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, museum 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.

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

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

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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 to sales@eastravel.co.uk We welcome your questions. We're here to help!

Highlights

Bengaluru (Bangalore) City of Gardens

This former British colonial-era outpost - now Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka State - is one of India’s most beautiful cities, justly earning it the title City of Gardens.

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Chennai: Kapaleeswarar Temple and other religious sites

Time your visit to take in the spectacular 10-day festival dedicated to Lord Shiva at the Kapaleeswarar Temple.(usually March to April)
Admire the temple’s exquisite shrines and towering gopuram of wonderfully coloured figurative art.

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Cochin Gateway to Kerala

The port of Cochin is arranged over a number of islands connected by bridges, and has for centuries been Kerala’s principal trading post. The rich cultural heritage of this fort town is reflected in the many Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences that are evident even today.

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Kerala Backwaters Houseboat cruise

Kerala’s celebrated backwaters are a tranquil and beautiful series of canals and natural waterways radiating from the stunning Lake Vembanad.

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Kumarakom on the Backwaters

Kumarakom is a charming and picturesque peninsula jutting into the beautiful Vembanad Lake, at the heart of the network of canals forming the celebrated Kerala Backwaters.

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Madurai: Magnificent Temples

Set on a curve of the impressive River Vaigai, this fine former capital of the Pandya kings dates more than 2500 years and is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, the magnificence of its temples, and the vibrancy of its festivals.

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Mahabalipuram Shore Temples

Located a short transfer by road from Chennai, this charming town looking out over the Bay of Bengal, and dating from the 1st Century is rich in natural beauty and history and celebrated for the range and abundance of its ancient cave art.

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Mysore Palace and Gardens

Home to one of India’s longest-standing royal dynasties – the Wodeyars, and the present Maharaja of Mysore, this charming city is a place of palaces and gardens, tree-shaded boulevards and sacred temples, of history and culture and tradition.

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Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar is a spectacular national park in Kerala’s Cardamom Hills encompassing picturesque plantations, historic hill towns and a fabulous lake rich in wildlife.

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Pondicherry, tree lined streets with colonial mansions

Set beautifully facing the Bay of Bengal in southern Tamil Nadu, this former French-colonial enclave is rich in culture and retains a distinct Gallic charm.

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Thanjavur UNESCO World Heritage listed Brihadeeswarar Temple

Pass through splendid tropical gardens to gaze in wonder at the towering gopurams of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Brihadeeswarar Temple representing the high water mark of Dravidian temple architecture in India, and dedicated by King Rajaraja 1 to the god Shiva.

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Trichy Rock Fort Temple

The bustling river town of Tiruchirappalli – or Trichy – is a place of history and culture and pilgrimage, offering a number of fine attractions spanning the Chola, Pallava and Pandya empires.

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Accommodation

Bangalore, Deluxe Class
Taj West End

Nestled amidst 20 acres of flora and defined by its illustrious heritage and colonial charm, Taj West End, Bengaluru is a lush sanctuary in Bangalore. There are 117 magnificent rooms and suites nestled amongst the sprawling landscaped gardens, each with a gorgeous view.

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Chennai, Deluxe Class
Vivanta by Taj - Fishermen's Cove, Chennai

A modern, 5 Star luxury property re-imagined to wonderful effect amid the ruins of a Dutch fort.

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Cochin, Deluxe Class
Brunton Boatyard Hotel

This stunning heritage property, a former Victorian-era shipbuilding yard is charmingly set on the harbour front at Kochin. The fabulous reception area is cooled by punka fans, and is decorated with art and artefacts reflecting the glory days of the pepper trade, and the hotel’s British, Dutch and Portuguese architectural influences.

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Kerala Backwaters, Houseboat
Spice Coast Cruises

These former rice barges, converted into charming floating accommodation, carry travellers where once they carried rice – along the lakes and canals of the Kerala backwaters.

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Kumarakom, Deluxe Class
Coconut Lagoon

Set idyllically among the backwaters of Kuttanad, this traditional tharavad-style property is approached by a stunning canal from the hotel’s private jetty.

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Madurai, Deluxe Class
Heritage Madurai

An object lesson in the South Asian school of architecture known as Tropical Modernism, this fine, former colonial club property has been beautifully re-imagined to offer a flavour of the opulence and splendour of The Raj

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Mysore, Heritage
Royal Orchid Metropole

Royal Orchid Metropole is considered as one of the best hotels in Mysore and it depicts a perfect fusion of old world charm and modern elegant designs, imperial arches, impressive pillars and flamboyant corridors which were originally built by the former Maharaja of Mysore in 1920.

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Periyar National Park, Superior Class
Spice Village

Located 2 miles from Periyar Sanctuary, Spice Village is a wonderful combination of heritage and vernacular, leaving the lightest of carbon footprints on its pristine national park setting.

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Pondicherry, Boutique
Maison Perumal - CGH Earth

Maison Perumal is a 130-year-old bungalow that has been refurbished into a distinguished boutique hotel. Located in the Tamil quarter of Pondicherry, this 18th century house exudes a legacy that reflects the French colonial aura.

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Tanjore, First Class
Ideal River View Resort

Located on a scenic bank of the River Vennar just 15 minutes by road from Tanjore, the hotel is set beautifully within palm-shaded gardens of Bougainvillea and surrounded by paddy fields and jungle.

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