Journeys Rediscovered - Culinary Journey of South India


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Culinary Immersion Tours unique to Journeys Rediscovered

“Culinary Journey of South India”

Small Group Tour of no more than 12

Chennai – Pondicherry - Thanjavur – Madurai – Thekkady - Kumarakom – Kochi-Hyderabad 

15 Days/14 Nights

  • 2 nights accommodation in Chennai
  • 1 night accommodation in Pondicherry
  • 1 night accommodation in Thanjavur
  • 2 nights accommodation in Madurai
  • 2 nights accommodation in Thekkady 
  • 2 nights accommodation in Kumarakom 
  • 2 nights accommodation in Kochi 
  • 2 nights accommodation at Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad 
  • Breakfast daily at hotels
  • All lunches and dinners included at specially selected restaurants (except on Day 1 & 15)
  • All private transfers and private transportation between cities within Southern India
  • Entrance fees
  • Sightseeing and touring with a local English speaking guide 

Contact Journeys Rediscovered on 0477002235 for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary or to REGISTER for our 2021 Small Group Journeys (no more the 12 passengers).

Choose from boutique 4-star accommodation OR luxurious 5-star accommodation.

More Information

Contact Journeys Rediscovered for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary or REGISTER now for our 2021 Small Group Journeys.

Choose from boutique 4-star accommodation OR luxurious 5-star accommodation

Day 1 - Chennai:
Arrive in Chennai is the largest city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and is located on the south-eastern Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. This vibrant metropolis serves as a gateway to the culture of South India.

Day 2 - Chennai: 
In the morning, you will visit the Madras Museum. Thereafter, you will proceed to Fort St. George, Britain’s first bastion in India and the nucleus from which the British Empire grew. Lunch will be at a restaurant with a 25-year history glorifying the culinary traditions of the six South Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu – this legendary restaurant presents a new menu showcasing the best of the best. Enjoy this selection of iconic recipes. Take a heritage walk through Mylapore including the four narrow ‘Mada’ streets which circle the 16th-century Kapaleeswarar temple. In the evening, you will experience an interactive cooking demonstration at the Indian restaurant – Jamavar in your hotel, followed by North Indian dinner at the same venue.

Day 3 - Chennai/Pondicherry:
After breakfast, you will drive to Pondicherry - which was part of the Pallava, Chola and Pandya empires from the 4th to 14th centuries, followed by Islamic rule. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, were the first Europeans to return to trade in textiles. Later, we will take you to the Mohanam Centre for Culture and Heritage, where you will be participating in a hands-on cooking class that will give you a taste of India. This will be followed by a Tamil lunch. Visit Aurobindo Ashram the spiritual centre of the city, which was founded by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a great seer, poet and prophet of the twentieth century, to help man reach the zenith of his evolution through spiritual exercises and yoga, combined with physical activity and productive work. Later, you will explore Pondicherry's wonderful French Quarter, eventually making your way through the bustling Grand Bazaar, for a look at the daily life in the Tamil Quarter. This evening, we will take you to Le Dupleix, where a wonderful mix of French and Indian cuisines will be set up for you under the stars by an old mango tree at The Courtyard restaurant.

Day 4 - Pondicherry/Thanjavur:
Today, your destination will be Thanjavur (on the way, you will visit the famous temple sites of Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram. Upon reaching Darasuram, you will have lunch with a cooking demonstration at a Chettinad restaurant. The meal will be served on banana leaves in traditional Tamil style. Dinner will be served at the Aharam restaurant in your hotel. On the agenda today is a special Maratha cuisine that took pride of place in the royal kitchens of the Thanjavur Marathas. The recipes in the Thanjavur region have a distinct flavour of native spices and ingredients that were introduced in this region for the first time when the Maratha warriors began to settle here.

Day 5 - Thanjavur/Madurai:
In the morning, you will visit the Brihadisvara Temple (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This afternoon you will take part in a cooking demonstration with an in-house chef who specialises in Chettinad cuisine; this will be followed by lunch. Chettiar food is a feast for the gourmet with liberal sprinklings of pepper (and not chilli), making it spicy but not pungent. After lunch, you will drive to the temple town of Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in India.

Day 6 - Madurai:
Early in the morning, you will be taken for a private, interactive walking tour of Madurai. As you walk through the markets, you will understand the nuances of local society. The different roles of people, age-old traditions that are still alive and the habits of the people are explained and introduced in a very interesting and interactive manner. After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit the Meenakshi Temple. In the afternoon, you will visit the Thirumalai Nayaka Palace with its massive courtyard and grand hall. Note the Islamic influences and striking dome above the main chamber. You will then explore the markets surrounding the Meenakshi temple. After the tour, you will embark on a “foodie’s tour” created especially for you. You will visit hand-selected places ranging from street-food vendors, roadside eateries and dine-in restaurants. Your food expert will rely on your appetite and sense of adventure to set the pace and duration of the tour. Rest assured that the quality and hygiene of each place has been carefully vetted. Time permitting you will once again return to the Meenakshi temple to see the night ceremony.

Day 7 - Madurai/Thekkady:
In the morning, you will drive into the cool lush hills to lakeside Thekkady, bordering the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve). Periyar is the best-known wildlife sanctuary in South India. In the afternoon, you will take a walking tour on a spice plantation. Spices farmed here are exported all over India and to other countries as well. Spices like cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, black pepper, white pepper and others can be bought fresh from the plantation. Later this evening, you will witness a famous martial-art-form of Kerala – Kalaripayattu in a centre. Kalarippayattu is a Dravidian martial art from Kerala. Possibly one of the oldest fighting systems in existence, it is practised in Kerala and contiguous parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well as north-eastern Sri Lanka and among the Malayalee community of Malaysia. It includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.

Day 8 - Thekkady:
You will start the day early, trekking through the rainforest accompanied by a naturalist who will introduce you to the flora and the fauna of the area. The park is home to elephants, the occasional tiger, wild boar and deer as well as a large bird population. You will end the morning tour (3 hours) with a short ride on bamboo rafts on the Periyar River. Along the way, you may see elephants wandering down to the water for a drink or to bathe. Late in the afternoon, you will have a special cooking demonstration with the in-house chef at ‘A Century-old Setting’ in your hotel. This evening, dinner will be arranged at the unique 50 Mile Diet restaurant in your hotel where the menu features items made from local ingredients sourced from within a 50-mile radius.

Day 9 - Thekkady/Kumarakom:
You will start the day with an early morning “yoga session”. After breakfast, you will drive to Kumarakom. En route, you will visit ‘Plantation Bungalow’ at Kanjirappally for lunch with a local Kerala family. After being served a traditional welcome drink, you will be taken for a short walk in the surrounding rubber plantation and processing unit and thereafter participate in a cooking demonstration which includes delicious local fare like rice pancakes (palappam) and fish moilee. Arrive in Kumarakom in the late afternoon, and check-in to your hotel. A labyrinth of backwaters with shimmering water, the brilliant green of mangrove forests, coconut palms lining the embankments, blue skies, flocks of migratory birds skimming the water – this is Kumarakom, a veritable dreamland! This famous backwater hub is a cluster of islands on the eastern banks of Lake Vembanad. Here, the evening is the best time of the day. You can take a sunset cruise.

Day 10 - Kumarakom:
After a relaxed morning, you will be transferred by motorboat to Philipkutty’s Farm, enjoy the traditional vegetarian feast of Kerala - Sadya.

Day 11 - Kumarakom/Alappuzha/Kochi:
By noon, you will board an exclusive Houseboat at the Lake Vembanad jetty to travel up to Alappuzha. You will journey along Kerala’s backwaters with its own unique culture. The cruise will take you through the Vembanad Lake and the village canals. You will skim past Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves. There is a whole different Kerala that lives along these waterways. Lunch will be served on board. Each boat has a fully-equipped kitchen and an experienced cook to prepare authentic Kerala cuisine with seafood specialities and fresh vegetables. In the evening, drive to Kochi - spread over a series of islands and crisscrossed by the sea and backwaters, Kochi (long known as Cochin) speaks of old-world charm and leisure.

Day 12 - Kochi:
Today, you will explore the various religious and cultural influences that shaped Kochi. The most significant influence on Kochi by the foreign visitors is that of the Jews whose synagogue is one of the main attractions of the area. From here, you will walk to the Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace, which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. This day’s lunch will be ‘At Home’ in Kochi. A prominent Syrian Christian couple, who is a renowned cooking instructor. Her guests visit her because they wish to experience the traditional flavours and preparations of Kerala in a comfortable and informal manner. They plan each event meticulously to make each visit a special treat.

In the afternoon, you will stroll through the charming Heritage Zone, where you will see various architectural styles reflecting the many cultures that lived here. Dutch houses stand next to spacious porticoed British plantation-style homes while standing guard over the harbour are the Chinese fishing nets. We will time your arrival with the local fishing boats pulling in with their catch for the day. This evening, you will watch a Kathakali dance performance at your hotel.

Day 13 - Kochi/Hyderabad: 
Early today you will drive to Kochi airport to board your flight to Hyderabad. Built on ancient granites, famous for its gemstones especially the magnificent Kohinoor diamond that adorns the crown worn by British royalty, Hyderabad was famous for its beautiful “monuments, mosques and mistresses”. On your tour today you will visit the fort at Golconda, which served as the capital of the Qutb Shahi Kings who ruled over the area. In 1724, Nizam-ul-Mulk repossessed it and restored it to its former glory for a short time. In Hyderabad, you will stay in India’s latest palace hotel – the Falaknuma Palace. This evening you will take a palace tour with the in-house palace historian.

Day 14 - Hyderabad:
Today you will explore the city’s rich and very colourful Nizami history. Not too far away, is Laad Bazaar, which is said to have been there since the era of the Qutub Shahis and the Nizams and therefore presents a living heritage of the city. You will get to try “Biryani”, along with some other local delicacies with one of the traditional families in Hyderabad. The lady of the house, Begum Mumtaz is acknowledged as one of the leading experts of Hyderabadi cuisine and is invited to give cooking lessons to the top chefs across the world. After lunch, you will proceed to the 18th-century Chowmahalla Palace, which is said to resemble the Shah of Iran’s palace and continue to the magnificent forts and palaces, a legacy of days gone by. You will also visit the extraordinarily beautiful Paigah Tombs, known for their architectural excellence. Tonight’s farewell dinner will be served at the Southeast Garden. It is an ideal venue for hosting private dining experiences and offers stunning views of the old city. This barbeque theme offers a royal feast with larger than life spitfires, slow roasting your favourite meats & exotic vegetables. The recipes of tonight’s meal have been closely guarded by the Nizam’s personal chefs.

Day 15 - Hyderabad: 
Early morning you will be escorted to Hyderabad’s International airport in time to board your flight home or Journeys Rediscovered can arrange extensions in Rajasthan, Sri lanka, Maldives or the Andaman Islands.

Travel Dates

Valid for travel 01 Oct 2020 - until 31 Dec 2021.

Terms & Conditions

Contact Journeys Rediscovered to register for our 2021 Small Group Journey (no more than 12 passengers.) Journeys Rediscovered Small Group - Culinary Journey of Southern India, will run with a minimum of 6 passengers.

Alternatively, contact Journeys Rediscovered for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary, which is guaranteed with a minimum of one person.

Land-based itinerary is based per person on twin/double share basis (unless otherwise stated), single supplement is available, contact Journey Rediscovered for this surcharge.

International & domestic airfares are additional, please contact Journeys Rediscovered for international flight options and prices.

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and can be arranged for you for an additional cost.

For full pricing, terms and conditions, contact your MTA Travel Expert, Journeys Rediscovered on 0477002235 or journeysrediscovered@mtatravel.com.au

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