Kerala's Mountains and Parks camps - Rajakkad
The journey from the arid plains of Tamil Nadu, climbing on the winding roads of the green Palani Hills is just the first of the joys of Rajakkad. In a state justifiably loved for its rich culture, thronging temples and incredible architecture, the cool hills and simple styling here are literally a breath of fresh air.
Surrounded by 50 acres of coffee, banana and peppercorn plantations, the single storey house with its wooden columns and screens, laterite and plaster walls began its life in the 18th century as the Pallam Palace in Kerala, a summer retreat of the Maharajas of Travancore. After it was ‘discovered’ in the 1990’s by a descendent of the Fry’s chocolate family it was renovated and later moved and reconstructed, piece by piece, in its present location.
And what a location it is! In a remote spot at an elevation of 1000m and approached along an avenue of royal palms, Rajakkad is surrounded by natural beauty. This is a place to switch off and enjoy the wilderness, relax in a hammock, spot birds and butterflies, stroll through the estate, swim in the nearby river or take a more challenging guide hike in the hills. Excursions to hill temples can be arranged if you are not already ‘templed-out’ from a journey around Tamil Nadu or prefer to stay here for longer and explore the surrounding area for just a taste of Tamil culture.
The newly restored property is arranged around courtyards and pools and is naturally cooled by gentle breezes. A polished black oxide yoga platform built into the hillside and with views over the forests is the perfect place to take a class in Sivananda, Ashtanga, or Hatha yoga with one of the two fully qualified residential instructors. There is a library, sitting room and dining room and, whilst Rajakkad provides contemporary comfort, the owners have tried to keep it as simple and authentic as possible.
Regional and Mediterranean dishes using many locally grown ingredients are served on the terrace, or a picnic can be packed for lunch at a waterfall. It should go without saying, but you’ll also get a decent cup of coffee.
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