Raheem Residency, the Old & the New

Pics RR New Main Hall

pics RR Old Main Hall

We were delighted to refurbish the old Raheem Bungalow into the ‘new’ Raheem Residency some fifteen years ago.

The above photos show the Main Hall,  now and then. At first glance it looks like a dramatic transformation. But in fact we stayed true, very largely, to the original structure. The old doors, windows and shutters remain. Even the gold decoration above the door. It simply had not been highlighted previously. Unfortunately we could not save the original floor because that stone could not be polished. However we carefully removed it and today you will find part of it outdoors. Look at the forecourt of the Nook room. It’s there.

We hope you will come and view it all personally. Contact our Front office for reservations: contact@raheemresidency.com  There’s lots to see in this heritage hotel.

As we say in our slogan, ‘Raheem Residency, a gift from the past for the future.’

 

Advertisements

Come Visit us for Onam Festival

P onam flower

Flower petal decoration called Atthapookalam

Coming up in Kerala in September is one of the biggest events in our year. It’s Onam, a harvest festival, and it’s celebrated all over the state regardless of caste & creed during the month of Chingam (first month of the year in the Malayalam calendar).

In our homes, we Indians (Keralites) have a great feast like westerners have on Christmas day.  But the feast is different, as we have all vegetarian dishes rather than turkey.  The feast is called ‘Sadhya’, with a variety of about 16 dishes and then to top it all, we have the signature dish – the dessert called ‘payasam’ (3 types) also.

Most of the people (Hindus) go to the temple in the morning.  The kids go to pluck flowers from the surrounding areas near their homes and they make a flower carpet (Atthapookalam).  Children are very happy because they are the ones that benefit a lot by getting new clothes & gifts.

In Raheem Residency, we also celebrate Onam. The staff make the flower carpet & also a great feast is prepared with a variety of vegetarian dishes & payasam also. All the staff sit together, and enjoy the feast.

We include guests too in Chagara Restaurant but there is one golden rule: guests must eat like we do – that is, with no cutlery! We believe that the food tastes better when we quietly use our fingers. Our guests always enjoy the challenge.

So come visit us for Onam. Make your booking now!

In the meantime, expect lots more photos to show you how we celebrate this festival! See more on our Facebook page too: Raheem Residency – Heritage Hotel.

 

 

 

S Indian Coffee is Great Stuff!

Picking coffee beans.

Picking coffee beans.

I can never understand why 4* hotels in India serve primarily instant coffee, that dreadful tasteless factory product. Kerala produces wonderful coffee beans. You might like to go and see them grow you’re on your Indian holiday. Choose Wayanad or Coorg.

Trees will grow up to 10ft and when the red berries emerge, they are picked by hand, brought to a factory where they are dried in the sun before bring roasted.

So with an abundance of real coffee in the neighbourhood why are we subjected to instant stuff? Somehow it has brome classier. Well, I never! But here’s a tip: your best chance of getting decent coffee is at breakfast. After 11 in the morning it’s back to the tasteless stuff.

But left to their own specific Indian devices, they do serve a decent cup of instant coffee on trains and in road-side cafes. This demands a certain skill. Lost of steaming hot milk, a good lash of sugar and instant coffee. Somehow this trio of the unexpected is delicious. It’s the first thing I buy on an Indian train. And a train journey (which is a MUST-DO for you on your holidays here) would not be complete with it.

Laid-back Kerala!

 

Pizhichil-Large2

Re-posted by RR staff

Laid-back Kerala indeed! Well, that’s how holidays should be.

But we often notice in Raheem Residency that hard-working guests often bring their age-old patterns of living with them. Rushing there, arriving early, clock-watching. You know it. You’ve done it.

What a pity!

You don’t actually see a Keralan (Malayalee) rush. You don’t see one run. And these aficionados of an easy-going life-style never panic.

Is there something worth copying here? There certainly is when it comes to holidaying.

It has been difficult to explain to local staff that if a guest books, say, an Ayurvedic massage for 2pm, then the therapist should be at her station by 1.45. Why? Well, it’s not just to prepare. It’s because invariably the western guest will NOT arrive on time. He/she will arrive early. A concept that nobody in laid-back Kerala can fathom!

Relaxing Ayurveda

Here’s a story from a fellow Hotel owner in Kerala that illustrates a related point:

A group of British tourists came to stay. At dinner it was decided that they would all go to the beach the next morning at ten o’clock. The owner got wind of it. Now the beach was literally across the road from the hotel. No transportation required. And so like clockwork on the dot of ten the next morning the entire group traipsed out of the hotel. Nobody was ‘late’.

Which prompted the very jolly Keralan owner to shout after them, ‘Have you come on holiday to practise punctuality?!’

They took it as the great sports that they were.

But it’s worth another thought. You pay all that money to relax – mind, body and soul. Then you superimpose clock-watching on top of the goal.

To kick-start the new truly-relaxed you, do a course in Ayurveda at your hotel. And book Shirodhara in particular (3 consecutive treatments give the best result). That specific treatment is for the mind that continually races, shooting backwards to ‘If only I had done…’, shooting forwards to ‘I must remember to do that’. And in the process the mellifluous birdsong and the scent of roses of the moment are but a puff of smoke that nobody notices.

Is that you? If so, come to laid-back Kerala for the best laid-back holiday in India.

 

Laid-back Kerala.

Kerala bliss

Kerala bliss

Laid-back Kerala indeed! Well, that’s how holidays should be.

But we often notice in Raheem Residency that hard-working guests often bring their age-old patterns of living with them.  Rushing there, arriving early, clock-watching. You know it. You’ve done it.

What a pity!

You don’t actually see a Keralan (Malayalee) rush.  You don’t see one run. And these aficionados of an easy-going life-style never panic.

Is there something worth copying here? There certainly is when it comes to holidaying.

It has been difficult to explain to local staff that if a guest books, say, an Ayurvedic massage for 2pm, then the therapist should be at her station by 1.45. Why? Well, it’s not just to prepare. It’s because invariably the western guest will NOT arrive on time. He/she will arrive early. A concept that nobody in laid-back Kerala can fathom!

Relaxing Ayurveda

Relaxing Ayurveda

Here’s a story from a fellow Hotel owner in Kerala that illustrates a related point:

A group of British tourists came to stay. At dinner it was decided that they would all go to the beach the next morning at ten o’clock. The owner got wind of it. Now the beach was literally across the road from the hotel. No transportation required. And so like clockwork on the dot of ten the next morning the entire group traipsed out of the hotel. Nobody was ‘late’.

Which prompted the very jolly Keralan owner to shout after them, ‘Have you come on holiday to practise punctuality?!’

They took it as the great sports that they were.

But it’s worth another thought. You pay all that money to relax – mind, body and soul. Then you superimpose clock-watching on top of the goal.

To kick-start the new truly-relaxed you, do a course in Ayurveda at your hotel. And book Shirodhara in particular (3 consecutive treatments give the best result). That specific treatment is for the mind that continually races, shooting backwards to ‘If only I had done…’, shooting forwards to ‘I must remember to do that’. And in the process the mellifluous birdsong and the scent of roses of the moment are but a puff of smoke that nobody notices.

Is that you? If so, come to laid-back Kerala for the best laid-back holiday in India.

Chats Under the Coconut Trees No. 2

Superior Twin Room in RR

Superior Twin Room in RR

So a guest arrived for a first visit to India. We are fortunate in Raheem Residency that guests often choose us as a first-stop on their Indian odyssey. We think it’s because we are small, intimate but not intrusive, and with western-eastern owners we feel (and hope) that we are sensitive to both cultures.

Anyway Susan (not her real name) was tired from her three-flight trip and in truth more than a bit overwhelmed by the enormity and intensity of everything in India from people to rickshaws to colours and even smells.

So we did the usual RR ‘treatment’. Suggested a relaxing Ayurvedic massage to chill out the mind and body, got a cleansing fresh cucumber soda from the kitchen, and sat under a coconut tree for a chat.

Susan asked what was there to love about Kerala. I think at this stage she was wondering if she’d made the right holiday choice. But tiredness can make the mind go whacky, can it not? Anyway, in case you are wondering too here’s a short list of just 5.

1. The People. It has to be number one. So full of gentleness, kindness and patience. (No, we don’t include the crooks in that but guests are unlikely to meet them anyway).

2. The Food. Not like Indian food in the west. Fresh food, very local ingredients indeed, south Indian recipes (most western Indian menus are north Indian) that include a lot of delicate coconut milk and sometimes a few fireballs of spices!

3. The Sun. Can’t get away from it. Even in the rainy season it puts on a shining face most days.

4. The Scenery. First stop has to be the amalgam of rivers, canals and lakes known as the Backwaters. Cruise at leisure in your private houseboat and drink in the stillness and serenity. Then hike up by taxi to the tea and spice plantations in the hill stations. Take in a beach as well.

5. Ayurveda. Top-class massage to relax and rejuvenate body and mind. And at a fraction of the cost in the west (how about a Facial for a tenner?!).

Susan was visibly relaxing. The worried look in her face had been replaced with a tired but genuine smile. With that she took off in the direction of the Ayurvedic Suite. When she emerged, slathered in natural oils, she looked like her worries had faded and somehow you knew she would sleep like a baby that night.
Apparently she did.

Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters

This entry was first posted in on July 1, 2014.

Snake Boat Race next week!

A real Kerala snake boat

A real Kerala snake boat

Yes. It’s about to happen. Saturday week, August 8th will see the backwaters at our Alleppey come alive with the sound of swishing water, big crowds and high adrenalin because it’s Snake Boat Race day.

Here again is a little peep into what is one of Alleppey’s biggest events.

**************************

It’s said that this sport that has the highest number of members in a single team ever. So expect upwards of 100 men (and in recent years there have been some all-females teams too) rowing in unison to the rhythm of the boatman’s chants. And many of these male rowers will be naked to the waist, girls!

Women competitors in the Snake Boat Race

Women competitors in the Snake Boat Race

Steeped in the history of Kerala these boats were crafted originally by a Maharajah who was fighting from his boat in the canals of Alleppey. When he lost his battle he had a secret new boat design crafted for him. India’s sacred texts were brought to bear and so gleaming historical information from the Sihapathya Veda the Snake Boat was born. To this day the construction remains over 100 feet long with the rear end rising up to a spectacular 20 feet. The front of the boat then tapers to resemble a snake with its hood raised. Hence Snake boat.

When Jawaharlal Nehru visited Alleppey in 1952 he was so taken with the spectacle that he donated a trophy – hence this major event on August 9th is known as the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race.
To book early – and remember it IS a highlight of the year in our area – get in touch with us at contact@raheemresidency.com

Kerala_boatrace