The Tamara Kodai: Fresh Off The Hills

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I’m lounging in the balcony of my luxurious suite whilst sipping on freshly brewed filter coffee… The sight of dense trees and a distant view of the hills of Kodaikanal stare back at me. The rest of my senses are joyous with the chirping of birds and the fresh smell of petrichor after an unexpected shower. The view is occasionally disrupted by the gentle passing of fog. But I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m enjoying the cool weather. Holding onto my tightly wrapped shawl, I take a deep breath of the fresh air, step inside my colonial style room and head out to enjoy the picturesque beauty of The Tamara Kodai.


House of history

More than 6,500 feet above sea level, the luxury hotel seamlessly blends the old and new, and has a rich history. Dating back to the 1840s, the building was one of the first few houses–originally called Baynes Bungalow–to be built in the region and belonged to a British District Judge, Mr Baynes. The bungalow was sold to Father Louis Cyr in 1860, who renovated and reopened it as La Providence (the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant today). The stunning building was a rest house for priests of Nagapattinam. In fact, the Bistro 1845 here still features the cobbled stone walls from back then. Besides being the ideal place for lovers of all things vintage and heritage, The Tamara Kodai is surrounded by ample greenery,making it the perfect escape from the daily hustle and bustle.

The magic of beauty

The expansive property promises to keep you occupied. Take a walk through the green landscapes, indulge in indoor sports ranging from table tennis to snooker, or take a dip into the temperature-controlled pool, that is, if you’re daring enough to brace the cold right after you step out. The team at the resort also arranges outdoor activities for adventure lovers. Set on a trek into the neck of the woods leading to the Kodai Lake, and maybe enjoy a short boat ride. If the weather permits, the resort can arrange for a trip to Munnar lake, where you can cycle around the waterbody. A drive to Vattakanal view point–about 3.5 km from the hotel–is highly recommended to soak in the breathtaking sight of the hills painted with clouds. Of course, while you also savour freshly prepared roasted corn. Another scenic spot that’s a hotbed for biodiversity is Vattakanal waterfalls, encountered on your way back to the resort.

Slowing it down

If you’re mentally complaining of aching limbs from the hike already,fret not. As the resort’s in-house Elevation Spa is designed to offer you that much-needed TLC. Regardless of the treatment you’d like – Ayurvedic or Swedish – a 10-minute sauna awaits you at the end. Talk of icing on the cake!

Taste of the south

The chefs at The Tamara Kodai ensure that you forego the need to step outside the resort for meals. Besides the lavish buffet at La Providence and extensive multi-cuisine menu at Bistro 1845 mentioned earlier, we looked for a taste of local food. Executive Chef Nitish Chandra Phani and his team took our wish extremely seriously, and we found ourselves being served traditional South Indian fare.

Our breakfast included dishes ranging from Karra Pannayaram to Puttu Kadala Curry with a side of local Kodai fruits; Lunch and dinner packed a punch with spicy and tangy flavour bombs. My favourite dishes include, Kadai (quail) Sukka, Tandoori Pistachio Salmon, Curd Rice served in a Passionfruit, Tomato Rasam, Pandi Pepper Fry with Roti, Vanjaram Pollichathu (a steamed fish preparation), and the restaurant’s signature Beetroot Kofta Curry with Kulcha. Pair your meals with delectable cocktails and end on a sweet note with an array of dessert options ranging from Pal Payasam to White Choco Cheese Cake.

A perfect mix of heritage and comfort, we left The Tamara Kodai with fond memories and unforgettable experiences. Pro tip: Don’t miss out on bringing back some local produce from the hills as a souvenir. We couldn’t resist stopping by at the neighbourhood market to pick up some fresh winter carrots, passionfruit and of course, the special Kodai cheese.

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- Lifestyle Editor


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