Duration : 17 Nights / 18 Days
Loction : Tamilnadu and Kerala-South India
Best Season : Mid October to February
Category : Heritage Cultural, and Nature
Covering : Chennai (Madras) > Mamallapuram > Puducherry > Thanjavur > Chettinadu> Madurai > Kerala > Kovalam> Marari>Alleppey Backwaters > Thekkady> Munnar> Cochin.
You can take it : As a private, personalised tour (tour dates would be of your choice)
Special About Tour :
Experience India’s magic which lies in a vibrant abundance of people, culture, architecture, food and landscapes. The specially handcrafted South India temple tour with exotic Kerala provides an incredible journey with a mixture of authentic travel experiences. Discover the magnificent, exotic and unique UNESCO heritage temples of India famous for their architectural brilliance at Mamallapuram, Tanjore, and Madurai in Tamilnadu. Visit the heritage village of Chettinadu, relax yourself on the golden sandy beaches to backwaters in Kerala, and enjoy wildlife at the national parks to the hill stations with spice and tea plantations of the Western Ghats. A contrast of varied culture, heritage, history and natural beauty this tour is an insight to authentic India.
Get the deep insight to religion, varied culture, local cuisine and see the day to day life of the friendly warm hearted locals on this south India temple tour with exotic Kerala.
Indian temple tour covers the exotic hill stations and beaches of Kerala and starts in Chennai, formerly Madras, where the British East India Company started trading and travel across the region of Tamil Nadu. We visit the 7th – 8th Century old UNESCO world heritage site at Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram.
Continue to Puducherry a former French colony famous for the heritage French quarters, Auroville and Aurobindo Ashram. Visit the ancient Chola temples of Brihadeeshwara (11th Century old ) at Thanjavur popularly known as the Big temple. Stay in one of the heritage mansion at Kanadukathan home to the Chettiars a trading community from Chettinadu and enjoy traditional food, bullock cart ride and visit to the silk weavers in the village.
We drive to visit the colourful beautiful Meenakshi Temples that tower over of the oldest cities in India: Madurai in the state of Tamilnadu. We explore the local streets with a cycle rickshaw and join a local family for the cooking classes here.
Leaving Tamilnadu behind we drive to the beautiful and picturesque beaches of Kerala at Kovalam and Marari.
Further discover the backwaters of Alleppey, known as the ‘Venice of the East’, famous for its backwaters full of immense natural beauty. The traditional wooden houseboats also enhance the beauty of these backwaters with bright green paddy fields and lush waterways teeming with exotic bird life. . Overnight experience on these houseboats will fascinate you and will provide insight to the day to day life of the locals from much closer.
We continue to the breathtakingly beautiful hill station in Kerala with magnificent mountains, lakes, spice plantations, exotic species of flora and fauna, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. We do visit Thekkady (Periyar) which has the largest national wildlife sanctuary for Wild Elephants and tigers with hills full of spice plantation. At Munnar we visit the tea processing factory and Eravikulam National park, before heading to Fort Cochin, also known as “Queen of Arabian Sea”, with a varied history of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British on the West coast.
You choose to include Private guide throughout the tour as your tour escort or set off on a more independent trip with our English speaking driver, with local guides available at the each place you visit. You can travel reassured, knowing our vast experience and provide you with around-the-clock support to smooth out anything unexpected.
Treat the below South India Temple tour with Kerala just
Brief Itinerary : Chennai/ Mamallapuram ( 2 Nights ) > Puducherry ( 2 Nights) > Thanjavur ( 1 Night ) > Chettinadu / Kanadukathan (1 Night) > Madurai (1 Night ) > Kovalam Beach (2 Nights)> Marari Beach ( 1 Night) > Alleppey House Boat (1 Night) > Thekkady (2 Nights) > Munnar ( 2 Nights)> Cochin (2 Nights) at the end.
Today to start with your South India temple tour with exotic Kerala Tour India , you will be met from your flight to Chennai International Airport by Summit Safari’s representative and driver, and we will transfer you to hotel at Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram (50 kms from airport approximately 1 hrs).
The small town of Mahabalipuram is famous for its rock cut temples which attracts thousands of connoisseurs of art from all over the world is one of the 16 world heritage sights been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous Shore temple.
Though ravaged by sea, wind and time these sculptural treasures speak volumes about magnificent heritage of ancient Dravidian art and temple architecture, built around 580 to 668 AD.
Rest of the day is free at leisure to relax after the flight. Overnight stay at Mamallapuram for 2 nights.
Please Note: Chennai formerly known as Madras is an international airport in Tamilnadu state, in south part of India, and have flights from/ to U.K, Dubai (Middle East Asia) / Singapore (South East Asia). If you are coming from U.K / Europe or from Australia you can get your direct or connecting flights from these places to Chennai. We would like to discuss these things with you at the time of your booking of the holidays with us.
Today morning after breakfast, we will take you for a guided sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram and will visit the UNESCO heritage site of the monolith rock cut temples also known as Five Rathas or Chariots, Krishna Mandapam, Arjuna Penance, Krishna’s butter ball and Tiger’s cave. It is a open air museum
The five Rathas were all carved out of a single piece of granite. The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic. All of these built largely between the 6th to 9th centuries.
Later walk to the famous Shore temple—the only surviving out of the seven such shore temples, in India. If interested we will visit the Tamilnadu handicraft emporium in the same shore temple complex. Return back to hotel and second night in the same hotel in Mahabalipuram/ Mamallapuram.
Today morning after breakfast around 09:00 AM, we will drive you to Puducherry also know as Pondicherry or Pondy. It is also known as “The French Riviera of the East”. Although the French influence is gradually fading, and is limited to one part in the town near the sea, Pondicherry retains a few Gallic accents.
On the way to Pondicherry we will visit Auroville (15 kms before Pondicherry). Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Here we will visit Matrimandir from outside and you can have lunch in a local restaurant over here. Later proceed to Pondicherry where on arrival check into the luxury hotel. Evening free to relax by the pool side or have a walk around the beach.
Overnight in Puducherry for 2 nights.
Today after breakfast around 09:30 A.M we will take you for the sightseeing tour of Puducherry/Pondicherry. The main sights are the handmade paper factory, the Sacred Heart Basilica and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, including a walk through the heritage part of Pondicherry.
The Aurobindo ashram retreat was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo after whose death the spiritual authority passed to one of his disciples, a French woman known as the Mother. The Mother was also instrumental in founding the city of Dawn Auroville, 15 km from Pondicherry. Later on after lunch in a local restaurant return back to hotel and evening free to relax your own. Second night in the same hotel in Pondicherry.
Today After breakfast around 09:00 AM, we will drive you to Tanjore (Thanjavur). Enroute south of Pondicherry we drive you to visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple ( 100 kms/ 3 hrs), where we will visit this ancient temple.
Later we continue to Tanjore via Kumbakonam and Dharasuram. We’ll stop with a local family in Dharasuram where at their home they are engaged in Kartika silk weaving like Sarees, scarfs etc. They will show the process of silk dyeing and weaving it further as a Sarees or a scarf. If interested, you can buy the silk fabric from the local people here in their houses where it is weaved. We will also visit the famous temple at Dharasuram.
Later on drive to Tanjore (71 kms/ 2.30 hrs) and check in at your hotel. Evening visit the local brass metal handicrafts crafts men where you see how pieces of Brass are melted and given shape of different handicrafts including the idols, lamps etc. Even you can visit to some Tanjore handicraft and panting shops.
Thanjavur is also the home of the Tanjore painting using gold leaf paper, a painting style unique to the region. The town is an important agricultural center located at the heart of the region, known as the “Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu”. Overnight stay for 1 night in Tanjore.
Today morning after breakfast check out from the hotel and take a guided tour to the Big Temple of Tanjore. It is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are located in and around Thanjavur (Tanjore). The foremost among the Great Living Chola temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple also known as the Big temple, is located in the center of the town.
The big temple (Brihadeeswara Temple) Built in the 11th century AD by the Medieval Chola king, Raja Chola I, the temple complex houses a granite shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is surrounded by fortifications. The walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods.
The temple was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Later on if interested we can visit the Saraswathi Mahal art gallery and Library, established around 1700 AD and located in the premises of the Nayak’s palace, contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper.
Later in the afternoon continue drive to Kanadukathan a small heritage village (93 kms/ 2 hrs ) the home to Chettiars a merchant community from Chettinadu. On the way you might meet people selling the fresh cashew nuts.
We will reach Kanadukathan by afternoon and we will stay here in a heritage hotel property known as Chettinadu Mansion. Late afternoon we will take you for the sightseeing tour of Kanadukathan village in a bullock cart and we will visit some heritage mansions like VVR House (by special arrangements), Chettinadu palace, village temples, and local market to view some of the famous architecture of the building.
Chettinadu is very famous for its cuisine and especially for Chicken Chettinad, enjoy the traditional meal during dinner. Today you’ll get a insight to the day to day village life in India.
By evening return back to the heritage hotel Chettinadu Mansion at Kanadukathan for 1 night.
Please Note: Most of the heritage mansions are empty and no merchants families live in the village as most of them shifted to the different parts of India and the World. Some of the heritage mansions have beautiful furniture, Burmese teak, Belgium glasses and chandlers. Houses are open to visit and there are care takers families who are taking care of these heritage mansions. They charge entrance free to visit the house from inside and do except some tips - 100 rupees per person, from the visitors.
After breakfast around 08:00 AM, we will drive to Madurai (90 kms/ 2 hrs). On arrival in Madurai we will visit the flower market of Madurai, and Gandhi Museum. At the Gandhi museum we’ll meet our local Rickshaw men and they will take us in a bicycle rickshaw for a tour around Madurai for the next (2.30/ 3 hrs) as per your interest. The tour covers the interesting places like the bamboo market, local vegetable and banana market, open air laundry, metal pot making, cotton spinning, weaving etc.
Check in to the hotel around 1:00 P.M and have time to rest. In the evening 4:30 P.M we’ll take you to visit a local family’s home for cooking / Rangoli demo, interaction and dinner with the family. It will give you insight to the life of locals and also to learn a little about their food and culture. Later return back to the hotel Overnight stay in Madurai for 1 night.
Today morning after breakfast check out from the hotel and before driving you to Thekkady we will take you on a guided tour in Madurai and we’ll visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the Meenakshi temple at Madurai.
The famous Meenakshi Amma temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati who is known as” Meenakshi” and her consort, Shiva, named here as “Sundareswarar”. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The "Aayiram Kaal Mandapam" or Thousand Pillar Hall contains 985( instead of 1000) carved pillars. The hall was built in 1569 and it is a structure where the engineering skill and artistic vision are blended. There is a Temple Art Museum in the hall where icons, photographs, drawings, and other exhibits of the 1200 years old history of the temple is displayed.
Later by afternoon continue your drive to Kovalam (310 kms/7 hr), which is a beautiful beach in Kerala. Enroute visit the famous Padmanabhapuram Palace ( closed on Monday). Padmanabhapuram is the former capital city of the erstwhile Hindu Kingdom of Travancore. Later continue your drive to Kovalam beach. On arrival at the beautiful beach of Kovalam check in to your hotel and evening free to relax your own.
Overnight stay in Kovalam for 1 Night.
Today after breakfast 8:30 A.M we’ll take you for a half day guided sightseeing tour of Trivandrum city the capital town of Kerala where we will visit the old Palace (Puthen Malika palace) and museum in the city centre.
The palace forms part of a vast complex of royal buildings in the vicinity of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. A portion of Kuthira Malika has been converted to a Palace Museum that houses some of the assets owned by the Travancore Royal Family. Although 80 rooms are there in the palace, only 20 are open for visitors. A guided tour is available inside the palace ( with the official guide of this palace and museum). The palace collections include 14 life-size Kathakali mannequins, Belgian and Italian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, paintings, a giant Belgian harpoon, musical instruments, traditional furniture, a musical tree which produces 8 sounds on tapping and other artifacts.
We will also visit the Sri Chithira art gallery which was opened to the public by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore Sri Chithira Thirunal on the 25th of September 1935. The Gallery owes it's origin to Dr.J.H.Cousins, the Art Advisor to Government of Travancore. It has a rich collection representing the various genre of paintings in India along with a few from other parts of Asia.
Later drive back to Kovalam beach and rest of the day is free to relax. In the evening you can walk to the nearby Hawa beach, old light house to enjoy the sunset in the evening. If interested you can have dinner and drinks at the local restaurants by the beach in Kovalam, where freshly cooked sea food is served as per your choice. Second night in the same hotel in Kovalam.
Today morning after breakfast check out from the hotel and we will drive you to the picturesque Marari beach (175 kms/ 4.30 hrs). On arrival check in to the hotel and rest of the time is free to walk around the beach, take a swim, try an Ayurvedic massage, or hire a bicycle to explore the surrounding quiet lanes. Take a stroll along the beach or relax under a palm tree with a book.
Overnight stay at Marari Beach for 1 night.
Today morning after breakfast have time to relax and around 11:15 A.M check out from the hotel and take a short drive to Alleppey (15 kms/ 30 minutes) from where we will board the house boat around 12:00 P.M, to experience the beautiful back waters of Kerala.
The house boat will take you on the back water canals of Vembanad Lake. Here most of the land and paddy fields are below the sea level. Alleppey, known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is a district of immense natural beauty, with a vast network of lakes, lagoons, canals and freshwater rivers crisscrossing its terrain. Today, this backwater destination is famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Enjoy a full day cruise along the scenic backwaters of Vembanad Lake.
The boat travels slowly on the backwater canals, where you can enjoy the beautiful views of paddy fields, coconut trees, palm trees, local villages, and local people busy with their daily work routine.
You will also have 40 minutes of a canoe trip through the small water canals where the big houseboat is unable to take you. The boat halts on the water in the evening (around 05:30 P.M till 08:00 A.M in the next morning) and you can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the house boat.
All meals will be served on the house boat and overnight in house boat. You will spend entire day on the house boat experiencing the life of the local people and enjoying the nature. Overnight in house boat on Kerala backwaters for 1 night.
Meals Plan-: Breakfast + traditional Lunch + Dinner, with evening tea and snacks. (Mostly local veg meals).
Today after breakfast around 10:00 AM we will be dropped at the jetty where our driver will meet us and will drive to Thekkady (140 kms/ 4 hrs), where on arrival check into the hotel.
Thekkady is famous for Periyar Wildlife and Tiger reserve. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 777 sq. km. including 360 sq. km of dense evergreen forest tract, is one of the most fascinating wildlife reserves in Kerala. Declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the sanctuary is noted for its geomorphology, abundance of wildlife and abounding scenic beauty.
Later in the evening we’ll take you to enjoy the tribal dance show, organized and done by the ethnic tribal group of the area. Overnight stay at Thekkady for 2 nights.
Today early morning we will take you for a boat trip on the Periyar Lake inside the Periyar wildlife sanctuary. This early morning boat trip offers us a chance to see the wildlife including, elephants, wild bores, Sambhar Deer, Bision, etc including various kinds of birds. Return back to the hotel after breakfast in the afternoon we will take you further to Elephant camp where you can see the elephants and even can help with the washing / feeding of the elephants.
We will also take a guided tour of spice plantations to see some of the famous spices of India. You can enjoy lunch in the local restaurant in Thekkady. Return back to the hotel and have time to rest and relax yourself.
In the evening walk around the local market and from 06:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M we will take you to witness the Kalaripayattu (shortened as Kalari) is an Indian martial art and fighting system that originated in Kerala. Kalaripayattu – the oldest existing martial art form dates back to at least the 6th century BCE. More than 2000 years ago the Buddhist monk Bodhi dharma took this knowledge from India to China. Second night in the same hotel in Thekkady.
Other optional activities: For the day can includes Jungle walk, nature walk, easy walking (2 hrs) through the Periyar wildlife sanctuary and all area organized by the Forest department of Kerala with proper forest guides, and these activity depends on the availability of the tickets, as tickets are available directly at the forest office counters and needs to be booked in advance- at an Extra Cost.
After breakfast (09:00 A.M.) we will drive you to Munnar (90 kms /4 Hrs drive). Enjoy the natural views, spice plantations and rubber plantations with the beautiful countryside on the way to Munnar. Enroute we will visit the Tea Estate- Lockhart factory Devikulam where we will take a guided group tour to see various process of tea and even can enjoy the fresh orthodox tea in different flavors.
Munnar used to be the summer resort of the erstwhile British administration in south India and the hills are covered with tea estates. Arrive Munnar by late afternoon- the magnificent hill-station of Kerala, check into the hotel. Evening is free to relax and walk around the tea plantation or to explore the local market in Munnar. Overnight in Munnar for 2 days.
After breakfast at 08:00 A.M, we will leave for the sightseeing tour of Munnar including the Rajamala National park, also known as Eravikulam National Park, located about 15 km from Munnar; this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Thar. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, and birds. The park offers a magnificent view of the Anamudi peak, tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. Anamudi peak around 2,695 metres, is the highest peak of south India.
The park and many hills around Munnar becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji flower plant. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2018 and the next blooming of these flowers is expected in the year 2030.
Later on we will visit Mattupetty Dam and Kundale Lake. Today you might see the women plucking the tea leaves at the tea Gardens. On the way to Kundale Lake many times people are lucky to see the group of wild elephants also. Later we will return back to Munnar and visit the vegetable market and local market at Munnar. Second night in the same hotel in Munnar.
After breakfast we will drive you to Cochin, also known as Kochi or Fort Cochin. Cochin, popularly known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’, is the cosmopolitan commercial capital of Kerala ,Cochin is a fine natural Harbour. Cochin was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times. Check in at your hotel and evening we will visit the the Vasco-da-Gama Square near the Fort Cochin and we will visit a number of Chinese fishing nets, alongside the sea coast. The Chinese fishing nets have become a very popular tourist attraction in fort Cochin. Legend has it that the Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced in Fort Kochi by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He. They were brought from the court of Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan and have been in operation here since that time only. Even free at leisure. If interested we can even travel through the local ferry from Ernakulum (The new town) to fort Kochi. Overnight in hotel at Fort Cochin.
Meals Plan: Breakfast only
Today morning after breakfast we will drive you to visit the famous heritage sites of Fort Cochin with a local guide. Having been under the control of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, The Fort Cochin has a rich and varied history.
You will Explore the heritage part by foot and visit the Vasco the Gama square, the Chinese fishing nets, the church of St Francis originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance where once the Vasco Da Gama was buried. Later we will drive you to visit the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry, which features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas ( Kings) of Kochi. It was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537–65), Raja (King) of Kochi.
We will also visit the Jewish Synagogue- or the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. It was built in 1568 by Cochin Jewish community. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area. Later on return back to the hotel and have some time to rest.
Later on return back to your hotel and rest of the time is free to relax. Second night in the same hotel in Cochin.
Today morning after breakfast, check out from the hotel, as per your flight schedule we drive and transfer you to Cochin airport (43 kms/ 1.30 hrs), from where you will board your flight back to home.
Please Note: Cochin international airport is in Kerala state, in south part of India, and have flights to/ from U.K, Dubai (Middle East Asia) / Singapore (South East Asia).
End of the services and the tour…!
This is the tour itinerary for the South India temple tour with exotic Kerala Tour India, which we run regularly. It can be altered & customised as we like to discuss plans with clients and can make suggestions about special places to visit depending on our clients’ interests, and available time. You can get an idea of your holidays from the mentioned tour. The itinerary is planned in such a way that while travelling you get a good time to experience India and see the real life of Indian people from much closer.
Whether you choose to be on a privately guided tour to India or set off on a more independent trip, with local guides available wherever required, you can travel reassured, knowing our vast experience and provide you with around-the-clock support to smooth out anything unexpected. The safety and well-being of our guests is paramount.
You will follow the itinerary as a private tour, accompanied by one of our excellent Guides/ tour escorts through out the trip. Internal travel chauffeur-driven luxury jeep / car.
You will follow the itinerary as a Private tour. Internal travel by road from Chennai, Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Tanjore, Kanadukathan, Madurai, Kovalam, Marari, Alleppey, Thekkady, Munnar, and back to Cochin airport is by a private chauffeur-driven SUV Toyota Car/ similar vehicle.
You will arrive at your arrangements at Chennai international airport to start the tour and will fly back from Cochin international airport at the end, back to home.
These destinations are the most sought-after tourist destinations of India. Every year Kerala and South India greets thousands of people from across the globe. To serve the best, there is no problem regarding accommodation on the tour. These places have plenty of hotels which are well equipped with all modern amenities and comprise variety of luxury, deluxe, heritage and budget hotels / houseboats. One can choose the place of accommodation according to one's requirement and budget.
You stay in comfortable mid range Indian Hotels or A class star category luxury hotels which offer immaculate hospitality to guests, all as preferred by you. We would like to discuss and make suggestions about accommodation at the time of planning your holidays with us.
Bed and Breakfast only
Cottons with very light woollens for the hill stations.
All meals are included at Kanadukathan village and on the overnight houseboat in Kerala.
These destinations are some of the most popular tourist places in India. To cater to the huge number of tourists these places have plenty of hotels, which are well equipped with all modern amenities and are famous for their traditional Indian hospitality and provide services which are at par with the best in the world. One can choose the place of accommodation according to one’s requirement and budget.
The Hotel accommodation comprises variety of deluxe hotels, budget hotels, guest houses, home stay with local people, and can be categorise as Heritage hotels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels as well as 5 star hotels.
You will stay in star class Luxury hotels, houseboat, all as preferred by you. We would like to discuss and make suggestions about accommodation at the time of planning your holidays with us.
Meals Plan: Room + Breakfast + Dinner
Cloths: Cottons with light woollens
The Cost would be provided on Request
Please Note: The Cost of our each tour is based as per individual requirements, interests and budget of the client. The tour cost depending on the hotel accommodations you choose, food plan, mode of transportation you choose, whether you choose to include Escorted guide throughout the tour or set off on a more independent trip, with local guides available wherever required during the tour. This all we discuss with you while planning your tour and work out the best cost for your tour, accordingly.
We'll work with you until you’re satisfied with every detail of your India Holiday Tour. We'll then manage all your reservations and logistics in India, so that you’re taken care of from the moment you landed in India until your return back. The safety and well-being of our guests is paramount.