One of our favourite hidden places, the gracious Visalam hotel hidden amongst the crumbling palaces of the Chettinars. The Chettinars were rich, they built palace after palace from the middle of the 19th century to early 20th – and then they left. Their legacy is the beautiful and melancholy villages with row upon row of architectural gems slowly decaying in the heat of the sun.
Visalam was a private home built for a favourite daughter and is now a small and charming hotel and the perfect base to explore. Take a bicycle or a bullock cart and just wander through the streets – some of the palaces are open with maybe a caretaker to let you in but this is no tourist trap, little known it remains a gem.
It is also the region of the horse temples, out in the countryside, quiet apart from the birdsong and with the astonishing terracotta horses guarding the shrine and offered yearly by villagers. It is also home to my new suppliers of hand loom cotton the Mahalakshmi weavers, so happy to be able to offer this wonderful quality cotton in scarves, shawls and towels.