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Treasures of Southern India

India in 12 Days, 10 Nights in Destination

Book now for £250 for future travel

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-45%

From

£ 3,099

£ 1,699

/person

Isabel, Travel Expert

Isabel
Travel crafter

A complete adventure through the south of India, from its east coast to the west. Discover bustling cities with their forts and temples, glide along canals on a houseboat, and spot wildlife in national parks.

Trip Highlights

  1. map-pin-check-icon
    Alleppey
  2. map-pin-check-icon
    Chennai
  3. map-pin-check-icon
    Kanchipuram
  4. map-pin-check-icon
    Kochi
  5. map-pin-check-icon
    Kumarakom
  6. map-pin-check-icon
    Madurai
  7. map-pin-check-icon
    Mahabalipuram
  8. map-pin-check-icon
    Periyar National Park

Included

  1. All flights

  2. Accommodation

  3. All transfers

  4. Activities

  5. Some meals

Availability

  1. Departures available until December 2024

  2. Available Group tours

  3. Solo travelers from + £ 560

  4. Add up to 4 nights to your stay

  5. WHAT'S THIS?

Categories available

  1. charm included

  2. superior from + £ 200

  3. WHAT'S THIS?
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February 2024
March 2024
April 2024
May 2024

Categories Available:

charm

From £ 1,699

Selected

  • Accommodation in Charm and Superior category hotels.
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superior

From £ 1,899

  • Accommodation in Superior and Luxury category hotels.

Accommodation: 10 Nights

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Day 2 to 3

The Residency Chennai

Location

Chennai

Category

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Nights

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1

Rating TripAdvisor travelers

The hotels we select comply with our high standards and requirements per category. The allocation is dependent on availability and seasonality, so you can be assigned any of our selection, including the following: Four Points by Sheraton Chennai, Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels, The Accord Metropolitan Chennai, Zone by The Park Chennai

Itinerary

Embark on your fully-escorted adventure through southern India. Discover bustling Chennai, and the secrets of the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram. Visit Madurai’s Shree Meenakshi Temple and explore the local market. Head to Periyar, enjoy an exciting boat safari on its impressive lake, and a tour of a spice plantation. Take to the waterways in Alleppey and finally, end your trip in Kochi.

1st Day: UK/Ireland - Night on board
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Arrive at your UK/Ireland departure airport ready to check-in for an overnight flight* to Chennai. Night on board.

*If either your outbound or inbound flights depart in the early hours (before 4:00 a.m.) you must arrive at the airport the night before the indicated departure day.

2nd Day: Chennai
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Arrival in Chennai, the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. This  bustling metropolis that harmoniously blends tradition with modernity, is a hub for classical music, dance, and cinema, with the annual Chennai Music Season drawing artists and enthusiasts from around the globe.

Meet your representative at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay in Chennai.

* Possibility of booking early check-in at an additional cost in the next step of the booking process.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
The Residency Chennai or similar

2088 Reviews

See our full selection
3rd Day: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram
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Breakfast at the hotel. Today marks the start of your journey through southern India. Enjoy a complete sightseeing tour of Chennai, including a visit to Fort St. George, the Museum, St. Mary’s church and Marina Beach, the second largest in the world.

Close by, find the Aquarium and several historical buildings of interest, including; the University of Madras, the Senate-House and Chepauk Palace. Continue your journey on the road and make a stop at Kanchipuram, to visit the Kailasanatha and Ekambaranathar temples. Finally, arrive at your destination for the day, Mahabalipuram. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Estimated transfer distance 140km (75km from Chennai to Kanchipuram and 65km from Kanchipuram to Mahabalipuram).

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Ideal Beach Resort Mahaba... or similar

1192 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Visit Kailasanatha and Ekambaranathar temples

Moderate

See more
included
Sightseeing tour of Chennai

Light

See more
4th Day: Mahabalipuram
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Breakfast at the hotel. Today you’ll visit the incredible sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram, beyond the Shore Temple. It was designed to capture the first rays of light from the rising sun, so it has a rather peculiar and fascinating structure.

Next, uncover The Descent of the Ganges or "Arjuna's Penance", the largest bas-relief in the world. This huge rock, shaped like a whale's tail, is decorated with figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts and birds in what is believed to be a representation of the creation of the world.

Then, visit the Rathas, a series of monolithic processional temples shaped like chariots. Their construction remains a mystery, as they look wooden but are actually carved from a single granite stone. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Ideal Beach Resort Mahaba... or similar

1192 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Visit the sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram
See more
included
Visit to the Rathas

Moderate

See more
5th Day: Mahabalipuram - Chennai - Madurai
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Breakfast at the hotel. At the indicated time, transfer to Chennai airport to connect to your flight to Madurai.

Known as the ‘Athens of the East’, it’s a vibrant center for art, literature, and music. The city has been a hub for Tamil culture and language, and hosts numerous festivals and events that celebrate its heritage.

Madurai's bustling markets, aromatic street food stalls, and the intricate art of silk weaving add to its charm. Once you arrive, transfer to the hotel and overnight stay in Madurai.

Estimated transfer distance from Mahabalipuram to Chennai 65km.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Regency Madurai by GRT Ho... or similar

1208 Reviews

See our full selection
6th Day: Madurai
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Breakfast at the hotel. Begin your day prompty at 8am with a visit to the Madurai Flower Market, which gives a thrilling slice of local life. Sample regional fruits and vegetables and take in the sounds and smells of southern India. Proceed to the Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, a local landmark built in the 17th century. Though there is important renovation work being done on this structure, it remains partially open to visitors.

Next, visit the spectacular Meenakshi Amman Temple. A sprawling complex that showcases intricate Dravidian architecture, vibrant sculptures, and a bustling temple town atmosphere.

This architectural marvel is known for its towering gopurams (pyramidal gateways) adorned with colorful sculptures and intricate carvings that depict various mythological stories.

The temple's inner sanctum houses the idols of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, attracting devotees and tourists from around the world. The Aayiram Kaal mandapam or Hall of the Thousand Columns in the outer corridor is a highlight.

Return to the hotel for a few hours and have an independent lunch. Set out again for the Gandhi Museum to learn more about this key historical figure. See the Mariamman Teppakulam, an enormous water tank with religious significance covering over 16 acres, on the way back to the hotel.

After an early dinner, take a tuk-tuk ride through town back to the Meenakshi Amman Temple to observe a special ceremony only performed after nightfall. Transfer back to the hotel by car. Overnight stay in Madurai.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Regency Madurai by GRT Ho... or similar

1208 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Visit to Meenakshi Amman Temple

Moderate

See more
7th Day: Madurai - Periyar
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Breakfast at the hotel. Today, head by road to Periyar. One of the most popular National Parks in Southern India, it’s a favorite destination due to its tranquility, peaceful surroundings and wonderful nature.

The sanctuary is renowned for its conservation efforts and its role in safeguarding the endangered Indian elephant and Bengal tiger. The uniqueness of the sanctuary extends around the banks of a huge artificial lake that was created by the damming of the Periyar River a century ago.

Although known for homing tigers and elephants, there is a wide range of animals living there. Arrive and check in to your hotel. Overnight stay in Thekkady.

Estimated transfer distance 145km.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Peppervine Hotel or similar

1226 Reviews

See our full selection
8th Day: Periyar
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Breakfast at the hotel. Early this morning, set off on an exciting boat safari on Periyar Lake, the central element of the incredible Periyar sanctuary.

Situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala, this lush and biodiverse haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, including dense forests, grasslands, and the picturesque lake. There are roughly 700 elephants roaming the forest, which can normally be seen on the banks of the Periyar Lake.

Later in the evening, your guide will take you on a tour of a nearby spice plantation. A sensory journey through the lush, fragrant world of spices in the heart of Kerala. Witness the vibrant hues of turmeric and vanilla vines twining around tree trunks among others, enhancing your understanding of their significance in Indian cuisine and culture. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Peppervine Hotel or similar

1226 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Boat ride on Periyar Lake

Light

See more
included
Spice plantation tour

Light

See more
9th Day: Periyar - Kumarakom
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After a relaxing breakfast, begin your drive to Kumarakom. This small village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala is a beautiful paradise stocked with mangrove forests, green paddy fields and coconut groves, with waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. 

Part of the Kuttanad region and a bird sanctuary spread over 14 acres, it’s a safe haven for many migratory birds and a fascinating sight for visitors. Arrive at your resort for check-in. The rest of your day is at leisure, which you can spend exploring the surroundings or relaxing and enjoying the facilities. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.

Estimated transfer distance 145km.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Backwater Ripples or similar

1085 Reviews

See our full selection
10th Day: Kumarakom - Alleppey - Kochi
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Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, head for Alleppey. Often referred to as the "Venice of the East," Alleppey is famous for its intricate network of picturesque backwaters, serene lagoons, and tranquil canals.

Board a houseboat or "floating house" where you’ll enjoy lunch onboard. Enjoy a fascinating canal cruise where you can observe the villages and lush vegetation on the banks. Disembark and depart by road to Kochi.

This city is one of the most famous ports on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the multicultural style of its buildings. This is a city of peninsulas and islands considered today the commercial center of Kerala. Arrive and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Overnight stay in Kochi.

Estimated transfer distance 66km.

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Casino or similar

1315 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Houseboat canal cruise

Light

See more
11th Day: Kochi
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Breakfast at the hotel. Today enjoy a complete tour of Kochi. Visit the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Kochi Harbor, St Francis Church and Fort Kochi Beach, an ideal location to saunter in a peaceful and relaxing way.

To make the most of your last evening, your guide will take you to a Kathakali Dance Performance at a local theater. This classical dance form, portraying Indian epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), features dancers with painted faces that depict the various characters of the ancient legends. Overnight stay in Kochi.

Important note: The Dutch Palace is closed on Friday. 

Accommodation

ONE OF OUR SELECTED HOTELS
Casino or similar

1315 Reviews

See our full selection

Activities

included
Kathakali Dance Performance

Light

See more
included
Tour of Kochi

Moderate

See more
12th Day: Kochi - UK/Ireland
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Breakfast* at the hotel. Sadly, it’s time to end your journey through the wonders of the South of India. At the indicated time, transfer to the airport for a flight back to the UK/Ireland. Arrive in the UK/Ireland and end your trip.

*Depending on the return flight schedule and the hotel breakfast service, you may not be able to enjoy the included breakfast on the last day.

Included activities

Included
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Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter Sanctum Sanctorum.

Visit Kailasanatha and Ekambaranathar temples

Included activity for day 3

Discover Kailasanatha, a temple famous for its vertical excavation and Ekambareswarar, one of the oldest temples associated with the five basic elements in Hinduism, in this case, the earth.

Physical rating:

Moderate

more information
Included

Sightseeing tour of Chennai

Included activity for day 3 in Chennai

Enjoy a complete tour of the capital of Tamil Nadu. Visit Fort St. George, the Museum, St. Mary’s church, Marina Beach, the Aquarium, the University of Madras, the Senate-House and Chepauk Palace.

Duration 04:00h Approx.

Physical rating:

Light

more information
Included

Visit the sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram

Included activity for day 4 in Mahabalipuram

Discover this unique group of sanctuaries which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded by the Pallava kings, that were carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries.

Physical rating:

Light

more information
Included

Visit to the Rathas

Included activity for day 4

Discover the Rathas, a series of monolithic temples shaped like chariots. Their mysterious construction carved from a single granite stone, made to look like wood, causes fascination to this day.

Physical rating:

Moderate

more information

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The price includes

  • Included in all our trips. more information
  • Departures from main UK/Ireland airports.
  • International flights: UK/Ireland - Chennai; Kochi - UK/Ireland. *
    more information
  • Internal flight: Chennai - Madurai. **
    more information
  • 10 nights hotel accommodation in Charm and Superior category hotels.
    See hotels included
  • 10 breakfasts and 1 lunch.
  • Transfers with English speaking assistant in air-conditioned vehicles.
  • Visits and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary. ***
    more information
    See itinerary
  • All air taxes and fuel surcharge.
  • Kathakali dance show in Kochi.
  • Boat ride on Periyar Lake and houseboat canal cruise in Alleppey.
  • ATOL Protection.
  • Full tour accompanied by a guide.
  • Tuk-Tuk ride in Madurai.
*The cancellation policy applicable is according to the Terms and Conditions available and agreed at the time of your purchase

Not included

Indian visa (required), drinks, tips and any other services not mentioned in what's included.

If you are traveling to India with a UK passport, you will require an Indian visa. For other passport holders, we recommend that you check with the Indian Embassy for further details: https://www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

* Due to the customs clearance rule of the government of India, if your flight calls at another city in India before arriving in Delhi, confirm at the departure desk in the UK/Ireland whether you should pick up your suitcase and pass customs control at the airport where the connection is made. Remember that if the flight stops in Mumbai you will need to pick up your luggage. Keep in mind that normally this whole process takes approximately 60 minutes.

** Documentation of the internal flights will be delivered to you on arrival at your destination. It is essential to fill in the passport information correctly for each passenger in the given boxes at the end of the reservations process.

Note: The maximum checked baggage limit on domestic flights is 15kg. One handbag up to 7 kg.

*** This is a fast-paced itinerary that includes a comprehensive number of sights and activities in order to give you the most complete experience of the South of India! You can expect several early morning departures and many driving miles during some days.

  • Entry requirements

    Passport with a minimum of six months validity and at least two blank pages.

  • Visa

    A visa is required to enter the country. Issued by the embassy or online E-Visa application one month before arrival in the country.

  • Currency

    Indian Rupee.

  • Language

    Hindi and English.

  • Electricity

    220 V in the majority of the country. Electrical sockets are European style however an adapter may be useful.

  • Health

    High levels of air pollution during winter (October to February). Northern cities are the most affected.

  • Time zone

    GMT + 5:30.

  • Other useful information

    Foreigners cannot bring Indian Rupees into the country, although you can bring foreign currency and exchange it once you arrive.

  • Tourist Office website

    http://www.incredibleindia.org/

Remember to download your e-ticket to confirm the times of your flights and to complete online check-in using the airline’s website, or directly at the check-in desk at the airport.

Accommodation at the hotels is as indicated. In the event of any changes to accommodation, they will always be of the same or a higher category. The category of hotels is not standardized across all countries in the world. For this reason, the criteria may differ depending on the destination country's own standards.

In the case of adverse weather conditions, for safety reasons or for any other reasons deemed appropriate, the order and duration of the excursions included in the itinerary may be changed or canceled without prior notice.

Tips in India are subject to the decision of the client based on the level of satisfaction of the service provided and the experience in general. Taking into account that they are not obligatory, they are usually expected. 

Babies: 0 - 3 years (sharing bed with parents). Possibility to request a cot (limited availability).

Children: 4 - 11 years old. Additional bed.

Triple room: the third bed will be a rollaway bed.

If you have reduced mobility, require the use of a wheelchair, or you would prefer this tour to be a private experience for you and your group, you must contact our Experts at +44 20 8068 3176 before booking to ensure that your needs can be met.

While on the road, it is highly unlikely that the vehicle will be equipped with wifi or bathroom facilities, though rest stops will be made for long trips. We recommend purchasing a new SIM card at the airport or placing an e-SIM before travel to guarantee internet connection.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office offer up-to-date travel advice by visiting https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Exoticca Travel Stories

Creating unforgettable memories, one traveller at a time

Alleppey · India

India

Our trip was excellent

The three hotels we stayed at were first class. Staff at all of them brilliant. Our guides and transport good. We liked southern India a lot more than the North. We learnt a lot of new things and customs

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