Big Tree Cottages is an 8 room property nestled in an organic farm & a reserve forest, fringed by the ocean, in Chidiyatapu, Andaman Islands. From its inception, this resort has been a labour of love. Love for the beautiful islands we call home, for the waters that surround us, for the trees that shelter us. It is our long history and relationship with Chidiyatapu that led us to build The Big Tree Cottages, so we could better share our slice of paradise with like minded people from around the world.
The charm of Big Tree is its simplicity – the village vibes, the reserve forest that keeps the urban sprawl at bay, the warmth of the farmers, fishermen & sailors that are our neighbours & the simple arcadian rhythm that governs the days & nights of everyone that lives here. The rooster rouses the sun, who in turn wakes us. The moon plays with the sea, creating the high tides for us to go dive & snorkel, & then the lows that allow us to walk through the ephemeral intertidals.
As the sun dips into the sea each evening, the sky lights up dramatically in pink and orange and the birds come home to roost. As the moon rises from behind the trees the Andaman Scops Owl emerges and cat eyes glow. At the Big Tree Cottages we have tried to create a space where natural rhythms rule our days. We rise with the sun, plan our days with the sea, let loose when the mad moon rises and get tipsy under the starlight. Our rooms are designed to blend in with the trees around, our balconies open into the canopy, you can birdwatch as you bathe.
"We welcome you to the little village home we have made for you – we have tried to include the things you need to be comfortable, while excluding the things that bring the jarring lights and sounds of the city to this peaceful place."
Our founders fell in love with Chidiyatapu 10 years ago, when they opened their dive centre – Lacadives – on its shores. The simple village life, the warmth of its people, the wild forest that separated this haven from the rest of the island, but most of all, the blue seas and the stunning uninhabited islands of North & South Cinque and Passage (all accessible from here) were what drew them to this place.
Sumer is one of the country’s most experienced divers and an award-winning underwater photographer. His work is internationally acclaimed and he has shot for Greenpeace, Sanctuary Asia, Conde Nast Traveller and Vogue amongst others. He also films underwater and his work is featured in several films in India and abroad. He is passionate about conservation and living in nature.
Prahlad is known as the ad-guru of India. An avid media man, he has directed advertising films for Pepsi, Brittania, Unilever and many others. A pioneering entrepreneur, he is credited with bringing Scuba Diving to India, when he founded Lacadives in the Lakshadweep Islands more than 20 years ago. As an enthusiastic foodie, he has also started several restaurants in Mumbai and pays close attention to the going-ons of the Big Tree Café and Farm.
Most visitors to our property leave with a feeling of having found a home away from home. This is entirely thanks to the genuine warmth and bonhomie of our small team that works as a big family.
Friendly, unobtrusive but always attentive, Diya & Rajendra are the heart and soul of the Big Tree Cottages. Exceptionally multitalented, they are adept at sourdough baking, kombucha brewing, cake making, dreamcatcher weaving and lots of other hidden talents you will no doubt discover during your stay.
These three lovely ladies, known as aunty, mami and didi respectively, have lived in Chidiyatapu for most of their lives. You will hear their laughter ringing across the property as they flit from room to room, cleaning, tidying up and restocking supplies.
Rajesh was born and raised in Chidiyatapu and has gone through every role – from driver to dive centre worker – till he found his forever home in the kitchen. He assists our chef, Manoranjan along with Mukesh – both of whom come from West Bengal. Biswa is our friendly waiter who loves a full restaurant and busy tables.
Our two uncles, Jagannath and Tipil, are stalwart farmers who have been tilling land in Chidiyatapu for decades. They can be found down at the fields, planting fruit and vegetables, watering and weeding, and are absolute storehouses of information about Andaman flora and fauna.