South India Experience
Suitable for families with young children
Highest point/ Max altitude
5-7 hours activity per day with steep uphill and downhill sections or high passes. Some days at high altitudes, good level of physical fitness recommended.
This three-week tour is a fascinating journey through India’s Deep South. We’ll see some of the country’s finest architecture in the form of vivid Hindu temples and charming old colonial buildings hill stations, wildlife reserves, tropical beaches, Maharajahs palaces and stunning scenery – all the while enjoying some of the best food in India. A highlight is our stay on a houseboat, from which we’ll explore the picturesque Kerala backwaters.
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- Fort Kochi, an amalgam of old Portuguese, British and Dutch colonial architecture
- Ootacamund, the queen of hill stations of India
- Mysore, famous for its magnificent Maharajah’s Palace
- Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram, famous for their spectacular rock temple carvings
- Pondicherry, a unique ex-French enclave on the Coromandel coast
- Thanjavur and Madurai, with some of the largest temple complexes in India
- Flexible tailor-made booking options
The tour begins by exploring the beautiful old port city of Kochi and finishes with relaxing days on the golden beaches Kovalam. In between we’ll travel to the hill station of Ootacamund, famous for its beauty and Botanical gardens, before continuing east into Karnataka and the palaces of Mysore. Stopping at the temples of Belur and Halebid en route to Bangalore, we’ll take the train south to Chennai. After a day’s sightseeing in India’s fourth-largest city, our next destination is the magnificent beach temples of Mahabalipuram, carved out of the single rocks. We’ll visit the old French enclave of Pondicherry and the arts centre of Thanjavur before arriving in Madurai, famous for its large and alluring temples complexes with exquisite carvings.
We then travel back into the hills and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, with a delightful abundance of birds and wildlife, and the spice markets of Thekkady. The final phase of the tour is spent enjoying a memorable houseboat cruise on the backwaters of Kerala around Alleppey before we finish our tour at Kovalam with its sandy beaches.
Please note: You can use this itinerary as a guide to fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have.
DAY 01 - Kochi
Arrive Kochi and transfer to the hotel; afternoon and evening free
Arrive at the International Airport of Kochi. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our KVT’s representative would assist you at the airport and Later board the vehicle and transfer to Kochi hotel for check-in (20-30mins drive). Kochi is also known as Cochin - the “Queen of Arabian Sea”, it is one of the finest natural and major harbor city of Kerala and it has a cosmopolitan culture highly influenced by historical trading partners. Afternoon and evening free for us to explore the town or relax at the hotel.
DAY 02 - Kochi
Sightseeing of Kochi
In the morning after breakfast we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Kochi, we start with Mattancherry Palace also known as the Dutch Palace; it was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537–65), Raja of Kochi, in 1555 AD. Visit Jewish Synagogue, it is the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations and was built by Malabar Yehudan People, or Cochin Jewish community. Then we visit St. Francis Church, it is the oldest European church in India and was built in the beginning of 16th century. Later visit The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, it is a very popular tourist attraction. These nets are fixed land installations, which are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. After that we return back to hotel and relax.
DAY 03 - Ooty
Drive to Ooty, reach there and check-in to the hotel
Today we leave Kochi and drive towards the Nilgiri Hills of Ooty. A fabulous hill station used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2240m above sea level. Afternoon we reach there and check-in to hotel; rest of the day is free for us to relax at the hotel. (Distance: 280km approx.)
DAY 04 - Ooty
Morning toy train journey and later sightseeing of Ooty
Early morning after breakfast we take a short toy train journey to Coimbatore and later we drive back to Ooty and then we proceed for the sightseeing tour of this beautiful hill station, we visit Botanical gardens, which shows the explicit collections of flowering trees and shrubs. We visit Rose garden and Doddabetta peak, which is a view point from where the whole of Ooty can be seen and afterwards we head to Wax museum is also known as ‘melody world’. A boat ride at Ooty Lake can also be arranged as an optional activity.
DAY 05 - Mysore
Drive to Mysore, reach and check-in to the hotel
Morning after breakfast we start a scenic drive towards Mysore. Mysore used to be the capital city of Kingdom of Mysore and now it is the 3rd largest city of Indian state Karnataka. It is situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills; we reach there and check-in to the hotel and relax. (Distance: 130km approx.)
DAY 06 - Mysore
Sightseeing of Mysore
Today we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Mysore city. We drive to Srirangapatna (Distance: 25km approx.); it is a river island formed by River Kaveri and an important place of religious, historic and culture. Here we visit Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tippu Sultan, Ranganathaswamy Temple and the Daria Daulat. Srirangapattna was the capital of Tipu Sultan and it is said that both Tippu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali made generous endowments to the Ranganathaswamy temple. This enormous temple has fort like walls and it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha. Later we drive back to Mysore and visit Mysore Palace; it is considered as the largest palace and is also known as Amba Vilas Palace. Mysore is often described as ‘City of Palaces’ and then we visit Chamundi Hills where lies the famous Chamundeshwari Temple. Afterwards we return back to hotel and relax.
DAY 07 - Hassan
Drive to Hassan and visit temples at Belur and Halebidu
This day we drive to Hassan (Distance: 125km), reach there and check-in to the hotel. Later we visit The Chennakesava Temple situated on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, the temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Empire. It is originally known as Vijayanarayana Temple and dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu. Then we head towards Halebidu and visit Hoysaleswara Temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and was built by King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Empire. We also visit Kedareshwara Temple; this is also dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and it was built by King Veera Ballala II of Hoysala Empire. Afterwards we return back to hotel and relax.
DAY 08 - Chennai
Transfer to Bangalore railway station for day express train to Chennai en-route visit Sravanabelagola
Morning after breakfast we drive towards Bangalore railway station to catch a day express train for Chennai the capital city of Indian state Tamil Nadu; en-route we visit Shravanabelagola, where lies the statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali and is one of the most important holy place in Jainism. Then we board the train and reach Chennai railway station in the late afternoon; from here we will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and relax at the hotel. (Distance: 200km approx.)
DAY 09 - Mahabalipuram
Drive to Mahabalipuram en-route visit Kanchipuram
Today after breakfast we head towards Mahabalipuram en-route we visit Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram has been ruled by many dynasties and it has very popular Hindu Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Some of the prominent temples are Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple and many more. Kanchipuram is also known as ‘The City of Thousand Temples’. Afterwards we continue our drive to Mahabalipuram; it is an ancient historic town and was the major seaport during the Pallava Kingdom. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is considered as UNESCO World Heritage Site. We reach there and check-in to the hotel and relax. (Distance: 150km approx.)
DAY 10 - Mahabalipuran
Sightseeing of Mahabalipuram
Today after breakfast we start exploring this magnificent town called Mahabalipuram. We start our tour with the famous shore temple, is the structural temple built in the 8th century during the reign of Pallava dynasty and then we visit Pancha Rathas are the temples carved in the shape of Chariots and are the best example of monolithic Indian Rock-cut architecture. Then we visit Cave Temple and Krishna’ butter ball and spend some time to enjoy the beauty of Mahabalipuram beach.
DAY 11 - Pondicherry
Drive to Puducherry, reach and visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram
This day we leave behind Mahabalipuram and drive towards Puducherry (Distance: 100km). Puducherry is a Union Territory and the most popular tourist destinations in South India. It was formerly known as Pondicherry and it used to be the largest French colony in India as it was under the French rule until 1954 and some people still speak French here. We reach there and check-in to the hotel; later we visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual ashram in India and attracts many devotees from India as well as from all over the world for spiritual salvation. The ashram was founded in the year 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, who was an Indian philosopher, yogi and poet. After the visit we return back to hotel and relax.
DAY 12 - Thanjavur
Drive to Thanjavur en-route visit Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram
This morning after breakfast we drive to Thanjavur en-route we visit Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam. The Temple depicts the style of Dravidian architecture and it was built by Emperor Raja Raja Chola II of Chola dynasty in 12th century and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Great Living Chola Temples”. The Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva as Shiva is known here as Airavateshvara. Afterwards we continue our drive towards Thanjavur, reach and check-in to the hotel. Thanjavur is the most important site of South Indian religion, art and architecture; most of the Great Living Chola Temples are also located here. (Distance: 180km approx.)
DAY 13 - Madurai
Morning visit Brihadeeswarar Temple and later drive to Madurai
Morning we visit Brihadeeswarar Temple, is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and the temple was built in 11th century by Emperor Raja Raja Chola I of Chola dynasty. The Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Great Living Chola Temples” and one of the largest temples in India. The Temple is India’s one of the most prized site for its architecture. Then we continue our drive towards Madurai, reach and check-in to the hotel.
DAY 14 - Madurai
Sightseeing of Madurai
Today we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Madurai; we start with Meenakshi Amman Temple, it is a historic Hindu Temple situated on the bank of River Vaigai. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati known as Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Shiva named here as Sundareswarar It was built between 1623 – 1655AD; after that we head to flower market, it is one of the biggest flower market in the southern India. Madurai flower market is popular for Jasmine, rose and other varieties also; especially Jasmine flower is exported to the countries like Germany, The United States of America and Italy. Jasmine flower in Madurai is also known as Madurai Malli. Later we return back to our hotel and relax at the hotel.
DAY 15 - Thekkady
Drive to Thekkady, reach and check-in to the hotel. Afternoon visit spice garden
This day we start driving to Thekkady (Distance: 145km approx.) leave the temple town and enter into the hills of Thekkady, where lies the famous Periyar National Park; we reach Periyar National Park in the afternoon. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and also notable as an Elephant reserve and a Tiger reserve. It was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982 and it is set in the high ranges of Southern Western Ghats in Cardamom Hills. We reach there and check-in to the hotel; in the afternoon we visit to the spice garden.
DAY 16 - Thekkady
Explore Periyar National Park by walk and afternoon boat safari on Periyar Lake
Today we spend our early morning time for a jungle walk into the park and later after breakfast we have free time for optional activities such as Ayurvedic massage, Kathakali dance show. Late afternoon we take a boat safari in Periyar national park at Periyar Lake to see the wild life such as wild elephant, chital and sambar deer, wild boar, and lots of bird species. Evening is free for us to explore on our own.
DAY 17 - Alleppey
Drive to Alleppey, reach there and board the houseboat
This day we drive to Alleppey (Distance: 150km approx.), a backwater heaven interlocked with lakes and canals. The network of canals is used for inland navigation. A vast stretch of paddy fields make this place as the rice bowl of Kerala. Apart from rice production the coir making and boat building is a thriving industry in this area. Houseboat or a Backwater Cruise along the palm fringed waterways of Alleppey is the most exciting holiday experience. Reach there and board the traditional houseboat and enjoy the backwaters.
DAY 18 - Kovalam
Drive to Kovalam and relax on the beach
Morning after breakfast we drive to Kovalam (Distance: 165km), Kovalam is the beach resort of Kerala and is very popular tourist destination. Kovalam beaches are very popular due to shallow waters and low tidal waves. Kovalam has three beaches which together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach these are Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach. The beaches are covered by fertile coconut palms; especially the southernmost part of light house beach is the most beautiful. We reach there and check-in to the hotel and we relax on the beach.
DAY 19 - Kovalam
Day free in Kovalam
We have a day free to enjoy the idyllic soft sandy beaches, warm clear waters and wide views of the ocean horizon that Kovalam has to offer or an optional excursion to Kanaykumari can be arranged.
DAY 20 - Kovalam
Departure transfer to the International Airport of Trivandrum
Now today you will be assisted by our KVT’s representative while checking out at the hotel then you will be transferred to International Airport of Trivandrum to board the flight for back home.
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Flexibility Guaranteed! Using the above itinerary as a guide you can fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have. On receiving your enquiry we will respond with prices and work with you to create a truly personalised holiday experience that is in your budget and personal style.