Discovering South India (18 days)

18 days from £2,225 pp
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flag Bangalore - Hassan - Mysore - Ooty - Kochi - Kumarakom - Periyar - Madurai - Tanjore - Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram
What's included?
+ included - not included
  • International Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Water
  • Meals
  • Escorted Tour
  • Domestic Flights
  • Airport Taxes Charges
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Tipping

South India differs quite radically from the North, renowned for its lush scenery, delicious food and welcoming people. Described as simply dazzling, with its spice ports, colonial towns, and magnificent temples nestled in a lush tropical landscape, it is the perfect destination if you are looking for a relaxing, yet culturally stimulating experience.

Day 1 - UK Departure

Depart the UK with international economy flight to Bangalore. We can also arrange departures from your local airport at no extra cost.

Day 2 - Bangalore Arrival

Upon your arrival in the hi- tech Indian city of Bangalore, you will be greeted by our representative at the International Airport. After a warm welcome, you will be escorted to your hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 3 - Bangalore to Hassan

After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Bangalore visiting the Government museum (one of the oldest museums of India), Vidhan Soudha (state legislative chambers with magnificent amalgamation of modern and traditional Dravidian temple style architecture), the famous Bull Temple (which houses a huge granite monolith of Nandi, the holy Bull), ruins of the fort of Tipu Sultan and Lal Bagh Gardens (regarded as one of the most richly diverse botanical gardens in south Asia). Later, drive to Hassan for overnight stay.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 4 - Hassan to Mysore

This morning, visit Belur, famous for its magnificent Hoysala Temple Complex with intricate sculptures. This is the only Hoysala Temple still in active worship. Also visit Halebidu, the erstwhile capital of the Hoysalas. The Hoysaleswara Temple here perched on a star-shaped base amidst lawns, is a sculptural extravaganza.

This afternoon, embark on your drive to Mysore for 2 nights stay.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 5 - Mysore

This morning, enjoy a city tour of Mysore visiting the Maharaja’s Palace, one of the biggest palaces in India; St Philomena’s Church; Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in the Jag Mohan Palace, which has a collection of exquisite paintings.

In the evening visit the Chamundi hill and Bull temple and see the daily prayers and rituals being performed by priests.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 6 - Mysore to Ooty

This morning embark on a leisurely drive to Ooty. Known as the Queen of the Blue Mountains, Ooty is famous for its rolling hills covered in pine and eucalyptus, sparkling waterfalls and its coffee and tea plantations.

En route to Ooty, enjoy a tea plantation and factory tour and learn the secrets to a perfect brew. Evening at leisure to relax and unwind in the serenity of Ooty.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 7 - Ooty to Kochi

This morning, drive to Kochi, the commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Starting from the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, Kochi was the site of the first European colonial settlements in India.

Upon arrival, check into your hotel for 2 nights stay.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 8 - Kochi

After breakfast, take a guided walk through the historic Fort Kochi area. This morning we will visit the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and see the authentic Chinese fishing nets still in active use by the fishermen in Kerala.

This evening, watch a spectacular Kathakali performance. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in India. One of the most complex and highly stylized Indian art forms, this performance is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Reach early for the unique opportunity to see the performers dressing up in their very elaborate and colorful costumes and painting their faces with make up to create the special persona for the performance. Also visit the onsite cultural museum to see sculptures of Kerala’s unique dance forms, a large replica of an authentic Keralan wooden canoe and see how Keralan handicrafts and saris are woven.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 9 - Kochi to Kumarakom

This morning, drive to Alleppey, a coastal town in the backwaters of Kerala. Upon arrival in Alleppey, board your houseboat to cruise through the backwaters. Kerala backwaters consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes, & canals and are best experienced while slowly rowing down the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat, known as ‘Kettuvallam’. See life on the banks, lush green rice fields, and coconut groves with occasional temple or church as you cruise through the canals. Enjoy the special Kerala style meals prepared by your chef on board.

Overnight stay on houseboat.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 10 - Kumarakomo to Periyar

This morning, enjoy breakfast on board. Alight your houseboat at Kumarakom. You may wish to visit the Kumarakom bird sanctuary on the banks of Vembanad Lake. This sanctuary is spread over 100 acres and is home to thousands of resident and migratory birds. Some commonly found species include egret, darter, waterfowl, heron, bittern, kites, marsh harries, kingfishers, woodpeckers and wild ducks.

Later, embark on a scenic drive to Periyar, the wildlife and spice plantation hub of Kerala. Upon arrival in Periyar, check in to your hotel for 2 nights stay.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast
india, emperor tours,

Day 11 - Periyar

Today, take a spice plantation tour and learn about the mystery and history of Indian spices. The spice plantations in Periyar are captivating farms growing different spices in different sections of the plantations. You will be intrigued to see the vast variety of spices ranging from cloves, cardamom, ginger, pepper, chilli, turmeric etc.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 12 - Periyar to Madurai

After an early breakfast, embark on your drive to the temple city of Madurai. This afternoon, visit the Gandhi museum, containing photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations, and some original articles used by Mahatma Gandhi. Then visit the 17th century Tirumalai Nayak Palace which is famous for its rectangular dance courtyard.

Later, visit the famous Meenakshi temple and stay on to enjoy the evening Aarti (prayer ceremony) to see the rituals being performed by priests.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 13 - Madurai to Tanjore

After breakfast, embark on your drive to Tanjore. En route visit Trichy, famous for its rich cultural and splendid architectural heritage. Upon arrival in Tanjore, check in to your hotel and freshen up.

This afternoon visit the Brihadeshwara Temple, which is often referred as the crowning glory of Chola Temple architecture. Also, visit the Thanjavur Palace, which was constructed in the 16th century and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 14 - Tanjore to Pondicherry

After breakfast, drive to Pondicherry. Ruled by the French for 300 years, today Pondicherry stands as a living epitome of French culture in India. Enjoy the evening at leisure walking around the small town and exploring the mix of French and Tamil architecture and culture in the region.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 15 - Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram

This morning, visit the community of Auroville, a unique experiment in human unity and international living. Located approx 6 km north of Pondicherry, Auroville was founded in 1968 by a French national who was a follower of local spiritual visionary, Sri Aurobindo. Today Auroville is an international community, with a population of some 50,000 people from 43 different countries. The city is centred around Matrimandir, ‘Temple of the Mother’, the geographical and spiritual heart of the community. Take a walk to the Matrimandir, observing the eclectic mix of people here. [entry to Matrimandir is not allowed] 


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 16 - Mahabalipuram

Today, explore the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, visiting the Shore temple (one of the oldest temples in south India, belonging to the early 8th century AD), Arjuna’s penance (the world’s largest bas-relief measuring 27m x 9m – this huge rock consists figures of Gods, men, beasts, birds and represents the entire creation), Five Rathas (five monolithic temples, each having its own style – also known as the “Panch Pandav Rathas”).

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 17 - Mahabalipuram to Chennai for departure

This morning, embark on a short drive to Chennai, en-route visiting Dakshina Chitra, an exciting cross cultural living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India. Dakshina Chitra has a collection of 18 authentic historical houses, transported from different states of south India, and reconstructed here with interesting contextual exhibitions of the region in each house. Later, continue drive to Chennai, where you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.


Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 18 - UK Arrival

Arrive back in UK.

Bangalore - 5* The Park

5* The Park

The Park, Bangalore, one of the first boutique hotels in Bangalore located at Mahatma Gandhi Road exudes luxury, sophistication and intimacy. This Bangalore Hotel provides an elevated standard of style, contemporary design and decor.

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Hassan - 5* Hoysala Village Resort

5* Hoysala Village Resort

Simply put – the resort is a botanical wonderland. Elegantly designed, tastefully decorated with a variety of artefacts, constructed with rosewood and traditional materials, and laminated carefully with trees and flowers, Hoysala Village Resort keeps you astounded.

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Mysore - 5* Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel

5* Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel

The Lalitha Mahal is now one of India’s most opulent hotels, a palace hotel that offers an experience of princely living in a real Maharaja’s palace.

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Ooty - 5* Taj Savoy

5* Taj Savoy

The most ideal retreat to unwind, The Gateway Hotel, Savoy is a short distance from the city centre of Ooty. The colonial architecture of the hotel lends an atmosphere of calm and serenity amidst the verdant Nilgiris. Complemented by a warm 24/7 service as well as all other modern business amenities, The Gateway Hotel, Savoy is perfect for business travellers as well as holiday-makers.

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Kochi - 5* Crowne Plaza Kochi

5* Crowne Plaza Kochi

Crowne Plaza Kochi, Kerala, is an ideal staying place for both the professional and leisure travelers from across the world. It is placed amidst exotic surroundings that comprised of alluring attractions of the city. The hotel is blessed with excellent accommodation arrangements in the presence of fully furnished rooms and suites.

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Kumarakom - 5* The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa

5* The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa

The Zuri Kumarakom, a luxury resort, spa and luxury hotel, cradles on the banks of India’s longest lake, the Vembanad Lake. Spread across a magnificent 205 square kilometers, the lake traverses several districts of Kerala, the south Indian state we dearly call God’s own country.

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Periyar - 5* CGH Spice Village

5* CGH Spice Village

Check ins at Spice Village are not at a boring reception desk, but out on the lawns, with a healthy herbal brew where you can choose the herbs yourself. Get invigorated, absorb the sights and sounds of Nature, and before you know it, your bags have been whisked away to your room and you are ready for a sojourn like no other.

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Madurai - 5* Heritage Madurai

5* Heritage Madurai

A resort, one hundred years in the making, in the heart of a city that grew from drops of nectar that flowed from the locks of Shiva, as legend would have us believe. Enter the gates of the 17-acre resort, and experience the Madurai of distant past.

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Tanjore - 5* Ideal River View Resort

5* Ideal River View Resort

Ideally located on the banks of Cauvery, South India’s largest river, Ideal River Resort is the place to be if you are planning to visit the culturally rich city of Tanjore. Ideal River Resort has strategically combined the idyllic settings of the historic city of Tanjore with stylish accommodations and seamless service.

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Pondicherry - 5* Le Pondy

5* Le Pondy

Le Pondy, situated at Pondicherry is a premium leisure resort beautifully lounged at an estuary between Chunnambar River and the Bay of Bengal. Le Pondy celebrates Pondicherry in all its true sense – the spirit, the architecture and the revelry.

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Mahabalipuram - 5* Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

5* Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable, rejuvenating stay at the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram, where hotel rooms offer private patios or balconies for you to enjoy scenic views of the grounds or beach.

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Tour Prices include:

  • International economy flights;
  • Hotel accommodation as shown (based on twin occupancy);
  • Meals as described (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner);
  • Meeting and assistance on arrivals and departures;
  • Sightseeing excursions with English speaking guides;
  • All transfers and road transportation in air-conditioned vehicles;
  • Monument entrance fees for visits mentioned in program;
  • Train/Boat journeys where mentioned in program;
  • Domestic flights where mentioned in program;
  • All currently applicable taxes.

Tour Prices exclude:

  • Indian visa fee;
  • Transfer for meals if not included in itinerary;
  • Drinks during meals;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, souvenirs etc;
  • Travel insurance (can be arranged, please ask for details);
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Optional tours;
  • Early check-in or late check-out;
  • Flight and accommodation upgrades.


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N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. The tour is quoted as a minimum of two people travelling. Please select below if this applies.
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