India Today - - COVER STORY -

Nes­tled in a her­itage bun­ga­low in the tem­ple town of Thanjavur, Svatma is more than a quaint bou­tique ho­tel. It of­fers trav­ellers an in­sight into the cul­tural world of the once glo­ri­ous cap­i­tal of the Chola empire. Hence, it isn’t a room or a suite that you book, but an en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence. The prop­erty is di­vided into the Her­itage Wing, the orig­i­nal re­stored bun­ga­low and the Mil­len­nium Wing, a newly con­structed build­ing. The her­itage bun­ga­low has been re­stored keep­ing in mind the Chola ar­chi­tec­ture from the re­gion and is a treasure trove of fam­ily heir­looms and arte­facts, from orig­i­nal Tan­jore paint­ings to pic­tures.

The rooms are sim­ple yet com­fort­able with an­tique fur­ni­ture and lo­cal ac­cents with silk fur­nish­ings and tra­di­tional palm mats. The her­itage suites are lux­u­ri­ous and come with a ter­race that over­looks the gar­den or swim­ming pool, which is built like a tem­ple tank. The day be­gins with Vedanta chant­ing and ends with the re­ver­ber­at­ing sounds of a Veena recital in the cen­tral court­yard. Bharat­natyam con­certs are or­gan­ised on re­quest. At the rooftop bar Nila, you could be privy to a breath­tak­ing view of the mas­sive Bri­hadeeswara tem­ple or you could in­dulge in a tra­di­tional ghee mas­sage or co­conut scrub at Soukyam, the spa. Pala­haram, the con­ti­nen­tal café over­looks the gar­den and is the per­fect set­ting for a laid-back hol­i­day lunch.

For a per­fect mix of tra­di­tional and lo­cal flavours, head to Aa­haram, the or­ganic fine food restau­rant that serves un­lim­ited mini plated meals like the Thanjavur Thali and the Maratha Thali. The menu changes ev­ery day to al­low the sam­pling of new prepa­ra­tions. For break­fast, you could opt for a culi­nary class and make your own pip­ing hot dosa in the open kitchen.

The her­iTage ho­Tel is a Trove of orig­i­nal Tan­jore arTe­facTs

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