Established in 1893 by J. J. Murphy, the Irish pioneer of planters in India, Pambadampara Estate enjoys the distinction of being the world’s first organized cardamom plantation in the world. ‘Murphy Saipu’, as the locals fondly called him, realized the ecological significance of the trees and ensured that they were protected by a special clause in the agreement he signed with the Diwan of Travancore to gain patta (permanent rights) over the land. This clause stands to date and is responsible for protecting the beautiful canopy of green shade under which our coffee grows and matures.
In 1946, Pambadampara Estate (P) Ltd. purchased the expanse of land that constitutes Pambadampara Estate from Murphy Estates Ltd. The directors of the company were Rao Bahadur Senthikumar Nadar and Mr. MSPS Sankaralinga Nadar, merchants from Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, who were involved in the coffee, cardamom and spice trade.
In 1957, Mr. M.S.P.S. Baskar took over management of the estate and subsequently introduced coffee in the form of the varietal SLN. 795 in the year 1965. In 1989, Mr. S.B. Sankar and Mr. S.B. Prabhakar took charge of the estate, investing in the cultivation of the superior SLN. 9 variety of Arabica and ensuring that Pambadampara Estate conforms to global standards of coffee production, a legacy that has lasted to date.
Mr. S Baskar on horseback in Pambadampara
Mr Baskar in front of Cardamom store
Portrait of Rao Bahadur MSP Senthikumara Nadar
Picture of lake at Pambadampara
Picture of Mr. MSPS Sankaralinga Nadar with his wife Mrs. Saraswathi
Mr. Baskar hosting the then Maharaja of Mysore, Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur at Pambadampara Estate
Mr. Baskar hosting Mr. Kamaraj, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Portrait of Mr. MSPS Baskar
Legend has it that when planters first arrived at what is now Pambadampara, they witnessed a rare spectacle: two snakes dancing in unison on a rock. This sight prompted them to call the area ‘Pambu-adum-para’, a combination of words that when translated from either Malayalam or Tamil reads “The rock that snakes dance on”.