Living Looms of Tamilnadu

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Listen to the music of the looms in the southernmost State of India - Tamilnadu. The looms narrate the life story of its weavers. The reverence they have for traditional weaving techniques is evident when they explain the manual effort deployed in handlooms. Their heritage is precious and rightfully they take pride in having sustained it through the tides of fast fashion.

 

During this 11 day journey, you bask in silks, rest in cottons, study the variety of motifs and their relevance to local traditions.

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Tour Dates: 21 Jan to 31 Jan, 2023

The people and landscape vibrant after harvest festival

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Karaikudi

Chettinad has a signature style in its looms, cuisine, architecture and family traditions. We enjoy traditional hospitality in the heritage home of a Chettiar family.

Madurai

This city is the heart of  ancient Tamil culture. We do a Sungudi (Tie and Dye) workshop with an NGO that is passionate about reviving this traditional art. Our visits around the outskirts of Madurai are designed to understand the revival efforts of indigenous cotton. The Meenakshi Temple visit is a wonderful place to sign off our visit to Tamilnadu. From Madurai we take a flight to Chennai so you can connect to your destination.

Itinerary Outline

Duration: 10 Nights / 11 Days

Chennai

Chennai is a busting metropolis where traditions thrive to this day. We spend 2 nights here, enough time to get introduced to the cultural buffet of this tour. Shopping in T.Nagar and Chennai's premier Quilt Studio, The Square Inch, a classical dance recital, dinner with local quilters will help you build a healthy textile appetite for the coming days.

Kanchipuram

A day in Kanchipuram helps you put together the exquisite silk saree. Right from spinning of the yarn, readying the warp threads, preparing the bobbins for the weft, the detailed graphs prepared for the traditional motifs and the looms that take much skill of the weaver. Respect and salute to these artisans!!

Pondicherry

We have two nights stay in Pondicherry. A natural dyeing workshop, visit to an embroidery centre run by nuns for local women,  insightful walks in the town that highlight local life add colour to your visit.

Kumbakonam

When we enter this district, we get nostalgic. Its as though time stood still in the villages that we drive through. This region is living proof of the great Chola dynasty of medieval times and their patronage to exquisite arts and crafts. Traditional looms of silk and cotton, bronze furnaces, rich filter coffee, grand temples contrasting with the simple lifestyle of the locals you see in them. We stay here for 2 nights.

Cherished Experiences
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  • An interactive Bharathanatyam dance demo lets you understand the mudras (expressions) and also the making of the dancer’s costume

  • You stand by a loom in Kanchipuram town as Muthu pushes the bobbin along the weft and explains the motif he is weaving. You recollect the symbol you had just seen on the sculpted walls of Vaikunta Perumal temple.

  • You create your own naturally dyed pattern in a dyeing workshop in Pondicherry.

  • You visit the Cluny embroidery centre which trains and employs women in need.

  • The lost wax process comes alive in the bronze furnaces of a village near Kumbakonam. You listen to the artisan explain the process as he gives final touches to the traditional lamps.

  • You watch the making of the Veena, a traditional string instrument that produces divine music.

  • You visit a workshop of Attangudi tiles and later walk on the floors decorated with  these tiles in medieval homes of the Chettiar community. You will understand the beauty and longevity of these tiles.

  • You meet the ladies who are reviving the traditional Sungudi (tie and dye) of Madurai. Make your own Sungudi piece and have it dyed with natural colours.

  • Visit the cotton farms near Madurai where indigenous pest and drought resistant cotton crops are grown. Listen to the revival stories and the challenges faced in this effort.

  • You enjoy a traditional dress up and mingle with locals evening in Madurai.

You Pay

USD 1900 per person on twin share

Single Supplement USD 800 

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In this tour, our services begin in Chennai from the time we pick you up at airport/train or bus station/ any place within Chennai city. We will be with you till our group returns to Chennai airport from Madurai. If you wish to plan visits to other parts of India before or after this tour, we can assist you.

You get
  • Accommodation for 9 nights in 5 star, 4 star and Heritage hotels.

  • All meals from lunch on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 10

  • 3 workshops (Natural dyeing in Pondicherry, Sungudi in Madurai. 5 Demos (embroidery, venna making, bronze lamps, Kanchi silks, Attangudi tiles)

  • Heritage walk in Pondicherry

  • Classical Dance - interactive session 

  • Fabric shopping in local markets in Chennai and Madurai

  • Transport by air-conditioned coach

  • One way economy airfare Madurai – Chennai

  • All entrances to places of visit in itinerary

  • Tips & gratuities

  • Bottled water as much as you need to drink

  • Services of an experienced Tour Director 

#Terms and conditions apply

Suggested add-on tours

From Madurai, you can drive across the hills into Kerala and enjoy a hike in Thekkady, cruise in the backwaters of Alleppey and board your international flight from Cochin airport after visiting the many historical sites in Fort Cochin. We will customise this for you based on your interest.