Day 01 – Arrival / Chennai
Meeting and assistance on arrival at international airport and after traditional India welcome you will be transferred to your hotel for overnight stay.
Days 02 - Chennai
After breakfast excursion to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is one of the seven Indian cities to reach final attainment as per the Hindu belief and is the pilgrimage site for Saivites and Vaishnavites. Some of the major temples are Varadharaja Perumal Temples, Ekambareshwar and kamakshi Amman Temples.
Afternoon take orientation tour of Chennai. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 03 - Chennai / Pondicherry
This morning explore UNESCO protected Mamallapuram's cave temples and ancient bas reliefs. After a delightful seafood lunch continue to Pondicherry, where highlights include Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the nearby temple of Sri Manakula Vinayakar Temple and the old French quarter with its charming mellow colonial architecture, cafés, and seaside ambience.
Day 04 – Pondicherry
Visit Auroville to understand how the various communities operate (a cheesemaker, organic gardens, arts and crafts) and where the shops are excellent. Meet Pierre Elouard a restaurateur and Aurovillian of 36 years with his own organic vegetable gardens.
Hands-on cooking demonstrations will be offered by the chef who specialises in “Hypotoxic” (cleansing) cuisine and one afternoon offers the opportunity to visit Kanchipuram, one of Hinduism's seven most sacred pilgrimage cities (60kms away) renowned for its 7th and 8thC temples and cotton and famous silk weaving workshops.
Day 05 – Pondicherry/Tiruchirippali/Karaikudi
Today is a scenic half-day’s drive to Trichy situated on the banks of the Cauvery River to view this fascinating temple town.
Continue to Karaikudi, the biggest city in Chettinad and famous for its Ganesha temple, antiques, woven textiles, crafts, majestic mansions and a most distinctive cuisine.
Evening cooking demonstrations of delectable family recipes with ingredients such as quail, prawns, fresh water fish, and a fabulous array of seasonal vegetables and pulses. The family’s four chefs and their assistants create delectable dishes for which the masalas and spice mixes are still ground by hand on a traditional stone.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 06 – Karaikudi/Periyar
Today is a very scenic 6 hour drive with a picnic lunch en-route. You traverse the beautiful scenery and tropical farmlands of the Western Ghats, rich with coffee, tea and spice plantations, to reach Thekaddy (Periyar) by late afternoon. For the next two nights you are based in Periyar National Park, a 780 sq km sanctuary created in 1934 as a conservation zone for elephants, bison, sambar, wild boar, spotted deer, a huge assortment of butterflies and waterfowl and the occasional tiger or leopard.
The hotel chefs will engage you in hands-on cooking in the garden pavilion, elaborating on the role of spices as well as referring to some local tribal culinary traditions such as earth cooking and the traditional ceremonial sadya banana leaf platter, hallmark of all important festivities.
There may also be opportunities for trekking in the park or game viewing on the lake as well as visits to local tribal villages
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 07 – Periyar (Thekkady)
Early morning game viewing by boat.
Afternoon visit to Spice plantation on walking tour with naturalist.
SPICE PLANTATION: Here you will see a variety of spices being grown (pepper, chilli, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice etc) as well as coffee and vanilla. You are free to ask questions about the production of these spices.
Afternoon jungle excursion by boat with naturalist. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 08 – Periyar/Alleppey/Kumarakom
From Thekaddy you travel by road through very lush, verdant tropical scenery and lunch en-route will be enjoyed at a private coffee and rubber Estate that dates from and preserves the art deco period as well as a legion of superb family recipes.
On arrival check into the Kettuvallum Houseboat and cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
Dinner and cooking class in houseboat.
Day 09 – Arrival Kumarakom / Cochin
After breakfast at houseboat, check out and drive to Cochin.
Cochin is situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula . Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 10 – Cochin
After breakfast visit to the fresh seafood and vegetable markets of Mandicherry. Later sightseeing of Cochin exploring Jewish synagogues, Chinese fishing-nets, Portuguese churches, Dutch palaces and British cricket greens.
Evening cooking classes with dinner at local home.
Day 11 – Cochin / Departure
The last day is a day at leisure- time to rest and relax at your lovely hotel, take a swim, or shop. This evening you will be transferred to the COCHIN airport for your international departure.