Started by a bunch of history enthusiasts, Heritage Inspired is a cultural enterprise bound to explore the rich legacy left behind by our ancestors. Far from being a run-of-the-mill tour operator, Heritage Inspired promises travelers an insightful, enriching, and eye-opening time-travel experience soaked in Chola history. With luxurious and meticulously formulated all-inclusive trips, Heritage Inspired was founded by Anand Rajarathinam, to represent our history and who we are authentically.
Let’s pack our bags and take a trip down the minute lanes of history with Heritage Inspired as traversed by Anand Rajarathinam.
Tracing Back the Chola Footsteps: Sprouting up of Heritage Inspired
I was born and brought up in the small but historically rich city of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. A fine blend of tradition and modernity, being a part of Trichy during my early years, etched a connection to history in me. After working and living in the United States of America for more than a decade, I came back in 2013. Lingering questions storming inside me needed answers.
I had always seen people visiting temples and worshipping Gods, but nobody ever tried to understand the depth behind it. Why were such huge temples built? What were the different dimensions of a temple? What really happened to generations of kingdoms?
I was engulfed by my curiosity.
With my wife’s support, I started researching my favorite dynasty – The Cholas. For one weekend every month, I decided to head out and trace the path of the Cholas. During the journey, I connected with historians, scholars, and local villagers. Initially, the stones and sand didn’t speak to me. After interacting with different scholars, everything came alive. I connected all the dots and decided to bring experiential and concept-based tours for everyone. All of this led to the birth of Heritage Inspired.
A Quest For Our Rich Heritage: Crafting Experiential Tourism
We firmly believe our heritage is who we are and who we forever will be. It is imperative that we realize this and take it to the next generations. Our endeavor is to showcase our rich history and thereby contribute to its recognition, celebration, and preservation. The series of Time Traveller tours include Ottran Paadhai- The Spy’s Trail, Incredible Cholas, Pearls of Pandiyas, Deep Immersions, Neithal Trail, etc.
The first tour of the Incredible Cholas is Ottran Paadhai – The Spy’s Trail, which has been designed to create time travel tracing back to the Chola era in the footsteps of the spy Vandhiyathevan, the protagonist of the Tamil magnum opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The fictional novel is based on the monuments and historical evidence still existing in Tamil Nadu as a testimony to the Cholas. Our detailed and comprehensive tour is planned in a way to ensure that each traveler gets to witness, partake, feel and understand the Great Chola History.
Our aim is to recreate a holistic picture of 1000 years of history within 3 days. The medieval Chola dynasty has the finest history and is the only one in India that won wars overseas and spread its kingdom to the far east. Their passion for art, literature, and architecture is abundantly evident in the numerous temples they constructed along River Kaveri. We take our travelers closer to the era through a story-themed expedition chalked out by acclaimed scholars, historians, and storytellers.
The itinerary begins with an AV depiction of South Indian history that is nailed down to the Cholas. The journey follows Vandhiyathevan through Veeranarayana Lake, Kadambur, the war zone of Thirupurambiyam, and other places of significance. The trip also covers King Raja Raja Chola’s resting place, a demonstration of Rajendra Chola’s ingenious war strategy by expert Historians and local villagers, and visits to UNESCO World Heritage temples – Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darasuram, and Tanjore Big Temple.
We promise travelers a premium holiday experience with travel in luxury coaches, and accommodation at Heritage properties accompanied with traditional food delicacies. I am a part of every tour along with our History Consultant, Mr. Ramesh Vangipuram who has traveled 36,000 kilometers tracking the Cholas.
Nurturing Nature Bolstered by Heritage
To put a smile on the faces of all our stakeholders, we made tie-ups with farmers in and around Tamil Nadu to encourage organic farming. What we eat is also what we are and hence we built Heritage Essentials. The objective is to bring farmers and consumers together in a symbiotic relationship.
We motivated farmers in the Kumbakonam region to take up traditional farming methods with a promise to buy their produce and deliver it directly to dedicated customers. In Tamil Nadu’s Odakkanallur village, K Ilayaraja, a local farmer we met during one of our trips, transitioned to organic farming. He agrees that though it is a labor-intensive process and the yield is comparatively low, the cost is minimal. Ilayaraja also shared that it is joyful to see the land being rejuvenated. With natural farming, the quality of the soil improves and small snails and crabs can be seen on the farm, which stops when there’s increased dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Their presence is an indicator that the soil is at its best and the product is not something as unnatural as plastic.
Through Heritage Essentials, the producer and the consumer know each other and function together to give back to mother earth.
Vetrivel! Veeravel! – Moving Forward Courageously
I have always targeted people who possess an earnest curiosity about our history. We have a good chance to make use of our ancient wisdom to see today’s problems in a better light. To make people aware of our heritage, celebrate it, and make them feel proud of it is my primary objective. Even when challenges like COVID hit the tourism industry at the forefront, we kept going. We organized informative webinars, networked with scholars and historians, and are working on a book titled ‘War Path of Cholas.’
In collaboration with Prof. Deivanayagam, a UNESCO scholar we mean to expand our field of visits. We have conceptualized tours based on the 2500-year-old history of the Pandyas, titled – ‘Pearls of Pandyas’ and ‘Chariots of the Gods’ covering the Pallavas. We will also cover other rich dynasties of the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas in the upcoming tours. We also mean to cover the Sri Lankan and South East Asian perspective of the Chola dynasty. Our interaction with the local folk and our inclusion of them in our tours have earned us immense respect and recognition. We aim to give back to the villages from where we get abundant love and cooperation.
On the occasion of an anniversary meet at my school, my old classmates told me that they weren’t surprised that I started something like Heritage Inspired. This boosted my passion for our rich history and gave me even more faith to present its magnificence to the world. From temple architecture and war strategies to literature and iconography of the culture, Heritage Inspired is striving to provide a refreshing alternative to tourist experiences.
NICEorg wishes them the best of luck in their journey ahead!