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Spotlight on South India

14 Days : $ 2,655 per person

Relax on the beach, wander colonial streets or savor the historic architecture with these extraordinary gems in South India.

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When to go

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  •  Most Popular
  •  Great Value
  •  Off Season

Itinerary Summary

Day Place Highlights Hotel
1 Chennai Drive to Mamallapuram
1-3 Mamallapuram Shore Temples, Beach Relaxation Ideal Beach Resort
3-4 Pondicherry French Culture, Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville Maison Perumal
4-5 Thanjavur Bull Temple, Local Artists Ideal River View Resort
5-7 Madurai Sree Meenakshi Temple, Ancient Temples Heritage Madurai
7-9 Munnar Biodiverse Nature, Jeep Safaris, Spice Plantations Spice Tree Munnar
9-10 Cochin Jew Town, Chinese Fishing Nets, St Francis Church Tea Bungalow
10-11 Alleppey Houseboat Backwater Relaxation Punnamada Houseboat
11-14 Alleppey Beach Local Culture, Temple Visits A Beach Symphony
14 Cochin Return Flight

Ideal For




Guest Speak

“We really appreciated the efforts made on our behalf to put together this two week extension of our trip with very short notice. We enjoyed our unexpected journey to Southern India!”
Doug Hensby, Canada 

Chennai-Mamallapuram (2 nights)

Day 1 - 3

International arrival in Chennai, Drive from Chennai to Mamallapuram (58 km, 1 hr)

A magical realm of historical beauty Virtuous Mamallapuram’s claim to fame lies in the exquisite Pallava architecture seen in its temples, caves, rathas and monuments along with unspoiled sunny beaches, casuarina trees and handmade crafts. The famous Dance Festival is conducted every January and February.


City Highlights in Mamallapuram: Tour the stunning Shore temples dedicated to Lord Shiva; visit the temple of Anantasayana or ‘reclining Vishnu’; see Arjuna’s Penance, Pancha Pandava Rathas, the Varaha Cave, Krishna’s Butterball; Relax by the beach.

Visit to Dakshinachitra: A visit to the living museum of Dakshinachitra provides an insight into the architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India. Tour the 10acre campus which is recreated to depict 4 South Indian states – Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh. Explore heritage houses, interact with village artisans, witness folk performances and participate in activities like bead making, basket weaving, pottery, palm leaf carving, paper craft, shell craft and glass painting.

Pondicherry (1 night)

Day 3 - 4

Drive from Mamallapuram to Pondicherry (130 km, 2.5 hrs)

A slice of France Joseph Dupleix who built Pondicherry, created 2 different cities – the Indian side..busy, bustling and dirty; the European side..cleaner, quieter and beautiful. French is spoken on the streets and the policemen wear kepis in the style of M’sieu De Gaulle – remnants of that colonial memory.


Explore this quaint French town, its colonial buildings and its most popular edifice – the Aurobindo Ashram; visit the famous temples of Vedapureswarar, Varadaraja Perumal and Manakula Vinayakar.

Thanjavur (1 night)

Day 4 - 5

Drive from Pondicherry to Thanjavur via Chidambaram and Gangaikondacholapuram (190 km, 5 hrs)

The ‘rice bowl’ of India Thanjavur was once the cultural capital of the country. The cultural, architectural and scholarly pursuits of rulers like the Cholas, Nayaks and Maratha who nurtured art and culture, are reflected in the great monuments like the Grand Anaicut, the Big Temple and Serfoji Mahal Library.


Chidambaram & Gangaikondacholapuram City Highlight Enjoy a day trip to the traditional temple town of Chidambaram where you will find Chidambaram Thillai Natarajah Temple, a Hindu temple built by the Chola dynasty to honour Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. Admire the bejeweled image of Nataraja partaking in Bharatanatyam, a cosmic dance that symbolises the motion of the universe. Next, visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the city of the Chola Rajendra I who took the Ganges and was once a capital of this powerful dynasty. Visit the magnificent three storey high Gangaikondacholapuram temple that is surrounded by a huge fort-like wall.

City Highlights in Thanjavur: Visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of the Brihadeshvara Temple or Bull Temple – home to India’s largest lingam; enjoy the natural splendor that surrounds the Panchanatheesvarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Madurai (2 nights)

Day 5 - 7

Drive from Thanjavur to Madurai (182 km, 4.5 hrs)

Of incense sticks and chiming cymbals! Known to be the epicenter of cultural activity, it has a history that is both dynamic and sometimes mind-boggling. This city is one of the major districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, surrounded by glorious mountains and famous for the jasmine flowers that are transported all over India.


Visit the thousand pillared Madurai Meenakshi Temple; the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple; Koodal Alagar Temple; Thirumalai Nayak Mahal; Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Complex; Gandhi Museum.

Munnar (2 nights)

Day 7 - 9

Drive from Madurai to Munnar via Thekkady (260 km, 7 hrs)

A haven of peace and tranquility! This picturesque scope of the lofty Western Ghats first came into prominence as a favorite summer resort of the British government. The town of stands at the confluence of three mountain streams. Enjoy trekking, boating, riding, angling or just laze about and fill your soul with peace.


Explore this beautiful panoramic town. Drive to Matupetty Dam and Kundala Dam; visit Echo Point via sprawling tea plantations; end at Top Station to view lush mountainsides. Dine in the city; stay overnight. Next day, enjoy a drive through winding lanes, a picture-perfect town and scenic plantations; see exotic forest and grassland flora. Do a 20min trek to the top on a paved path. Back in the city, visit the Kannan Devan Tea Museum..housing photographs and machineries depicting each turning point contributing to a flourishing tea industry; the Antiques museum exhibits antique furniture, Telephones, etc, and shows a 30min documentary on the history of Munnar along with a tea production demonstration; take a Tea Tour in the evening.

Cochin (1 night)

Day 9 - 10

Drive from Munnar to Cochin (160 km, 4.5 hrs)

Queen of the Arabian Sea Cochin (Kochi), is a commercial town comprising mainland Ernakulam, Willingdon Island, Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Vypeen and Bolghatty Island. Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish Synagogue, a Dutch Palace, Portuguese architecture and Bolghatty Palace enrich Kerala’s heritage.


Enjoy murals and antiquities at the Dutch Palace & Cemetery; appreciate the stunning views of the harbour at Fort Kochi; explore Matancherry, the Pardesi Synagogue, Jewish town, St. Francis Church with the grave of Vasco da Gama; stroll through the spice and antique markets and see the Chinese fishing nets. Enjoy a sunset cruise; visit the Hill Palace and Tripunithura; enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performances or even a kaleidoscope of martial arts and traditional dance forms of Kerala.

Tea Bungalow

Tea Bungalow

Alleppey Houseboat (1 night)

Day 10 - 11

Drive from Cochin to Alleppey (65 km, 1.5 hrs)
Alleppey  Houseboat
Alleppey (Houseboat)

Explore nature at its best with a cruise in Alleppey (Alappuzha), tagged the ‘Venice of the East’ and the hub of Kerala’s backwaters. A visit to Kerala is incomplete without experiencing a traditional Kettuvallam houseboat cruise. Meander emerald waterways in the comfort of Kettuvalloms, an improvization on the once large country boats. Glide through a maze of inland waterways and lagoons, via a watery world of villages, mangrove forests, paddy fields and coconut groves. Measuring up to 120ft in length, these crafts once carrying rice and coconuts, were made by tying huge planks of jack wood together without using a single nail! Recently, they have been replaced as modern accomodations – fully furnished with single/double rooms, sundeck, balcony, kitchen, bathroom and a 3-man crew – a cook, guide and oarsman.


Cruising Kerala’s backwaters in a traditional ‘Kettuvallom’ (boats made by tying together wooden planks with coconut ropes) is a distinctly unique experience! These quaint slow moving exotic barges have all the creature comforts of a hotel – furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, living rooms, kitchen and a balcony for viewing/angling – shaded and with uninterrupted amazing views of an untouched, rather inaccessible rural Kerala. Experience God’s Own Country meandering narrow backwater pathways on the Vembanad Lake via canals, paddy fields, villages, markets, etc on the Alleppey/Kumarakom/Fort Kochi Backwaters. Visit famous temples, churches, ancestral homes; stroll through busy markets, rice fields, meet the locals, etc. Enjoy local cuisine on board, served on traditional banana leaves. Drop anchor overnight…sleep to the sounds of the still of the night with gentle waves swishing.

Alleppey (3 nights)

Day 11 - 14

The Houseboat will drop you off directly at the resort

Dubbed ‘the Venice of the East’, Alleppey/Alappuzha skirts the edge of the great Ashtamudi Lake flanked by the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast labyrinth of picture-perfect lakes, mirror-still lagoons and a maze of freshwater rivers criss-crossing it. Silvery waves, palm fringed canals, bustling shores with glimpses of the day-to-day country life of the people as it exists, makes this the best Backwater paradise. Alleppey is also well known for its Boat races, Houseboat Holidays, Beaches, Marine Products and Coir Industry. Be enchanted by breathtaking landscapes, fine monuments, temples and churches, while cruising through its rivers, canals and backwaters.

Cochin (0 night)

Day 14

Drive from Alleppey to Cochin

Queen of the Arabian Sea Cochin (Kochi), is a commercial town comprising mainland Ernakulam, Willingdon Island, Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Vypeen and Bolghatty Island. Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish Synagogue, a Dutch Palace, Portuguese architecture and Bolghatty Palace enrich Kerala’s heritage.

Transfer to International Airport.

Expert Speak

“This itinerary offers the full flavour of South India, not just the culinary delights of south Indian cuisine, but the delightful diversity of lush tropical landscapes, peaceful backwaters and the exquisite temple sites of Tamil Nadu (both ancient & living) as well!”

Kausar Galaria

Kausar Galaria

Travel Advisor


$ 2,655per person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights

The price quoted above is an approximate price per person on a twin-sharing basis in the high season for the month of October 2014. Prices may be higher during the Christmas – New Year period and lower in the low season (Apr – Sep). Travel Insurance is not included in the cost.


  • Accommodation for 13 nights (on a twin-sharing basis)
  • Meals: Breakfast in all destinations & all meals in Punnamada Houseboat
  • All airport and hotel transfers
  • Private air-conditioned car with chauffeur in Mamallapuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Munnar, Cochin
  • English-speaking local tour guides in Mamallapuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Munnar, Cochin
  • Sightseeing and activities including all entrance fees when accompanied by local guide
  • 24 hour point of contact.