Varikatt Heritage | History

The Early Years:

Circa the 1850's, when the British Raj was in vogue, an English Memsahib sailed to India on a voyage that was very dear to her. Ms.Blanket had fallen in love back home in Yorkshire with a dapper English Sahib, Mr.Brown, whom she knew to be a tea-planter based in Munnar, India. Not so eloquent about her feelings, she couldn't muster the courage to tell the gentleman who had so quickly become her friend and when he finally left after his holiday to India, it did not take her much thought to follow her heart. Couple of hundred kilometers south of hilly Munnar, she settled in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the erstwhile Travancore State and built a house for herself in the Indo-Saracenic style, with its airy high-ceilinged rooms, tiled roofs to beat the tropical heat, wide verandahs, a kitchen connected to the main house by a covered verandah, two nalukettus and, of course, Ms. Blanket (affectionately addressed as Kambili Madama by the locals because Kambili in Malayalam meant a blanket!!) built in all the Western comforts that were in vogue then. The tea-planter came to know about what had transpired through some of his soldier friends based in the Cantonment in Thiruvananthapuram; therefore, he rode by horse-back and motor-car to meet this lady overnight. The Memsahib awoke to what was her most beautiful morning in the Orient, seeing her beloved on the steps of her house, and the Varikatt House still bears testimony to the subsequent days of sublime love that found fruition in the sepia toned times of the Raj.

 

The Latter Years:

Much later, when the couple went back to England, this house came into the possession of a prominent Indian legal luminary, Adv.P.Abraham BA BL, who named it after his family, Varikatt. As a result of his later constant interaction with the English Sahibs from his client companies like Aspinwall, Pierce Leslie, Harrison Crossfield, he maintained the house in the true stiff upper-lip style; liveried bearers standing by, the customary sundowner 'chotta' pegs of Scotch, true European dining with exquisite cutlery…

After Independence, the Varikatt villa was witness to much of the political intrigue that was to shape Kerala politics for the rest of the century. Political leaders of different hues were to converge in the green environs of the house, consulting with each other, as the fates of the citizens hung in nuances of pregnant conversation. Some members of the family went on to become State Ministers namely,Mr.T.M.Verghese who was a Minister for Home Affairs and, later, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, illustrious Army officers and people of important public standing. The house would remain a centre stage of events that would hold sway over the destiny of Travancore(now Kerala).

 

The Present:

Today, Varikatt has undergone selective renovation to strengthen the 150 year old structure.Certain amenities have been added to the house to meet the demands of the modern traveler though care has been taken not to compromise the original character of the house.

Col (Retd) & Mrs. Kuncheria, hosts during your stay here are present generation members of Varikatt who,apart from their gracious hospitality, will add to your experience with anecdotes and stories that has contributed to the legend of Varikatt.