Classical TAMIL NADU
24th Feb To 3rd March, 2019
Historically the word “drāviḍa” is used to denote the geographical region of South India. The third century BCE onwards saw the development of large Dravidian political states: Chola dynasty, Pandyan dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Vijayanagara Empire, Chera Dynasty, Chalukya dynasty and a number of smaller states.
South India refers to the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The South Indian culture is essentially the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the body and motherhood.
A region with a captivating history, a region full of customs and traditions, culture and cuisine, art and architecture, each so colourful and distinct…..here is where the Spice Circuit journey begins…..
The Spice Circuit is a personal invitation to be our guest; to connect with our homes and household and experience our custom, culture and cuisine.
Passionate about their roots, proud of their heritage and much captivated by their culinary legacy, Chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma and Wilson Rajan under the patronage of Martha Lucius have taken up the mantle to re-discover and present the Dravidian land and tradition to the world like none before.
The Spice Circuit is not just a passage but a platform to showcase the profundity of South India and Sri Lanka to people from around the globe; people who love to travel; who want to go deeper than a tourist and eagerly discover the Dravidian history and culture and learn for the first time about regional cuisine that are not so known to many.
Chef Kanthi Thamma was born and raised in Hyderabad, the culinary capital of southern India and is still inspired by its history, food and flavors of his childhood. It was in his mother’s kitchen wh...Read More
Chef Kanthi Thamma was born and raised in Hyderabad, the culinary capital of southern India and is still inspired by its history, food and flavors of his childhood. It was in his mother’s kitchen where he was inspired to become a chef, a journey that has seen him travel the world in search of culinary inspiration and excellence. At age 18 Kanthi started traveling, cooking in Switzerland, Disney World Resorts in the USA and Disney Criuse Lines before settling in the UK. Gaining experience with some of the UK’s most acclaimed chefs he opened his first restaurant, Curry Leaf Cafe. There are now two other restaurants and a Kiosk at the Brighton Railway Station, in just under three years. Pulling on the cuisines of his childhood in India, he gained the attention of critiques and diners. He quickly garnered many awards and accolades. Kanthi readily admits that he gathers ideas and inspiration about ingredients and cooking from the local chefs he meets every day. He's been invited to Basaal, Vancouver, and The Hague for chef collaborations. He wants to give similar experiences to his guests. Two years ago he started traveling with friends, showing them Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu's rich culture and cuisines, hence, Spice Circuit. Now the gastronomic tours in South of India with the same personal touch is possible in this annual tour for American and European audience. Spice Circuit is born of Kanthi’s passion for food and travel. “Alongside my three busy restaurants in the UK this is something that I have always wanted to pursue. I take a lot of pride in presenting my country, it's rich culinary heritage and superb hospitality”....
Born in Kollam, Kerala, Wilson grew to love hospitality from a young age. With his determination and study, he graduated top of his class from Saptagiri College in Hotel Management, Mangalore. &nbs...Read More
Born in Kollam, Kerala, Wilson grew to love hospitality from a young age. With his determination and study, he graduated top of his class from Saptagiri College in Hotel Management, Mangalore. Now he has more than 24 years of extensive experience working across diverse sectors, including: Hospitality, Conference, Exhibition & Event Management and Media & Publications. His signature skill is setting up multi-cuisine restaurants and has to his credit more than a dozen such fine dining restaurants, setup across; Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Pune, Vishakapatnam and Hyderabad. In the last four years, he is managing a restaurant called Zaeem Foods in Sohar, Sultanate of Oman. Presently he is consulting and reviving a restaurant chain in Muscat. Wilson hails from Kerala, is an enthusiastic foodie with a love of travel. Always gracious, eager to explore and happy to socialize, Wilson brings his kind and nurturing personality to Spice Circuit. He's motivated to take up travel and event assignments. Spice Circuit is their dream realized. They've delivered two tailored tours of South India for groups of British travelers. In Jan 2018 they hosted their first American group to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. As part of the Kerala circuit, a day will be spent in Wilson's lovely family home, Palamoottil Pandakasala, where Chef Kanthi along with Mrs Ponnnamma Rajan, the mother of the house will demonstrate Keralan cooking. One will embrace village life reserved only for such intimate tours....
Martha Lucius was bitten by wanderlust from birth. Her father's insatiable appetite for travel had her family living in Nigeria, Thailand, Tanzania, and India. Not to mention all the side trips to Mal...Read More
Martha Lucius was bitten by wanderlust from birth. Her father's insatiable appetite for travel had her family living in Nigeria, Thailand, Tanzania, and India. Not to mention all the side trips to Malaysia, Indonesian and other countries. Dinner could be a formal coursed dinner or simple street fare. Her college career had her balancing her time between her degree in Economics, and running her college's India Club. After graduation Martha had a ten year career as a calligrapher and graphic designer. But food and travel made her switch gears, and she opened two restaurants in Baltimore, Maryland. Her menu was taken directly from her travels. Customers delighted in Indian, Mediterranean, and Thai soups, sandwiches and desserts. Their signature items were Mulligatawny Soup and Hippie Cookies. Now she's a business advisor to chefs and owners across the US. Her desire to run a trip to India melded with Kanthi and Wilson's plan to launch Spice Circuit to the US. Come, experience South Indian hospitality, it's a journey of a lifetime. You can't get better than a trip that is spiced and tailored like the Spice Circuit!...
Born and brought up around the coastal villages of Andhra Pradesh, Shiv's work always portrays a certain influence of the region. With a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, Class 2007 from the prest...Read More
Born and brought up around the coastal villages of Andhra Pradesh, Shiv's work always portrays a certain influence of the region. With a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, Class 2007 from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad, Shiva Kumar has presented his work in a unique manner - this includes him and his work both as a student and professional creative person. It all started when he used to borrow his friends cameras in college to click some creative photos. His passion was taken to the next level when he bought his first camera with all his saving from his architecture job, back in 2007. His strong sense of composition which is evident in his photos is quite realistic and natural some times influenced by his place of birth. From simple objects to moving portraits to dramatic street scenes, a walk through his visuals will tell tales, making the mundane, dramatic and the dramatic or chaotic, pleasant. Apart from shooting for a few fashion labels, corporate firms, and specialty restaurants, business and international schools, he loves to travel on work and leisure. His travel and nature photography around India can be seen hanging on the walls of some renowned five star hotels in Hyderabad. The best thing about his work is the connection that one experiences when they look at his images....
a hearty welcome to our journey, where hospitality and culinary experience merge to make this trip a lifetime delight.
A restorative and gastronomic passage across prominent southern states of India; Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean – Sri Lanka. Journeys packed with tradition, culture, heritage, health and culinary enchantment.
Our Culinary Itineraries for 2018 are now open for bookings!
24th Feb To 3rd March, 2019
4th to 11th Feb
17th to 25th Nov-2018, 16th To 24th Feb, 2019
Apart from the above and based on your preference we can design tours for shorter or longer duration. Just let us know the dates and we will customize a memorable journey for you.
My trip with Kanthi and Wilson was truly one of the most wonderful holidays I have had. The balance between visiting extraordinary places of historical and cultural importance, enjoying fabulous Keralan dishes every day but still enjoying a relaxed and laid back time was all fulfilled.
The planning and communication was well communicated and accommodation was always a delightful surprise and total treat! And I look forward to my next trip with The Spice Circuit (before long, I hope) and whole hearted recommend them for a well organized culinary and cultural feast”.
“Organising a holiday is always an anxious affair, how do you make the right choices and what are they……but working with Kanthi and Wilson took all the pressure away and the outcome was a remarkable, dream making experience. As someone who has already travelled to Kerala, my second trip managed by the guys was so much more special. It had a personal aspect that made it so unique, so memorable, so precious.
Arriving in a country makes you feel out of your comfort zone but a different culture makes you often feel a little paranoid. This trip was my most relaxing as the connection with the people via Kanthi and Wilson removed all of this and allowed me to enter the true Kerala and see beyond the tourism posters to the heart of the country. Its an experience I believe all should have already on one occasion in their lifetime…..Me, I am planning my next trip asap.
This is heady stuff; we land in Bangalore, city of gardens, visit Mysore, home of Maharajas, cool coffee plantations in Coorg; you will surely see elephants in the forests; then onward to Kochi, heart and soul of the colonial spice trade, its cool courtyards and fish market, sojourn in the dreamy houseboats of Alleppey and bathe on the Malabar coast in sea warmed by Arabian winds – if you can, the elegance of French colonial Pondicherry, mighty Chennai and all Tamil Nadu await…..every step of the way your hosts, urbane, charming and knowledgeable, will care for all your slightest needs, your drivers will be careful and diligent, your food fit for Moghuls. This is the stuff dreams are made on, but evidence that dreams do come true…..you could call the Spice Circuit the trip of a lifetime, but its one you’ll want to do over and over again
We decided to travel around the world and thought of starting our journey in India. Being good friends of Chef Kanthi we left it to him to plan our trip. And having him on our tour was great as we got good insight of the food culture in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Kerala still remains my most favourite place of all in this entire world tour. If I have a choice I would go back and live there as for a chef it’s a paradise where everything is so fresh and local including the Spices. We also spent a night with Kanthi’s family who are so welcoming and cooked a feast for us…food indeed is a celebration there.
As every place has something different and delicious to offer, the Spice Circuit should be on everyone’s must to do list if they love their food as much as we do.
My job keeps me busy. I’ve wanted to see South India, but I really didn’t have time to research every last hotel and choose one. What cities, what temples, where could I eat safely, and how to find a guide, a driver, and an English speaker…All fears disappeared when I found Wilson, at Spice Circuit. I knew it was a slam dunk for me. He’s not a guide, or even a host. He’s a super host. And Kanthi, the chef: AMAZING. What insightful, intelligent people! Our journey took us into an outdoor kitchen, and we learned about ayurvedic health practices. We discovered vegetables we’d never heard of, and ate them: banana blossom & bitter gourd!. And we now understand the history of spice routes—which is a better way of understanding world history. What a window into South India? Every day was planned, curated and completely enjoyable. We laughed hard every day. There is NO way I could have done this on my own, and have relaxed. I’ve also made some wonderful new friends in our fellow travelers
I had traveled to many countries (Europe, Asia, etc) prior to this trip, but generally these visits were with cruises. With the Spice Circuit, I was able to spend ample time in each beautiful location and really get to experience each place. I can be picky when traveling, but it was obvious that the Spice Circuit took great care in choosing our accommodations and every hotel surpassed expectations. I also appreciated having a chef with us throughout the trip to help explain the food and guide our menu choices. After a few classes with Chef Kanthi, I have a new appreciation for the food of southern India and have even done some Indian cooking once we returned to the US. I always find it intimidating when traveling somewhere that has not only a different language, but also a different alphabet. The Spice Circuit took all of the stress out of the trip and allowed us to experience so much!
I have been interested in visiting India, but was very intimidated by the idea of planning it. For me, the time it would take to research where to stay, what to see, how to get transportation from point A to point B, and to find English speaking guides all seemed like a lot and was a barrier. With the Spice Circuit, I saw an opportunity to take advantage of a planned itinerary that incorporated two of my passions – exploring and food! The itinerary was structured, but also personalized and flexible to allow us to see additional sites (with a guide) if we wanted, and rescheduling activities when necessary due to time or energy constraints. Wilson was a wonderful host and seemed always to know what we needed before we did. Through the Spice Circuit, I got to hike to the top of a mountain in Munnar for amazing 360 degree views, eat food I helped cook from an organic garden in Marari, and feed an elephant at a temple in Kollam. I loved the trip because the whole time I felt like I was learning and experiencing without feeling like a tourist – I was really bonding with India and felt welcomed with open arms by everyone we met. It was an amazing trip that does not compare to anywhere I’ve ever gone or any other tour group I’ve ever traveled with.
India is one of those places I became entranced with from reading literature and seeing movies, A Passage to India, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Jewel In The Crown. Good fortune has allowed me to travel to Europe, South America, and Africa. It seemed that there was always some place to go that was not India. As the saying goes save the best for last. To say this trip impacted my life is an understatement.
Our garlanded arrival at the Kochi airport, the worlds only completely solar powered airport, set the stage for what was an extraordinary trip, one I think of every day, filled with both the anticipated and unexpected. From traveling on houseboats to trekking up almost impassible roads in a Mahindra Jeep to sleeping in a tree house to witnessing entire families celebrating their departed loved ones on the beach to making new friends both fellow travelers and natives alike it was life affirming and life changing.
Our hosts at The Spice Circuit ensured that we enjoyed as much as we could pack into a day but also were cognizant of the times when we needed to rest from the incredible amount of stimulation we were processing. Colors, smells, textures, tastes, sounds rush at you and then dissolve like wisps of fog. The food was equally as diverse yet healthy and delicious and we often had the opportunity to work side by side regional chefs. The best time I had on this trip among many was few days we were welcomed as guests of Wilson Rajan and his mother who I affectionately MaMa!
There are many ways to describe something and for me it’s best summed up, Incredible INDIA
The resort was wonderful! I can’t think of enough compliments to do it justice. The cottages were beautiful, the food excellent, the service perfect. Our best time at the resort was the private garden dinner with chef Shree. The restaurant brought rice and bread, but everything else at the meal we picked, prepared and ate direct from the garden.
On the houseboat the girls played music and sang for most of the afternoon. It was so pleasant! Our small boat ride was also lovely.
Thanks for all your help. It was great to be greeting so warmly at the airport and have comfortable transportation every time we drove.