12-Day Historical and Idyllic South India Tour

12-Day Historical and Idyllic South India Tour

By Lancy | Updated Sep. 8, 2022

An In-Depth Experience of South India

Want a deeper understanding of South India? This 12-day in-depth tour will grant you just that. Marvel at the relics of the colonial period, take a tour of mythical Hindu temples, enjoy stunning views on a backwater cruise, and savor the breathtaking scenery at a rarely visited beach neighboring the Arabian Sea.

Days

12

Price

US$2,058 p/p

Best For

Discovery-seekers

Best Time

Oct. to Mar.

Tour Highlights

Visit a fantastic piece of cultural heritage, the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram.
1
Visit a fantastic piece of cultural heritage, the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram.
Go to Pondicherry and set foot in the living utopia, Auroville.
2
Go to Pondicherry and set foot in the living utopia, Auroville.
Appreciate the beautiful carvings at the Brihadisvara Temple.
3
Appreciate the beautiful carvings at the Brihadisvara Temple.
Explore the Periyar National Park through a pleasant boat ride.
4
Explore the Periyar National Park through a pleasant boat ride.
Cruise on the Vembanad Lake and enjoy the breathtaking scenery at dusk.
5
Cruise on the Vembanad Lake and enjoy the breathtaking scenery at dusk.
 
 
 

Itinerary Details

Day 1
Arrival in Chennai

After landing at the airport, you will be met by your private guide and driver, who will escort you to the hotel. Your guide will assist you with the check-in process.

Day 2
Visit Chennai

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

After a refreshing breakfast at your hotel, you will start your exciting adventure by visiting Saint George's Fort. This 376-year-old fort was first built by the East India Company, and was named after the English patron saint, George. There you can also see the Church of Saint Mary, Wellesley House, and Fort Museum. Later, admire San Thome Basilica, which is one of the rarely recognized churches that was built upon the grave of one of the 12 apostles of the Jesus.

After lunch, you will explore the place that captures the core spirit of the Hinduism, Kanchipuram. You will see some unique temples with beautiful structures that were built during medieval times. Be amazed by the grand scale of the Shiva temple complex and experience the solemnity of the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple and Ekambareswarar Temple.

Day 3
Transfer to Pondicherry

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

On Day 3, you will depart to Pondicherry from Chennai by car (4 hours). Before you arrive, pay a visit to one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, Mahabalipuram. There, you can marvel at the exquisite rock reliefs and naturally formed boulders and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Shore Temple and Pancha Rathas.

When you reach Pondicherry, the sacred Sri Aurobindo Ashram awaits you. In this sanctum of the pure and divine, you may learn about the significant contributions of this spiritual Guru from several exhibits.

Day 4
Transfer to Thanjavur and a Visit to Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Enjoy a hearty breakfast, then visit Auroville, a harmony-driven community where people from different nations, ages, social classes, backgrounds, and cultures coexist, representing a united humanity. Then, drive to Thanjavur (4 hours). On the way, stop at Cholapuram and examine the fabulous Brihadisvara Temple. This temple is considered second only to the one in Thanjavur, for it contains great historical significance and excellent sculpting techniques.

Day 5
Visit the Saraswathi Mahal Library and Brihadisvara Temple and Transfer to Trichy and Rock Fort

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, commence your trip in Thanjavur, which enjoys the reputation of being the hub of South Indian art and religion. There, you will see the majestic Chola Temple Complex hidden within emerald green paddy fields, now listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Next, experience the ancient wisdom at Saraswathi Mahal Library. Then head to the Temple of Brihadisvara — it is the only specimen in India of this incredible architectural style. It also boasts of the tallest temple towers in the world, which will surely amaze you.

Afterwards, you will drive to Trichy and visit Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort. Ascend to the top of the fort and enjoy the breathtaking bird's-eye view.

Day 6
Transfer to Madurai

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you will set off to Madurai by car (5 hours). After checking into the hotel, you can rest up before sightseeing in the afternoon.

After lunch, explore the ornate Palace of King Thirumalai Nayak. It was first built in the 17 century with the help of an Italian architect. It is a perfect mixture of Dravidian and Rajput architectural styles, which is what makes this palace so unique among other Indo-Saracenic edifices in South India.

Next, head to Meenakshi Temple, decorated with over 3,0000 vivid statues that cover four fascinating gopurams (towers). Gaze up to the ceiling of the temple and appreciate the exquisite patterns.

At night, you will have an opportunity to watch an ancient pooja ritual to various Hindu deities.

Day 7
Transfer to Thekkady

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you will depart for Periyar National Park from Madurai by car (4 hours).

After lunch, your exciting boat safari will begin. In this haven of wildlife, cruising would be the perfect way to explore nature. Although it is difficult to spot tigers, you might still see families of elephants, wild boars, and sambar deer by the water's edge.

Day 8
Transfer to Kumarakom

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you will be driven to Kumarakom (3 hours).

Kumarakom is listed by National Geographic as one of the "50 must-see places in one's lifetime". Hop on board a houseboat and start a wonderful boat ride. Relax as you bathe in the warmth of the setting sun, feel the caress of the breeze, groove with the rhythm of the palm trees ashore, and regain your inner peace.

Day 9
Cruise to Alleppey by Houseboat, Alleppey to Mararikulam by Car

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Enjoy a refreshing breakfast, then head to Kottayam. You will pass cardamom plantations on the way. Later, set sail to Alleppey, where you will spend a leisurely 3 hours cruising on the backwaters. You can get a glimpse of the simple life led by the local villagers. You may get the chance to see their traditional techniques of coir-making, extracting toddy from the palm tree, and fishing along the riverside. Enjoy the pleasant and tranquil ride.

At the end of the memorable cruise, head to Mararikulam and check in to the Marari Beach Resort.

Day 10
Free Day at Marari Beach

Meal included: breakfast

Spend an enchanting free day at the rarely visited Marari Beach.

Day 11
Transfer to Cochin and Cochin Sightseeing

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you will depart for Cochin from Mararikulam (1 hour). Start your day tour in the Church of Saint Francis, which was the first European church ever built in India. The famous Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama was laid to rest there in 1524 until his remains were removed and taken back home. Move on to the neighboring Mattancherry Palace. The building combines European and Keralan styles, and you will be astonished by the well-preserved colorful Hindu murals in the royal bedchamber.

As your trip goes on, you will come across some Chinese fishing nets suspended in mid-air, alongside the seacoast. They are evidence of the strong relationship between ancient Chinese emperors and the kings of Cochin. You won't find these nets anywhere other than in China and Cochin.

At night, be entranced by an amazing Kathakali performance. This classical Kerala dance vividly displays Indian myths and legends to the audience. Be amazed by their elaborate makeup and costumes and their unique hand motions.

Day 12
Cochin Departure

Meal included: breakfast

At the end of your wonderful journey, your guide will accompany you to the airport. Bid farewell to South India, until next time!

Price Includes

Price from: $2,058 (Tour code: gh-ah-in-78)

One-to-one consultancy
One-to-one consultancy
Knowledgeable local guides
Knowledgeable local guides
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Hand-picked hotels
Hand-picked hotels
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Transportation as listed
Transportation as listed
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
Asia Tours Inquiry

Recommended Tours

Recommended Articles

Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

Having a phone number, especially with WhatsApp/iMessage capability will improve communication efficiency.

I prefer to be contacted via:

global highlights' wechat code
Scan and add us on WhatsApp: +8615807734776 Email: contact@globalhighlights.com
We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made trip with 1-1 help from our travel advisors.
Create Your Trip