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Rajakkad Estate, Western Ghats – Madurai (Tamil Nadu)

Originally constructed in the 18th century, this building is a fine example of the southern vernacular, a jigsaw of wooden parts influenced by the house building traditions of Kerala. Drawn from the forests of the Western Ghats, it is a construction of many thousands of interlocking beams, panels and screens, sheltered by a roof canopy that appears to float above, making light of a structural complexity that reflects a forgotten refinement.

Rajakkad’s Pallam Palace began life in a very different environment. It settles now with quiet authority upon its hill, having found its way here. Twice dismantled, twice transported, twice re-assembled, a living testimony to its wondrous construction.

Rajakkad would not have taken quite the same path without the considerable input and sensitive eye of Pio Coffrant, of the Rose Hotel, in Delhi and the exuberant spirit of Agathe Gaillard, who has established the Maison Rose, in Pondicherri.

Pio project-managed the thoughtful reconfiguration of the building and it is a celebration of colour and occasion, the trademark of Agathe that has left its mark on the interior. Her Pondicherry-based uncle Claude has made much of the furniture, notably the metalwork chairs and tables.

What you see today has been very much guided by these friends of Rajakkad.

While providing great comfort, Rajakkad has been kept as simple and authentic as possible. There are 7 spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, including an authentic Alma bedroom, with extra beds for young children. All the bedrooms are accessed through the main courtyard and each room connects to the garden via its own entrance.

White walls and black oxide floors contrast gently with the wooden structure. Furniture is contemporary yet elegant, with colours complimented by carpets from Samarkand. Beds are made up with fine brushed cotton sheets, luxurious quilts and deep pillows. Bathrooms walls have a pearly Tadlac finish with large white South Indian cotton towels for guests. The soft furnishings have been chosen to suit each individual room and its surroundings.

Rajakkad offers contemporary gourmet cuisine with a focus on quality ingredients sourced locally every day. We run a small farm on the estate grounds, which supplies the kitchen and feeds the table. The cuisine is predominantly South Indian with influences from the Mediterranean. Our chef is equally at home making some of the most delicious South Indian curries, hummus, and ginger lemon cake.

For those wanting a hearty start to the day there is choice of a Continental or Indian breakfast. Residing in coffee country has its advantages and we take pride in serving freshly grounded coffee. Light lunches & snacks are also served at mid day. The dinner menu changes daily with a starter, main course and dessert.

Breakfast, lunches, anytime tea or coffee can be served either on the tree shaded terrace of your choice, or in the dining room.