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10 days of sumptuous meals for the soul and body

Our Itinerary

For centuries countless seekers have been drawn to India for its spirituality and spices. It truly is a land that has mastered food for the soul and body. Our 10-day journey takes us through the heart of southern India on a spiritual adventure and a mouth-watering experience that will leave us joyous in heart and able to appreciate and prepare the delectable cuisine of Tamil Nadu. The itinerary below gives you a glimpse into our upcoming spiritual and culinary adventure in February of 2012.
February 19 - 28, 2012

When & Where Summary of Events

Mahabalipuram

Feb 19
Day 1

Our journey begins in Mahabalipuram, a sleepy fishing village on the shores of the Bay of Bengal just south of Tamil Nadu's capital, Chennai. Though things are laid back here Mahabalipuram is home to some of southern India's spectacular rock carvings and an ancient stone carving tradition that is very much alive today.

Read more and see photos of Mahabalipuram.

Pondicherry

Feb 20
Day 2

We head south from Mahabalipuram journeying along the coast to Pondicherry, once the largest French colony in India. We'll spend a night in the old quarter of this town still strongly French-influenced, with its Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries.

Read more and see photos of Pondicherry.

Chidambaram

Feb 21
Day 3

Next it's Chidambaram, home to the famed temple dedicated to the Hindu supreme god Siva. We'll spend a night here enjoying the sanctity of the temple, explore its sprawling complex built of granite stone, meditate in the sacred sanctums and get to know the priests of one of the oldest temples in India.

Read more and see photos of Chidambaram.

Swamimalai

Feb 22, 23 & 24
Days 4, 5 & 6

We continue south arriving in the town of Swamimalai, a haven for Tamil culture for centuries, and settle here for 3-nights to begin our study of meditation, culture and the culinary arts.

Amma's cooking has for centuries provided the best meals. Amma in Tamil means mother and there is nowhere in Southern India will you find a chef that can even come close to preparing a delicious meal like Amma does. These Ammas will be our culinary teachers with their years of experience and intuitive style cooking.

In Swamimalai we will also meet a family of sari weavers, spend time in their humble home and watch them weave an intricately designed sari of splendorous colors. Spend time with master craftsman, Suri, who will teach us all about the art of casting metal sculptures. Meander through the local village, meeting the locals, learning about their lifestyles and ways of cooking. Venture up a coconut tree (or perhaps not) to harvest a coconut, learn about this amazing fruit and its influence and use in southern cooking. We'll also worship in the sacred temple dedicated to the god Murugan (god of the spiritual path).

Read more and see photos and videos of Swamimalai.

Heart of Chettinad

Feb 25 & 26
Days 7 & 8

We make a brief stop in Thanjavur to visit the Brihadishwara temple, built 1,000 years ago by southern India's greatest king, Raja Raja Chola. Besides being a sacred site for countless Hindus, the temple is an architectural marvel, crowned with its spectacular 80 ton monolithic dome perched 13 stories up.

Then it is on to the town of Kanadukathan, located in the heart of Chettinad, the seat of a unique style of sumptuous southern cooking. A 19th century Chettinad mansion, now converted into a boutique hotel will be our home. We'll explore local markets, learn about local vegetables, fruits and spices, and refine our cooking skills and knowledge of South Indian foods.

A morning visit to a nearby priest training school at the sacred Pillaiyarpatti Ganesha temple will give us a deeper understanding of Hindu culture and traditions.

Read more and see photos from the heart of Chettinad.

Madurai

Feb 27 & 28
Days 9 & 10

We head west making our way to Madurai, ancient capital of Tamil culture and learning, and home to the gorgeous Sri Meenakshi temple. Here the Goddess reigns as the Supreme Deity and the city has grown around this temple. Our journey concludes here. Flights next day take travelers who are not going on the post tour back to Chennai to catch their international flights home.

Read more and see photos of Madurai.

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