The culturally-centered Visalam is one of CGH Earth’s landmark heritage properties that truly personifies Chettinad living and culture. The Chettinad region is the home of the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking and business community.  Chettinad homes are known to be an endearing symbol of this distinct community. The region is also known for its local cuisine, architecture, and religious temples.  Visalam, the quintessential Chettinad home was built more than a century ago by a doting father, KVAL Ramanathan Chettiar, for his eldest daughter, Visalaskshi as a gift. The family home is unfazed by time and has many stories to tell through its framed family photos, period furniture, Burma teak pillars, traditional flooring, and open-air courtyards. It is adorned by relics of the past like antique radios and wooden chess tables that offer a glimpse into everyday life in those times. Visalam has been restored with great care by CGH to retain the character of its past and keep its original concept intact.

The large rooms feature period furniture and locally sourced décor that overlook the gardens.  The rear end of the property has a pool skirted by a pillared courtyard which also doubles up as a café. The hotel goes to great lengths to ensure sustainability and responsible use of resources. The guest experiences are entrenched in the culture and traditions of the prosperous trading community of the Chettiars of Tamil Nadu – from culinary experiences demystifying the celebrated Chettinad cuisine and local board games to tours on bullock cart rides and cycling tours.


Chettinad, a cluster of 72 villages in Sivaganga district is a region located in the centre of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu

Things to know

  • The nearest airport is located in Madurai (100 km), and Trichy (70 km). Trains that run from Chennai to Rameshwaram will usually make a stop at Pudukkottai, Karaikudi, and Kanadukaathan (Chettinad Station). Karaikudi Junction railway station is the major station.
  • A stay at Visalam is steeped in the culture and traditions of the Chettiar community, while the local villagers form the foundation of this experiential holiday.
  • The culture and traditions of the local Chettiar community are at the heart of the experiences at Visalam. CGH Earth works closely with skilled and specialized artisans from the region. Most of the members of the hospitality team are locals thus bringing you a personal encounter with the region.
  • The village is a wonderful place to wander. There is much to see and local people are friendly and welcoming. Guests can even take cycles to explore the bylanes of the Chettinad.


Rooms & Suites

The prosperity of the Chettiar community is translated in their palatial homes featuring the fine Burma teak and hand-made Athangudi tiles.  The architecture of the grand mansion features open-air courtyards, spacious rooms with high ceilings, and ventilated halls that catch plenty of natural sunlight and cool breeze. The Chettinad Rooms and their larger counterpart the Chettinad Suites feature period teak furniture and beautiful Athangudi tiles. Only some of the rooms have balconies while all the suites have balconies that look out to the garden.

Restaurants & Bars

Dining at the Visalam weaves in the Chettinad culture through authentic Chettinad cuisine from the region at Sapadu Shala where the food is prepared with freshly ground masalas, in a traditional kitchen, using customary brass utensils and hand-pounded mix of spices. In the Garden Cafe at Visalam, you can enjoy Continental and South Indian breakfast amidst nature and serenity served with authentic South –Indian filter coffee.

Spa & Wellness

Ayurvedic relaxing therapies and healing herbal massages can be availed at Visalam. The outdoor swimming pool is open throughout the year for some relaxing laps in the cool waters.


Tour the historic streets of Chettinad in a traditional bullock cart and experience the sights and sounds of a place that time forgot. Explore palatial heritage mansions with unique Chettinad architecture, rustic village life, and Chola-style temples.

Guests can also take an excursion to Athangudi, a village about 10 km from Visalam. Known for its handmade tiles, the village has around a hundred small-scale tile-making facilities where one can witness the intricate processes that go into making these famous tiles.

The traditional Chola-style temples are a sight to behold. The temples of Chettinad have Chola-style architecture with an ‘Oorani’ or temple tank for rituals. The most famous temple is the 1800-year-old Pallayiar Patti temple, a short ride from Visalam. Take time to see this architectural wonder and experience the culture and traditions of this historic region.

After sampling Chettinad cuisine, guests have the option to take back recipes by learning to cook the local cuisine in the mansion’s kitchen.

Sustainability and Responsible Tourism

Visalam manages its waste efficiently, employs renewable energy, and practices rainwater harvesting. Responsible tourism shines through their commitment to the local community by way of local employment and partnerships with local vendors, guides, and drivers