A sweet retreat - The New Indian Express

A sweet retreat

Published: 14th October 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 13th October 2012 03:25 PM

Through Dindigul in Tamil Nadu lies a road flanked by green fields and shady coconut groves. It takes you to the Manjalparappu village in the Nilgiris, climbing up amidst lime-green vegetation. Then the tributary of a tiny road jiggles through a village; then a bridled path curls along upwards, through a pepper, jackfruit and coffee plantation to end before an avenue of stately palms and a palace resort built in the Kerala architectural style.

The 16-winged palace was constructed and refined over 250 years, using timber from the forests of the princely Travancore family of Kerala. The Rajakkad Garden Hotel—as the palace is known now—stands at an elevation of 3,500 feet on Rajakkad estate in the Palani hills. Courtyards and pools surpise the visitor and anyone staying in any of the eight rooms can use the various covered walkways to reach the library, the dining room and sitting rooms. The mountain winds feel refreshing, directed through the narrow louvres of many screens and latticed doorways .The hotel’s guest rooms are arranged around a quiet courtyard in the western wing of the building. Rooms are furnished traditionally, appointed with a mix of antiques and local pieces, and have sliding walls made of slatted wooden panels that open into private yards. The rooms have no fans or air conditioners.

Some rooms have whimsical elements, like the one that overlooks coffee trees sloping down into the forest and a lush green lawn covers the distance between the door step and an individual terrace wrapped around a wild fig tree. The food is continental and south Indian. The ingredients are procured from a small farm in the hotel premises. Lunch and snacks are served at mid-day, and the menu is changed everyday: starter, main course and dessert. Being in coffee country,

coffee from freshly ground beans from the estate make Rajakkad an authentic experience.

At Rajakkad, taking a guided walk or excursion may lead you to edge of precipice, from where can be seen a hillock in the shape of a somnolent elephant. A waterfall nearby cascades down 60 ft to reaches the Kamarajar Lake in Dindigul. The guide says there are bisons, deer and wildcats in the forests beyond, but it may be all talk. For who has ever met a wild bison in Dindigul?                                             

Contact Pio Coffrant [Hotel Manager] at +919811797361 or Robesh George [Rajakkad Estate Manager] at +918973444555. email: reservation@rajakkadestate.com

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