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Mantra Koodam CGH Earth Resort, Kumbakonam

Mantra Koodam CGH Earth Resort

Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Also see: FAM Trip of Tamil Nadu

Kumbakonam or Kudanthai is a town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. There are about 180 temples located within the town and apart from that there several thousand temples around the town and hence it is popularly referred to as the temple town.

A small shrine inside Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

A small shrine inside Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The Mantra Koodam Resort in Kumbakonam provides a spiritual experience ans serves as a home away from home. Managed by the CGH Earth Experiential Holidays, who specializes in curating experiential holidays since 1954.

Entrance of Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Entrance of Mantra Koodam Resort

Today the CGH Earth Experiential Holidays runs 16 unique properties spread across South India, each a distinct experience.

They include 12 in Kerala, 2 each in Tanil Nadu and Pondicherry and 1 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

They curator an extraordinary experiences that arise from its intimate bonding with nature and community.

Based on sustainable and responsible tourism CGH Earth holidays have a experiential character paying homage to nature and engaging closely with local people and their cultures. The holidays provide an extraordinary experiences that arise from intimate bonding with nature and community.

A traditional Tamil styled cottage, Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

A traditional Tamil styled cottage, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The Mantra Koodam Resort is tucked away in a quiet corner of Veppathur village (Google map location), near the temple town of Kumbakonam and is an ode to the regions rich legacy.

A small shrine inside Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

A small shrine inside Mantra Koodam Resort

It is a place where historical, cultural and spiritual experiences blend, to take you on a journey through time, designed around the Tamil Panniyar and Brahmin way of life and crafted by nature’s own wonders.

The property is designed like an agraharam – the characteristically Brahmin street lined with illams (homes).

It’s a tribute to the region’s heritage and its historic stature as a seat of power in South India.

Guest arriving in the resort in the evening are welcomed by traditional dance. They take part in the wish diya ceremony. A lighted lamp is floated in the water by making a wish, which is supposed to come true.

Dance performance at Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The huge complex with a green cover has a number of small temple like shrines, where priests perform puja in the morning. The lush green complex is laid out with straight pathways lined with water channels

Rooms and its decor at Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The cottages are built in typical Tamil style. The interiors are spacious with large king-size beds. The bathrooms provide an option of cascading showers. The cascading shower area has no roof above it, thus giving the feel of an open-air waterfall bath.

Swimming Pool, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Swimming Pool, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The complex also has its share of swimming pool, badminton court and a tea hut, where guest and enjoy tea and filter coffee along with an assortment of traditional snacks. The green cover attracts a variety of birds and peacocks are commonly spotted.

Peacocks at Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

The common areas of the resort, like the reception and restaurants are beautifully decorated. Traditional board games are kept on display and guests are encouraged to give them a try. The walls are decorated with large traditional paintings.

Paintings at Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

But the star attraction of Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam lies in its assortment of food, which evolves around Cholanadu cuisine, the royal cuisine of the Chola Kings. All meals here are carefully prepared, keeping in mind the delicate balance of the four primary flavours: sweet, spicy, bitter and sour.

Restaurant, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Restaurant, Mantra Koodam Resort

Every dish on the menu carries years of tradition handed down over generations, perfected over time.

Contrary to the basic conception Tamil food is not all vegetarian, it does have it share of non-veg.

Tamil cuisines like Chettiand and Chole Nadu has there share of non-veg, which consists not only of chicken and mutton but also an assortment of fishes and sea food.

The breakfast at Mantra Koodam is a traditional Tamil veg affair. Served as a buffet, it consists of dosa, idly, vada, upma, sambar along with an assortment of chutneys. Payasam marked the end of the grand breakfast, which was served with hot filter coffee.

Breakfast, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Breakfast, Mantra Koodam Resort

Lunch on the other hand was an more elaborate affair consisting of soup, starters, main course and desserts.

It was predominantly a veg meal consisting of assortment of vegetable cooked in different style.

There were only two non – veg items in the menu. Both were fish preparations, namely – meen kulambu (fish curry) and meen suttathu (deep fried fish).

Dinner was the grandest of the last. The elaborate spread was broken up into soup, starter, main course and desserts.

It was predominately a non-veg affair combining chicken, mutton, prawns and even squid. No wonder it was a delight for carnivorous like me.

Lunch (main course on left and fish items on right) Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Lunch (main course on left and fish items on right) Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Interestingly the main course was not served on a plate but it was served on a circular mirror, thus giving it an exotic look. But sadly it made photography difficult.

Dinner, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Dinner, Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam

Dinner Menu:

Soup:

  • Attukari Poondu Charu: Lamb soup in traditional way of cooking with local aroma

Starter:

  • Kanava Perattel: Shallow fried squid preparation with local spices

Main Course:

  • Sprout Veg Salad: Green: Green sprouts and vegetables with lemon dressing
  • Iral Vellapoondu Vathakkal: Local style cooking of prawns with garlic
  • Kariveppilai Kozhi: Curry leaves flavoured chicken in pannaiyar style of cooking
  • Adai: Preparation from three varieties of lentil and rice
  • Avial: Garden fresh vegetable preparation with yougart
  • Avur Vetahali Satham: Betel leaves flavoured rice preparation

Dessert:

  • Dates Halwa: Traditional preparation from dates and jaggery
  • Ela Kozhukkattai: Local sweet dumpling
  • Fresh Cut Fruits: Apple

The grand dinner feast at Mantra Koodam Resort, Kumbakonam was enough to shatter the myth that Tamil food is all vegetarian and consists of only idly and dosa.

But Matra Koodam is not the only place to serve non-veg food in Tamil Nadu. Border Parotta in Tenkasi and Venu Biriyani in Dnadigul serves excellent non-veg food in Tamil Nadu.

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The Mantra Koodam Resort not only serves exotic food provides cooking classes fro interested guest.

The guests can get a first hand experience of cooking Chole Nadu and other Tamil cuisines

The guest can also try their hands on Kolam making. Kolkam is a drawning on the flat surface of the ground with white rice flour. Pottery workshop and village tours are also on the list of activities.

A temple at Kumbakonam

A temple at Kumbakonam

The most interesting activity of the resort is the temple tour of Kumbakonam town and its surrounding. The trip includes a trip to Airavateshwara Temple of Dharasuram, which is part of a UNESCO Heritage Site, along with the nearby temples of Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur and Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

Sadly due to time constraint we were unable to participate in any of the activities in the resort or even take the temple tour. But our tour did include visit to the Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur and Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

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