South India food tour, Chennai to Mysore
An immersive and authentic culinary and cultural experience, where you’ll cook food with a farmer in Tamil Nadu, visit spice markets in Kochi and learn about Indian vegetarian cooking on an eco plantation.
Chennai visit the Sthapathi Bronze casting families of Tamil Nadu visit the potters of Madurai's Meenakshi Backwaters of Lake Vembanad Fort Kochi Nilgiri Mountains Mysore
£3200To£4400 excluding flights
Description of South India food tour, Chennai to Mysore
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
As Organic tea and fruit farmers ourselves, we understand the benefits that organic produce has on the environment.
For our hands-on cooking sessions, we source our fresh produce from organic farmers in the local areas. As organic farmers ourselves in the Nilgiris, we grow our own organic fruits and tea farmed using organic processes. The fresh produce grown on our farms is nourished using organic Neem compost mixes. The Neem Tree, from the Mahogany family, is a tree native to the sub-continent and long known to have ayurvedic and naturopathic properties. The extracts from neem leaves are not only absorbed by plants as a source of nutrition but once absorbed also act as a natural insecticide. In addition to Neem we also our very own Compost, generated from the organic waste produced on the farm and from the Homestay kitchen.
Additionally all produce sourced are from farmers dedicated to farming organically in the Nilgiri Mountains. Their produce is sourced fresh right from the Farm the day produce is harvested. Ultimately this eliminates the need for the produce to travel long distances to wholesale or retail markets, thereby reducing it’s carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
The Homestays and properties we use along this trip all use Solar Heating as their source of heat for water on the property thereby drastically reducing dependence on conventional forms of electricity.
Rain Water Harvesting
We have encouraged properties to setup rainwater harvesting on their sites. The Homestay in the Nilgiris has successfully setup a harvesting system that now allows them to collect, store and recycle stored rainwater for the plantation during the months of summer that are completely devoid of rainfall.
The homestays we use ensure that waste is recycled the environmentally prudent way. For instance in the Nilgiri mountains, the Homestay ensures that all wet waste is recycled through Organic Composting which is then used in the plantation. The homestay is a plastic-free environment and hence no plastic is used in their day-to-day functioning at any level. All paper and glass are recycled back each week to be re-used in making hand-made newspaper bags for groceries and glass is recycled back. All e-waste is disposed of bi-annually through certified e-waste recycling collection drives.
PeopleSupport of Local Artisan and Craft Workers
Through our trips, we ensure that indigenous artists and crafts people are supported. Through this trip, we actively support four groups of artists – The Bronze Statue Casters of Thanjavur, Potters of Madurai, The Stone Temple Statue carvers of Mysore & the Wood Inlay Artists of Mysore.
Essentially, our trips work to increase a traveler’s knowledge about these craft forms that are not accessible on regular traveler circuits. However these experiences we setup with the artists are anything but tourist-centric. We facilitate proper hands-on sessions with real carvers, casters and artists in their workrooms to gain genuine perspective on the methodologies behind the craft, the skills and tools required to actually create their objects of craft. We encourage travelers to actually try their hand out at each of these crafts, as we believe this to be one of the best methods of engaging with the locals. This hands-on involvement leaves travelers with a deeper understanding of the effort behind the craft and over the years this has resulting in a great number of works being commissioned by travelers who have gone and experienced things first hand with these Artists. This promotion of local craft and the resulting income it attracts has helped encourage a lot younger talent to these craft forms; something that was grossly deficient in the recent past.
Supporting Backwater Occupations
The backwaters of Lake Vembanad in Kerala are in fact are verdant and bountiful because they’re not only a haven for local bird and marine life, but they also support a multitude of villages and village life that thrives on it’s banks. However slowly but steadily backwater occupations and traditions are dying out as youth stray from these parts to larger towns and cities seeking more urban occupations.
Through our locally designed and responsible tourism initiative of country canoeing, we’ve employed local youth who guide our travelers on hand-made canals through the small and narrow canals of the backwaters. They ultimately end up in small backwater villages where we support families who engage in traditional backwater village occupations such as Coir-rope making – a skill that requires one to de-husk coconut fibre and stretch and plait the fibers to make ropes that ultimately are used in applications that require rope of decent tensile strength, Toddy-tapping – a highly specialized skill that requires climbers to extract the sap from blooming coconut palm flowers that ultimately results in the unfermented or fermented liquid called Toddy, used in a host of local Keralan dishes and consumed as is like a spirit & finally local Pearl Spot fishing – though practiced commercially, the art of small scale fishing is dying out beside the backwaters. Small-scale fishing is not only self-sustaining but also ecologically stabilizing as it naturally prevents people from over-fishing marine life.
With every traveler who visits these villages to experience these local occupations first-hand we contribute monetarily to these families to encourage them to be committed to these traditional occupations.
Local Homestays: supporting local employment & local farmers
Through this trip we support and use local homestays run by local families, native to that region who apart from operating their business in the local area, also employ all their help from the villages and towns they are situated in.
In addition to this, these homestays support the local farmers and most importantly local organic farmers. By purchasing their produce we encourage them to grow more produce organically and consistently better.