After leading a hard life as tea planters, Tamil Nadu natives Joe and Hermie Mathias decided to retire in the foothills of the Nilgiris wanting to start a business of their own.

In 1986, the duo set up Jungle Hut, a sustainable homestay located in the heart of nature.

Currently run by their son, Vikram and his wife Anushri, the place has grown into a paradise for nature lovers.

“We have no background in the hospitality sector. I am a BA graduate and Vikram used to be an automobile engineer. We chose to quit our jobs and take up the homestay business as his parents were unable to manage everything,” Anushri says.

Calling the decision the best decision of her life, Anushri continues and expands the homestay following the same principles as her in-laws.

Located at a distance of 35 km from Ooty, 100 km from Mysore, and 250 km from Bengaluru, the place has 15 rooms.

The area constitutes the buffer zone of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, which is home to a wealth of wildlife including the Bengal tiger, leopard, Asian elephants, Indian gaur, sloth bear, hyena, wild boar, and many others.

Additionally, it is also a paradise for bird watchers, serving as a hotspot for several species including white-throated kingfisher, Indian scimitar babbler and varieties of woodpeckers.

Vikram and Anushri provide facilities for swimming pool, indoor games, trekking, jungle safaris, and bird watching.

The homestay is also equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels on top of each room.

“We offset more than 50% of our normal consumption of electricity because of solar water heaters and heat pumps,” Anushri explains.

The duo has similar sustainably run properties in Goa and Srirangapatna. The Jungle Hut property alone welcomes more than 5,000 guests per season.