Amid Golden Stains of Time: Visiting the 110-year-old Ambika Vilas in Kerala
Ambika Vilas, a 110-year-old heritage property in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram, is worth visiting for an authentic Kerala experience
Experience is the operative word here. Watch the daylight break as you sip your morning tea from your plush, tastefully decored four-poster bed. If the curtains are drawn, you will never have a clue that the sun has risen overhead. If you manage to drag yourself out of the bed, walk into the adjacent study, comb through the books or just tune into the calls of the birds. Here, it is a state of perpetual holidaying. Spend your days lounging away in a swing in the courtyard, or if you must work, carry your work to the well-manicured lush garden space.
At Ambika Vilas, life flows at a leisurely pace. Lying secluded right in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram is the 110-year-old heritage property built according to Kerala’s traditional architecture. It is being offered as a villa under the Taj brand, Ama Trails and Stays.
You can choose to use the heritage stay for your holiday or use it as your workplace. A living reminder of the traditional architecture of Kerala, the property is ideal for families and business travellers alike. Prominent tourist spots are easily accessible from the villa located at Anirudhan Road, Jagathy.
With three suites and two extra bedrooms, the 6,800 sq ft property is tucked away in a 50-cent plot with lush green surroundings. With a huge verandah that skirts the property on all four sides, Ambika Vilas wraps in itself the goodness of a homely ambience. The clay-tiled flooring, high wooden ceiling, and the many windows ensure that the home offers a cool place to retire in. Forget the airconditioner, the architecture ensures that the villa is airy and cool at all times. Even the trees are as old as the house, with over 100-year-old ones lying cheek by jowl with the property.
The owners, M Madhavan Nambiar and Krishnambika Nambiar, say their focus is on offering a healing and relaxing atmosphere to the visitors. “It’s all about letting people experience Kerala and its architecture, as it was several years ago. Here, you can find the golden stains of time.
"Even the meals are customised, with homely recipes,” says Madhavan, a former civil servant. The in-house kitchen delivers food with speciality flavours borne out of a unique mix of spices, created by Krishnambika.
She says the focus has been on giving the authentic Kerala experience. “The idea is to offer a calm and relaxing place where people can come and just be. Here, one gets an idea of the old Kerala architecture. It’s all about the experience. They will get to take a break from their routine and enjoy some peace,” says Krishnambika.
The verandah ushers you into the octagonal living room oozing an old-world charm, and is quintessential Kerala. The artefacts and photographs take you away to a royal era. With an airy, laid-back atmosphere, the home screams heritage, elegance and regal opulence. The living room opens into the courtyard, where sunlight streams in with all its magnificence. The garden blends seamlessly with the property, greenery springing up on you even at the least expected places.
The city may be marching ahead, and on its toes, but Ambika Vilas is reminiscent of everything old and the meandering. Here, you feel a sense of history at every nook and cranny. Once a home, this property is your choice if you are looking for quietude, and a heritage experience, away from the din of the city and skyscrapers.