Sunday, 10 August 2014

For My Darling Daughter

Seventy years ago a successful businessman and pillar of Chettiar society, K. V. A. L. M. Ramnathan Chettiar

decided to build a house, as a gift for his newly married daughter, Visalakshi.  An unusual act, as it was traditional only to build houses for sons and the world was at war so construction materials were hard to come buy.

He was a respected, international financier and merchant and only the best would do for his precious child. 

1944 letter requesting permission to build the house
He imported Italian marble, 

Venetian glass lampshades 

Burmese teak

and had wonderful local, sun-fired tiles handmade for the dwelling. The rooms were gracious, high-ceilinged and cool.

A veranda ran around the house.

Beautiful gardens surrounded the dwelling

and wedding gifts, such as pots and pans and cutlery were loaded into the kitchens.

However, after 20 years the house was closed and the family moved - some to big cities in India and others to locations across the globe.

Original house key (our room key)
Bit large to slip into a pocket

Like Sleeping Beauty, the house remained, frozen in time, with dust and cobwebs gently covering its interior with a fine counterpane, whilst the years rolled by.

A decade ago, Visalakshi's daughter decided to re-open the house and breathe new life into it as a hotel so that others could enjoy its peace and ambience.

We have the privilege of staying in it for the next couple of days.

My view as I write


  1. Replies
    1. It is, but is is a glorious restored mansion in a crumbling ghost town. Do you know much about the Chettiars (or Nagarathars as they prefer to be called)? I might write a bit about them