Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the captivating and culturally-rich region of South India? Join us on a luxurious South India tour where you’ll explore ancient temples, visit historic monuments, experience vibrant local markets, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the region. From the bustling streets of Chennai to the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, each destination on this carefully curated tour offers a unique and unforgettable experience.
Day 1: Arrival in Chennai – Gateway to South India
As you land in the cosmopolitan city of Chennai, you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and transferred to your luxurious hotel. Take some time to rest, relax, and acclimate to the new time zone or venture out to explore the city’s extraordinary sights. Chennai is known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious food, and friendly people. You can visit the Government Museum, which showcases fascinating exhibits about ancient Chennai, or explore the lively shops selling vibrant handmade silk sarees, a traditional Indian garment.
Day 2: Exploring Chennai’s Cultural Gems
Today, start your exploration of Chennai by visiting the Government Museum, where you can delve into the rich history and heritage of the city. Afterward, take a scenic drive along the coast to Marina Beach, a stunning combination of colonial buildings, churches, and monuments set against the natural beauty of endless skies and the sea. Don’t miss a visit to the Santhome Basilica Church, one of the holiest Christian sites in India, built over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle. Continue to the beautiful Kapaleeshwarar Temple, known for its elaborate Dravidian architecture. In the evening, attend an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager followed by a light dinner.
Day 3: Journey to the “City of a Thousand Temples” – Kanchipuram
This morning, embark on a journey to Kanchipuram, known as the “City of a Thousand Temples.” Explore the historically important Ekambareswarar Temple, famous for its 540 pillars. Marvel at the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its intricate carvings. Kanchipuram is also renowned for its hand-woven silk sarees, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit a traditional silk weaving factory and meet with artisans to learn about the art of saree making. Afterward, proceed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Spend the evening at leisure, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the temples and carvings.
Day 4: Discovering the Temples of Mahabalipuram
Today, delve deeper into the marvels of Mahabalipuram. Admire the Shore Temple, a magnificent structure standing by the sea for over 12 centuries, with its impressive bas-relief and imposing twin towers. Explore the Five Rathas, carved from large boulders, and witness Arjuna’s Penance, a massive bas-relief that beautifully depicts scenes from Indian daily life and mythology. This temple complex is considered the finest early example of ancient southern Indian architecture. In the afternoon, you can either join a yoga session or relax on the beautiful beaches before enjoying dinner at the hotel.
Day 5: Exploring the French Quarter of Pondicherry
Embark on a scenic drive to the enchanting town of Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement that still retains its carefree French atmosphere and architectural legacy. Take a stroll through the charming Old Quarter, with its tree-lined cobbled streets and colonial villas adorned with fragrant bougainvillea. Visit serene Auroville, the City of Dawn, famous for its meditation center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and explore the golden-domed Mother Temple. Later, tour a paper factory and visit the Aurobindo Ashram. Take a rickshaw ride around the French, Hindu, and Muslim quarters of Pondicherry to soak up the vibrant culture.
Day 6: Temples and Palaces in Thanjavur
Depart Pondicherry for Chidambaram, home to the magnificent temple complex of Nataraja, one of the holiest Shiva sites. Marvel at the spectacular architecture and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of this sacred place. Afterward, travel to Thanjavur, once a thriving capital of the celebrated Chola Empire. Visit the Maratha Palace, a maze-like complex with an open courtyard Art Gallery displaying priceless collections of Chola bronzes and stone carvings. Explore the Saraswathi Mahal Library and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Thanjavur.
Day 7: Brihadeeswarar Temple and the Rich Heritage of Trichy
Begin the day with a visit to the grand Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This magnificent temple, built over a thousand years ago, is one of South India’s most remarkable architectural accomplishments. Continue to Trichy, a city rich in history and culture. Visit Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River, and witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple. This famous temple, nestled on the island of Srirangam, is one of the most illustrious in the country. After a delicious lunch, return to Thanjavur for a group dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 8: Discovering Chettinad’s Mansions and Madurai’s Rich Heritage
Your journey continues to Chettinad, known for its opulent palaces and mansions that reflect the grandeur of a bygone era. Explore the architectural marvels of this unique region and savor a distinctive traditional lunch of local favorites. Next, make your way to Madurai, a vibrant city on the banks of the Vaigai River. Visit the Gandhi Museum and learn about the remarkable man who played a crucial role in India’s fight for independence. Enjoy dinner at the hotel and prepare for an exciting day of exploration ahead.
Day 9: Temples, Palaces, and Dance in Madurai
Don’t miss the opportunity to join an optional private interactive walking tour of Madurai at dawn. Witness the city coming alive as you immerse yourself in the local culture. Return for breakfast and embark on a visit to the ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of the most popular attractions in Madurai. Explore the bustling bazaars and treasure-filled markets before visiting the Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, known for its grandeur and architectural beauty. Later, attend a performance at a local dance school and learn more about the traditional dance form of Bharatnatyam.
Day 10: Periyar National Park – A Wildlife Paradise
Today, drive to Periyar National Park, one of South India’s best-known wildlife sanctuaries. Immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of the park, home to elephants, antelope, deer, and various species of birdlife. Take a leisurely stroll through a spice plantation and learn about the different spices used in traditional Indian cuisine. In the evening, you can join an optional Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show, one of the oldest fighting styles in the world, believed to have been adapted from various martial art forms.
Day 11: Exploring the Wonders of Periyar National Park
Thrilling activities await you today at the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Begin the day with a nature walk inside the national park, accompanied by a local guide who will provide insights into the rich flora and fauna of the region. Enjoy a scenic Jeep ride to Ottakathalamedu, offering panoramic views of Thekkady from an elevation of 1300 meters above sea level. Later, embark on a boat ride on the picturesque lake, surrounded by lush greenery. Gather for dinner together at the hotel and reflect on your incredible wildlife experiences.
Day 12: Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala – Alleppey to Kochi
Today, embark on a mesmerizing journey through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala as you drive to Alleppey. Board a traditional houseboat and cruise along the intricate network of canals, lakes, and rivers known as the “Venice of the East.” Observe the rural lifestyle of Kerala as you pass by tiny villages and witness locals engaged in their daily activities. Indulge in a delectable lunch of Keralan cuisine prepared on board just for you. In the evening, arrive in Kochi, a vibrant port city with a rich history and diverse cultural influences.
Day 13: Kochi – Where History Meets Modernity
Begin your exploration of Kochi with a specially arranged cooking class at a private home. Discover the secrets of Indian cuisine as you join your hosts in the preparation of a delicious lunch. Afterward, visit St. Francis Church, one of the oldest churches built by the Europeans in India. Head to the harbor and witness the unique Chinese fishing nets, a living symbol of the city’s centuries-old Chinese influence. Spend the rest of the day at your own pace, exploring the city’s vibrant markets or simply relaxing. In the evening, immerse yourself in the captivating world of Kathakali, Kerala’s traditional dance form, followed by a delightful dinner at the hotel.
Day 14: Exploring the Cultural Gems of Kochi
Today, embark on a tour of the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, a historic landmark built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch. Continue to the heart of the Old Quarter and visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. Admire the exquisite hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers that adorn this magnificent place of worship. Conclude your Kochi experience with a memorable harbor cruise, taking in the stunning views of the city’s coastline. Gather for a farewell dinner and bid goodbye to your Tour Manager.
Day 15: Departure from Kochi
After a memorable journey through the marvels of South India, it’s time to bid farewell to this enchanting region. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight, taking with you cherished memories of the rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality you experienced on your luxurious South India tour.
Join us on this extraordinary journey and let us guide you through the wonders of South India. Discover the rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of this captivating region on a luxurious tour that promises to create memories that will last a lifetime. Book your South India tour today and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.