Travel Blogs from Kochi
So, yes, travel it is: out of Mumbai's domestic airport on a short flight down the Western coast of India, to Kochi (or Cochin) in the State of Kerala, to be picked up by a sign-carrying assigned driver, with passable English, the hour-and-a-half further on mostly decent roads, except for the pot holes and speed bumps of the last fifteen minutes, …
The Gramam Homestay meals at Jos' house are superb, prepared by his wife, Lyma. Delightfully seasoned fish, so fresh that even our daughter will try some, spiced vegetables steamed in coconut milk, the most wonderful chick pea dish I’ve ever tasted – again, even Kamini and Peter liked that one – and a particular specialty of this …
Time to leave north India and start the second half of our Indian adventure with a three hour flight from Delhi to Kochi (formerly Cochin) in the southern state of Kerala with the wonderfully named SpiceJet - our plane was called 'Pepper.' The journey took most to the day and a delay of 45 minutes seems to count as practically on time. On the way …
To be honest, the combination of all the travelling, a poor night's sleep and the sticky heat meant we probably weren't in the best frame of mind for the morning's sightseeing tour. (An eco homestay sounds great on paper but the first night without air conditioning had rather taken its toll on us northern types...) The fact that the guide seemed to …
We were both feeling a little guilty about Cameron - historic monuments aren't really his thing and we were in yet another hotel without a pool (we aren't completely inconsiderate - the Agra hotel had shut its pool without notice and, by chance, all our other hotels-with-pools had been back loaded onto the end of the holiday) so we thought we would …
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Historical Traveler Reviews Gramam Homestay Kochi
Our best holiday ever
We had the most wonderful three weeks at Gramam Homestay. We decided this year to spend our whole holiday in one place and make visits from this base.
In our opinion a better host would be very hard to find. Jos's skills in planning and organising our trips and also in anticipating our every need were (we thought) unsurpassable.
The accommodation was perfect for our needs and as well as all the wonderful excursions that Jos planned for us we spent many hours by the backwaters reading writing, pondering and of course just dozing.
Neither should we forget Jos's charming family and the wonderful food prepared by his lovely wife.
We visited many wonderful places during our stay but somehow we were always glad to be able to return "home" in the evening to 'Neduveli House'
We would also like to thank the two local taxi drivers (I'm not sure if we adopted them or they adopted us) Shaji and Anthony, who looked after us so well on all our trips, and finally thank you to all the folk in the village for their welcome and friendliness.
The holiday made such an impression on us that for the first time in twenty years we are returning to the same place next year and have already booked to visit Jos, his family and all the folks in North Kumbalangi again in 2007.
A great time in Kerala
We visited Gramam homestay as part of a 10 day trip organised by Jos. His own homestay is in a delightful, rural setting and close enough to Fort Cochin for easy sightseeing. The sunset boat ride was a relaxing and yet fascinating insight into the working lives of local fishermen. The rest of the trip that Jos organised took us to a series of homestays and included a day and night on a boat on the backwaters. Our entire programme ran unbelievably smoothly; the places we stayed and the people we stayed with were thoroughly charming, travel was easy, food was fantastic and the whole experience was both relaxing and interesting. i would have no hesitation in recommending Jos, his homestay and his tours to anyone. It was delightful to be away from the bland and overpriced environment of 5 star hotels - ok so sometimes we showered in luke warm water and we didn't have air conditioning. But we did have fantastic food, we met friendly and welcoming people and stayed in a series of traditional/heritage houses. We didn't see many big "sights" but we really did get an opportunity to learn so much about the way of life in Kerala. A really memorable trip!
Perfect intro to India
Our 2 night stay at Kerala Gramam was the perfect beginning to a 3 week visit to India, with Jos Byju (pronounced Bayzjoo and mostly used as his first name tho we didn't realise that till we left!) also arranging 3 other fanastic homestays for us in Kerala (plantations, beach and houseboat) before we headed up north.
Kerala Gramam is Jos's family's large bungalow in a village outside Cochin. The guest accommodation is in one wing, very clean, with mosquito net over a large bed, its own verandah for tea and a walk in shower room. Meals are eaten in the family dining room but we would have prefered to eat with the family as we felt a bit lonely with just the two of us in there! Byju's wife Lyma is a GREAT COOK and, being more used to backpacking, we were constantly amazed at how many meals and snacks were prepared for us at just the right times throughout the day without us having to ask for them!
Byju also arranged for Anthony, our lovely driver throughout the week, to accompany us around Kochi and to our other homestays in Teekoy (Vanilla County) and Alleppey (Arakal (Beach) in his wonderfully stylish and clean white Ambassador. That meant we didn't waste time making decisions about what to do... and Anthony never once tried to take us to his 'brother's emporium' to earn himself commission (which did happen to us a lot later on in the trip).
Throughout the week in Kerala, we enjoyed a range of activities Byju had set up, especially the Kathakali Dancing in Cochin, a sunset cruise on the lake at the bottom of his garden, trekking through the hill plantations, swimming in rock pools, midnight mass in Malayalam and riding on an elephant on Alleppey beach. He really did arrange our best holiday ever. We were slightly less happy with the houseboat because the waterways were SO busy and we felt our tourism was probably spoiling the environment (diesel, noise and encroaching on people's daily lives on the backwaters). All in all though, we had a fantastic time and after 8 days in Kerala felt completely relaxed and ready to face Delhi the following week!
Wunderbares homestay bei jos und seiner familie
es war ein guter enttscheid,die erste indienreise in kumbalangi bei jos und seiner familie zu beginnen.der aufenthalt übertraf all unsere erwartungen.die terassenausicht auf den wilden palmenhain mit den backwaters im hintergrund ist paradiesisch.die laute der vielen vögel erfreute unsere ohren.auch die frechen raben zählen zu unseren freunden.das gesunde und schmackhafte essen erfreut gaumen und geist gleichermassen.jos in seiner liebevollen art, war stets für uns da, um uns auskunft zu geben, oder einfach einen lustigen schwatz mit uns zu halten.wohl fühlten wir uns auch bei den offenen und freundlichen menschen im dorf.die herrlichen (motorlosen)bootsfahrten mit peter durften wir gleich zweimal geniessen...yes!eines tages kehren wir zurück,um unsere lieben freunde zu besuchen.wir können diesen wunderbaren ort der ruhe nur empfehlen und wünschen allen von herzen alles liebe und gute. beat und ines
Jos arranged not only our home stay, car and driver, Katakali dancing soiree, but also our houseboat tour of the backwaters of Allepey. His wife is a most excellent coo and he can be proud of his two young sons.
The rooms were scrupulously clean... proven when my wife retrieved her pen dropped under the bed! We heartily recommend Jos and his ability as a tour arranger.
Harvey and Patty Gagnon
Homy and professional
Gramam Homestay is convenient and in quite and beautiful surroundings at the shore of a peaceful lake. More important than this is that you get a homy feeling by talking to Jos, his two keen eyed sons and from eating delicious meals cooked by Jos' wife Lyma. Gramam is a good base for exploring Cochin. My daughter Hanna (16 yrs) and I were spoiled by taking the private car that Jos arranged, but it should not be hard to take a taxi, a motor-rickshaw or even the bus to see the historical sights of Fort Cochin or to go shopping in Ernakulam.
Jos arranged the whole trip for us, extending the 6 days package offered on his web-site to 9 days. Four of them we stayed with Jos. Not knowing Jos and with previous experience from traveling in India many years ago we were prepared for surprises. The worst thing that happened was a non-incident: our driver got stuck over night in his village and failed to be back in time one morning. Jos found a new car with a new driver and we were on our way delayed by at the most 10 minutes! This non-incident is mentioned just to prove that the whole arrangement was personally attended and professionally organized.
Jos is very perceptive to the individual needs and interests of his guests. For us he arranged a bicycle ride in the country side including our best breakfast at a prawn farm, a boat trip, a Malayalam movie that we could understand and enjoy the main theme of, a visit to a vegetarian restaurant and more. The visits to the other homestays and the transfers were also adapted to our time schedule and preferences.
What we are most satisfied with from our home-stay trip is that we came back home with a genuinely positive experience from Kerala and the Keralan people, avoiding the hassle at tourist stalls and bus stations that poorly reflect the friendliness of the vast majority. Some people have in Jos' guest book expressed concerns that details at the home-stay may differ from multiple stars hotels but I just wish that Jos ignores these comments and preserve the homy feeling that we experienced. Be prepared that the nearby Hindu temple might wake you up some mornings - but after all, even if you can feel like home at Gramam you did not come here for it to be like home.
Basking in the Backwaters
Everything about this place is wonderful.
We ate well, we slept well and in a beautiful room, we relaxed by the side of the water while palm trees rustled in the distance. And while we were congratulating ourselves on our amazing find, we were called up to tea on the verrandah. The perfect holiday solution !
Something different from a hotel!
From 14th thru 17th of October 2005 we have stayed at Gramam Homestay
(Gramam means in Malayalam language: Village) which is run by a small
Keralite family at Kumpalangi. For those who like to see what is Kerala
rural life style is, this will be the option. This is an old typical Christian
Family Tharavadu from over 60 years back built in the middle of a village
set in serene surroundings.
Here, you can enjoy the beautiful unspoiled wanter-front the mother nature
have provided us! Breakfast is included in the room price. However,
if you require toast, eggs, cereals or fruits please remind the owner in
advance so that he could arrange. Otherwise, you are likely to receive the
Kerala style breakfast! Lunch, Dinner could also be arranged by the owner of the house upon request. Snacks and tea also no problem.
Laundry service is available for a moderate rate. Taxi could be arranged
for sight-seeing with the owner. We have availed the service of Alleppey
Boat ride for 5 hours from him and the tour was worth seeing. The food
cooked within the boat was excellent.
Items to take along with you:
1) an umbrella (Not obligatory)
2) a torch light
3) Mosquito spray for evening only
4) Washable Chappals/Sandals
5) Last but not least ear-plugs (in case of necessity/emergency)
Pros: -Typical Village feeling on the contrary to a hotel
-Run by the family and by staying there, u are supporting a family
for their living
-Very friendly owner and family
-Clean house and rooms
-Nice water-front for reading books and sit-out for an evening tea
-Nice boat-ride at Alleppey
Cons: None to my knowledge except praying loud by the Mosque and
nearby temple through the loudspeaker early morning for a
short period. If you feel uncomfortable, note down the exact time
and use ear-plug during this time-frame. I have done it, and was
ok. Looks like the owner have complained to the locals but was
not considered as it is a religious and sensitive issue for which
nothing can be done! In addition Kerala is known for its
diversified communities with friendliness and tolerence between
Hindus, Christians and Muslims!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience for us to be there at Gramam Stay!
Happy days if you are at Kumpalangi!
What a find!
We stayed 2 nights at Kerala Gramam Homestay and really enjoyed staying in a village environment. The room was nicely furnished, clean and very comfortable, plus the water's edge was just a 50m stroll away, so great to just go and relax and chill out. The homestay owner, Jos, also arranged the rest of our trip in Kerala for us, organising all travel and accommodation in other heritage homestays, plus a houseboat trip. This was a godsend, as we'd had no time to get organised before we came, and he did us proud! His wife's cooking was also excellent!!! Thoroughly recommend staying here...
Homestay in Cochin India
We spent three nights at the Kerala Gramam Homestay with Jos Byju and his wife Lyma and two sons. Located in the small village of Kumbalangi, it is a perfect place to relax from the somewhat "hetic" pace of the city.
The only drawback for us (as we our used to getting around on our own) was that we were not within walking distance of the tourist areas. However, Jos will arrange a driver and car/taxi for you when needed. He is also very capable and willing to help you with any other travel arrangements you might need for sightseeing or onward travel.
Our room was pleasent with ceiling fan, ensuite shower bath and western toilet. One of the amenities of the homestay are the home cooked Keralan meals prepared by Jos's wife Lyma. It's worth a stay just to sample her cooking.
We enjoyed our excursion to the crab & prawn farm to watch the fishermen throw out their nets and our visit to the Neduveli farm house where we had the mouth watering dessert "Mutta Kuzal Appam". Don't miss it.
The homestay is a very nice way to stay with a local family and is reasonably easy on the budget.