South India Grand Tour

From the Bay of Bengal coast to the backwaters of Kerala, discover the delights of South India by road and private houseboat. Explore ancient Shore Temples, see Dravidian art and architecture at Mahabalipuram, historic palaces, and wild elephants in Periyar National Park.  

Best time for this holiday: Oct to March

Private Touring
19 days/18 nights

Guide Price:  £2345 per person (based on 2 adults sharing a room).

-Air-conditioned private vehicle, English speaking driver/guide and additional local guides in each city

-17 nights standard hotel accommodation & 1 night on a houseboat

-Entrance fees to monuments

Not Included - International flights

The guide price is subject to availability, fluctuations in the exchange rate and travel dates. Please call us for an individual quote.

South India Grand Tour at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrival Chennai
  • Day 2: Chennai to Mahabalipuram
  • Day 3: Mahabalipuram
  • Day 4: Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry
  • Day 5: Pondicherry to Thanjavur
  • Day 6: Thanjavur to Trichy
  • Day 7: Trichy to Madurai
  • Day 8: Madurai
  • Day 9: Madurai to Periyar
  • Day 10: Periyar to Kumarakom
  • Day 11: Houseboat
  • Day 12: Alleppey to Cochin
  • Day 13 Cochin
  • Day 14: Flight to Bangalore and road transfer to Mysore
  • Day 15: Mysore touring
  • Day 16: Mysore to Hassan
  • Day 17: Hassan to Bangalore
  • Day 18: Bangalore touring
  • Day 19: Departure or extension to a beach resort
South India Grand Tour Image 1

Day 1: Arrival Chennai

On arrival at Chennai airport, traditional welcome and transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times:

Chennai Airport to Chennai city: 17 km, 50 mins

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Day 2: Chennai to Mahabalipuram

Visit the places of interest in and around the capital city of Tamil Nadu including Fort St. George, temples, museums and Marina beach. Marina Beach is the second largest beach in the world and a popular tourist destination. Visit the National Art Gallery and Museum, the San Thomas Cathedral, the Mylapore Temple and St. Mary's Church before departing for Mahabalipuram. Overnight.

Distance and journey times: 60 km, 1 hr

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Day 3: Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is famous for its Shore Temples also known as Mamallapuram. Mahabalipuram served as the second capital of the Pallava Dynasty of South India. It is often called the Seven Pagodas because of the high pinnacles of seven that it possess. Visit the Shore Temple, Arjuna's Penance and Five Rathas.

Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

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Day 4: Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry

After breakfast, drive to Pondicherry for a city tour covering the French Quarter of the Museum.

Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times: 100 km, 2 hrs

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Day 5: Pondicherry to Thanjavur

After breakfast, drive to Thanjavur en route visiting temples at Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram, Kumbakonam, Darasuram and Swamimalai.

Overnight in Thanjavur.


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Day 6: Thanjavur to Trichy

Trichy was one of the most important cities during the Chola reign in the medieval period. In the 18th-Century it stood as a witness to the Carnatic Wars fought between the French and the English. Visit the Srirangam Temple and Rock Fort Temple. The Rock Fort Temple was built on an 83m high rock. Further upwards, a climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati. Overnight in Thanjavur.

Distance and journey times: 60 km, 1 hour

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Day 7: Trichy to Madurai

Depart Trichy for Madurai. In the afternoon visit the famous Meenakshi Temple. This temple is the best example of the Dravidian School of Architecture and Trimalai Nayak Palace.

Overnight in Madurai.

Distance and journey times: 135 km, 3 hrs

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Day 8: Madurai

After breakfast, visit Meenakshi Temple, Nayakkar Palace and Gandhi Museum. Overnight at the hotel.

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Day 9: Madurai to Periyar

After breakfast, drive to Periyar. Later proceed for a spice plantation visit and enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar to see the wildlife. Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times: 135 km, 3 hrs

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Day 10: Periyar to Kumarakom

After breakfast, drive to Kumarakom. Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Overnight at resort.

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Day 11: Houseboat

After breakfast, at 1200 hrs board traditional houseboat for overnight backwater cruise ending next day morning at Alappuzha.Overnight in a houseboat.

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Day 12: Alleppey to Cochin

After breakfast, disembark from houseboat at 0900 hrs and drive to Cochin. Today you are free to explore Cochin at your own pace. In the evening, enjoy a Kathakali Dance Performance. 

Distance and journey times: 66 km, 2 hrs

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Day 13: Cochin sightseeing

After breakfast, leave for sightseeing tour of Fort Kochi visiting Jew Town & Mattancherry Palace. In the evening, enjoy a demonstration of Kalaripayattu- traditional Kerala Martial Arts. Overnight at the hotel

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Day 14: Kochi to Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Morning transfer to airport to board a flight to Bengaluru. On arrival at Bengaluru, transfer to Mysore. Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times:

Flight to Bengaluru: 1.20 hrs

Bengaluru to Mysore: 139 km, 3 hrs

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Day 15: Mysore touring

Proceed for city tour visiting the Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Statue of Nandi Bull, Somnathpur (Keshava temple) and Vrindavan Garden. Overnight at the hotel

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Day 16: Mysore to Hassan

After breakfast drive to Hassan en route visiting Sravanabelagola. Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times: 170 km, 3.50 hrs


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Day 17: Hassan to Bengaluru

After breakfast, drive to Bengaluru en route visiting temples at Belur and Halebid. Overnight at the hotel.

Distance and journey times: 180 km, 4 hrs


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Day 18: Bengaluru touring

Enjoy a city tour visiting Vidhan Soudha, Tipu’s Palace, Government Museum, Lall Bagh – the botanical garden, Bull temple. Overnight at the hotel

Day 19: Departure

Transfer to the airport for your onward destination to one of India's glorious beaches or Spa.

Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email We welcome your questions. We're here to help!


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Chennai: Kapaleeswarar Temple and other religious sites

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Kerala Backwaters Houseboat cruise

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Kumarakom on the Backwaters

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Madurai: Magnificent Temples

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Mahabalipuram Shore Temples

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Mysore Palace and Gardens

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Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

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Pondicherry, tree lined streets with colonial mansions

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Thanjavur UNESCO World Heritage listed Brihadeeswarar Temple

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Trichy Rock Fort Temple

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Chennai, Deluxe Class
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Cochin, Deluxe Class
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Kerala Backwaters, Houseboat
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Kumarakom, Deluxe Class
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Madurai, Deluxe Class
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Mysore, Heritage
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Tanjore, First Class
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