Chittoor Kottaram is a single key hotel, which means there are no guests but you and your companions. Together, you will be transported back to the time when Kerala was still the Kingdom of Travancore, a fuedal land of nobles and princes. Arrive by boat just like they did in days gone by. Live and sleep as if to the manner born. Enjoy the same performances as the royals did and even eat the same food in the same manner. You would bask in the services of a personal retinue. And even take a pleasure cruise on the backwaters, just to watch the sun rise over your kingdom.
Chittoor can accommodate a mere six people. You need to enter barefoot (and stay that way). And the menu features a choice of precisely one. Yet if you're open-minded enough to consider luxury as a feeling rather than a shiny object, you may be in for an experience. Of a kind you're unlikely to encounter anywhere else.
Unlike most of their kin at the time, many of the royal families of Travancore were known for having eschewed ostentation, in favour of a simple, austere lifestyle.The King was seen as an example, someone the subjects could emulate, rather than a remote, absolute ruler. And so, at Chittoor, no fancy chandeliers hung from the ceilings. Lamps lit the rooms instead. In place of palatial suites, there were only three simple chambers, and an extended space for devotion, complete with a traditional temple pond. This, after all, was Royalty, but with the heart of a simple devotee of The Lord. Of Guests and Guest Books
The Chittoor Temple finds special mention in a chapter of the ancient text of the fairy tales of Kerala, the "Aithihyamala", first published about a hundred years ago. One chapter is dedicated to the nearby Chittoor temple and its village chieftain, Cheranelloor Kartha. Legend has it that he set the Palace on fire while displaying his prowess with magic to the royal family. Miraculously, the Palace was instantly restored.
Chittoor Kottaram has its share of quaint nooks and crannies, each with its own history. The Pond next to the ayurveda centre is a meditative space of solitude and peace. With its traditional bathing steps, it is a minuet of temple ponds seen throughout Southern India, used by pilgrims for ritual cleansing.
Natural and traditional styles are the norm here, and while the bathrooms are modern, the towels are simple, pure linen. Lunch in the dining room is served on traditional banana leaves. But Dinner is a more indulgent affair, when you dine off pure silverware, just as the kings of yore did.
Come evening and you can participate in a simple tradition, the lamp lighting ceremony. You watch in amazement as from within, the whole palace slowly seems to come alive. Shadows begin their dance upon the wall and the stained glass painting magically draws you into its embrace.
Entertainment at Chittoor Kottaram has no agenda or format. And why should it? It's a matter of your majesty's personal tastes. A Music recital? A dance performance? An evening's boating with flute accompaniment?
The food at Chittoor Kottaram is pure vegetarian traditional cuisine, based on the 'Sadya', a Kerala festival style. Breakfast is delicious South Indian homestyle food. And freshness is, of course, the main ingredient in every meal.