Saratha Vilas, built by a wealthy Tamil merchant in the early 1900s, is a prime example of the luxurious mansions unique to the heritage of the Chettinad region. The 34500 sq. ft. property, including buildings, courtyards and gardens, has been painstakingly restored, and converted into a ten-bedroom boutique hotel by two French architects passionate about the preservation of Chettinad and its history.
Like all the mansion in Chettinad, the house was constructed following the rules of Vastu Shastra, the traditional science of architecture of wellbeing. It is comprised of a succession of inner courtyards and halls laid out on a longitudinal axis opening a perspective along the entire length of the house.
The main verandah at the entrance of the mansion is guarded by columns of dark marble and opens into a grand hall crowned with chiseled woodwork painted in delicate colors. The central courtyard is surrounded by carved granite pillars in the style of Dravidian temples and is followed by a dining room encircled by an arcade of heavy stone columns under decorated cornices covered by a pressed metal ceiling imported from England.
The perspective which crosses the whole house from West to East, opens on the ancient kitchen courtyard, today the open-air restaurant, then finally on the garden planted with hundred-year-old coconut palms where we installed the swimming pool.
For finishes and decoration, the founder, Subranania Chettiar, does not hesitate to bring the best from around the world: Burmese teak, ceramics from Japan or Europe, marble from Italy and Belgium, the great crystal chandeliers and mirrors from Belgium. The result is a blend of unique and sophisticated Tamil and Western architecture.
The Victorian and the “Ethnic” Master’s chamber are the two larger en-suite guests’ rooms of the Saratha Vilas. The rooms benefit from the original space’s majestic proportions and noble finishes like, Chettinad egg plasters, the ornate friezes painted in vegetable colors. Original floors were resurfaced with decorative cement tiles produced in the neighboring village of Ahangudi.
Victorian Master’s Chamber
The spacious Victorian Master’s Chamber is furnished with an outstanding carved wooden 19th century king size Mahogany bed, side and pedestal tables topped with Italian marble and Chippendale chairs collected from Calcutta.
Chinese antiques adorn the space, including a beautiful Ming jar decorated with a dragon. On the wall you can admire an old Thanjavur painting.
Ethnic Master’s Chamber
In the Ethnic Master’s Chamber, the required modern conveniences, such as bathrooms, and the furniture are differentiated by their lines, colors and the contemporary materials. The teak wood furniture and large sofas, are designed by Bernard Dragon.
Sarkara Pati, palm sugar containers carved in a single tree trunk from Kerala, 19th century – Madhubani paintings – Terra cotta elephant figure, from Chettinad.
All the guests’ rooms are spacious and furnished with collections of art and antiques. The owners have also designed many of the furniture which was made of teak wood and realized by the local craft people, this contributing to the uniqueness of the place.
Art Deco Heritage Room
The Art Deco heritage room is mainly furnished with original rosewood 1930’ furniture such as the twin beds and side tables as well as the writing desk and chairs. A same-period pair of armchairs is French imported. The walls are decorated with original 1930’s colorized photographs.
Madhubani Heritage Room
Beds, side tables, sofa-bed, arm-chairs, coffee tables and writing desks are the creations of the architects-hotel owners who combined the simple lines of their own design with their collection of art; here the Madhubani tribal paintings of Bathi Dayal, Bihar, combine with the local terracotta jars of the Vellars community specific to Chettinad.
Bommai Heritage Room
Bommai means doll in Tamil.
The Bommais are terracotta offerings made by the priests and potters of the Vellar community. They are part of the rituals dedicated to the powerful village god Ayyanar, such as the Madu also displayed in the room, a full-scale terracotta cow.
Sri Murugan Heritage Room
Sri Murugan is one of the favorite subjects among the various and popular Ravi Varma prints. It is quite popular amongst the Chettiar community.
Lord Murugan is the son of Siva and Parvati, Ganesh’s brother. The prints are quite colorful as his mount is the peacock. The room is furnished with an original Mahogany King size bed and side tables.
All monuments in Agra are open on all holidays i.e. 26th Jan,15th Aug, 2nd Oct, Deepawali & Holi (Except Tajmahal closed on every Friday). Mathura Museum closed on Monday , 2nd Sunday and State Holidays.
Food Guide for Lunch /Dinner :