning the room, a kind of pleasant smell emanating from natural construction materials like wood, stones etc altogether render healthy environs for the inmates. No mosquito-menace, no sound pollution you can take a fresh breath and go for a deep sleep on the comfy, cozy cot.
Here you are going to savor the taste of purely ethnic Kerala cuisine, served in purely ethnic cutleries and crockery. Bowls, dishes, pots, cups and mugs made of clay, tray made of bamboo sticks, spoons made of ‘chiratta’ (coconut shell) all in bright red and brown colors are appealing to the eyes as the food is to the palate. Pick and Choose your ingredients/Dishes-Fish, Game birds, Rabbits, Poultry and Vegetables. No fixed menu nothing to do with northern or western recipes here you can pick out your choice directly from nature’s menu chest! You just name or point out from nature what you need. Be it tapioca, or banana or asparagus, you will have it on your dinner table top in ready-to-eat form. It is also an occasion for an acquaintance with the cookery excellence of native tribes. Food is prepared using traditional appliances like ammi (crushing stone) and attukallu (grinding stone), to give food preparations a taste of its kind and prevent modernity from sneaking into the bastions of traditional kitchen. Fuel for cooking fire is obtained from a small biogas plant annexed to the hideout. Biodegradable waste such as Cow dung, leftovers of vegetables etc are put to good use for biogas production.
Vagamon, located high above the sea level, has a chill in the air with accompanying fog from dusk to dawn inducing a misty night. Nothing would be more apt in such ambience than to sit by the open fire and the warmth of the bonfire keeps your body and soul warm (open fire is lit usually in cold nights). Add to this, the beat of the local 'Ramba Drums' by the local tribe folk, the music and the dance makes the evening complete.