Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum - INDeco Mahabalipuram (Chennai - Tamil Nadu)

On one of my trips to Mahabalipuram, I landed up in this restaurant called Indeco for lunch. I didn’t know anything about this hotel at all, but I loved the interiors here. There were a few vintage and historic items here on display and the food was great. And as I prepared to leave, I saw the main entrance of the hotel (I entered directly into the restaurant first. The main entrance leads to the reception for boarding and lodging purposes). The interiors and d├ęcor pulled me to it, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance. I saw few of whatever was visible and headed back home.

INDeco Mamallapuram Best resorts Mahabalipuram

INDeco Mamallapuram Best resorts Mahabalipuram

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum Furniture Clocks

Vintage household Items used in India - Idli steamer

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum Chennai museums

After I came home, somehow I spotted the catalogue that Mom had brought home from an exhibition ‘The British Left-Behind Show’ held at Lalit Kala Academy, an exhibition hall in Chennai a few months back. It was a show that featured several artifacts, furniture, day-to-day used items, a few machinery etc. A great co-incidence I should say, that show was an initiative of Indeco Hotel!!! I immediately made up my mind to visit the hotel again just to see the Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum set up there. The day came and I was there at the Museum, cum Hotel.

Indeco hotel has its branches in Mahabalipuram, Swamimalai and Yercaud. So all the stuff displayed in the exhibition were brought from all the 3 hotels. In other words, I would be able to see only one third of the stuff that mom saw in Lalit Kala Academy. Hard luck, but still….
INDeco Hotel Mahabalipuram is actually built on the premises which was a British Camping site in 1820s! There are only 45 rooms in INDeco Mamallapuram which is why I'd call it a one-of-a-kind boutique resort hotel in the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site Mahabalipuram! This museum is one of the top places to visit in ECR, Chennai, esp., when you're visiting Mahabalipuram.

The furniture collection here is fabulous. The Foldable Easy Chair is a part of the portable things of the English. Behind it is the Military Style Foldable Camp Cot. Did you know that, a couple centuries ago, when sea voyages are the major mode of transport, furniture was allowed as a part of the personal baggage and had no tax!!! 
Guess what’s that thing in the last pic above? A table with a draw? A suitcase with legs? Neither. It’s a Mahagony Wash Basin. Trust me. It is!!! This too is portable – though not foldable, its detachable! There was yet another wash basin (2nd last pic above)There were some vintage wall clocks of the British Era including an intricate wooden sculpture that also shows time!!! There were many old machineries as well including a telegraph machine and a typewriter.
There was an Albion Printing Press. Printing equipment were initially brought to India for religious and preaching purposes. This piece is trademarked by V&J Figgins of Farrington Road, London. There were a Paper Cutter, a Oil Extractor, a Greasing pump and a Paint Mixer.
Also Read: Quite the opposite of Steve Borgia Indian Heritage museum. If this focusses on what the British left behind, another museum in ECR, Chennai focusses on the authentic pre-British South Indian lifestyle - DakshinaChitra
Next, let me ask a riddle. What's the thing that - South Indians love, Indians in general have tasted and always associate with it as South Indian Delicacy. It’s a non-fattening, oil-free rice based dish – what’s it..??? Of Course, IDLI!!! Though many households these days, use the pressure cooker to cook Idli’s, the traditional Idli steamer is this one in the first pic below. Behind it is an interesting pattern on a sofa seating arrangement, made by broken tiles. It’s a concept used very much by eco-friendly architect Laurie Baker.
One of the traditional games of South Indians esp. for women, called Pallaankuzhi was in the display. Generally this is a long piece of wood with 12 cavities (6x2) and is made of wood. But this is a compact & foldable version (that’s why its here in Steve Borgia Museum!!!)!!! There were some typical old lanterns, an unusual type of hurricane lamp. The good old boiler that's still seen in some tea-kiosks in villages and small towns. A couple things brought here from the British Officers’ Mess in Vellore in South India are a Coffee Grider, a kettle on top of a stove. 

Vintage household Items used in India - Terracotta pots

Vintage household Items used in India - Idli steamer

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum Things to do in ECR

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum

Not just the inhouse area, the restaurant & swimming pool area also have a display of some vintage everyday things. A special mention to the huge fan with manual wooden blades. It was with a Salem Mirasudar until it came to the Steve Borgia Museum. This is placed near the swimming pool and if you are really soaking or need some air, you can actually ask someone to operate this fan. There is a handle behind the fan which on being rotated, the fan runs!

The last fabulous huuuuge piece here is of the gate of Madras Central Prison – 1837. This has an interesting story behind it. It was in the year 2009 when the Chennai High Court passed a verdict to send this piece of history to the gallows after it served its purpose for 172 years. This prison has seen several important persons, including Subash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Annadurai etc. who served their grueling sentences here during the Indian Independence Struggle. Though the prison was demolished in 2009, the Main gate, Jail Name plates and Cell no. 78 found a new home here in Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum in INDeco Hotel Mamallapuram.

The restaurant here is the Pongamiya Restaurant. The food is great. Not as cheap as Vasanta Bhavan, not as costly as Le Meridian. The cost is medium like many other good hotels found in ECR. Yes, looking at the exterior and the heritage stuff kept here I did get petrified as how much would I have to spend if I had my lunch here. Not too much? And great food too!!

The hotel is sea-facing. The view of the sea from the hotel reception itself is splendid. The hotel was fabulous. The greenery inhouse was amazing. Unfortunately I haven't stayed in this hotel to give you a review of the rooms, in-room amenities, service etc. 

INDeco Mamallapuram Best resorts Mahabalipuram

Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum

Pongamiya Best restaurants Mahabalipuram

Pongamiya Best restaurants Mahabalipuram

INDeco Mamallapuram Best resorts Mahabalipuram

INDeco Mamallapuram Best resorts Mahabalipuram

P.S: I accept. It’s true that I couldn’t help humming the theme music of Madarasapattinam as I looked into the artifacts (It’s a Tamil Period Movie about a love story set in the Britishraj era).

As soon as you enter Mamallapuram township, even before the public parking, the hotel is to the left (when you come from Chennai).
From Chennai 
     Tambaram to Mamallapuram distance & route 1: 50 km via Vandalur, Kelambakkam, ECR 
     Tambaram to Mamallapuram distance & route 2: 50 km via Medavakkam, Sozhinganallur, OMR, ECR 
     Thiruvanmiyur to Mamallapuram: 43 km on ECR 
Pondicherry to Mamallapuram distance: 96 km on ECR via Marakkanam

Indeco hotel is located just opposite to the main parking lot of Mahabalipuram group of monuments. The staff of the parking lot would block your way to ask you to get into the parking lot, if you’re on your own vehicle. Please be kind enough to them and say that you’re going to the hotel and not the Mahabalipuram groups of monuments. They are after all doing their duty!!!

However, I'd suggest having your lunch or atleast a coffee here as a token of appreciation!

Deluxe rooms: Rs.2500/- 
Yale suite rooms: Rs.3500/-
Royal Dome house: Rs.6500/-

Ph no: +91 44 2498 4114 / 2499 8121

INDeco Hotels Mamallapuram Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum INDeco Hotels Mamallapuram Steve Borgia Indian Heritage Museum


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Different. Your travels have become quirky off late. Like it. My home in cochin should interest you. A lot of antiques piled up.

  2. Hi Bushavali

    Rare collection of British Era

    thanks for sharing

    my new post: Photo Album - April 2011

  3. Wonderful museum. The collections are great.

    Check out Poetry in Stone - 3

  4. Hi Friend! One dayI'll go to Chennai... Wonderful shots you have here!!

    After the Blogger calamity last week, Blogtrotter Two is showing the last post on Amsterdam 2010... Enjoy and have a superb week ahead!!

  5. @Raj Niranjan Das,
    Quirky??!!! May be. I dunno. You've got antiques piled up at home??? May be you should do a post on it. I'd love to have a look at them!!!

    @Team G Square,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    I am glad I could share.. :)

    Thank you.. :)

    Definately. Welcome to Chennai, Welcome to India!!! :)

  6. the arm chair....dream to possess one someday

    tks for sharing


  7. @Vijay,
    Ah... Just the thought of lying on it itself relaxes me, how good would it be actually lying on it!!! Wishing your wish to come true!!! :) :) :)


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