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South India Tour - Travel to South India

Essential South India

  • Enjoy the cultural highlights of South India with the opportunity to join us for an additional week of in-depth exploration on Feb tour
  • Witness the exotic puja at Madurai’s Meenakshi Amman Temple, complete with musicians and temple elephants
  • Enter the inner sanctum of certain Hindu temples to participate in spiritual rituals with the locals
  • Explore little known Chettinad villages with their old mansions, traditional crafts and unique cusine
  • Cruise the languid Kerala backwaters in a houseboat for a glimpse of a different lifestyle

Explore the magnificent architecture and intriguing history of South India as you enjoy the peaceful ambiance of its abundant natural beauty.  On this guided small group tour of India, we visit the most significant ancient ruins and living Hindu sacred sites.  

Tour members have the opportunity to personally connect with local craftsmen and villagers. There will be ample time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the local ecology as we visit a wildlife sanctuary and spend the night on a houseboat in the tranquil Kerala backwaters.

South India In-Depth
For those who desire the consummate South India tour, join us for an additional eight days as we complete our route from Mysore to Hyderabad, including the fabulous ruins of Hampi and venturing into less-touristed areas which contain remarkable ruins and well preserved mosques, forts, palaces and temples.

Essential South India Tour - Elephants at Brihadisvara Temple in Tanjore
Photo of the resident elephant at Brihadisvara Temple in Tanjore, often used during Pujas


Print Full Feb
2019 Itinerary (PDF)
   Print Full November
2018 Itinerary (PDF)

Day 1: Arrival in Chennai (Madras)
Tour of the City of Chennai.

Day 2-3: Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram
A one hour drive to beautiful Mahabalipuram with its beautiful monuments. An excursion to Kanchipuram, one of India's seven sacred cities for the Hindu population and also famous for it shand woven silk sarees.

Day 4: Pondicherry
A relaxed morning to enjoy the seashore. Drive to Pondicherry and enjoy its beautiful colonial ambiance.

Day 5: Pondicherry - Tanjore
We start early this morning so we can enter several inner sanctums of the temples before they close (most close berween noon & 3 pm). We shall visit the great temples of Tamil Nadu: Chidambaram's Nataraja Temple (where we attend a magnificent puja), Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram and the grand Brihadisvara Temple in Tanjore.

Day 6: Tanjore - Trichy - Chettinad
Today we visit the temples and monuments of Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) before arriving in Chettinad, homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars.  We shall stay in one of the villages in a private home-turned hotel, still owned and operated by the ancestors of the original family. A wonderful opportunity for close observation and interaction with a unique heritage of India. 

Day 7-8: Madurai
Explore the quaint villages of Chettinad contrasted with the fabulous mansions of the region. A short drive to Madurai, center of Tamil culture. Its history dates back to the 6th century BC. Attend evening ceremony at Minaskshi Temple and tour the vast temple complex.

Day 9-10: Periyar - Kerala Backwaters
Enjoy a pleasant stay at Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary with a boat excursion to view wildlife. We then proceed to the glorious Kerala Backwaters where we overnight on traditional rice boats converted into deluxe houseboats.

Day 11-12: Cochin
Tour the bustling old world port city of Cochin where the influence of colonial Portugal, Holland (now the Netherlands) and England can still be seen. Highlights include Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, Paradesi Synagogue, the elegant and fascinating Chinese fishing nets and a Kathakali dance performance.

Day 13-14 Mysore
Visit Mysore, a magnificent royal city known for its palaces and the nearby Chamundi Hills, site of the Chamundeswari Temple, statue of Nandi (the Bull ridden by Lord Shiva).  A magnificent panoramic view of the city, nearby lakes and the palaces in the area can be seen from the top of the main hill.

Day 15: Hassan
Admire the Belur Chennakeshava temple and Halebidu temple complexes built by the Hoysala kings and seen as some of the best examples of Hoysala architecture.

Day 16: Depart
Return to Bangalore to depart for home.

Note: Nov Tour Only Day 12-13: Conoor
Explore nearby villages of the Toba tribal community who live on the isolated Niligiri Plateau.


Day 16-17: Hassan - Hospet - Hampi
An in-depth exploration of the superb ruins of Hampi, one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 18-19: Aihole - Pattadakal - Badami
Visit the three former Chalukyan Dynasty capitals, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami that date between the 4th and 8th centuries.  Rural Badami is set in beautiful countryside amongst red sandstone hills, lakes and peaceful farmlands.

Day 20-22: Bijapur - Gulbarga - Bidar - Hyderabad
Our in-depth tour of South India ends with an exploration of Islamic cities and their mausolea, mosques and palaces.

Day 23: Depart for Home

Join Our Post Tour to Sri Lanka or our Ellora/Ajanta Caves extension.



Trip Details

16-day trip begins in Madras and ends in Bangalore
23 day In-Depth trip begins in Madras and ends in Hyderabad
2018 DATES
February 13-28 (16 Day)
February 13-March 7 (23 Day)
November 2-17 (16 day)
November 2-24 (23 day)
2019 DATES
February 2-17 (16 Day)
February 2-24 (23 Day)
November TBA
From: $4325/Nov-16 day
From: $5575/Nov-23 day

From $4325/Feb-16 day
From $5575/Feb-23 day
From: $TBA/Nov-16 day
From: $TBA/Nov-23 day

50% discount on single room to first 2 bookings, based on group size min 6

5-star and heritage hotels
In-Depth 4 days: best available heritage hotels
4-12 guests
Feb 16 day tour: daily breakfast,10 lunches, 6 dinners

Feb 23 day tour: daily breakfast, 17 lunches, 12 dinners

Nov 16 day tour:  daily breakfast, 9 lunches, 8 dinners

Discounted Single Room Fee
Limited number!

Extend Your Trip

The Soul of Sri Lanka 
Ellora and Ajanta Caves
3 days
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