Ayurvedic cooking holiday in Southern India
Description of Ayurvedic cooking holiday in Southern India
The Family, vegetarianism and our Jain philosophy
Our family came to the Nilgiri mountains and settled around thirty years ago to pursue a life of organic farming and the chance to live a life amidst nature and clean air, following our love of vegetarian food and Ayurvedic traditions. Originally we are a family of Jains from the desert state of Rajasthan. Though we're a long way from what was home, we brought with us our philosophy of life, our outlook toward our authentic cuisine and our passion to live healthily and responsibly off the land.
We grow speciality Orange Pekoe and full leaf green tea organically on our farm and ensure that our farm to cup time is less than a week. Our organic fruit trees on our plantation yield us fresh fruit that we convert into natural spiced preserves. In addition to this, we only source organically farmed vegetablesdirectly from farmers right here in the Nilgiri mountains.
Culinary heritage and home styled organic food
Food is not only our passion, but we believe in preparing and consuming Indian cuisine as it was intended originally - authentically prepared using natural produce and ingredients, and combined in a manner that ensures the total wellness of body and mind.
During our hands on sessions we begin by sourcing fresh produce from the region's organic farmers market and collective. We then have detailed discussions about different dishes, their most effective combinations and the benefits behind the use of certain spices. These comprehensive hands on culinary sessions typically last for half a day and given their intensity, we typically keep the rest of the day free.
Ayurvedic food & lifestyle for holistic health and wellness.
Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine, derived from the Atharva Veda - the last of the four Vedic scriptures. The word ‘Ayurveda’ is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Ayus’ meaning ‘Life’ and 'Veda’ meaning ‘Knowledge’.
This ancient tradition & teaching are based on the idea of balancing the body systems using food, herbal compositions, yogic breathing and elements of meditation for balanced thoughts.
The homestay experience will give you a living insight into the Jain way of life and cuisine as well as the need for a balanced diet in keeping your mind, body and soul refreshed and energised.
Your Cooking sessions with Renu - the lady of the house and the chef & nutritionist - will give you a good grasp of food combinations and food preparation styles as well as techniques that revolve around Ayurvedic principles.
Support of the Toda Dairy tribes with a similar philosophy
When it comes to the outdoors, we hold the Toda Dairy Tribes of the Nilgiri mountains in very high regard. Completely vegetarian as a tribal community, the Toda have truly made sustainable living a way of life. We will visit a Toda settlement that we have supported for many years to experience the natural wild settings in which they live, the livestock they raise, their food traditions and their deep and symbiotic relationship with the forests from which they source their produce.
|Day 1:||We'll get you into the city of Coimbatore, the nearest air head. From here the family will meet you and take you up into the Mountains of the Nilgiris, situated at 2,150 metres above MSL. You'll have this day at leisure on arrival to acclimatise with the altitude and the local conditions.|
|Days 2-9:||Over the course of these eight days with the family and within the Nilgiris, we'll cover the following experiences with you as we take you on this journey of authentic Indian cuisine enveloped within the principles of Jainism, vegetarianism and Ayurveda. A logical start to this journey of cooking would be to sample our historic farmer's market - our source of organic and fresh produce grown right here in the Nilgiri mountains. Staying with organic tea planters, one of your day's journey will lead you through a comprehensive tea tour with the family. Our walk through the country side will feature the process of tea agriculture and what it entails to grow the orange pekoe leaf-buds. This process of agriculture will roll into the processing within a tea factory and walk you through this crucial stage. Ultimately we'll end with tasting different teas at the homestay. As the focus is culinary, we've designed eight-hands-on culinary sessions at the homestay. Each of these sessions are designed for you to create three-unique dishes. Over the course of your stay here and by the time you end your experience with us, you would have become proficient in twenty-four unique Indian culinary creations. With the Nilgiris being home to the last of two surviving heritage steam trains, we'll take you on one such journey on the steam train as it begins in the historic capital of Ooty and meanders down through to Coonoor and ultimately to the foothills but not before weaving through immense tea plantations, along sheer cliff sides, over large bridges and through tunnels hewn from the rock face. Ultimately we'll get you to experience our most cherished tribe of indigenous people within the Nilgiris - The Toda Dairy community. We'll take you to trek through their sacred lands and environs as well as interact with them with their ancient weaving traditions.|
|Day 10:||Your journey through our authentic Indian kitchen, the people and the vistas that surround us here in the Nilgiris has come to an end and we hope that it was all that you hoped it would be on this holiday. You'll head back down the mountains where we'll get you on your flight for your onward journey home.|
Planet• Wholly Organic
We’ve brought our ethos of being wholly organic when we became planters thirty-years ago. Since then we’ve worked hard and focused on ensuring that Mother Nature and the soil we work with were respected, nourished and which ultimately retained all their natural health with out any man made additions. We have been growing our tea keeping this exact ethos in mind and have managed now to create an eco system that not only raises lush, vibrant tea but also an immense variety of sub-tropical indigenous tree species and fruit trees.
• From Farmer to Plate – organically
Following our ethos of wholly organic, we’ve partnered with organic farmers within the Nilgiris from whom we source all our vegetables extremely fresh with an almost immediate transition from farm to plate.
• Our S.O.S. Program
Over a decade ago, we created a campaign to Save Our Sholas. Sholas, the indigenous Toda word for native sub-tropical forest species. With the spread of tea across the Nilgiris, natural forests such as these had come under immense pressure and ran the risk of being replaced entirely by the monoculture of tea.
We began the process of systematically planting sub-tropical rain forest tree species within our plantation and have been actively encouraging all our travellers to do so since. Ever since we set up this S.O.S. campaign, we have planted over 1,500 independent trees and have achieved a mortality of 98%. Each year we add close to three-hundred new saplings to our plantation.
People• Organic Fair trade with the Farmers
Through our process of procuring organic produce and grain, we have ensured that we only purchase all our produce straight from the farmers, thereby eliminating any middlemen traders in the process. This enables the Farmers to price their produce at levels that are comfortable and sustainable for their profitability and their continued sustenance of organic farming methods they employ.
• Sustaining ancient Toda artisanal traditions
The Toda Dairy tribes of the Nilgiris are unique in two ways – The fact that they are one of a kind tribal group across the sub-continent and as a result their traditions, especially their artisanal heritage, viz. their traditional weaving on forest silk cotton cloth.
For a decade now we have supported a Toda tribal village and the women who live within. With modern influences, the Toda have not been impervious to change and a dilution of their ancient traditions and craft. We began working with the women of this specific Toda hamlet to re-inculcate the love of weaving they had and to preserve their ancient patterns that were at the risk of being lost forever due to disuse.
We began actively with a group of two women that is now a total group size of eleven women who actively weave complex patterns on their traditional cloth. We have in turn set up a fair trade exchange to ensure that these women get the most money for their craft thereby ensuring that they remain motivated and profitably employed doing something they have for generations.