\      Highlights of South India- Kerala & Tamilnadu

Highlights of South India- Kerala & Tamilnadu

Min Age


With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 ms in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurveda health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine… All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, every one of these charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage no other destination offers.

Tamil Nadu

The State of Tamil Nadu has a hoary antiquity. Though early sangam classics throw historical references. We pass through the prominent ventures of this culture and its magnificent temples. The southern states of India were under the hegemony of the Cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas for centuries. The Pallavas held supremacy from about the second quarter of the fourth century A.D. They were the originators of the famous Dravidian style of temple architecture. The last Pallava ruler was Aparajita, in whose reign the later Cholas under Vijayalaya and Aditya asserted themselves by about the 10th century. At the end of the 11th century, Tamil Nadu was ruled by several dynasties like the Chalukyas, Cholas and Pandyas. In the two centuries that followed, the imperial Cholas gained paramountcy over South India.

Tour Schedule Summary


Route / Places Visited

Day 1

Arrival at Cochin airport and transfer to hotel. 

Afternoon Cochin sightseeing and evening Kathakali show

Day 2

Drive to Alleppey backwaters and Board houseboat

Day 3

Proceed to Periyar , Afternoon Spice plantation visit

Day 4

Morning Boat ride at lake Periyar, drive to Madurai, evening palli arai ceremony

Day 5

Full day Madurai sightseeing

Day 6

Morning drive to Tanjore and afternoon sightseeing 

Day 7

Proceed to Pondicherry and afternoon sightseeing

Day 8

Drive to Mahabalipuram and evening leisure

Day 9

Mahabalipuram Sightseeing 

Day 10

Drive to Chennai and Chennai sightseeing

Day 11

Departure transfer to Chennai airport


Detailed Itinerary

Day 01 Arrive Cochin / Sightseeing / Kathakali Dance

Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by our Travel Facilitator and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package includes your travel documents.

Afternoon -Explore the fascinating port city of Cochin and marvel in its culture and architecture, a result of centuries of various European influences combined with rich indigenous history. The guided tour begins from the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays) which was built in 1568 and is still an active house of worship for the few remaining Jews in the area. If the synagogue is closed on this day, the visit can be facilitated on one of the other days that you are in Cochin. Next to the synagogue is Cochin’s ancient and colorful Jew Street with its antique stores and souvenir peddlers. There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Kochi from 70 A.D. After the synagogue visit Mattancherry palace. The Mattancherry Palace, also known as Dutch Palace, is one of the finest examples of the Kerala style of architecture interspersed with colonial influences. It was built around 1545 C.E. by the Portuguese as a present to King Veera Kerala Verma of Kochi dynasty. It came to be known as the Dutch Palace as it underwent major repairs at the hands of the Dutch. It is famous for its long and spacious halls along with its central courtyard. It is also the home of the deity of the royal family, Pazhayannur Bhagavathy (the Deity of Pazhayannur). Next to synagogue you visit the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. This is one of the first European churches built in India, and the famed Vasco Da Gama was buried in its courtyard for a few years before his remains were returned to Portugal. 

You now visit the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, the Chinese fishing nets. Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese Explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of practice it is a vocation handed down by generations. The lowering and raising of the nets has a synchronicity and rhythm that is quite an amazing experience. Some of the nets are more than a century old as the fishermen patch them up and keep going. Finish your exploration with a short guided walk through Fort Kochi and experience the unique local culture and architecture Fort Kochi is one of India’s best cities to explore on foot. You will be driven back to your hotel after your walk.

Evening – drive to nearby local theater where you get to experience Kerala’s ancient performing art, a Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali literally means the art of storytelling through dance and the dance form is an ancient forefather of many Asian dance forms. After the show drive back to hotel

Overnight Stay at Cochin

Day 02 Cochin Alleppey Backwaters

After breakfast, checkout from your hotel and drive to Alleppey Backwaters. Arrive at Alleppey and board your houseboat. Take our word for this, your backwaters cruise will very likely become one of your most treasured travel memories. The incredible lushness of the vegetation around the fresh water canals, rivulets and lakes, the beauty of the water bodies themselves and the abundance of coconut trees and other exotic plants create a subtropical environment not found elsewhere on this planet. When you combine this with the opportunity to be part of a unique way of life that hasn’t changed much for a few centuries, it results in most visitors’ second highest rated experience in India (after the Taj Mahal). 

Relax and have a great time until the next morning as you cruise the amazing backwaters. The cook and other staff make sure that all your needs are taken care of, while serving you with delicious Kerala cuisine. You have the option of taking shore excursions at one or two of the tiny rural communities as you cruise by the locals are very friendly and communicative.

Overnight stay at Alleppey Houseboat

Day 03 Alleppey Thekkady (Periyar National Park) 

Morning disembark from your houseboat and enjoy the fascinating drive through the Western Ghats as you to head for Thekkady. This is one of the most beautiful drives in all of South India. Arrive at Thekkady and you are assisted with your check-in to your scenic nature resort. You are now in the heart of spice country, and, if you breathe deeply, the air carries a faint aroma that will delight you. This is the heart of spice country and the mild and pleasant aroma from the surrounding plantations will fascinate you when you arrive. Periyar National Park is located around a picturesque artificial lake that was formed in 1895 by building a dam on the Periyar River. The terrain is hilly and the elevation of the park ranges from a few hundred feet to about 6,000 feet above sea level. The lake occupies the valleys of the thickly forested hills serving as a permanent source of water for wildlife in the Park. Although it falls under Project Tiger, the main attractions of the park are definitely elephants.

Periyar is home to just under a thousand elephants and also more than 60 other mammal species including tigers, bison, deer, wild boar and wild dog. There are more than 300 species of birds, and even 160 species of butterflies. Prominent among the birds are Cormorants, Kingfishers, Darters, the great Malabar Hornbill, and the racket-tailed Drongoes. Unlike Ranthambore, your chances of seeing a tiger in this park are extremely slim. Thekkady is a great stopover on this itinerary for a variety of reasons, only one of them being the National Park. The Spice plantations are another reason to stop here, as is the fact that this rural area happens to be located in one of the most picturesque parts of the Western Ghats.

Evening Visit a neighboring spice plantation where an experienced naturalist will guide you through scores of different spice plants and illustrate their medicinal and gastronomical properties. After the visit drive to nearby elephant junction and enjoy elephant back rides. Evening you are at leisure to enjoy local activities at your resort. Upon request you can spend time with the chefs who will give you insights into the preparation of the delightful local cuisine that they offer.

Overnight Stay at Thekkady

Day 04 Thekkady (Periyar National Park) –  Madurai

Start your day with a drive up to Lake Periyar and embark on a lake cruise on the spectacular lake. Periyar is a man-made lake that was created by the building of a dam in 1895. The scenery is both gorgeous and surreal, as ancient tree stumps still protrude from the waters of the 26-square-kilometer lake. Although Lake Periyar is officially a Tiger Reserve, chances of you seeing a big cat here are almost non-existent. What is very common is to see elephant herds as they come to the lake to drink, or as they traverse the terraced hills surrounding the lake. Wild boars are also a common sight. 

After boat ride check out from your resort and drive to Madurai. Arrive at Madurai and check-in to your hotel. More than 2,500 years old, Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu and an important cultural and commercial hub. It was once the seat of Tamil learning; it is still the area where the Tamil language is spoken in its purest form. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. In contrast with its ancient roots, modern Madurai is a burgeoning industrial centre, surrounded by vast stretches of paddy fields, dusty roads and crowded bazaars.

Evening join your chauffer and proceed to attend the iconic and impressive evening Palli Arai ceremony at the mammoth Sree Meenakshi Temple Complex. This elaborate and ritualistic ceremony has been written up in many international publications. You will be amazed by the incredible scale and colors that you are about to witness. Besides a glimpse of the ancient ceremony, this evening will give you a taste of what you will experience on the next day when you do a detailed tour of this awe-inspiring Temple complex.

Overnight Stay at Madurai

Day 05 Madurai Sightseeing

After breakfast, proceed for a guided city tour of Madurai. By far the main attraction of Madurai is the great Sree Meenakshi Temple. This awe-imposing monument is the finest example of Dravidian temple architecture on this planet. Its Hall of a Thousand Pillars is a fabulous collection of elaborately sculpted and painted deities as well as other creatures from Hindu religious annals. The temple is always a beehive of activity as pilgrims from all over India come to seek the blessings of Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva. Its vast interior is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day. You will witness Hindu priests performing various ceremonies in different parts of the temple complex as you explore this huge structure, including religious aspects of traditional weddings. According to Tamil belief, the temple has existed for about 2,000 years, but this current structure is a mere four centuries old (the previous majestic temple was destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 14th century).

The massive complex includes 14 magnificent Gopurams that jut into the sky from different parts of the temple. These Gopurams have thousands of elaborate sculptures carved into them and these have been colourfully painted. The most significant of these Gopurams are the two golden towers dedicated to the two main deities, the tallest one reaches 170 feet.After you leave the temple you are driven to nearby Thirumalai Nayak Palace. Constructed in 1636 A.D. by an Italian architect, the palace is an interesting confluence of Dravidian, Islamic and European architectural styles.

Overnight Stay at Madurai

Day 06 Madurai  – Tanjore

Morning checkout from your hotel and proceed on the four hour drive to Tanjore. As you approach your destination, check in to your resort. The Great Living Chola Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and your day will start with a guided visit to the most amazing example of these, the Brihadishwara. This thousand-year-old awe-inspiring Temple Complex is constructed solely of granite, a material so hard that, with all our current technology, no architect today would even dream of building a structure with the incredible detail and mammoth scale of the Brihadishwara. These are just a few of the reasons why this monument is one of India’s most treasured architectural achievements. This ancient temple’s crown is a massive granite monolithic cupola made up of ten different pieces totaling about eighty two tons. This temple was built by the great King Raja raja Chola. Construction commenced in 1003 A.D. and the height of the main structure is 216 feet, which means that the incredibly heavy cupola had to be raised about 200 feet and placed at the top of the structure. The temple itself is decorated with carved panels depicting mythological events. An immense Nandi (the Bull) stands in front of the main shrine carved out of a single piece of granite and measuring 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The colours used on the elaborate frescoes inside the structures are said to have lasted this long because they were achieved by locating stones in those natural shades and grinding those stones to a paste. After the visit drive back to hotel.

Overnight Stay at Tanjore

Day 7 Tanjore – Pondicherry

Morning, Check out from your hotel and join your chauffeur for your drive to Pondicherry. Upon your arrival at Pondicherry, check-in at your hotel. Afternoon – Proceed for a guided excursion of Pondicherry. Pondicherry was a French colony for about two hundred and eighty years and became a part of India in 1954. Some claim that its history can be traced back to Agastya, South India’s revered sage, who built his hermitage here many millennia ago. There is evidence that the Romans had a trading post here in the 1st Century AD. However, most of what a visitor will experience today has a distinct colonial flavor. The culture presents an unusual combination of European culture and Indian traditions – French is still spoken here in some parts of the population, along with Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and English. As you tour the city you will be captivated by its architecture as well as the friendliness of its inhabitants. Traces of the French colony still remain in its churches, cuisine, grid-pattern streets and colonial buildings.

Overnight stay at Pondicherry

Day 8 Pondicherry – Mahabalipuram

Checkout from your hotel and drive to Mahabalipuram. On arrival check in to your ocean front resort. Afternoon you are at leisure to explore the beach and facilities at your resort. 

Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram

Day 9 Mahabalipuram Sightseeing

Start your day with a guided exploration of the ancient port of Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This laid back coastal town south of Chennai is world famous for its 8th century shore temple and other historical marvels. Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The massive rock sculptures carved into softly sloping hills, monolithic temples, ancient manmade caverns with incredible sculptures and the world’s largest bas-relief in stone, all combine to make Mahabalipuram a living museum. Vying with this splendor is a beach and the picturesque Bay of Bengal. The famous Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) Temples, the Penance of Bhagirath (also known as Arjuna’s Penance), the Shore Temple, the massive bas-relief Descent of the Ganges and the eight Mandapams (shallow halls carved out of sheer rock) are all located within the small coastal community. A captivating sight can be experienced from the beach twice a day as the local fisherman head out in their colorful fishing boats early in the morning and then again when they return in the afternoon with their catch. Late afternoon – Enjoy a guided walk down the beach as this allows you to mingle with the local fishing community and their colorful wooden boats. You will see a variety of activities going on – many of the fishermen are returning from their days work and they are going through various processes of pulling their boats up on the beach and organizing their nets and other gear. The fish are stacked into plastic bins which are then weighed right there on the beach. Now the negotiating takes place. You will witness women repairing nets and a lot of other similar activity. Boats will be coming ashore, and some of the larger boats will actually head out at this time of day. Photo opportunities abound, including the famed 8th century Shore Temple, from which you are only a stone’s throw away. Evening drive back to hotel.

Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram

Day 10 Mahabalipuram /Chennai Sightseeing

Morning checkout from your hotel and drive to Chennai. On arrival check in to your hotel. Afternoon proceed for Chennai city tour. This tour allows you to experience the main attractions of India’s third largest city. The tour of Chennai begins from St. Mary’s Church (built in 1678 – 80), the first English Church in Chennai. After the church you will visit the National Art Gallery and Museum. The museum is famous for its large collection of temple friezes and the bronze gallery with its amazing collection of ancient lost wax sculptures. The Archaeological section is equally impressive, and, of particular interest (located next to the bronze gallery), is the small but fascinating collection of ancient coins that span twenty five hundred years of India’s history. After the museum you continue on to visit the Saint Thomas Cathedral (originally built in 1504, then re-built in neo-gothic style in 1893), this Roman Catholic Church is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle. End the tour with a drive by the High Court, Fort St. George. Evening drive back to your hotel.

Overnight stay at Chennai

Day 11

Chennai Departure

After breakfast check out from your hotel and drive to Chennai airport and board your international flight/Flight to next destination.

*** END OF TOUR ***

Hotels Envisaged / Similar


5* Hotel

4* Hotel

3* Hotel


Crowne plaza/Similar

Olive Down town/ Similar

Travancore Court/ Similar






Spice Village/ Similar

Greenwoods/ Similar

Cinnamon/ Similar


Taj Gateway/ Similar

GRT Regency/ Similar

Germanus/ Similar


Svatma/ Similar

Ideal Riverview/ Similar

Parisutham/ Similar


Palais De Mahe/ Similar

Le Duplex/ Similar

Atiti/ Similar


Radisson Temple bay/ Similar

Ideal Beach resort/ Similar

Mammala Heritage/ Similar


The Park/ Similar

GRT Grand/ Similar

The Pride/ Similar


  • Assistance on arrival and departure
  • Monument entrance fee
  • Accommodation in Twin/Double sharing basis as per the Itinerary 
  • Meal Plan on Bed & Breakfast 
  • Kathakali show at Cochin
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Spice plantation visit in Periyar ( Thekkady )
  • Boat ride at Lake periyar ( Thekkady )
  • Air-conditioned Medium car for all transfers and sightseeing as per Itinerary
  • All Govt. Taxes currently applicable. 
  • Bottled water in the coach


  • Any Airfare/Trainfare
  • Any meals which is not specified in the above itinerary.  
  • Any outreach activities and lecture material  
  • Any service not specifically mentioned in the inclusions.  
  • Personal expenses such as tipping, laundry, room service, shopping, telephone calls, etc.  
  • Video Camera/Still Camera fees wherever applicable as per actual.  
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the program 
  • Electronic Travel Authorization fee for Visas upon arrival 
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels

Be Rest Assured!!



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