The state of Tamil Nadu has a rich history. The region is among the longest continuously inhabited in the Indian peninsula and so, unsurprisingly, the state is filled with stunning architecture in the form of centuries old temples, churches, palaces and residences. The state’s rich cultural heritage is equally impressive with ancient art and craft forms still being practiced in many parts. The varied and delicious cuisine is as much a part of Tamil Nadu’s heritage as any temple.

Unfortunately, apart from a few famous temples and a handful of destinations that are on the tourist trail, travellers do not explore much of this state. Many of the ancient structures are falling to ruin and numerous arts and crafts are inching closer to extinction due to a lack of patronage.  

Recognising the fact that typical tours cannot do justice to the diverse offerings of the state, Chennai-based tour operator Embassy Travel & Tours started a special interest vertical Called Mystical Palmyra to offer highly curated tours of the many historic areas in Tamil Nadu.

The two to four day tours all start from Chennai and transportation is via bus or train. Tours are quite eclectic, but most revolve around an ancient temple, the arts and crafts (including dance, music and textiles) of the area, local cuisine and other local specialities.

The Madurai tour, for instance, starts in Chennai when the guests board the overnight train to the Southern temple town. The tour, once the guests reach Madurai, includes visits to the famous historical and religious sites like the Meenakshi Amman Temple, the Jain hillock complex of Samanar Malai, the 17th century Nayakar Palace and the 18th century Sivagangai Palace. But historical temples and palaces are not the only highlights of the four-day-tour. The tour also includes a visit to a facility that makes the famous Madurai Sungudi sarees, an introduction to the famous jasmine of Madurai, a talk by Madurai-based cartoonist Biswajit B, a meal with royalty at Sivagangai Aranmanai and a street food tour.

If you are looking for an immersive experience in one of the historic towns of Tamil Nadu, then Mystical Palmyra’s tours are for you. 

Price: From Rs 12,000; price depends on place, duration and time of the year.

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Slow Travel

Mystical Palmyra firmly believes in preserving, nurturing and conserving local heritage through responsible tourism. The outfit’s effort is to highlight the harmony that exists with the native practices along with the surrounding land. The company takes great care to choose local, many a times reviving lost menus and using local craft and snacks as giveaway hampers, using eco-friendly packaging. They also follow the bring your own bottle and refill concept.

Disclaimer: We have tried to ensure the operators listed here are responsible towards local communities and the environment. We, however, urge travellers to do additional checks when choosing an experience/accommodation.

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