Embark on this tour that introduces to us the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. Visit fabulous temples, holy Hindu shrines, charming old hill-stations, palaces, wildlife reserves, green waterways, and golden beaches during this tour.
DAY01: Arrival and welcome
Arrive at the Chennai International Airport and transfer to the hotel for check-in.
DAY02: Chennai – Mahabalipuram (60 km 1h 40m)
After a refreshing breakfast, we take a sightseeing tour of Chennai, the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Visit Kapaleeswarar Temple, Government Museum and San Thome Basilica. Drive towards Mahabalipuram, renowned for its beautiful Shore Temple. The rock carvings here are notable for the freshness and simplicity of their Folk art origins.
Upon arrival, we check in at the hotel.
DAY03: Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram 70 km 1h 40m)
In the morning, we visit the Five rock-cut monolithic temples, each created in its own style and providing an insight into the Art of Dravidian Style of construction in temples. We also visit the 8th century Shore Temple built on the seashore of the Bay of Bengal with blocks of granite, in Dravidian style. Head towards Kanchipuram, known as the Golden City of the Thousand Temples. Kanchipuram, the so-called Golden City of One Thousand Temples. Visit the Kailasanathar Temple, famous for its exquisite carvings, with 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine. We also visit the Kamakshi Amman Temple. Kamakshi is said to be the Super-goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. She blesses all who dedicate themselves to her. After the visit, we continue to drive towards Chennai.
DAY04: Kanchipuram – Chennai (75 km 1h 40m)
Train journey till Mysore and excursion to Srirangapatna
In the early morning after breakfast at the hotel, we leave for the railway station to board the train to Mysore. Arrival in Mysore and transfer to the hotel. Drive towards Srirangapatna (the historic capital of Tipu Sultan who was known for his struggle against the British rule), where we visit the Daria Daulat Bagh, the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. It is situated in scenic surroundings on an island formed by two branches of the River Cauvery. Several monuments relating to the sultan’s rule are scattered across the Island. Return back to the hotel in Mysore.
Explore the Palace of the Maharaja (Emperor), a harmonious synthesis of Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture – with a plethora of magnificent archways, domes, turrets, colonnades, and sculptures. Visit Chamundi Hill with its temple dedicated to Durga. On the road up to the temple, there is a giant Monolithic Nandi bull, carved from a single piece of granite in 1659. Known for its sandalwood, Mysore is also famous for some of India’s finest crafts, such as printed silk, inlaid furniture, and ivory carvings.
DAY06: Mysore (Mysuru) - Bandipur national park (80km 1h 30m)
After breakfast, we drive towards Bandipur National Park. Situated halfway down the Mysore - Ooty highway, this Park is one of the most popular reserves in the country with a rich variety of flora and fauna. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1973, and after a period, was covered under ‘Project Tiger’.
In the afternoon, we leave for an evening jeep safari. Other than tiger, there are various natural inhabitants of this lovely forest which are gaur (a type of bull), sambhar, chital, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild dogs, wild boar, jackal, sloth bear, panther, Malabar squirrel, porcupines, and the black-knapped hare.
DAY07: Bandipur national park – Ooty (90 km 2h)
In the morning, there is an optional visit to an elephant training center. Drive to Ooty a hill resort, in the state of Tamil Nadu. This place is fondly known as the Queen of Hill Stations with a stunning location in the heart of the Nilgiri Hills. The environs are full of sparkling waterfalls, gurgling brooks, and lush green tea gardens. Visit the Ootacamund Botanical Garden, laid out in 1847 CE at an elevation of 2400m and spread over 22 hectares with some 650 species of plants and trees. Explore the Rose Garden, spread out on 10 acres of land and showcasing the largest collections of roses in the country (around 3600 varieties). Subject to availability of time, we may also visit the Ooty Lake or Doddabetta peak that stands at an altitude of 2623 meters.
DAY08: Toy train ride to Coonoor
Drive towards Connor. The second-largest hill station in the Nilgiris, surrounded by tea plantations, Coonoor is situated at an altitude of 1,839 meters. This is a small tea garden town where the weather remains pleasantly cool throughout the year. It was once home to the Coons tribe, and possibly that’s where the name comes from. Famous for its verdant surroundings and for a variety of wildflowers and birds, we either explore this place on foot walking through tea plantations or enjoy a ride on the famous toy train of The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, one of the oldest mountain railways in India and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. On arrival, we would be received by the driver at the railway station and transfer to our hotel in Ooty.
DAY09: Ooty – Cochin (280 km 8h)
After an early breakfast, we set off for a long drive down to the west coast, leaving Tamil Nadu to enter Kerala, another picturesque state. The road winds down through forested hillsides which make our drive one of the most scenic drives in South India, with splendid views of the plains below. Arrive in Cochin (Kochi) in the late afternoon. This is an old port city with a long and profitable sea trade connection with The Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea and Northern Europe. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in its handsome colonial buildings.
Visit Fort Kochi, founded by the Portuguese in 1503 and it is considered to be one of the earliest site chosen by European colonial power. An odor of spice emerges from warehouses and food stalls offering different delicacy is a common sight in each nook and corner of the town. In the afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi, the Jewish Synagogue dating from 1568 and St Francis Church. Explore the town of Kochi, its bazaars and old harbor area.
In the evening there is the chance for an Optional visit to see a display of Kathakali, a form of classical dance unique to Kerala.
DAY11: Cochin (Kochi) - Alappuzha (Alleppey) (60 km 1h 30m)
After breakfast, we take a short drive towards. Alleppey. Alleppey also is known as Alappuzha, the town is also called the Venice of the East and is the main center for cruises through Kerala’s picturesque backwaters. After arrival, we board our houseboats and begin our cruise through Meandering waterways. This is one of the highlights of the trip. The enchanting Houseboat, built of Anjili wood and bamboo, was the traditional method of transport of goods for hundreds of years. Now, these boats are decorated and made into comfortable cruise boats. The network of rivers, streams, lagoons, and canals occupies the alluvial plain between the Western Ghats and the Indian Ocean. As our boat meanders through areas of lush tropical vegetation we have the opportunity to view not only the prolific bird life but to gain a different perspective of village life around these canals. Our overnight stay is in the middle of Vembanad Lake where our boat stands anchored.
DAY12: Alappuzha (Alleppey) – Varkala (120 km 3h)
After a relaxing breakfast on the Houseboats, we disembark and drive along the scenic Malabar coast to laid-back Varkala, a famous beach frequented by a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. The place greets us with coffee bars and yoga schools perched along the cliff top. Explore tranquil Varkala, visiting Papanasam Beach, Janardanaswamy Temple, and Anjengo Fort. For lunch (Optional), we can choose from a wide variety of beach shack restaurants which serve excellent seafood along with the Traditional Indian cuisine. Try some of the Tandoori dishes - the clay ovens give a more authentic taste to bread and curries.
Experience a full day for enjoying and relaxing at Varkala beach.
DAY14: See you next time
Check out from the hotel and will be transferred to the International Airport of Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) to board the flight for our onward journey.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.