OUR 2024 TOURS ARE now FULLY BOOKED. PLEASE See below for DATES & PRICES OF our KERALA LOOMS & LORES TOUR 2025!

South Indian Threads Tour

2025 Prices to be announcedl late December


DATES: 13th FEBRUARY - 5th March 2025


Based on two people travelling together. Includes all workshops, entrance fees and most meals.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Three days at our secluded beach retreat
  • Kerala Heritage folk museum visit.
  • Weaving workshop visits and fabric shopping Kannur. 
  • Experience the amazing ritual of Theyyam
  • Optional South Indian dance class
  • Discover silk from field to factory
  • Hand spinning workshop
  • Explore historic palaces, shop for silks and browse the famous market in Mysore.
  • Full day block printing workshop
  • Meet weavers and spinners at a village Gandhian centre near Mysore.

Exploring South India’s Rich Textile Heritage

Spanning three states blessed with diverse scenery, cultures, textiles and traditions, our South Indian Threads tour will give you a taste of authentic Indian life and culture as well as introducing you to a wealth of textiles and decorative techniques that are a feast for the senses.

Discover tropical forests and backwaters, historic Portuguese ports, sculpted mountain tea gardens, secluded beaches, bustling towns and cities, rural villages unchanged in centuries and spectacular historic temples and palaces. This tour is designed to give you a dazzling snapshot of this undiscovered part of South India and its highly skilled textile artisans.

On this tour you’ll experience authentic South India and be welcomed by her friendly, hospitable people.

Itinerary

Thursday 13th February

Welcome on arrival at Kochi International Airport and transfer to your hotel for a three night stay in historic Fort Kochi. Kerala enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures around 32C in February.

Enjoy a free day to rest, acclimatise and to explore the atmospheric old streets of Fort Kochi.

The glorious faded architecture is evidence of the various European trading nations who occupied Kochi in the 17th and 18th centuries. The trading port of Cochin remains a spice hub, with aromas of ginger, cardamon and cinnamon drifting out of the ancient warehouses by the harbour. There’s so much to discover here

In the evening, we invite you to an inclusive welcome dinner at one of Fort Kochi’s excellent waterfront restaurants.

Friday 14th February

Our first textile expedition takes us by ferry from Fort Kochi to Vypin Island. This area was once the home of the weavers to the Rajah of Cochin, now providing an income for a small community of artisans, producing hand woven cotton saris, dhotis and household linens.

An hour’s drive takes us to a Gandhian Khadi weaving centre where we will visit hand spinners in their homes and a hand-loom weaving co-operative run by local women to understand the weavers way of life here.
In the evening discover the colour and skill of a traditional Kathakali performance with its intricate makeup, flamboyant costumes and subtle gestures, followed by dinner at a recommended restaurant.

Saturday 15th February

Take a six hour rice boat trip on the serene local backwaters south of Fort Kochi. Float silently through the lush vegetation of the lagoons in a sustainable, motor-less rice boat, and enjoy a delicious Keralan style lunch in a local waterside village, with a demonstration of local crafts.
In the afternoon, experience life along the smaller waterways in a local, punted wooden
‘snakeboat’

Sunday 16th February

Experience a wonderfully scenic drive up into the mountains of the Western Ghats to the old British hill station and tea-growing centre of Munnar. Your hotel for three nights is set in the contoured greenery of the tea gardens. Enjoy a walk around the surrounding cardamom and tea gardens with a knowledgeable guide before dinner.

Monday 17th February

The first day of our two day workshop with Aranya Natural at the natural dyeing and printing workshops of SRISHTI. Using natural dyes they create beautiful textiles and garments with decorative techniques such as wax resist block printing, clamp and tie dyeing. Try your hand at some of these skills and learn some of the techniques of natural dyeing in our hands-on workshop. At the end of the day you’ll be able to browse bustling Munnar town bazaar for spices, teas and speciality chocolate, before enjoying an inclusive dinner at our hotel.

Monday 6th February

The first day of our two day workshop with Aranya Natural at the natural dyeing and printing workshops of SRISHTI. Using natural dyes they create beautiful textiles and garments with decorative techniques such as wax resist block printing, clamp and tie dyeing. Try your hand at some of these skills and learn some of the techniques of natural dyeing in our hands-on workshop. At the end of the day you’ll be able to browse bustling Munnar town bazaar for spices, teas and speciality chocolate, before enjoying an inclusive dinner at our hotel.

Tuesday 18th February

Experiment with eco-printing with marigolds and native leaves today and complete your creative natural dyeing projects at Aranya Natural. Visit their extensively stocked on site store to see their beautiful collection of silk and cotton scarves and garments. An inclusive dinner will be provided at your hotel this evening ready for an early start in the morning.

Wednesday 19th February

A travel day through the most diverse and stunning scenery so far, winding up through Munnar’s sculptural tea gardens into the mountains that divide Kerala and Tamil Nadu and down into the Chinnar Wildlife and Adimali Tiger Reserves as we descend into Tamil Nadu . There is the possibility of spotting some wildlife, if you are lucky! Late afternoon takes you to your hotel resort in Pollachi, for a two night stay.

Thursday 20th February

Our visit to Ethicus tells the story of organic cotton from seed to sari. Starting in the on-site cotton ginning facility to understand how organic cotton is grown and processed, Depending on timings, we may then be able
to see street sizing and warping and visit a small weaving village to meet the artisans there. After a traditional lunch we can see the cotton yarn being hand woven by the centre’s weavers into beautiful sarees in stunning colours and designs. This ethical and sustainable company are now teaming up with artisans that specialise in regional forms of hand decoration in other states of India, creating sumptuous effects. After a short drive to our hotel enjoy a swim before an inclusive dinner.

Friday 21st February

A short drive back into the lush paddy fields and banana plantations of Kerala takes us to two remote rural craft villages, Peruvamba and Vellinezhi, to immerse ourselves in the crafts that contribute to the flourishing traditional culture of Kerala.
We’ll see pottery making, weaving and carving the colourful ornate wooden headresses and decorations worn by Kathakali performers,
This whole area is immersed in traditional arts and crafts whose artisans still provide the famous temples of this region with musical instruments, mural art, pottery making and the gold bordered Kerala sarees and mundu, the male dress worn for temple festivals.
Another hour takes us to our countryside heritage farmstay near Ottapalam, with a lovely pool and often a resident elephant.

Saturday 22nd February

Learn how the complex gold and silver zari borders of the plain unbleached cotton Kerala saree are achieved on the Jacquard loom today on our visit to the famous weaving village of Kuthampully. This tiny village has been devoted to weaving this iconic form of dress for the past 500 years and the gentle sound of the hand loom comes from almost every home that you pass.
There are now less and less weavers here since the pandemic, which decimated the industry, as there were no public festivals for two years, along with the cheap imports of power loom woven Kerala sarees from Tamil Nadu. These often have printed motifs and inferior gold zari thread, rather than the intricate woven borders and best quality zari of the handloom product.
The Kuthampully saree shops have to stock these cheaper items due to customer demand for value clothing, but all the time it’s eroding the heritage of the more expensive handloom tradition.

Sunday 23rd February

Experience the Indian Railway system today on the scenic route to a remote and unspoilt beach resort for four nights, near Kannur in North Kerala that provides inclusive delicious traditional Keralan home cooked dinners. You’ll have time to unwind before we explore the rich cotton weaving heritage of the Kannur area. Experience the famous and unique north Keralan ritual of Theyyam during our stay in Kannur, where dedicated performers in magnificent colourful costumes and makeup, actually manifest as the various Hindu gods as they re-enact traditional stories and perform feats such as fire walking. 

Monday 24th February

A free day to relax and explore miles of unspoilt beaches, watch the fishermen bring home the night’s catch, enjoy watching the sun set over the Arabian sea followed by an inclusive Keralan home cooked dinner. Ayurvedic massage and treatments are available nearby.

Tuesday 25th February

Explore one of Kannur’s thriving co-operative handloom weaving workshops this morning. The warping, winding, dyeing and weaving processes will be explained as you tour the workshops. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we delve into the rich cultural life of the region at the Kerala Folklore Akademie, based in a stunning traditional Keralan palace.

Wednesday 26th February

A flexible day to explore the shopping possibilities for fabrics, handloom, hand woven bed linen, khadi and sarees, in nearby Kannur, or try your hand at weaving with the flying shuttle, (by arrangement), at a nearby master weavers workshop. We’re also offering an optional classical dance class to explore the subtle meanings of the local Mohiniyattam form of dance. Or simply enjoy another glorious day on the beach.

Thursday 27th February

Journey over the mountains that divide Kerala from Karnataka, taking you on to the next stage of your exciting textile adventure to the city of Mysore. This city of the plateau enjoys a less tropical climate than Kerala with pleasant temperatures around 30F in February. For centuries a city of the Wodeyar dynasty of Maharajahs, Mysore retains the unspoilt charm of a bygone age as many of the buildings have survived and give the city a flavour of its majestic past.
After checking in at your hotel, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to browse the vibrant and colourful Devaraja flower and spice market and to discover the many silk sari and fabric stores in the city centre. Dinner is at a recommended restaurant.

Friday 28th February

This morning, we’ll start to explore Mysore with a visit to the Chamundiswari Temple at the top of Chamundi Hill that dominates Mysore. You can walk up the 1000 steps and make an offering to the great bull god Nandi, or we’ll make a stop in the bus for you to see the biggest Nandi bull god in India.
Returning to the city centre, we’ll visit the government silk factory, famous for weaving the lustrous Mysore silk sari.
If you wish to explore further today, we will be happy to organise an auto rickshaw tour of the city for you with one of Fare’s Fair trusted auto rickshaw drivers.
Dine in style tonight in the grand dining room of the magnificent Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, once the guest house of the Maharajah of Mysore.

Saturday 1st March

Travel an hour to a once thriving Gandhian village industries centre, opened by Gandhi in 1927. They still train and employ local women cotton spinners and weavers to produce simple Khadi cotton items in a bid to keep the centre alive.
Recent exciting developments there means that the centre is in the process of being renovated and a new Gandhian style visitor centre and museum being built with central government funding. There’s always a very warm welcome for visitors here.
On the way, explore the temple town of Nanjangud with it’s ornate temple gopura and bustling bazaar area full of rural Karnataka life. Our guide for the day is local to the area and full of knowledge about the culture and way of life here.

Sunday 2nd March 
A free day to explore and enjoy Mysore at your leisure.
Take a tour of the opulent palace of the Maharajah of Mysore, visit silk shops and fabric stores, wander the old streets of the metalwork and wood inlay craftsmen. 
In the evening meet up to see the Maharajah’s palace light up for thirty minutes with 100,000 lightbulbs! Dinner at our hotel ready for an early start tomorrow.

Monday 3rd March

A scenic day from Mysore, through fields of paddy and sugar cane of rural Karnataka to Bangalore, the last stop on our tour. Today we’ll take a look at silk in Ramanagara, home of the biggest silk cocoon market in India, and experience the bustle of the seven days a week silk cocoon auction.
We’ll visit a silk rearing village en route and a silk reeling unit to learn the story of silk from silk worms to silk thread.
Dinner will be at our hotel in Bangalore.Accordion Content

Tuesday 4th March

Today you can try your hand at block printing in our full day workshop at Tharangini creative printing studios in a beautifully green district of Bangalore. If you bought khadi fabric in Chendamangalam or Kannur, you will be able to block print onto it, or onto fabric provided by Tharangini.

Our hostess will start the day with some background to the history of the studios and its collection of over 4,000 historic and modern wood blocks. We’ll learn about the creative processes involved in block printing, with and without the discharge process. This is followed by a technical demonstration and then it’s over to you to experiment with your choice from the huge library of blocks available. Accordion Content

Wednesday 5th March

The end of our South Indian Threads Tour. We hope you enjoyed your textile journey with us. We are so happy that you chose to travel with us and allowed us the privilege of introducing you to the quiet joys of textiles in South India. Thank you for your contribution to raising the value of hand made fabrics in India by joining us on our adventures.
An inclusive mini bus transfer to Bengalaru International Airport is available for those who are returning home today. We look forward to welcoming you back soon for another exciting Textile Travels experience. Namaste!

Highlights

Full details

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