The Splendours of Southern India Tour

14 Day – Private tour with air-conditioned car and driver
From £2075 low season & £2575 high season
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

The Splendours of Southern India Tour is a 14-day private tour from the coastal plains of Tamil Nadu to the coast of Kerala – God’s own country. It covers ancient temple towns, the hill stations of the Western Ghats, tranquil backwaters and the colonial port town of Cochin. World heritage sites, breathtaking architecture, historic towns, vibrant temple ceremonies, lively bazaars, enchanting wildlife and the palm-fringed backwaters are some of the things you will enjoy on this truly memorable journey.

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you. If you would like we can also arrange your flights for a fully ATOL protected holiday. Contact the team for more information on 01792 315499 or email info@aitholidays.com

Highlights of the Splendours of Southern India Tour

Market, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
  • Sightseeing tour of Chennai
  • Mamallapuram world heritage site
  • Full day tour of Puducherry
  • Nataraja and Airavatesvara Temples
  • Brihadisvara Temple
  • See the craft people at Chettinad
  • Tour of the temple town of Madurai
  • Spice garden visit
  • Trek in Periyar Tiger Reserve and Lake Periyar bamboo rafting
  • Sunset cruise on Vembanad Lake
  • Overnight stay on a private houseboat
  • Cochin sunset cruise
  • Sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin
  • Kathakali dance performance

The Splendours of Southern India Tour Itinerary

The Splendours of Southern India Tour

On arrival at Chennai International Airport you will be met by your Authentic India Tours representatives, who will transfer you directly to your hotel.

An afternoon of discovery awaits with a sightseeing tour of Chennai, where you will spend time at the ancient Shiva Temple of Kapaleeshwar, Fort St. George and San Thome Basilica, which is said to have been built over the tomb of Thomas the Apostle.

Your day will finish at the beautiful Marina beach, a 13km stretch of sand and sea. This will offer you the chance to enjoy an authentic Indian beach away from the main tourist traps.

Accommodation: Taj Connemara Hotel, Chennai

The next stop on your India adventure is the historic coastal town of Mamallapuram – a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to an amazing collection of 7th and 8th century monuments and temples. Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of buildings and sculptures, including temples in the form of chariots (rathas), a giant open-air rock relief and the impressive, intricately decorated Shore Temple.

Later you will be driven south along the coast to the chic town of Puducherry, a former French colony.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 170 kms
Accommodation: Palais De Mahe, Puducherry
Meals included: Breakfast

Today you will discover Puducherry, a small town steeped in history and surrounded by miles of gorgeous sandy beaches. You will have the chance to meet Lakshmi the elephant at Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, before visiting a handmade paper-making unit and Puducherry museum, where you can have a glimpse at Puducherry’s colonial past.

In the evening, wander through the cobbled streets of the historic French Quarter and treat yourself to a dish from one of the best restaurants in Southern India, offering a fusion of French and Indian delicacies.

Accommodation: Palais De Mahe, Puducherry
Meals included: Breakfast

The next leg of your India adventure takes you inland to the bustling temple town of Kumbakonam. En route there is an opportunity to visit Chidambaram, home to one of Tamil Nadu’s Dravidian architectural highlights – the famous Nataraja Temple complex.

Our travels then continue on to Darasuram, where you will find a famous Indian landmark, the ornate Airavatesvara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There will be plenty of time to explore Kumbakonam and its abundant, colourful temples.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 160 kms
Accommodation: Mantra Koodam, Kumbakonam
Meals included: Breakfast

After breakfast you will drive to the Chettinad region, making a stop in the historic town of Thanjavur, famed for its Living Chola Temples, some of the most renowned Indian landmarks. You will also stop at the Bronze Museum and Brihadeeshwara Temple, which has a 62 metre high sandstone tower ornately decorated in religious carvings.

Chettinad is the homeland of the Chettiars, a community of merchants who grew prosperous in the 19th century through trading in Southeast Asia, and spared no expense building huge palatial mansions upon their return. On your evening sightseeing tour you will be able to appreciate the unique Chettinad architectural style displayed in buildings such as the Raja’s Palace. Experience the flavour of local life in a bustling and colourful market and sample the distinctive Chettinad cuisine.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours, 150 kms
Accommodation: Visalam, Chettinad
Meals included: Breakfast

Today we discover Chettinad, exploring palatial mansions decorated in Burmese teak and Italian marble. You will visit the Arraynar shrine of Kothadi, lined with terracotta figures, and then visit some of the best local markets in South India.

You will have time to admire expert craftsmen at work at the Athangudi handmade tile making unit and the traditional saree weaving centre. Then discover unique antiques from local Chettiar homes at the market on Muneeswaran Koil Street in Karaikudi. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up some souvenirs to take back home.

Accommodation: Visalam, Chettinad
Meals included: Breakfast

Today your journey takes you to the exotic city of Madurai, a beautiful town set against the backdrop of the 14 colourful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple. You will have the chance to marvel at the multi-tiered, technicolour wonder covered in bright carvings of mythical figures. The Dravidian-style temple is a major pilgrimage site, and our guide will help you unravel its mysteries.

In the evening you will visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the Sri Meenakshi Amman temple. Upon entering the temple, notice the colourful textile and crafts stalls around the Pudhu Mandapam with diligent tailors at their sewing machines.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 90 kms
Accommodation: Heritage Madurai
Meals included: Breakfast

The next destination on your Indian holiday is Periyar, a tranquil town located a kilometre above sea level and boasting the perfect natural environment for growing an array of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and vanilla.

In the afternoon you are free to explore the spice town or to lounge by the pool of your resort hotel. Spend the evening learning more about the spices grown in this region with a spice garden visit.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 150 kms
Accommodation: Spice Village, Periyar
Meals included: Breakfast

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places in South India to spot wildlife, and if you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of elephants, Sambar deer and Indian bison.

Early in the morning, we will head to Lake Periyar, where you can try bamboo rafting and have a go navigating a raft. Then grab your binoculars and camera and spend time in the Reserve where there is an abundance of wildlife to discover.

Later that afternoon there will be tme to discover the local town or hotel facilities, and then in the evening perhaps try the wonderful cuisine in the hotel or take part in one of the hotel activities.

Accommodation: Spice Village, Periyar
Meals included: Breakfast

Your morning drive takes you from Periyar to the picturesque village of Kumarakom, located on the south-eastern shore of the Vembanad Lake. From mountain vistas to paddy fields fringed with coconut palms, there are plenty of places to stop for a photo.

Relax and appreciate the laid back pace of this beautiful village. The calm waters, verdant surroundings and abundant wildlife make it the perfect spot to unwind. In the evening enjoy a cruise on Vembanad Lake, where you’ll watch the sun set over the calm waters.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 150 kms
Accommodation: Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom
Meals included: Breakfast

Spend a laid back morning strolling around the lake or relaxing by the pool. After that it’s time for a once in a lifetime experience – an overnight stay on a luxury houseboat.

An on board cook will cater to your every need, serving up Keralan dishes infused with spices, aromatic curry leaves and fresh coconut. Each houseboat is fully crewed so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the views. Keep an eye out for electric-blue kingfishers, snake birds and herons and catch a glimpse of village life on the backwaters.

In the morning you will find yourself in Alleppey, known as ‘Venice of the East’ due to its network of narrow canals.

Accommodation: One Bedroom Air-Conditioned Deluxe Houseboat
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast you leave the peace and quiet of the backwaters and head for the thriving port city of Cochin, the last stop of your India holidays.

In the evening, enjoy a boat trip past Cochin’s island shores. As the sun sets, you will see the famous cantilevered fishing nets. It’s fascinating to watch the fishermen skilfully dip the hammock-like nets into the water, silhouetted against the orange and pink sky.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 65 kms
Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard, Cochin
Meals included: Breakfast

The multicultural heritage of Cochin is present in the diverse architecture located around the city. Initially under Portuguese rule, this vibrant region was later taken over by the Dutch and the British.

Take a wander down the cobbled streets of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, a district famed for its vast array of antique shops. Visit the Jewish Synagogue and St Francis Church, the oldest European church built in India. Stop by Mattancherry Palace to gaze at the painted murals depicting the Ramayana, an ancient epic poem.

Spend the evening enjoying a traditional Kathakali performance, a dance famed for its athletic movements, colourful costumes and make-up.

Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard, Cochin
Meals included: Breakfast

Today you will be picked up by your driver and transferred to Cochin International Airport to catch your flight home.

Approximate travel time and distance: 90 minutes and 45 kms
Meals included: Breakfast

Sights to enjoy on The Splendours of Southern India tour

The Autos, Chennai. Tamil Nadu
Marina Beach, Chennai. Tamil Nadu
Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Marina Beach, Chennai. Tamil Nadu
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu
Shore Temple, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu
Fishing Boats, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu
Serenity Bay, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)
French Quarter, Puducherry (Pondicherry), Tamil Nadu
French Quarter, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)
Rickshaw Ride, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)
Palais De Mahe, Puducherry (Pondicherry), Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Countryside
Temple Enterance, Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu
Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu
Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Lord Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
Market, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
Terracotta Horses, Ayyanar Temple, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
Meenakshi Amma Temple Complex, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Meenakshi Amma Temple Complex, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Cardamon Selection, Periyar, Kerala
Cardamom Plantation Worker, Periyar, Kerala
Bamboo Rafting, Periyar National Park, Periyar, Kerala
Periyar National Park, Periyar, Kerala
Private House Boat, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
Tranquil Backwaters, Kumarakom, Kerala
Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala
Village Life, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
Street Vendor, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Kathakali Performance, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Fishing Boats, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Jewish Synagogue, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Dhobi Khana, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Shopping in Jew Street, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

The Autos, Chennai. Tamil Nadu

Marina Beach, Chennai. Tamil Nadu

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Marina Beach, Chennai. Tamil Nadu

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu

Shore Temple, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu

Fishing Boats, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu

Serenity Bay, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)

French Quarter, Puducherry (Pondicherry), Tamil Nadu

French Quarter, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)

Rickshaw Ride, Puducherry, (Pondicherry)

Palais De Mahe, Puducherry (Pondicherry), Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Countryside

Temple Enterance, Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu

Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu

Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Lord Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu

Market, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

Terracotta Horses, Ayyanar Temple, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Amma Temple Complex, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Amma Temple Complex, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Cardamon Selection, Periyar, Kerala

Cardamom Plantation Worker, Periyar, Kerala

Bamboo Rafting, Periyar National Park, Kerala

Periyar National Park, Kerala

Private House Boat, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala

Tranquil Backwaters, Kumarakom, Kerala

Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala

Village Life, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala

Street Vendor, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Kathakali Performance, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Chinese Fishing Nets, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Fishing Boats, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Jewish Synagogue, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Dhobi Khana, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Shopping in Jew Street, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Places on the  The Splendours of Southern India Tour

Pricing & Inclusions

The Price guide for this 14 day Southern India tour is:

  • £2075 in low season (May – September inclusive)
  • £2575 in high season (October – April inclusive)

The prices do not include flights.

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. Prices will vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more. Some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times which is normally from mid December to mid January.

Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with your personal itinerary and accurate quote.

Included with this tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All transfers and sightseeing tours using air-conditioned car
  • Accommodation for 13 nights on twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Houseboat on full board; Bed & breakfast elsewhere
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tour of Chennai, Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Madurai & Cochin
  • Spice plantation tour in Periyar
  • Nature trek in Periyar Tiger Reserve
  • Tickets for boating on Lake Periyar
  • Sunset cruise by private motorboat along the Cochin harbour
  • Tickets for Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

The price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance & Visas
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

The prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a double room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this Southern India tour is just an example to help inspire you.

For more information please email info@aitholidays.com or call our India specialists on 01792 315499.

ABTA and ATOL Protected Tour Package

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.