This gorgeous little hotel is tucked away in the gently rolling Palani Hills of central Tamil Nadu in South India. It is home to 8 charming rooms housed within an 18th century wooden structure that perfectly expresses its rich architectural heritage. Surrounded by forest and coffee estates and at an elevation of 1000m, it is ultimately peaceful and has a soothing, constant climate.
Rajakkad, like all interesting houses with a history, has evolved over a period of time. It is organic by nature, dynamic in energy, and has been constructed and refined over 250 years, using timber cut from the forest reserves of the princely Travancore family. The estate is approached along an avenue of royal palms as you slowly climb to the top of the hill. The building comprises courtyards and pools and is naturally cooled by gentle breezes wafting through louvered screens and doorways. There is a library, a sitting room and a dining room and, whilst Rajakkad provides contemporary comfort, the owners have tried to keep it as simple and authentic as possible. It’s cosy, it’s homely, it’s true to itself. Simple, airy rooms with attached bathrooms fan off from the main courtyard and each has private access to the garden. Fine linen and deep mattresses and pillows ensure an excellent night’s sleep whilst the colourful furnishings and tadlac finishes contrast subtly with the wooden structure.
Rajakkad is a place to come and immerse yourself in nature, to take time out of a busy, culturally intensive itinerary and surround yourself with birdsong, views from heaven, lush, dripping jungles and just a little bit of wilderness wonder. Relax on shady terraces, in a hammock, or in the garden, visit the farm, explore the coffee estate, or wander the many meandering paths on the estate. Due to the refreshingly cool climate, the walking here is fantastic and the estate is home to a huge number of migratory and indigenous birds – a veritable birdwatcher’s dream!
The more active can join in local temple festivals or enjoy full day walks, with a feast of a picnic provided, taking you through rocky gorges, under the jungle canopy, past waterfalls and natural pools, or through welcoming villages.
Being only 1 hour from Dindigul and Kokaikanal, 2 hours from Madurai (airport) and Palani, 3 hours from Trichy (airport) and Karaikudi, 4 hours from Munnar, Tanjore and Coimbatore (airport), Rajakkad is highly accessible and provides the perfect, restful, wilderness break in a demanding South Indian tour.
Rajakkad places high importance on its sustainability and strives for minimal impact on the environment. As little as possible was disturbed during its reconstruction and they have extensive water harvesting systems in place. They have constructed numerous and small check-dams across the valley, to catch and draw the rain-water back into the ground, they have sunk cisterns into the ground to harvest the water from the roofs of the house and that whole system is a gravity feed from top to bottom, with outlets at intervals to address the various planted areas of the estate.
In water, they try to be as entirely self-sufficient and SPARING as possible all grey water is used on the estate which is healthy, active and entirely organic. They use only natural compost mixtures, which include cow-dung and slurry, neem oil/water as a spray to protect the young plants and the drying of their crop is in the sun, spread out over the farm yards. The delicious South Indian and Mediterranean cuisine is produced from locally sourced ingredients daily and there is a small farm which supplies much of the daily requirements.
A delightful little traditional Malayali, wooden palace hotel with oodles of charm and character and history. Small enough to be perfect for a select group of friends to take over and who want to get away into the hills and spend time walking, catching up, feasting, imbibing and loving the jungle location. Limited local entertainment possible.
For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or the hotel.
Practice yoga on a ‘pond like’ platform in the heart of the dripping, noisy jungle.
By air to Madurai followed by a 1 ½ hour road journey.
By road it is also easily accessed from Tanjore, Trichy, Chettinad, Kodaikanal and Munnar.