On Tour in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a state packed full of history, much of which can be seen in the temples. Some of the temples are thousands of years old and one feels a sense of being part of living history when walking through them.  Our food and heritage tour of Tamil Nadu started in Chennai, where we visited the Kapileshwar temple on Maha Shivaratree, a very auspicious date in the Hindu Calendar. 

The nest day, we travelled to Kancheepuram to visit the 3500 year old Ekambareswarar Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Our guests were amazed as they walked through the corridors, feeling the long history and trying to fathom how such intricate places could have been constructed so long ago, before modern technology. It was also incredible to realise that worship and gatherings have been taking place in the same location, in the same manner, for three and a half millennia.

Even more fascinating for myself and some of our guests, was the feeling of peace and serenity that came over us as we slowly walked through the large temple. Despite the crowds, nobody seemed to feel stressed and we all felt a sense of peace as we walked through.

There were also some fun moments, as people asked to take selfies with our guests and one parent even joked that we should take his daughter to Au The temple complex covers ten hectares and is one of the largest in India. Like many others, it houses four gateway towers, known as gopurams. The tallest is the southern gopuram, which is 11 stories tall. 

According to one legend, Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva under the mango tree, which is still standing. They then married under the mango tree. Of special interest is the fact that the tree still bears fruit, incredibly, four dif Prior to leaving the temple, we shared some prasadam, a religious offering of food that has been specially prepared for the temple devotees. I had had the Kancheepuram idles before and I greatly enjoyed them. They differ from the usual idles seen in southern India. The Kancheepuram idles contain spices, such as cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves, pepper and ginger. They are also steamed in leaves, instead of only n a metal steamer. It was served with sesame oil and "idli podi," which refers to a powder made of spices and lentils that have been roasted. Absolutely delicious and said to be full of blessings for the person consuming it. 


The food is a huge attraction in Tamil Nadu, we feast on dishes that range from vegetarian, temple food to Chettinad Chicken at my friend Shiva’s house in Chettinad. We love introducing our guests to the various influences on the food, especially the French influence in Pondicherry which reminds me of Mauritius.

As my family originates from Tamil Nadu and maintained a large number of the traditions and culture in Mauritius, visiting the state always pulls at my heartstrings, reminding me of my childhood.


So many of the items that were used in Mauritius during my childhood are still in use here in Tamil Nadu and many customs in Mauritius are rooted here. The connection between Mauritian Tamils and the ones here can easily be felt. Indeed, I am never treated as a tourist here, always as someone who has come home from abroad. It is probably one of the main reasons I feel more at home in South India than anywhere else in the world. 

As a result, I have been inspired to create a few type of tour in Tamil Nadu, a "Rediscover your Roots" tour for people who have Indian ancestry. Being in Tamil Nadu has worked wonders for me, it has helped me understand my heritage and in this way, understand myself. Interacting with many people here. has been extremely helpful for me to understand myself on a deeper visit. If you are someone living overseas, and you have Indian heritage, especially if you have never been to India and would like to discuss this further, please let me know. 

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