\

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

Ramu from Visalam

Ramu from Visalam

Please meet my friend Ramu, he is our man for everything at Visalam in Chettinad. Ramu hails from a traditional Chettiar family. The Chettiars, after whom this region is called, were among the first traders to go to China and Africa. Because of a Tsunami in the early 19th century that destroyed all their villages, they decided to move their families away from the shore and settled in the region between Thanjavur and Madurai.
A day with Ramu gives you a great insight into the life of the region. He will take you to the weekly market, the tile factory, the small horse temple and many more places. Contact with him gives you an experience not just a mere sightseeing of the place.

Women power in Chettinadu

Women power in Chettinadu

You will be amazed to know that these women have decided to take fate into their own hands and started a very successful business in Chettinad, in Tamil Nadu. What was a favour once to a neighbour to create delicious sweets and spicy treats for a wedding function, turned into a steady flow of customers. Today these women are well organised into groups to share the workload and cater daily to shops and for all sorts of functions.
This project can be visited and sweets tasted and bought, while staying at the amazing heritage hotel, Visalam of the CGH Earth group.

Ayyanar horse Temple, Kandukathan, Tamil Nadu, India

Ayyanar horse Temple, Kandukathan, Tamil Nadu, India

This Ayyanar temple in Chettinad in Tamil Nadu is every year supplemented with mew clay horses, while the old ones decay with the monsoon rains and the winds. More than 1000 terracotta horses line the way to the temple. The horses are offerings to the Ayyanar. In South India, particularly Tamil Nadu, the Hindu village god Ayyanar is a popularly worshiped deity.

The temple can be visited while staying at Visalam, a CGH Earth Experience Hotel.
http://www.cghearth.com/visalam