13 Days Incredible South India

13 Days Incredible South India

Thread your way through a sparkling patchwork of contrasts as this tour weaves its way through three Southern Indian states, that are as distinct from each other as a fly is from a bee. Start with the architectural evolution in Mamallapuram and open up to the verges of an alternate lifestyle in Auroville. Walk through the French quarters in Pondicherry and marvel at the dizzying burst of colours at one of Southern India’s most famous Hindu temples. Spin away from the dusty plains to the crisp mountain air that’s spiked with spice plantations and rolling tea estates. Slide back to the historic coastal town of Kochi where art, culture and life in general have been shaped by fluctuating fortunes of Europe. Then ease gently into the folds of the quiet Keralan backwaters. End the tour soaking up the serene blue skies and emerald waters that rush shoreward at the beaches of Varkala and Kovalam.

  • Start Location : Chennai India
  • Finish Location : Kovallam India
  • Trip Style : Comfort, Long Haul,
  • Country : India
  • Group Size : 2 to 16




11 Night twin share hotel 1 night House boat

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Shore Temple, 5 Rath Temples, Arjuna’s Penance, Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram, Ganesh Temple, French Town, Flower Market, Rickshaw ride, Meenakshi Temple, Street food walk, Visit to Spice Farm, National Park walk, Martial art show, Kathakali Dance show, St. Francis Church, Chinese Fishing Nets, Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Varkala orientation walk, Kovallam orientation walk

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Airport Transfer

Arrival & Departure transfer included

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Local Tipping

Tipping for accommodation, activities and transport

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12 breakfasts 2 lunches 2 dinners

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Private bus, Auto rickshaw, House Boat, Private vehicle, Jeep, Cycle rickshaw

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Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13

Day 01 Chennai

Welcome to Chennai and your first day with us! Our representative will be at the airport to pick you up and make sure everything is as it should be on your way to the hotel. Once you’ve thrown your bags in one corner of your room, step out for some good old fashioned solo exploring. Remember however, that your Tour Leader will be giving you an overview of what the tour entails so please be at the designated place at 6 pm. 

Day 02 Pondicherry via Mamallapuram

Leaving behind the bustling metropolis of Chennai, we drive to a quieter Mamallapuram where we visit the classical 8th Century Shore Temple and then a cluster of older Five Rock Cut Temples each eliciting the vision and artistry of its makers. Trundle up to a nearby complex to find voices carved in stone as they speak of ancient lore and when you’ve covered enough ground, attend to your stomach with some local delights. Later in the day we drive to Pondicherry, our destination for the night.

Day 03 Pondicherry

Head for the Aurobindo Ashram after breakfast. The eponymous Ashram is the Samadhi or memorial of Sir Aurobindo Ghosh, philosopher, nationalist, poet and spiritual guru. Walk among the faithful, learn about his life and times and then drive to Auroville, an experimental township based on his vision for the "progress of humanity by bringing together people of goodwill and aspiration for a better world.” The centre point of Auroville is the Matri Mandir – a golden globe symbolizing the  “Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection" – which we can view from a distance. Later in the evening, take a walk through the French Quarters where a canal still divides the distinctly Indian half of Pondicherry from the European half and recall an era where the French tried to bring its influence to bear on the minutest of level, down to the name of its streets and alleys.

Day 04 Madurai

Gear up for a big day on the road to Madurai this morning. Make sure you’ve charged the batteries on your e-readers or you’ve downloaded that podcast you’ve been meaning to listen for the past few weeks. The drive to Madurai is approximately 7 hours interspersed with a couple of breaks.


Day 05 madurai

Start this morning by breathing in the heady aromas that waft through the air and watching an explosion of colours light up the lanes of the flower market as the vendors and suppliers begin trading for the day. Take an enthralling rickshaw ride through some impossibly narrow alleys and then lift your head reverently to the awe inspiring sculptures and architectural finesse that are the anchors of the famous Meenakshi Temple. Between lunch and evening, slip in a visit to a local handicrafts store and then make the best of the evening by spending some time at the Gandhi Museum.

Day 06 Periyar

Today we shake off the dusty plains and wind our way up to the hill town of Kumily, Periyar (approximately 4 hour drive). Before reaching your accommodation, negotiate your way around the narrow trails of a spice plantation as you identify some of the herbs and spices sprouting in abundance. Keep your teeth off those cardamom barks though because you’ll be having lunch in the plantation itself; the spices plucked fresh as the saliva building in your mouth!

Day 07 periyar

Test your patience and the dry twigs underfoot as you try to approach the skittish deer and other animals slinking softly under the canopy of leafy trees. Hold your breath as a bison snorts your way and delight at the leaping figures of Giant Malabar Squirrel, a species endemic to the region, as we walk along a section of the national park today. Tread that forest floor over bends and slopes and if the going gets rough book a relaxing ayurvedic massage afterwards. To top an excellent day, witness a frenetic yet skillful display of Kalariyapattu – a martial arts form said to be one of the ancient in the world.

Day 08 Kochi

We leave the spice laden hills of Periyar this morning and drive to Kochi, one of Kerala’s most visited towns and a repository of history and culture. Shake off the effects of a long journey today by roaming around the streets of Fort Kochi, perhaps popping into one of many quaint cafes that stand invitingly on its grid. In the evening, sit down for a hypnotic performance of Kathakali – a classical dance form that reenacts sections of two of India’s greatest epics, the Ramayan and the Mahabharata. <br />  

Day 09 kochi

We go on a walking tour of Fort Kochi today starting with the Chinese Fishing Nets where the locals try and make the most of the morning current. Walk along the pier and lend them a helping hand as they wrestle with their blocks and pulleys. Once you’ve had your exercise for the day, head for the St. Francis Church, Dutch Palace and the Jewish synagogue that spell out stories of the past and helped shape the modern beliefs, commerce and life in general in this coastal town.

Day 10 Alleppy

Alleppy and the backwaters beckon us today. After 2 hours of driving from Kochi, we board our houseboat and make for the largest lake in Kerala. Today is a day of rest and relaxation so take your shoes off and make yourself comfortable as you’re fed lunch and dinner on the houseboat with tea thrown in between. Breeze through tiny villages that spring from among the countless channels, watch the daily activities of the simple folk that inhabit them and listen to the flock of water birds as they scatter at our approach. The houseboat docks at approximately 5 pm and if there’s still light in the sky, step on shore and go for a languid walk with no particular destination in mind.

Day 11 Varkala

Following our arrival at the hotel we head for the cliff facing beaches of Varkala lined with restaurants and cafes that entice you with their fresh aroma of cooking. Take a pick from any of these or else take the stairs down to the sand and meet the rush of oncoming waves of the Arabian Sea. If lying on the beach isn’t your thing, jump onto an auto rickshaw to Kappil Lake where the road bisects the sea and the backwaters in a neat divide. There’s a bit of kayaking to be done as well at the lake if you please.

Day 12 Kovallam

It’s time to bring out those Hawaiian shirts and straw hats again as we head for another beach today. Bury your watch where you can’t hear the seconds and the minutes tick by. While your time away listening to the soothing lap of waves lapping the shore or browsing some souvenir shops for some last minute bargains.  Enjoy that down time through the day and in the evening join your group for a last dinner

Day 13 Kovallam

It’s time now to bid farewell to your Tour leader and new friends but not without a backpack full of memories. Departure transfers are included on the day. Check out time in most hotels is 12 pm. Please confirm with your Tour Leader or the hotel reception.

Our Hotels

Hotel Lemon Tree Guindy

Located in central Chennai, Lemon Tree Hotel offers 4-star accommodation with modern décor and hardwood flooring and Citrus Café serves a daily buffet spread of Indian and international dishes, while light snacks and refreshing cocktails are offered at Slounge.

Hotel Peppervine

Peppervine is a luxury four-star resort located in Thekkady Nestle into the arms of nature and Soak in the serenity of the cool blue pool as u wash away mundane worries and rejuvenate both your mind and body while enjoying a peaceful retreat in our spa, nature.

Uday samudra

The panoramic views of the sand and the ocean that the hotel provides are truly astounding, allowing its guests to be at one with nature. The marvellous architecture of the hotel, teamed with the absolutely stunning setting makes it a wonderful spot to enjoy your getaway from the hustle and bustle.


04 Sep 2022
16 Sep 2022
Available Onam Festival
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16 Oct 2022
28 Oct 2022
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20 Nov 2022
02 Dec 2022
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25 Dec 2022
06 Jan 2023
Available Christmas
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08 Jan 2023
20 Jan 2023
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