A Grandmother’s Legacy
A Culinary Vignette of India penned by Five Generations of Memsahibs of the British Raj
A small group tour led by Jenny Mallin
Saturday 18th January - Sunday 2nd February 2020
Only 16 places are available on this tour which will be allocated on a first come first served basis
Jenny Mallin inherited a cookbook from her great grandmother Wilhelmina and much to her delight, discovered recipe manuscripts going back five generations of her ‘Memsahib Grandmothers’. Those recipes, published in her award-winning book ‘A Grandmother’s Legacy’ are an enthralling glimpse into the lives of these ladies.
The tour is peppered with insightful talks, about the life and times of Jenny’s ancestors, painting a broad brushstroke of their personal life, rather than the official message of the British Raj. It also explores their husbands’ work in Education, on the Railways and in the Military. There will be delicious fare to try along the way, and delightful excursions taking in local highlights, as the tour then meanders through some of the places that Jenny’s family lived and worked in
With her passions for cooking, India, research and writing, Jenny’s award-winning cookbook “A Grandmother’s Legacy” has been a labour of love – a memoir that mingles the history of her family when they lived in India, with her grandmothers’ recipes that were prudently passed down through the generations. Each recipe has been lovingly researched, leading Jenny on a road of discovery about her ancestors, with her grandmothers’ legacy continuing to assist in providing clues to their rich and eventful past.
Jenny has travelled extensively throughout India for thirty years, and has also visited many other countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and America. Her travelogues and written anecdotes of her journeys are much enjoyed by her family and friends.
Now a writer, Jenny has had a colourful career as a Travel Buyer (which spawned her passion for travel and meeting people) and before that she was in television production at the BBC in London. Any spare time that she has is spent doing painting, home decorating, listening to music, photography and enjoying nature.
Delhi • Kolkata • Mysore • Chennai • Chettinad • Pondicherry • Covelong Beach
Saturday, 18 January
Overnight flight to Kolkata with Emirate airlines from London Heathrow or regional UK airports of your choice.
If you are a resident of any other country than the UK or you are based in the UK and have a preference of airlines, please see the price of the tour without international flights in the cost section.
Sunday, 19 January
Kolkata Guided Heritage Walk
Upon arrival transfer to the hotel Oberoi Grand for 2 nights. The journey into Colonial India starts in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the showpiece capital of the British Raj and former trading post of the East India Company.
An afternoon sightseeing tour in Kolkata starting with a heritage walk taking in the main landmarks of the British Raj, including St. John’s Church with its memorial to the Black Hole of Calcutta and the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall.
In the evening, before dinner, Jenny Mallin will give the first of her four talks featuring the discovery of a cookbook initially created by her four times great grandmother when she was a memsahib living in Madras in 1844.
Monday 20 January
Kolkata Tram Tour and Steamer Boat Trip
During the morning, a tram tour taking in the significant heritage buildings linked to the British Raj and the East India Company: The Writer’s Building, Dalhousie Square and the General Post Office.
After lunch, a steamer boat trip on the Hooghly River with a chance to learn about the provenance and history of a famous British Raj dish, “Country Captain Curry” and that link with 18th century Calcutta. Depending on the timings of the steamer boat trip, either lunch or dinner on board with a cookery demonstration by the chef of an authentic Country Captain Curry with a brief talk by Jenny on the early days of steamboat cooks and their captains, and how Country Captain Curry came to be known.
Tuesday 21 January
To Bangalore-Drive to Mysore
Fly to Bangalore by Spice Jet airlines and then drive to Mysore en route visit Srirangapatna, an island fortress on the River Cauvery with high walls enclosing Temples, Palaces and a great Mosque. It was once the home of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan - The Tiger of Mysore.
Stay at Windflower Resort & Spa for 3 nights.
Wednesday 22 January
Mysore City Tour
After breakfast, a city tour of Mysore including the Mysore Palace, residence of the Royal Wodeyar Dynasty in Mysore. Lunch will be at the Lalitha Mahal Palace a striking white palace built in 1921 at the orders of His Highness the Maharajah of Mysore for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India. Jenny will deliver her second talk at this majestic building based on her ancestors’ involvement in Mysore in both the Military and Education System during the 18th and 19th century.
Thursday 23 January
Mysore - Visit to a Sandalwood Factory and Afternoon High Tea
A morning excursion to the Sandalwood Oil Factory, established over a century ago, a guide will explain the fascinating process of the oil extraction for the iconic sandalwood soap and oils. In the afternoon a visit to a heritage building formerly known as Chittaranajan Palace, an erstwhile royal mansion of a princess to experience Afternoon High Tea, Anglo Indian style.
Friday 24 January
Train to Chennai
Depart Mysore after lunch, for a railway journey on the Shatabdi Express Train through the former princely state of Mysore to the first stronghold of the East India Company (Madras). Transfer to the Hotel Taj Connemara for 2 nights.
Saturday 25 January
A morning’s sightseeing in Chennai to include Fort St. George and its museum which unlocks the British Raj history through its rarest artefacts from India’s British past. In the evening, a presentation/talk by Jenny on her ancestors who worked on the Railways in India followed by dinner, tasting an authentic ‘Railway Curry’!
Sunday 26 January
Fly to Trichy then Drive to Chettinad
Morning - a short flight to Trichy by Air India followed by a delightful drive through the countryside to Chettinad. Stay for two night at the Visalam Chettinad - a beautiful heritage mansion which offers a chance to reflect on the grandeur and opulence of the Chettiar lifestyle.
Monday, 27 January
Today experience the cultural homes of the Chettiars. Consisting of 75 villages, Chettinad mansions are an outstanding example of hybrid architecture: with their eclectic styles ranging from Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East. When they first arrived from Madras in the 13th century they quickly became wealthy merchants trading in salt. They soon moved to gems and used their wealth to become money lenders and financiers in the 19th century. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the world famous Chettinad cuisine, rich with spices. Then ponder and walk around Kanadukathan where there is the highest concentration of mansions to explore the antiques market at Karaikudi overflowing with carved wooden décor and brassware. In addition, there will be a visit to the Kings Palace in Chettinad.
Tuesday, 28 January
Drive to Pondicherry via Brihadishwara Temple, Tanjore
A drive to Pondicherry via Tanjore to see the amazing Brihadishwara temple which is topped with a single square block of granite weighing 80 tons. This World Heritage Site is outstanding, with impressive Gopurams soaring skyward with its temple complex guarded by a majestic Nandi (Bull). After seeing the temple drive to Pondicherry for 2 nights at the Maison Perumal in Pondicherry – a Chettiar Mansion with French colonial-style architecture built 130 years ago.
Wednesday, 29 January
Visits to Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny and Sri Aurobindo Paper Factory
After breakfast, a visit to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny in their lovely heritage house dating back to 1774. The Sisters train destitute women in fine embroidery and tapestry work. After lunch a fully guided tour of the Sri Aurobindo Paper Factory, set in a coconut garden location, to see the process of their handmade paper. It is made from white cotton and turned into exquisite marbled design and screen-printed products.
Thursday, 30 January
To Covelong Beach
After breakfast, leave Pondicherry for Covelong Beach. Check in at Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & Spa for 3 nights.
Friday, 31 January
A morning visit to explore the exquisite World Heritage site of the 8th century AD Shore Temple and sacred complex of Mahabalipuram. Followed by a visit to Arjuna’s Penance, a giant bas-relief from the 7th century and the Panch Pandava Rathas, the monolithic rock-cut architecture representing the diversity of Dravidian architecture.
Saturday, 1 February
A day at leisure, we finish off the “Grandmother’s Legacy” tour with the last of Jenny’s presentation/talks – a bringing together of the story of her great grandmothers’ book with her own personal journey of fulfilment.
Sunday, 2 February
Depart Chennai for London on Emirates.
Sightseeing arrangements or arrangements of presentations of talks may change for the improvement of the experience of the tour, we will keep you posted of those updates.
- How to Book this Tour
- Travel Insurance
- International flights with Emirate Airlines in economy class inclusive all taxes. Business class supplement is available on request.
- Internal flights in economy class inclusive all taxes.
- Train reservations in first class air-conditioned class.
- Air-conditioned Hotel accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Meal Plan: Breakfast and Dinner (daily). Welcome Dinner in Kolkata, Lunch on boat in Kolkata, High Tea at Malgudi Café Mysore and farewell Dinner in Chennai.
- All transfers and sightseeing by an air-conditioned coach.
- Services of a local English-speaking guide
- Services of our representatives for all arrival and departure transfers including assistance at railway stations.
- Services of Jenny Mallin as Trip Leader.
- 100% protection of your monies under our ATOL and ABTA bonding.
- Complimentary mineral water while travelling and on sightseeing.
Cost does not include:
- Visa fee for India. E-Tourist visa is now available for India. On booking we will send you a step by step guide how to apply for E-Tourist visa on line.
Travel Insurance. Please ensure you take a comprehensive travel insurance for your entire journey which should include holiday disruption and medical repatriation.
You may wish to obtain a quote from this link –Travel Insurance
Any expenses of a personal nature.
- Tips and Gratuities.
- To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £500.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
- If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
- It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
- It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
- It covers you for all activities.
- Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
- Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
- If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.