South India Culinary Tour Detailed Itinerary | David's Tours

South India Culinary Tour Detailed Itinerary

The South India Culinary Tour is for anyone who is interested in learning and tasting South Indian food. enjoy the spices and the hint o coconut in much of the cooking.

Day 1
On arriving at the Chennai Airport, our representative will meet you and take you to your hotel.

Chennai is located on the south-eastern coast of India, and has an interesting architectural mix reflecting many past cultural influences.

The origin of Chennai (Madras) is a mystery with very little historical background. Historians do not agree to its origin. Originally, Madras consisted of several small villages and temple towns. Once a part of the ancient kingdom of Thondaimandalam and ruled by the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and the Vijayanagar Empire it was slowly united by the administrators. Chennai was the first city established by the East India Company (375 years ago) and was the capital of southern part of India. Today, it is the fourth largest metropolitan city in India.

Overnight: Deluxe Room – The Park POD Chennai or similar

Day 2
In the morning, drive to Mahabalipuram (about an hour’s drive) – once the major port city for the 7th century Pallava dynasty. Mahabalipuram is home to over 500 stone carvers and is known for its rock-cut caves and monolithic shrines called Rathas.

See fine examples of stone carvings at the Shore Temples and also see ‘The Ganges’, a 20 ft high and 90 ft long (base) relief sculpture depicting the descent of India’s sacred river. After sightseeing, drive back to Chennai. Take a lunch break at a local South Indian restaurant, where you can enjoy light Indian savouries such as dosas (a crisp crepe optionally stuffed with spicy potatoes), accompanied with sambar (lentil curry) and coconut chutney; idlis (puffed steamed dumplings made of rice and lentils); or vadai (deep fried lentil dumplings often referred as salty doughnuts, because of their doughnut shape)

In the afternoon, take a guided tour of the well-preserved architectural legacy of the colonial period in Chennai including Fort St. George, St. Andrew’s Kirk and The Church of St Mary, the first Anglican Church in Asia. Visit the Presidency College, a fine example of mid-19th century Indo – Saracenic architecture. End the tour as you stroll through the Mylapore markets. Your guide will tell you about the living history, museum and a repository of the culture and heritage of Mylapore. Also visit the famous 9th century Kapaleeshwar temple and its beautiful tank monuments.

Enjoy dinner at Dakshinwhere connoisseurs of fine dining come to all over the world to savour the delights of South Indian cuisine in its entire ancient and yet vibrant glory. Sample dishes from the four southern states of India prepared by culinary experts and cooked in their own distinct spices and style. Try home-style Kerala stew, cooked in coconut milk or a red-hot Andhra mutton curry. Many of these dishes are served with rice. Others come with spongy and crisp Appams, or string hopperidiappam gracefully complimented by freshly grounded chutney.

Overnight: Deluxe Room – The Park POD Chennai or similar (B,L,D)

Day 3
After breakfast, you will be taken to Chennai airport to board the flight to Madurai: a millennia old city unique with an amazingly rich heritage.

Upon arrival our representative will take you to your hotel.

Madurai, is known as the temple town or the city of nectar. Itis one of the oldest cities in South Asia. Located on the Vaigai River, it was the an important cultural, commercial centre and the capital city of Pandya Kings. Legend has it that when city was being named, Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On this auspicious occasion some divine nectar (“Madhu”) fell from the hair of Shiva and hence the city was named “Madhurapuri”.

After freshening up, join an interactive cooking lesson with a culinary expert on Thalavainadu food (traditional Tamil food) and the chef will prepare authentic Madurai dishes using local ingredients like Ragi (millet), palm jaggery (seasonal) etc;

After lunch take a guided tour of Madurai including a visit to Tirumalai NayakMahal – an Indo-Saracenic palace built on a grand scale with a beautifully sculpted dance hall. Walk through the bustling city. It is haotic and crowded but nevertheless offers some remarkable sights and a fascinating taste of Tamil culture.

In the evening visit the lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai- the famous Sri Meenkashi temple that houses 14 magnificent Gopuramsand the thousand pillared hall where each carved pillar is a fine example of the Dravidian sculptur.

In the evening, dinner will be at the hotel Overnight: Deluxe Room – The Heritage Madurai or similar (B,L,D)

Day 4
Early in the morning, visit South India’s largest fresh flower trading centre, bustling with activity and filled with seasonal flowers. Madurai’s flower market is a great place to start exploring Madurai’s cultural heritage. Almost 95% of the jasmine grown across 900 acres in Madurai is used in garlands for ceremonies, weddings and so on; the rest of the 489-tonne annual yield is used for extraction by the global fragrance and spa industry. “It’s like a stock market; prices fluctuate daily depending on the season.” Time permitting, you will visit India’s largest flower processing factory, producing high-quality jasmine extracts such as essence, wax and oil that are ingredients to several well-known perfumes around the world, including Chanel No.5, and Dior J’adore.

After breakfast, drive to Chettinad (90 km) / approx. a two hour drive. Authentic Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. A variety of spices are used to prepare the dishes. The most important spices are Marathi mokku (dried flower pods), anasipoo (star aniseed) andkalpasi (lichen known as the “black stone flower”, ordagadphool). In addition, tamarind, whole red chillies and saunf (fennel seed) are also used along with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorn, cumin seeds and fenugreek.

Let the culinary expedition take over as you relish a 7-course meal at the Bangalawhere every meal is an elaborate affair resembling a typical Chettinadfestive or wedding feast. The courses are repeated as many times as you want them to.

At the Bangala, the cooks use grinding stones to pulverize regional spices, deploying them in masalas for dishes like a sinus-clearing black-pepper chicken, sour-scented tamarind crab curry, and king prawns flavored with spring onions. Meals are taken communally at a teak dining hall and eaten from banana-leaf with one’s hands. After lunch, you may wander the narrow streets of Karaikudi enveloped in an ancient inheritance, stately villas, colonial style bungalows and rambling ruins. Interact with the silversmiths, stone carvers and wood carvers as you stroll through quaint markets. For collectors with a keen eye, the antique shops can provide delightful bargains.

In the evening dinner at the hotel

Overnight: Deluxe Room – The Heritage Madurai or similar (B,L,D)

Day 5
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Periyar for 3 hours (145kms); upon arrival check-in to the hotel.

The charms of Periyar are many – the timeless wilderness of Periyar Tiger Reserve with 925 sq. km sprawl including forests, marshes and aquatic habitats that together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 27 species of amphibians, 45 species of reptiles, 38 species of fish. Innumerable medicinal plants and many spice plantations around the region round off this incredibly rich collection of biodiversity.

Enjoy lunch at the Aanavilasam plantation house, surrounded by a pristine Cardamom and Pepper plantation! Pepper still remains the king of Kerala spices, but the state also produces cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger and turmeric. There are also cashew nut plantations, and Kerala is India’s native state for coconuts!

In the afternoon, enjoy an elephant ride for 30 minutes through the spice plantation.

Dinner is planned at 50 Miles –a spice village where the master chef sources the fresh fish from the river, and all ingredients from within a 50 mile radius of the establishment. All this is perfectly combined with the fresh spices available from the 14 acre organic spice farm.

Overnight: Cardamom County – County Cottage or similar (B,L,D)

Day 6
After breakfast, drive 130kms / 3 hours to Kumarakom – a sleepy little village tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A lovely amalgamation of mangroves, paddy fields, coconut clusters, network of criss-cross canals, rivers and natural water bodies makes Kumarakoma destination of distinction and character.

The Kerala backwaters provides a backdrop for vibrant community life on its banks. See the interesting flora and fauna, the indigenous methods of fishing, the handmade country boats and the coir fibre production.

The rest of the day is at leisure

Lunch and dinner are at the hotel

Overnight: Vembnand Cottage – Lake Song Kumarakom or similar (B,L,D)

Day 7
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. The day is designed or independent activities. You may take a yoga lesson or indulge yourself in traditional ayurveda spa. Adventurous travelers can opt for cycling tour in the surrounding villages.

Lunch is planned with an authentic Kuttanadan (backwater) family at Philipkutty farm. It is the largest farm on the island, about 535 acres. A unique eco-friendly place where one experiences real backwater and the rural India in its simplest and natural format. Everything here is solely based on the concept of sustainable and socially responsible existence.

Join the farm walk, where a guide explains the low-level farming techniques and different crops in this area.

In Syrian Christian homes, most of the dishes served are centred around fish, farm vegetables and fruits, duck, chicken and occasionally other meats, supplemented with rice and rice based local breads like appam, string hoppers etc. Some of the specialties are Karimeen (pearlspot), fish fry, fish molee, prawn and scampi preparations, duck roast and curry, and red hot Kerala fish curry.

Dinner is at the hotel

Overnight: Vembnand Cottage – Lake Song Kumarakom or similar (B,L,D)

Day 8
After breakfast, continue for an hour’s drive to Alleppeyand enjoy day cruising through the fabled backwaters – the undisputed highlight of the region. You’ll pass the backwaters, as well as tiny, colourful towns that typically export coconut-husk products and fishing villages.

Before embarking Ketuvellam, we will take a guided walking tour of Alleppey- the only town in Kerala that has retained its old charm. Backwaters, water canals, old settlements and warehouses make it a unique place.

The best way to glimpse village life and the scenery along the backwaters of Kerala is to ply the region’s intricate web of rivers, lagoons, canals, and lakes in Kettuvallamin a traditional Keralan houseboat. Embark at Ketuvellam. These slender vessels are constructed from jack fruitwood beams with thatched roves and have been the primary means of transporting cargo for centuries—mainly Kerala’s staple crops of rice and coconuts.

In more recent times, these traditional boats have been refurbished to provide the travelers with a comfortable bedroom, modern bathroom along with a small crew that includes a chef.

After lunch on a houseboat, transfer to the fishing village of Mararikulam. Upon arrival check into your hotel Dinner is at the hotel The hotel’s master chef will introduce you to Ayurveda cooking at the evening cooking class where you will learn the secrets of traditional Ayurveda cuisine and seafood cooking.

Overnight: Green Pearl – Marari Pearl Resort or similar (B,L,D)

Day 9
Relax and unwind by the beach. You may flop on Marari Beach for a wholesome dose of sand, sea and sizzling fish curry or take a guided tour of the local villages, which also includes visits to churches, temples and coir factories

Lunch at the hotel

For those looking forward for complete rejuvenation may try various ayurvedic massages.

Dinner is at the hotel. Learn to cook an authentic coastal dish, starting with, picking the vegetables from the organic garden, and buying fresh fish / shellfish from the fisherfolk by the sea. Then get directions from the master chef for combining the ingredients with the fresh ground coconut and aromatic spices.

Overnight: Green Pearl – Marari Pearl Resort or similar (B,L,D)

Day 10
After breakfast, drive to Cochin which is also known as Kochi. Cochin is an attractive town with a rich history and culture. It has been a trading port since at least Roman times when it was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The enormous cantilevered cheenavalas (Chinese fishing nets) still line the shore line.

The town has had a Jewish community since at least the 6th century, and has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British before independence.

Upon arrival, check into the hotel.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

In the evening enjoy a sunset boat cruise around the sights of the waterfront.

Dinner is at the specialty seafood restaurant – Rice Boat. This restaurant features ultra-fresh seafood, hauled from the backwaters and displayed in a show kitchen where in the guests can interact with chefs to create customized specialties. The menu offers cuisine from regions where the original rice boats travelled. They also showcase distinct seafood styles.

They include, Kerala backwater cuisine, featuring local sweet water fishes, seafood cooked in authentic Kerala curries and grills, with exotic ocean catch with Lobsters, Scampi, Mussels, and more.

Internationally-renowned seafood including Norwegian Salmon, Octopus, Oysters, and Clams are also available. The restaurant’s new, extended windows offer panoramic views overlooking the water and the colonial warehouses of Fort Cochin with views towards the open ocean and beyond – truly a unique experience among restaurants in the region.

Overnight: Superior Room – Spice Fort or similar (B,L,D)

Day 11
Breakfast is at the hotel.

In the afternoon take a cooking lesson at Nimmy Paul’s residence, followed by lunch.

Nimmy and Paul have been involved in ‘At Home’ hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy, a professional cooking instructor for more than twenty years, and her stockbroker husband Paul, offer food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy and Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food. Nimmy conducts cooking classes and teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. Articles by her and about her have appeared in magazines and newspapers. Nimmy, Paul, and their son Joseph live in Kochi.

After lunch, take a guided heritage walking tour of Fort Cochin that is home to several historic sites, including Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and the Portuguese built Mattancherrry Palace. You will also have an opportunity to enjoy a tuk-tuk ride to Jewish Town.

In the evening enjoy a Kathakali dance performance

Enjoy a buffet dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Superior Room – Spice Fort or similar (B,L,D)

Day 12
Early morning transfer to the International airport for the flight to your next destination.

**** End of Tour****



(Based on Twin Share / AUD / per person – Valid until September 2017)

 From $5,800 twin share 

Single Supplement from $1,500

September 12, 2017  June 14, 2017: $5,800  July 14, 2017: $6,100

Please contact us for details/pricing etc.

(a) if you wish to make a group booking of 10 or more people at one time, or.

(b) if you wish to make a booking for a couple or family

We can also arrange international airfares, stop-overs, travel insurance and extension tours.

Prices calculated when AUD1 = 55INR. Signiificant variations may impact price.


  • Accommodation on twin-share or single occupancy basis for 11 nights in the mentioned hotels /similar
  • Meals: Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner as mentioned in itinerary
  • Transportation by an air conditioned vehicles
  • Accompanying English speaking guide throughout the itinerary
  • Portage at airports and railway stations
  • Entrances for monuments (single entry) as per itinerary
  • Half day tour of Chennai
  • Excursion to Mahabalipuram
  • Half day tour of Madurai
  • Half day tour of Chettinad
  • Plantation Tour including 30 minute Elephant ride at Periyar
  • Day Cruise from Alleppey to Alleppey
  • Kathakali Dance in Kochi
  • Special experiences – 1. Chennai Mylaporewalk
    1. Guided walk of Alleppey Town
    2. Tuk – Tuk ride in Kumarakom
    3. Sunset cruise in Cochin
    4. Guided heritage walking tour of Cochin
    5. Tuk – Tuk ride in Cochin


  • Cooking demonstrations – Madurai
    1. Chettinad
    2. Kumarakom
    3. Marari
    4. Cochin
  • Tips, Gratuities, Still Camera fees, Bottled water; portage at airports, hotels and railway stations
  • All currently applicable taxes




  • Any pre/post dinner drinks or drinks of any nature along with the meals unless specified
  • Any vehicle arrangements on free days or days at leisure.
  • Video camera fee at monuments
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’



  • Check-in time is 1400hrs and check-out time is 1100hrs / 1200hrs