- Address:c/o CGH Earth Casino Building, Willingdon Island,Place:ChettinadCountry:IndiaZip Code:630102
Southern India’s ancient tapestry hides many threads quite unknown to the casual visitor. Deep in the interior, away from the beaten track, are unimagined cultural treasure-troves - ways of life you’d never discover on a regular itinerary, yet all the more rewarding, because they are so removed from the commonplace.
In Visalam, it’s as if we found an old lamp, waiting to be burnished and relit.
And today, it illuminates for the discerning visitor, not just a land, but also a community and a way of life. The Chettiars were -and are - prosperous traders with a far-flung diaspora, stretching away even to Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. But their roots are here, in this ancient dust of Chettinad, deep in the Tamil Nadu interior. As good trading communities do, the Chettiars prospered. And Visalam is typical of the fine mid-century mansions they built in celebration.K.V.A.L.M. Ramanathan Chettiar, a respected pillar of the pre-independence Chettiar community, built Visalam for his eldest daughter. Fate decreed that the house was never used, except for occasional family weddings. Yet the family saw to its preservation with loving care.
Thus, when we set about the task of restoring Visalam, we were fortunate to inherit a fine canvas. The challenge was to paint in the details to perfection.
Our approach was one of minimum intervention. The fine Art Deco-influenced facades were not touched, but the inner halls were partitioned to create 15 spacious rooms, with en-suite baths. The old floors were relaid, using material from the same source as a half century prior.
Finally, the walls were redone with a traditional
finish using hand-ground seashell , lime, palm jaggery and egg white. This remarkable plastering, once de rigeur in Southern India’s gracious homes, has all but vanished now, due to the trouble and labour involved. At Visalam however, you can still experience its tactile, opalescent beauty first-hand.
The final secrets of Visalam are unlocked for you in another world entirely. This is the gallery kitchen, where, under Chef Thiyagarajan’s watchful eye, the fires of Chettinad are given full rein.
The cuisine of Chettinad is long famous in the region, and this interactive space allows you to see exactly how it came to be so.
Fried Murrell, Delicately spiced lamb, Robust curries with top-notes of fresh pepper and raw mango…Chettinad food is both distinctive and varied.
A fitting homecoming, and one like few others. Old Mr. Chettiar, we think, would have approved.
- Total Rooms:
- Room Facility:
15 restored heritage rooms with en suite baths The caress of airconditioning does little to interfere with the authenticity of the rooms and their furnishings - we added to some fine pieces that came with the house, by scouring the old antique markets of the region
- Room Services:
The three meals of the day are taken in separate spaces – The Breakfast Lounge, The Lunch Room and in the evening, the lamplit warmth of the Terrace Deck
- Other Facility:
Swimming pool. Open area/ lawns
- Location Advantage:
Visalam is CGH Earth Group's new experience in Kannadukathan situated 16 km from Karaikudi village in Chettinadu District of Tamilnadu in Southern India
- Access Airport:
80 km from Trichy Airport,105 km from Madurai Airport