Spice Pilgrims

Tasting tradition and modernity along the trade routes of southern India

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India has the world’s most diverse regional cuisine; geography, climate, religion and trade have all played a role in its development. Spices have been key in the tangible expression of this culinary wealth and Indian cooks are acknowledged for their mastery in using these. However, spices have been important beyond the kitchen playing a key role in India’s economy for thousands of years, The Indian peninsula was the centre of a global trading network when Aristotle was just a boy and where there were spice sellers there were temples. Such is the ancient symbiotic relationship between temples and trade that it can be hard to decipher which came first.

This specially designed journey uses food, spices and history as the key to engaging with the social, cultural and environmental diversity of India. Our travel takes us east to west along old trade routes that criss-cross the deep south of the Indian peninsula and were once equally plied by pilgrims to mammon and holy devotion. We will explore the culinary culture, kitchens and cookery pots of Tamil Brahmins, Franco-Tamils, Chettinars, Malayalis, Syrian Christians, Indo-Jewry, Indo-Muslims, royalty, gurus and gods.

In between tasting India through simple meals and elaborate feasts we will visit markets, explore the former French town of Pondicherry with its charming colonial streetscapes and mystical presence of ‘ The Mother’, desert palaces, the temple town of Madurai, a spice plantation, Kerala’s famed backwaters and historic Fort Cochin. Exploring bustling bazaars and sophisticated boutiques will offer significant opportunities to burn calories in between wonderful meals shared with each other and a cast of charming Indian hosts.

 

Read More: India | Kerala & Southern India | Charmaine O'Brien | Secret Women's Series

 

Why we like it

Escorted by Charmaine O’Brien
Taste your way through South India
Experience India's diversity through her food
Emerge yourself in history, culture and beauty
Exclusive small group departure
 

At a Glance

Day 1: Arrive Chennai, Taj Coromandel – 2 nights
Day 3: Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry – 1 night
Day 4: Visalam, Chettinad – 2 nights
Day 6: Pasumalai Madurai, Madurai – 1 night
Day 7: Spice Village, Periyar – 2 nights
Day 9: Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom – 2 nights
Day 11: Malabar House, Cochin – 2 nights
Day 13: Day of departure

Key facts

Group size : minimum of 8 (required for departure) | maximum of 14
Note: This itinerary has now travelled and every one of our journeys is a bespoke, one-off departure. If you would be interested in similar future journeys please contact us to register your interest or to have your perfect itinerary tailor made.
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