Faces of Kodaikanal

I walked on my favorite street, stopping at the tea stall I stopped every day at 4 pm. We exchanged greetings and my regular lemon mint tea was ready.  It was these little things that made Kodi home.

Having given up on home 2 years earlier, Kodaikanal came closest to feeling like home. And if I am to be honest, I felt most home there than any other place felt and not because I had a permanent place of boarding, I lived on a backpack and changed places every few days/weeks, it was because of the people I met there. 

The time I spent there allowed me to get to know some people who are doing great work in healthy living that causes less harm to nature. Here is a list of some of the people I got to know on my journey:

Vera and George:

The owner of the first hostel I stayed in in Kodaikanal introduced me to his favorite ‘sourdough bread’, A slice of it was enough to make me fall in love. No trip to town was complete without a loaf of this dense, filling, and healthy bread. The shelf life of 15 days was an added advantage that suited my backpackers’ life.

George has a range of organic products like plum jam, stone ground mustard, pasta sauces, Biscotties, homemade cookies, marmalades, sauces etc. I always had at least one of his products in my room so of course I was excited to meet the person behind the name – George’s Gourmet kitchen.

Two woman and one man smiling at the camera

At Thanksgiving dinner that George +1 me to

Set amidst a sprawling 5 Acre plum tree farm is their house which is an artist’s haven, I renamed their guest room to ‘Manisha’s room’ because I would stay back so often. Around the entrance is the kitchen all products are made at.

Vera is an artist and I was blessed to have been invited in her studio once and thereby getting a peek into her magic world. The inspiring story behind some of her popular work had me and friends spellbound.

Four people smiling at the camera

at Vera’s studio

 

Vera also has carpentry skills and is the one who has made most of the shelves in George’s kitchen which by the way smells like heaven.

Together they take care of multiple dogs and provide adoption opportunities to people.

poster to adopt a dog

KSPCA

A power couple I look up to. One of the few partnerships that bring meaning to the word partnership.

Puppies

Cuties

You can buy few of the items that George makes here – George’s gourmet kitchen

Jayashree Kumar:

A professional editor, Jayashree is a name you would come across at various places in Kodaikanal which might make you wonder how many of them are there but believe me there’s only one of her.

She volunteers at the Library in Kodaikanal International School which is open to all (I was obsessed with this library). She is also part of the knitting club which is the best place to get help with knitting.

Booked lined on floor

We were organizing the library – Heaven.

You can get her co-authored book on Kodaikanal here – Kodaikanal

Jayashree is also one of the trustees of Potters shed that helps kids with education through the sale of their stunning range of ceramic kitchenware. 

Anshu and Anurag:

Anshu runs a charming store of garden decorative – Woodpecker. it houses terrariums, planters, solar-powered lights, and other beautiful things.

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Just underneath Aby’s

Anurag makes these beautiful houses made entirely of wood and that can be assembled within a week. I had the opportunity to see one in Kodi that has been there for 2 years and looked like it was built yesterday.

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It’s as good from inside as it is from outside

Together they also run my favorite cafe in town – Aby’s. During my time in town, I would have at least one meal a day in Aby’s. The cutlery is environment-friendly and the staff is treated like family. What I also love about the cafe is seeing how Anshu treats her staff. I have seen the cafe running on half capacity on a busy day because the staff prioritized home over work and the owners respect that. The food is made in an open kitchen and served with a heavy dollop of love. 

Vegetarian meal

Just like homemade food

Priyashri Mani and Nishita Vasanth:

Packed in glass jars with a cotton cloth on the lid, you can’t miss their range of honey in Kodaikanal.

Honey is categorized based on the season, the flower the nectar is taken from among other factors. Priya and Nishita have employed local women in their team and get their honey from the Paliyan tribals who have been doing this for generations. 

Two women

Buy their organic products here – Hoopoe on a Hill

Subramaniam Anna – Master Potter

Samramaniam anna was identified as a skilled local potter and was sponsored a three-year pottery training in Pondicherry.

Potter with his wheel

Meditation

His beautiful pottery is available at Potters shed on PT road and the proceeds from the sale are used to educate underprivileged kids in and around Kodaikanal.

Stoneware in potters shed

Look at all this beauty

P.S: It’s closed on Sundays.

Please let me know if you think I could add someone to the list.


Manisha Singh

I'm an HR (IT) Consultant by profession who loves traveling to keep from getting caught up in the monotony of regular life. I quit my job in Oct 2016 to take a career break. I'm using my time to travel around South America. When not traveling I love spending time volunteering for various activities ranging from Art to corporate citizenship. I love Running (5k mostly), reading (interest keeps varying here), playing TT (something I picked up recently), and open to just about any new experience.

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