The Keralan Backwaters at dusk.

Chennamkary

The first time I visited Alleppey in the Backwaters of Kerala, it was to enjoy a houseboat cruise and to take a walk with an elder in the tiny village of Chennamkary. I wanted to learn about the way of life there. It was 2012. Houseboating I spent 24 hours cruising the lakes and channels …

Chennai

Chennai had always served as a jumping off point for us. We’d usually land in the wee hours of the morning from an overseas flight and bolt straight south to Mamallapuram like a child to the loving comfort of it’s mother’s arms. We never spent anytime in Chennai because, like children perhaps, we found it …

Fresh Bunch Bananas

Going Bananas

Bananas are one of the most beloved foods in South India and South Indians take them very seriously. One friend in Kerala, Mr. Abraham, who you’ll meet a little further along in our storytelling, has six kinds of bananas growing in his backyard. Tamil Nadu is India’s largest banana growing state weighing in with a …

The massive white columns of Nayakar Mahal Palace tower above the central courtyard, where black folding chairs are set up for a performance.

24 hours in Madurai

Madurai is a bustling beehive of a 2500-year-old city. The River Vaigai flows through the centre of the city and pulses, millet, oil seeds, cotton and sugarcane grow on the fertile plains surrounding the area. Automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing are the key industries. Lying within 10 degrees of the equator, it’s also famed for …

Karen enters the inner courtyard of a Chettiar mansion.

Karaikudi in Chettinad

Chettinad in Tamil Nadu has become a popular destination for food lovers, architectural buffs and antique hunters. The area is the ancestral homeland of the Chettiyars, a class of wealthy merchants who built their fortunes from trade and finance ventures in south east Asia. Because of their travels, their food is distinctly different from other …