Kalayur village in Tamil Nadu is every gourmand’s dream. Not only does everyone know how to cook, but men are the most sought-after cooks here. The unique tradition began 500 centuries ago when the Vaniyars, a lower caste, proved to be culinary artists, their skills surpassing even the Brahmins. Brahmins are traditionally of a higher caste, custodians and gatekeepers of the fine things in life – until the Vaniyars stepped inside the kitchen.
The men from the Vaniyar community began taking an interest in cooking since farming had become less profitable. Today, these expert male cooks travel across South India, culinary magicians who whip up feasts for big weddings and birthdays in just hours.
The Kohinoor Paan to Spice Things Up in the Bedroom
The land that gave us Kama Sutra is full of surprises still. Say hello to the Kohinoor paan at Tara Pan Center in the Indian city of Aurangabad. Paan is a popular breath freshener in India made from betel leaves stuffed with betel nuts, spices, and tobacco. What makes this Paan so special? It allegedly contains aphrodisiac effects that can last up to two days! That's right, two whole days of added spice in the bedroom.
Mohammed Sarfuddin Siddiqui has been operating the shop for over 30 years, and he even exports his magical paan to countries in the Middle East. The ingredients used in this plan are carefully selected and different for men and women, ensuring maximum effectiveness. The catch? The store only serves married couples, and it will set them back a neat INR 5000 (around $60).
The Country of Gastronomical Challenges, If You’re Up to It
If you’re the kind who enjoys a food challenge, India will put your stomach to the ultimate test. Move over, pie-eating competitions, and say hello to the legendary 'Baahubali Thali' challenge in the Indian city of Hyderabad. Your challenge - should you choose to accept it - is to finish a meal of 30 vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes within 30 minutes.
The cash prize is ₹1 lakh ($1000). This thali (platter) is famously massive and not for the faint-hearted, and it includes chicken biryani, prawns curry, schezwan noodles, salad, raita, and drinks for ₹1,800 ($22). Would you give this a go?
The Chess Village of India and its Incredible Origins
The residents of Marottichal village in Kerala love chess, and you agree that it is unusual to find an entire village of chess enthusiasts. Visitors will find the locals discussing and strategizing chess moves at any time of the day, however, it wasn't always this way. Marottichal then was a village of alcoholics, not chess, and back in the '60s and '70s, the villagers made local liquor for a living.
A student named C. Unnikrishnan decided that enough was enough. Unnikrishnan traveled to a nearby village to learn chess. He was inspired by a news report about American chess legend Bobby Fischer. Subsequently, he gave free chess lessons to anyone willing to learn at his house, and the game caught on, and then some! That’s how the "chess village of India" was born, where everyone, from children to the elderly, is obsessed with the game.
A Village With Over 550 Sets of Twins
The idea of having a doppelganger isn’t far-fetched, but a village in India makes it five hundred times more fun. Kodinhi, a village in Kerala, has a unique claim to fame. The village is home to over 550 sets of twins, with 42 twins born for every 1000 deliveries in the village.
The numbers are staggering since the average rate of twin births globally (yes, globally) is just 6 per 1000 deliveries. The Kodinhi phenomenon began approximately three generations ago however, experts are still not sure why, and they strongly believe the villagers' food and drink choices might be related to it.