Trip notes

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Travel -

Get­ting there

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines op­er­ates 137 direct flights a week be­tween Sin­ga­pore and six Aus­tralian cities – Ade­laide, Bris­bane, Can­berra, Mel­bourne, Perth and Syd­ney – con­nect­ing with 10 flights weekly to Chen­nai, with re­gional car­rier SilkAir. sin­ga­pore­air.com

Aus­tralians re­quire a visa to travel to In­dia. Novem­ber to April is the cool – and peak trav­el­ling – sea­son in Tamil Nadu. May to July is hot; June to De­cem­ber is mon­soonal.

Get­ting around

Lux­ury travel com­pany Aber­crom­bie & Kent spe­cialises in pri­vate and small-group jour­neys to south­ern In­dia and through­out the sub­con­ti­nent. Its 16-day lim­ited-edi­tion small-group tour “In­dia: The Beau­ti­ful South”, for ex­am­ple, trav­els through Tamil Nadu and Ker­ala and costs from $9,895 per per­son twin share, with de­par­tures in Fe­bru­ary and Oc­to­ber 2019. This in­cludes ho­tel stays in Chen­nai, Pondicherry, Than­javur, Madu­rai, Peri­yar, Ku­marakom and Kochi; trans­fers and trans­port; a res­i­dent tour di­rec­tor; daily sight­see­ing; en­trance fees and most meals. 1300 851 800, aber­crom­biekent.com.au

Stay

Mai­son Peru­mal This re­stored her­itage home in Pondicherry’s Tamil Quar­ter is the log­i­cal book­end to a stay in the French Quar­ter. A tra­di­tional façade opens to two court­yards (with a swing chair) and 10 rooms fea­tur­ing carved tim­ber de­tails and stained glass. New No. 44, Old No.

58, Peru­mal Koil St, Pondicherry, cg­hearth.com Palais de Mahé Also owned by CGH Earth, this colo­nial-style man­sion in the quiet French Quar­ter has a rooftop ter­race and 18 el­e­gant large rooms with breezy bal­conies ar­ranged around a court­yard pool. 4 Rue Bussy, Pondicherry, cg­hearth.com Radis­son Blu Re­sort Tem­ple Bay Ma­mal­la­pu­ram This sea­side re­sort, with 157 vil­las and suites, and huge fam­ily-friendly pools, is close to the town’s World Her­itage rock gal­leries and walk­ing dis­tance to the Shore Tem­ple. 57 Ko­valam Rd, Ma­ha­balipu­ram, radis­son­blu.com

Svatma A clever mix of her­itage restora­tion and con­tem­po­rary styling and art cre­ates a ho­tel full of sur­prises, much like the oft-for­got­ten city of Than­javur. 4/1116, Blake Higher Se­condary School Rd, Ma­harnonbu Chavadi, Than­javur, svatma.in Taj Coro­man­del One of Chen­nai’s best-known ho­tels has un­der­stated dark-tim­ber in­te­ri­ors, sub­dued light­ing and a cool, tuberose-scented lobby, be­ly­ing its abil­ity to host wed­dings with up to

1,000 guests. 37 Uthamar Gandhi Rd, Chen­nai, taj.tajho­tels.com

Eat

Aa­haram An all-day fine-diner serves out­stand­ing Tamil veg­e­tar­ian break­fasts, thalis and evening tast­ing menus based on fam­ily recipes and heir­loom grains. Don’t miss the fin­ger mil­let dosas. 4/1116, Blake Higher Se­condary School Rd, Ma­harnonbu Chavadi, Svatma, Than­javur, svatma.in

Bread & Choco­late This busy café at Auroville is a joint ven­ture by Chicago-born baker Daniel Trul­son and Syd­ney-born yoga teacher and ve­gan bean-to-bar choco­late maker Jane Ma­son. Ex­pect baked goods, sea­sonal bowls and Ma­son & Co choco­lates, made from or­ganic Tamil ca­cao and spiced with the likes of chilli and cin­na­mon. 1115 Auroville Main Rd, Kuila­palayam, Auroville,

+91 413 262 3778

Coro­man­del Café Re­stored and styled by Chen­nai re­tail en­tre­pre­neur Ki­ran Rao, this cen­tury-old man­sion has a leafy court­yard, din­ing and drink­ing spots in­doors, and sea­sonal all-day menus. 8 Ro­main Rol­land St, Pondicherry, +91 413 222 1100

South­ern Spice Heavy pil­lars, mood light­ing and wall mu­rals cre­ate a tem­ple-like am­bi­ence for feasts show­cas­ing tra­di­tional dishes from four south­ern In­dian states. Some of them, such as lamb dumplings trussed in ba­nana fi­bre, have in­trigu­ing back­sto­ries; ask the oblig­ing wait­staff to tell tales. Taj Coro­man­del, 37 Uthamar Gandhi Rd, Chen­nai, taj.tajho­tels.com

Villa Shanti Dine in­doors or on a colon­naded pa­tio fac­ing a ver­ti­cal gar­den at this bou­tique ho­tel in the French Quar­ter, serv­ing French and pan-In­dian dishes.

14 Rue Suf­fren, Pondicherry, lav­il­lashanti.com

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