I had to bow down to enter my cottage door at Dvara Siruvani in Tamil Nadu. This artistically carved door once belonged to an old chettiar home. More than a century old and short in stature, such doors imbibed the tradition of bowing while entering to show both respect and humility.
Sipping the welcome drink of vasantha neer, a traditional lemonade made from tender coconut water, mint, lemon juice and honey, I explored my mountain view pool cottage. Heirloom furniture including a wooden poster bed, first prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings and aesthetic artefacts complimented the interiors while an infinity plunge pool, sundeck and private garden
added to the luxury.
At the property, each cottage is named after a native flower. Mine was named Kurinji after the flower whose bloom can only be seen once every 12 years. Part of the RARE India Community that encourages conscious luxury be it via its hotels or experiences, Dvara Siruvani has a total of 10 cottages that include mountain view pool cottages and garden view cottages.
“The specialty of Dvara Siruvani is the delicious Kongunadu Cuisine that uses local ingredients to create unique dishes. Dry fish, nannari root, sesame oil, millets and indigenous rice are some of the common ingredients that we use,” explained Chef Sheik Mohideen, Corporate Chef - Dvara Resorts and Brand Chef – Savya Rasa as I savoured Keerai Vadai and Urulai Podi Varuval where baby potatoes were pan tossed and flavoured with a powder made of roasted lentils, red chillies, asafoetida and condiments.
For other meals, I ate Pollachi Mushroom Kozhambu with Kambu Roti and Vetrilai Poondu Sadam which is short grain rice flavoured with betel leaves and fried garlic. This one was my absolute favourite. The comfort food of Arisi Paruppu Sadam was sipped with Chukku Malli
When not eating at Aarogyam, the in-house restaurant which is also open to walk in patrons with prior reservation, I sat in the private garden of my cottage with a bowl of Karupatti Halwa and Paruthi Paal Halwa which was made from the milk of cotton seeds. Pineapple Payasam tussled with Elaneer Payasam and Elaneer won. Who can resist this kheer prepared with tender coconut water, milk and tender coconut flesh! Another culinary experience I enjoyed was the in-room barbeque where I initially donned the chef’s hat by preparing the barbeque but later passed on the skewers to the expert in-house chef.
At Dvara Siruvani, I felt like I was on a treasure hunt to unravel cultural memorabilia. At the recreation room, I played traditional board games like Pallanguzhi and Parama Pada Sopanam while posters from Tamil cinema’s golden age egged me on. Old utensils, South Indian antique artefacts, Tanjore Paintings and enamelware peeked through the common areas of the property. Reminiscent of old world Southern charm, the joy of opening the one of a kind antique safe weighing 1.7 tonnes made in Dindigul is still fresh. Watching the antics of miniature goats from Nepal, butterflies and love birds delighted the child in me.
Other times, I introspected under the Jamun tree planted by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2011 with the lingering fragrance of flowers for company or rejuvenated at the inhouse spa with a Balinese or Swedish therapy.
What To Do and See
I spent my evenings taking nature walks, bicycling and soaking in the spiritual vibrancy of the Adiyogi 3D laser show at Isha Foundation. Days were reserved for Temple visits including to the 12 th century Marudhamalai Hill Temple, live demonstrations of saree weaving and partaking in the simple yet enjoyable joys of village life.
Where: Dvara Siruvani, Karunya Post, Perumal Kovil Pathy, Tamil Nadu- 64114
Getting there:The nearest airport is Coimbatore at a distance of 30 kms. Cabs can be hired to get to Dvara Siruvani from the airport.
Tariff: The Bed and Breakfast plan for twin sharing for mountain view pool cottages is Rs10,500 plus taxes and garden view cottages is Rs8,500 plus taxes.