South India Tour – Travel to South India

Embark on a South India tour. Explore the magnificent architecture and intriguing history of South India. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of its abundant natural beauty.

The first 16 days we call the highlights tour. On this guided small group tour of South 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.

In addition, there will be ample time to soak up the atmosphere!  Enjoy the local ecology as we visit a wildlife sanctuary as well as 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.  Venture into less-touristed areas which contain remarkable ruins and well preserved mosques, forts, palaces and temples.

Enjoy the cultural highlights of South India! Embark, Explore and Discover!

  • 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 cuisine
  • Cruise the Kerala backwaters in a houseboat for a glimpse of a different lifestyle
  • In-Depth tour visits Tamil Nadu
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Resident elephant Brihadisvara Temple in Tanjore

  • 1
    Day 1: Arrival in Chennai (Madras)

    Transfer to hotel.

  • 2
    Day 2-3: Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram

    Tour of the City of Chennai.

    Then, 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's hand woven silk sarees.

  • 3
    Day 4: Kanchipuram - Pondicherry

    Morning excursion to Kanchipuram, the Golden City of 1000 temples. We stop en-route at Eagle Temple during the feeding of the eagles by the priests.

    Drive to Pondicherry and enjoy its beautiful colonial ambiance. Visit visit Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram. Rest of day at leisure evening to explore the town (easy/pleasant walking) or head to the beach. The beach in the evening is a wonderful opportunity to see local families strolling along after their work day with their adorable children often dressed in their finest.

  • 4
    Day 5: Pondicherry - Chidabaram-Gangaikonda Cholapuram- Darasuram - Tanjore

    We start early this morning so we can enter several inner sanctums of the temples before they close (most close between 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.

  • 5
    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.

  • 6
    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 Minakshi Temple and tour the vast temple complex.

  • 7
    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.

  • 8
    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.

  • 9
    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.

  • 10
    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.

  • 11
    Day 16: Depart

    Highlights Tour: return to Bangalore to depart for home

  • 12
    In-Depth Tour Day 16-17 Hospet-Hampi

    From Hassan continue by land transport.

  • 13
    Day 16-17: Hassan - 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.

  • 14
    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.

  • 15
    Day 20-23: Bijapur - Gulbarga - Bidar - Hyderabad

    Our in-depth tour of South India ends with an exploration of Islamic cities and their mausolea, mosques and palaces.

  • 16
    Day 23: Late night departure or early morning next day.

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

  • Trip Length

    16-day trip begins in Madras and ends in Bangalore
    23 day In-Depth trip begins in Madras and ends in Hyderabad

  • Dates

    October 29-November 13, 2023 (16 Day)
    October 29-November 20, 2023 (23 Day)

    February 6-21, 2024 (16 Day)
    February 6-28, 2024 (23 Day)

    November 2-17, 2024 (16 Day)
    November 2-24, 2024 (23 Day)

  • Land Cost

    Nov 2023
    $4365 twin share, single room supplement $1160 (16 Day)
    $5560 twin share, Single room supplement: $1520 (23 Day)

    Feb 2024
    $4300 twin share, single room supplement $1160 (16 Day)
    $5565 twin share, Single room supplement: $1520 (23 Day)

    Nov 2024
    $4465 twin share, single room supplement $1190 (16 Day)
    $5670 twin share, Single room supplement: $1550 (23 Day)

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

  • Accommodations

    5-star and heritage hotels
    In-Depth 4 days: best available heritage hotels
    Discounted Single Room Fee
    Limited number!

  • Group Size

    4-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    16 day tour: daily breakfast, 9 lunches, 6 dinners
    23 day tour: daily breakfast, 17 lunches, 6 dinners

  • Reading List

    Suggested Reading

  • Extend Your Trip

    The Soul of Sri Lanka
    Ellora and Ajanta Caves
    3 days

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Pondicherry, Puducherry, India

Tanjore Arts, Vallar Street, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India

Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Kerala Backwaters, Kottankulangara, Alappuzha, Kerala, India

Cochin, Kerala, India

Mysore, Karnataka, India

Hassan, Karnataka, India

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