Rakesh Raghunathan's new TV show will make you look at South India in ways you've never seen it before 

Dakshin Diaries takes us on a journey through South India, bridging cultural themes, unsung heroes and staple delicacies

author_img   |   Published :   |  30th March 2019 03:28 PM

Rakesh Raghunathan cooking a prasadam of samba saadam at Darasuram temple in Kumbakonam

This is not just a food show,” declares Rakesh Raghunathan, whose new TV series Dakshin Diaries launched on Living Foodz last week. The show features a 45-day adventure through the South, compressed into 13 episodes that promise to show folks all over the country (yes, even South Indians) a glimpse of desi living that they’ve never seen. 

Kadala Bele Paayasa being prepared at the Mysore Chamundi Temple

Consider taking a ride with G Annadurai, a Chennai-based auto driver, who has everything from magazines to free Wi-Fi and Alexa for his guests, and has become so famous, he even has his own TEDx talk. Or jasmine flower farmers at Madurai, and cooking inspired by art installations at the Kochi Biennale, as well as dancing with Rajini fans ahead of the Petta launch, for a moment of mass fever. And, on the other side of the spectrum... an impromptu jam session mixing Carnatic rhythms and Malaysian rock at a Sofar Sounds session. 


In Trichy, with homemaker Mangalam Srinivasan, an Internet sensation thanks to her vivid kolam creations

Each compact 30-minute episode seamlessly combines a visual taste of art, culture, food and, of course, the people that bring it all to life. Despite a previous food show and extensive solo travel for food research through his venture Puliyogare Travels, which offers heritage-inspired culinary holidays, Rakesh tells us, “The diversity of this experience has really broadened my horizons, and hopefully along the way, we can break some stereotypes — like, the South is not just about idli, dosa.”Touching upon Rakesh’s most memorable flavours en route, look out for the Maddur vada (a thattai-style twist on the vada) in Karnataka, Tibetan Guthuk (a soup made by Tibetans day before their New Year) at a monastery in Bylakuppe, on the way to Coorg, and Kadale Bele Paayasa (channa dhal payasam) in Mysuru. 

When the host tells us that he took time to watch what he ate, and to look his best for the shoot in January this year, we were hardly surprised. “I cut out rice, sugar and fried foods. Basically, I lived like a swamiji,” he shares with a laugh. But this second part comes as a bit of a shocker. Instead of putting on the pounds while sampling must-eat dishes across the South, he reveals, “Over almost two months, 
I lost about eight kilos!’

Talk about having your payasam and eating it too! 

Dakshin Diaries will air on LivingFoodz every Thursday and Friday at 8.30 pm.