KANKODUTHAVANITHAM

Welcome to Kankoduthavanitham, a village steeped in the legend of ‘the lady who gave her eyes’. Nestling among paddy fields and a winding tributary of the Cauvery river, KKV is a village named after a Puranic (ancient Indian text) story about a lady who offers her own eyes to the resident deity (Nayanavaradeswara — a form of the Hindu god, Shiva,) so her blind child can see in return. Interestingly, the myth focuses on the sacrifice of the lady and not the mercy of the lord as is often the case. It is yet another lyrical legend in the land of legends – the Tanjore belt in the rich Cauvery basin.

Emerald green paddy fields fringed by palm trees, tender coconuts straight off the trees, tangy citrus fruit, a lotus-filled pond, and above all, a rhythmic pace of life and quietude characterise this haven.

Prepare to do nothing all day. Awake to the sound of bird calls; take a dip in the tranquil river; laze about on the hammock; pack a picnic hamper and head for the shade of the teak trees; commune with yourself in a lovingly restored 12th century temple; eat mouthwatering local delicacies; drink a lot of coconut water; and go cycling in search of the elusive peacocks. You could spend hours fishing in the pond or watch local fishermen cast their nets in the river. What’s more, your catch for the day will be cooked in a traditional clay pot on a wood fire.

And if you feel like really rolling up your sleeves and steeping your hands in slush, then accompany the local potter on a clay-sourcing trip from the fields; and then watch yourself bring that clay to life on a potter’s wheel.

Absorb the rhythm of the village as you wind down for the day on the terrace, as the moon casts its glow on an ancient village.

Across from your cottage is a 300-year-old agraharam (brahmin architectural style) house which has been continuously occupied by the same family over seven generations. Discover the spaces in this fast-disappearing architectural style, which will tell you a lot about the time when families lived as communities. In fact you could even visit other agraharams in the village where architectural details can be explained by the inhabitants themselves.

ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS FROM THE CHOLA PERIOD

3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (850-1280 AD) located within an hour’s drive from KKV 

  1. The Brihadeeswara temple, a marvellous Chola period wonder, is probably the best known site in Tanjore, but the district – is also the hub of art and craft, with Chola period bronzes still being turned out at the artists village alongside dazzling Tanjore paintings. Round-bottomed Tanjore dolls adorn stalls in the streets and the Tanjore palace and art gallery should make your visit more than worthwhile.
  2. The Darasuram temple near Kumbakonam can be a revelation, again, of the architectural splendour of the Chola era. Kumbakonam is also the birthplace of internationally acclaimed mathematicianSrinivasa RamanujanHis ancestral house on Sarangapani Street in Kumbakonam still sees school children prostrate in front of it before an important exam!

  3. Gangaikondacholapuram is the third UNESCO site in the area – a temple built by Rajendra Chola whose reign extended to Cambodia.

Crafts

Kumbakonam houses traditional weavers if you want a peek into the glorious Kancheevaram silk and cotton weaving tradition of Tamil Nadu. 

To catch a glimpse of the famous ‘lost wax’ process of stunning Chola bronze sculpture, take a trip down to Swamimalai where craft workshops still follow the  processes mastered in the Chola period.

Birders’ Paradise (all within one hour driving distance from KKV)

 

Point Calimere (Kodikarai), a headland on the Coramandel Coast, has been mentioned by Ptolemy in 168 AD. This wild life reserve by the sea houses wild horses and black buck

Vaduvoor lake, a sanctuary created in July 1999, attracts more than 40 species of water birds like Ibis, Painted Stork, Grey Pelican, Pintail, Cormorant, Teals, Herons etc.

Vedaranyam is one of the major wintering grounds for migrant birds from North India, Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa. The uniqueness of Vedaranyam lies in its having a coastal marine system and tropical forests. The number of reservoirs formed here for making salt serves as feeding grounds for migratory birds like small Waders and waterfowls and to the resident population. The swamps host around 240 species of birds both migratory and resident. Among this 48% are aquatic and the rest terrestrial.

Colonial Architecture (2-hour drive from KKV)

 

Tranquebar (Tarangambadi) – Danish Colony, Fort and Governor’s House

History – Tranquebar had been an active international trading port attracting Muslim traders, German theologians and Moravian entrepreneurs. At the time of the arrival of the Danes, Tharangambadi, as the place was then known, had already seen an influx of foreigners. Arab and later Portuguese traders had plied the coasts, and in 1620 when the Danish East India Company was established with the construction of the Dansborg Fort, trade languages on the coast were Tamil, Portuguese, Arabic and Malay. The construction of Fort Dansborg, an example of Scandinavian military architecture, built by a Danish captain named Ove Gjedde was a part of a treaty signed on 19th November 1620 between the King of Thanjavur and the King of Denmark mainly for exporting pepper from India. By 1777, the Danes took complete control of Tranquebar. Tranquebar was taken by the British in 1801, but restored to the Danes in 1814, and finally purchased by the British, along with the other Danish settlements in India, in 1845.

The military fort and the Governor’s bungalow restored by Intach and run by Neemrana Hotels provide for an interesting journey into the architectural landscape of the era.

KKV Facilities

 

Two private cottages with modern amenities. Each cottage can accommodate a family of four. Both cottages nestle in a garden of coconut and mango trees with the Cauvery river tributary flowing right behind the garden.

One caretaker, cleaner and cook exclusively for the cottages.
Fresh fish and meat and vegetables, lentils cooked in traditional style. (Detailed menu options will be provided.)

Fresh coconut water at any time of day, directly from the trees in the garden!

Facility

 

One cottage with a double bed and two extra beds on request. The cottage has a sit-out and faces a garden of mango and fruit trees with private access to the river.

The cottage is aesthetically done up with an antique bed and bric-a-brac from a 350-year-old-house across the garden!

The cottage is well ventilated with a high roof and ceiling fans. There is no air-conditioning. The pleasant micro climate of the garden by the river is an experience we wouldn’t want you to miss.

Rs. 3,000/- per night including breakfast

Rs. 500/- per extra bed including breakfast

Cuisine

 

Enjoy local delicacies. You may be more than familiar with idli, dosa, sambhar or rasam, all of which is available, prepared with farm fresh ingredients and spices. In addition sample local curries, savories and sweets, a detailed menu option for both veg and non veg will be provided but make sure to order your meals a day in advance. All meals are cooked strictly with fresh produce of the day. No produce is stored under refrigeration and therefore a day’s notice will be necessary for all items on the menu. Some of the specialties include country chicken and river fish cooked in traditional ‘kozhambu’ style and farm fresh vegetables cooked with pulses and freshly ground spices all cooked in traditional clay pots on wood fires!