Cardamom House

Cardamom House is owned and managed by a retired British physician who lives there much of the year. The atmosphere is completely informal and the daily activities of the house are tailored to accommodate the individual planned programme of the guests. Cardamom House, although off the beaten track, is closed to several major tourist attractions. Here you can experience true unspoiled rural and village Indian life at your own pace. Activities such as walking, bird-watching, photography and painting, are popular but when the spirit moves you, we help arrange trips to nearby fascinating places such as the famous Temple City of nearby Madurai, Dindigul (Rural Crafts tour), neighboring Kerala.

Its close proximity to the massive mountain range of the Western Ghats and its location on the side of one of its hills ensures that Cardamom House enjoys a relatively cool climate compared with the host plains around.

12 guests stay in 6 twin bedded rooms all with western style en-suite bathrooms. All our rooms face south and overlook (monsoon dependent) Kamarajar Lake. Four of the rooms have hot water provided by eco-friendly solar collectors. All rooms are comfortably but simply furnished.

At Cardamom House we take pride in the side selection foods that we cook for our guests. Our fulltime staff of 6 prepare both non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes encompassing both European and Indian cuisines. All ingredients are bought freshly each day from local markets and some are picked from our own garden. The choice of meals depends on the availability of fresh produce and the season of the year.

Tropical fruits like papaya, mango and banana grow in our garden and when in season, grace our tables. Bird life is abundant and numerous species can seen. The sight of a large flock of painted storks is something to behold whilst egrets, cranes, storks, peacocks and kingfishers are (depending on the season) common. Big highly coloured butterflies flit amongst the flowers. Occasionally seen are wild animals including wild boar, mongoose, mouse deer, chipmunks, and even leopard, black panther and lynx…. So bring your binoculars and a camera.

A great attraction of the house is its apparent remote location. But whilst indeed we are some 3 miles (5 km) down a track from the busy village of Athoor. There you will find a bank, a post office and an English speaking doctor. In the nearby town of Dindigul (30 minutes by car). Dindigul is also a major rail junction direct connections to Chennai (Madras). In the historic town of Madurai (90 minutes) which home to the exquisite Meenakshi Temple, there are excellent shops - and, should they be needed, good well equipped medical facilities. Madurai also has a domestic airport with direct flights to Mumbai (Bombay) and Chennai.

So! Remote we may be, but we are well served with excellent facilities all within easy access. Anthoor is typical of so many villages you will find if you take the trouble to leave the main roads. Clustered around the small Temple dedicated to the Hindu Deity "Kali", are shops catering to the everyday needs of the villagers. The tiffin shop owner pours tea with unerring accuracy from one cup to another 3 ft (1m) away without spilling a drop! Life here is relaxed and soon you will find that you too will slow down from the frenetic pace that is the way of life in the West and adjust to the calmer and relaxed approach of the villagers.

Village life is leisurely indeed. The creaking wooden cart laden with farm produce trundles slowly through the market place pulled by two oxen, their heads nodding rhythmically from side as they walk. Sari clad ladies with brass pots on their heads "glide" past gracefully as they wend their way home after filling them with water from the village well. Freshly harvested rice is cut and then left to dry before being winnowed by the roadside. But on festival days the peace is shattered by Tamil music, both traditional and from the latest cult movie blaring forth from loudspeakers mounted on posts… no part of the village is spared the din! In SHARP CONTRAST 3 miles (5 kilometers) away in the fields around Cardamom House, flocks of sheep, goats, water buffalo, cows and oxen graze peacefully in the fields. This is true India … the India that few foreign tourists ever see.