For meditative views of grassy peaks

Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow-Anamallais

Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow-Anamallais

, Tamil Nadu
, India

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, vast areas of the Western Ghats were cleared to make way for planting spices, coffee and eventually tea. This led to the building of colonial bungalows for the planters, their managers and families.

The three Sinna Dorai’s bungalows (in Anamallais, Mangorange & Kadamane) are examples of such bungalows; clusters of residences named after the assistant managers (‘Sinna Dorai’ in the local parlance) of the tea plantation.

The architecture and design of Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow in Anamallais (Valparai) emulates planters’ homes of late 19th century. Stone walls, airy verandas, high ceilings and a decidedly vintage charm define the ambience of the bungalow. Books, artefacts and décor is reminiscent of colonial times.

A grassy, well-manicured patch in front of the bungalow has a bench at the edge that overlooks the valleys below. The sophisticated ambience of a planter’s home is a window into a once popular world of refinement with polished silver, bone china and mahogany four-poster beds. Sensitively renovated to add new bathrooms, the main house still has the original wooden flooring intact, working fireplaces, a typewriter, and gramophone and other period memorabilia.

Experience the authentic life of a planter in a charmingly unhurried world without Wi-Fi, infinity pools, television and buffet meals as you are welcomed in to a bygone era. Wake-up gently to birdsong, venture out on bracing morning walks in the company of butterflies and possibly a serendipitous brush with wildlife in their habitat, partake a lazy afternoon tea in wide sunny verandas and savour delicious home-styled meals served with the gracious hospitality estate homes are renowned for.

The Sinna Dorai’s Bungalows are easily accessible from both Bengaluru and Kochi and combine well with other properties like Malabar Escapes in Kerala as well as Pepper Trail in Wayanad and Dvara Siruvani in Coimbatore to form part of a longer Southern India exploration.

Our Rating: Mid-Range
Property Type: Plantation


The Anamalai Hills is a mountain range in the Western Ghats that extends into Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It translates into Elephant Hill, from the Tamil/Malayalam word ‘Ana’ meaning elephant and ‘mallai’ meaning hill. This Sinna Dorai bungalow in Valparai is rife with 1940’s vintage charm. The six-bedroom bungalow stands amidst acres of organic tea fields overlooking the Roti Kadai (literally Bread Shop) valley, the location of the first bakery in the district. It dates back to 1896, when Britisher G.A. Carver Marsh arrived in the region to explore cultivation of cardamom and coffee, cinchona, and rubber before settling on tea, which was most suited to the altitude and cool weather. Apart from the economic opportunity, the cool environs provided respite from the hot plains of Coimbatore. Carver Marsh was part of a group that cultivated the first 50 acre patch of tea here, creating a legacy that still thrives. The tea estate is expansive and cultivates 555 acres of organic tea and 1,215 acres of conventional tea.

The six-roomed characterful bungalow sits atop a verdant hill top. Watch clouds trailing through the tangled tea shrub of the valley, go for long walks in the estate, know how tea is grown and processed, but most of all just take in the incredibly serene setting.


Choose from one of the six rooms that are all part of the main bungalow, each overlooking natural green surrounds. The rooms hold onto their charm with four poster beds, vintage furniture and understated and sophisticated decor, but have all the modern comforts – an ensuite modern bathroom, toiletries, a reading desk in the room and more. But the allure lies in being in the comfort of the room and yet connected to the outdoors at all times. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of Indian Gaur, deer and an elephant family – all regulars to the estate.


Elaborate three-course meals from an assortment of South Indian, Continental, and Punjabi cuisine are excellent – the right combination of feeling familiar like home-food and special enough with new flavours and incredible cooking expertise behind them. The common dining room is where everyone meets for meals. Top up the conversations on meals with delicious desserts like tender coconut souffle; and apple cake.


There is plenty to see and do around Valparai. The Anamalai’s are home to an abundance of wildlife and a safari can be a rewarding experience with the chance of seeing panthers, gaur (Indian bison), wild boar, Malabar squirrels, hornbills, scarlet minivets and notably the lion-tailed macaque. A night drive under the spectacular starry skies offers a great contrast. Make your own tea in one of the tea factories on the estate, learning the process of picking the leaves by hand and the method of CTC: crush, tear and curl. Walks, picnics and drives to see local sites like the Monkey falls, Balaji temple, Sholayar dam, Chinna Kallar, and Grass hills can be arranged locally.

Do as little or as much as you want to. Sit and watch the rain. Pick up a book from the well-stocked library. Play board games. Sunrise and Sunsets are glorious events in themselves, watch as they paint the skies in hues of pink and yellow and inky blue. Retire for a restful night’s sleep in one of the elegantly appointed rooms in these heritage homes.

Perfect For absolute rejuvenation of the mind, with a thousand shades of green all around and waking up to the valley views. With no TV in the rooms, here’s a perfect opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

Why we love this place

Leave all the trappings of urban life behind as you journey in to the heart of tea country. With every winding turn and hairpin bend, your breath slows down. The fresh air is soothing as is the view of lush scenery in myriad shades of green. An overall sense of calm engulfs you as you are humbled by the sheer beauty of the undulating landscape. The bungalow is over a hundred years old, intact in its vintage charm and yet plugged with all modern comforts.

Responsible/Sustainable Tourism

The property follows strict policies of garbage disposal and restricted use of plastic. All the staff is from the local community.

Our Recommendation

Enjoy this rare, off the beaten track opportunity to relax amidst a flourish of green, only a short drive from Coimbatore.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)