12-Day Highlights of South India Tour
Tour Style: Tailor-made tour
- Shore Temple: located at the seaside, one of the oldest structural stone temples of South India
- Periyar Tiger Reserve: Search for tigers and other wildlife
- Cruise on Kerala Backwater in Alleppey
- Fort Cochin: Queen of the Arabian Sea and the largest city in Kerala
ItineraryShow/Hide all days
- Day 1
Welcome to India! Upon your arrival in Chennai of Tamil Nadu State, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred directly to Mamallapuram which is located on the coast on the Bay of Bengal. After our representative help you check in and brief you about the following tours, have some free time on your own.
Note: Driving time in the program is approximate, subject to the traffic, weather and road conditions.
- Day 2
After breakfast, start your day at Mamallapuram with a visit to the 7th-century Shore Temple which is surrounded by lush gardens, followed by an exploration of the celebrated bas-relief at Arjuna’s Penance and the Five Rathas. The afternoon is at leisure on the beach.
- Day 3
Continue your journey down the coast to the former French colony of Pondicherry. In the afternoon, take a walk through the French Quarter of Pondicherry to soak up the French flavors and feel the city’s leisurely approach to life when strolling past charming colonial architecture & street side cafes, you may also take a bicycle if you prefer. Later, visit the Aurobindo Ashram that promotes the ideas to bring about a synthesis of yoga and modern science.
- Day 4
Travel further through the fertile region known as the 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu to Thanjavur. In the afternoon, you will discover the monumental granite Temple of Brihadeeshwara (Bull Temple) which is capped by a monolithic cupola and a symbol of power and might of the Cholas who ruled between 9th and 13th centuries. Enjoy a wonderful collection of royal remnants of early 19th century at nearby Thanjavur Palace. Observe and learn about how the exquisite bronzes and handicrafts are produced by the hands of local craftsmen.
- Day 5
Today, you continue to Trichy, the old citadel of the Chola Dynasty in the medieval period, where you visit the Rock Fort. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva temple. After that, continue your journey to Madurai, South India’s greatest temple town and significant pilgrim site.
- Day 6Madurai is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. Today, you will visit the thousand-year-old Meenakshi Temple,one of India’s largest pilgrim sites with 12 towering gopurams; it’s going to be unforgettable to observe the rituals and celebration during the evening puja ceremony inside the Meenakshi Temple.
Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - a gracious building revealing the power and wealth of the Nayakas who made Madurai their capital in the 16th and 17th centuries. Continue to the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock Temple.
- Day 7After breakfast, drive through the Western Ghats to Periyar Tiger Reserve, India’s earliest sanctuary and one of the best places to see the Asian Elephant. After checking into your hotel, you will have some time to stroll through one of the spice plantations this area and learn about the many different uses of spices, both in medicine and food fields.
Afternoon is for your leisure.
- Day 8
In the early morning (around 7 am), you'll enjoy a forest trek inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve which takes 1-3 hours regarding to your interest. After the trekking, take a late morning cruise on the picturesque Periyar Lake at the heart of the reserve, as the coolness comes in the evening many wildlife drink at the water edge. This night you can choose to take an optional martial art performance, the ancient Kalaripayattu that is said to have been 3000 years old.
Afternoon is your free time.
- Day 9
After the breakfast, drive to Alleppey, embark on your houseboat and start an enchanting cruise along the reputed Backwater of Kerala; just relax and lay back while you navigate slowly through the tranquil waterways. It is a wonderful opportunity to discover Kerala’s rural lifestyle. You’ll see that Kerala is known for its cashew nuts, coir trade, rice, pepper crops & coconuts.
Your chef on houseboat will prepare delicious Kerala specialties on board.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board
- Day 10
After breakfast on the houseboat, disembark and say goodbye to the backwaters and drive for Cochin, Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city and an important trading center for spices. The afternoon is yours.
In the evening, you can choose to enjoy Kerala’s signature performance of Kathakali, a classical form of dance, drama and music that is more than 400 years old.
- Day 11
After breakfast you start your exploration of Fort Cochin. Follow the footprint left centuries ago by Dutch, Portuguese, British, Arab and Chinese and soak up the cultural atmosphere as you stroll along the quaint narrow lanes of Fort Cochin to visit the Dutch Palace, St Francis Church and India’s oldest Jewish Synagogue in Jew Town.
Later, head to the harbor where local fishermen use the old Chinese fishing nets, introduced and erected centuries ago.Overnight: Cochin
- Day 12
Bid farewell, our representative will escort you to airport for your departure flight back home or to your next destination.
Note: No hotel in Cochin.
Reviews about This Tour
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What People Say
- Alleppey Backwater
- Shore Temple
- Periyar Lake
- Chinese Fishing Nets
- Arjuna’s Penance
- Boat on Alleppey Backwater
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