3 Sep'2011: From Kalayiarkoil we left for Thiruvadanai Temple but by the time we reached the priest was leaving and the temple doors were closing. Looks we we spent a lot more time at Kalayiarkoil than we intended.
So we motored on to Devakottai and reached Swarnavalli Vilas where Venkat's father & Athai live. ( Venkat is a well known Chennai based writer & a friend). This is Venkat's ancestral house and he had kindly arranged for our stay there.The hospitality at Swarnavalli Vilas was exemplary and both of them turned out to be outstanding and extremely caring hosts. We enjoyed authentic home cooked chettinad cuisine prepared under the expert stewardship of Venkat's Athai. Venkats family members are trustees of the Kalayiarkoil Temple. Venkat's father Subbiah Ramakrishnan is involved in a social venture called The Devakottai Initiative - through which he raises funds for higher education for girls in Devakottai. He is also a publisher and runs the Avenue Press at Chennai. He divides his time between Chennai & Devakottai.
Regarding the house it was constructed over a 100 years ago. The high ceilings with wooden beams, open central courtyard and the athangudi tiles with mesmerizing designs represent a typical charming old world Chettinad bungalow. Here are some pics of our short but sweet & memorable stay:
1.Swarnavalli Vilas - view from outside
2.Entrance foyer with large circular pillars with athangudi tiled floor
3.Shobha with the gracious hosts
4.Sitting room for guests with athangudi tiles
5 & 6: Nadu Mittham
7.Family meeting room
9-11: Lakshmi Nivas - another ancestral house nearby.