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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

Simple kitchen in Indian Village

Simple kitchen in Indian Village

Simplicity, freshness and nature are the main ingredients for cooking in this simple Kitchen in Periyar, India

Village life, Rajasthan, India

Village life, Rajasthan, India

Its a hard life, Tibet, 1992

Its a hard life, Tibet, 1992

In the early 90ties, when I tok some groups to Tibet, we had a very funny episode in one of the villages we had stopped, involving the ladies from the village and one of the tourists of my group. The lady from my group was (forgive my words) a bit on the healthier side and brought along for convenient travel plenty of leggings and T-shirts. Her full figure, leggings and T-shirt made her look a bit like the female version of the Michelin man.

To our surprise, the ladies of the village gathered around her in wonder and amongst lots of giggles stared slapping and poking her. Especially her behind and other slightly over proportionate and independent moving parts. To them, this display of physical wealth seemed a source of delight. Quite understandably so, as they were all small, skinny and toughened by their daily hardships. In a life with hardly any sugar, saturated fat or any other source of nourishment for that matter, there is no such thing as obesity. The life of a tibetan farmer is a tough Karma, even if we bring along sometimes a bit of pleasure with our full frame xxl shapes, spoilt and sick by over eating and a perpetual life of gluttony.