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Chettinad – the heart of Tamil Nadu

Chettinad is kind of a holiday. Simple life, villages, small markets and great food. Chettinad cuisine is considered one of the finest in India, even tough it is not as well known as the Hyderabadi-, or North Indian cuisine. Fact is that the use of spices is nowhere as complex as here. Thats why we decided to put a big table into the kitchen so you can chat with the chefs directly, while enjoying your lunch. Just make sure you stay at Visalam.

Being here is taking a cycle and ride trough the quite village lanes, to visit small local handicrafts, where they show you how a Sari is woven, or at another place how floor tiles are made. Having a stroll trough the weekly market is another really happy experience. Chitchat with the banana seller and marvel at the variety of veggies at offer. Of course even here in Chettinad there is no escape from Shiva, but why would you, after all, he has so many forms. Here in the villages, he is worshipped at Ayyanar the protector of the fields. He rides a horse and not his Nandi bull as usual. And his temples are really worth a visit. The shrines are simple, and the entrance is kind of cute. Lines of funnily grinning terra cotta horses line the way to the shrine. They are offered by the communities each year as a thank you for a good harvest.

And of course if you come to stay with us at Visalam, we make sure that your experiences and excursions are guided by our local story tellers, because how else would you get that authentic flavour you are looking for?

In Chettinad stay at: http://www.cghearth.com/visalam

Himalayan Stories – Kala Bhairawa

I remember the story, told to me by a priest in the mid Eighties. The story is of Kala Bhairawa, the god that is said to assist the righteous and destroy evil. The Legend tells that in olden days people having a fight were brought in front of the Idol and were told to speak the truth. Their fears of this gods wrath was so big that they were scared to utter a single lie. So legend has it that this place became sacred, a place of worship and holy ground. Even today people flock here to pay homage to this magnificent god that tolerates nothing but the truth.

Returning to the Himalayas next month I curious if this magnificent god withstood the wrath of the earth. Looking forward to meet friends, visit places and assist with what ever help I can offer. Himalaya – more than 30 years ago I was invited to your lands, so I could learn humility, listen to stories, hear your tales tales and encounter places, so beautiful that one could not stop tears running down your cheeks.