South India Highlights
Kerala backwaters is the extensive network of canals and lagoons between Alappuzha (or Alleppey) and Kumarakom. The state's palm-fringed backwaters are inland lakes connected by a network of canals that were once used as trade highways. With 41 west-flowing rivers, the backwaters stretch to almost 1,900 kilometres. Kuttanad region, called the rice bowl of Kerala is the most interesting area in the backwaters where farming is done below sea level.
This tour of South India highlights begins in Mumbai (Bombay), the commercial centre of India. In the ancient city of Madurai, visit the celebrated Meenakshi Temple around which was created a lotus shaped city. Chennai (Madras), 350-year-old city, visit Kanchipuram, one of the country’s holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites, and the seaside town of Mahabalipuram. Take a 3-day cruise of the scenic Backwaters of Kerala—a vast, intricate network of canals and lagoons. Also visit Kochi, (Cochin), a beautiful port city on the Malabar Coast of Kerala.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 12-DAY SOUTH INDIA TOUR…
And, experience a houseboat cruise on the backwaters of Kerala.
Begin in exciting Mumbai (Bombay), the commercial centre of India. Tour the city’s cultural attractions including the Prince of Wales Museum, Dhobi Ghat, the open air launderette, Marina Drive Queens Necklace view and Victoria Terminus Station. Take an optional private boat ride to the Elephanta Island Caves; inside are extensive Hindu stone sculptures linked to the cult of Shiva.
Next, fly to Madurai, an ancient city considered the centre of southern Indian culture, art, dance and music. Visit the celebrated Meenakshi Temple around which was created a lotus shaped city. The city has grown and so have the number of temples but is the Meenakshi that buzzes with Hindu pilgrims performing rituals at all hours of the day. In the evening, attend a spectacular ceremonial procession of worshippers. Explore colourful local bazaars and more remote temples.
Continue to Chennai (Madras), for a stay in a private beachfront villa on Covelong Beach. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350 year old city is the gateway to the south, with a culture that is distinctly different from that of any other city in India. With your private guide and driver, visit important cultural sites in the area including Kanchipuram, one of the country’s holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites, and the seaside town of Mahabalipuram, where Pallavan stonecutters produced some of the finest carvings in India.
Board a luxury cruise for a three-day exploration of the scenic Backwaters of Kerala—a vast, intricate network of canals and lagoons that nourish the rice paddies and coconut groves. Stop at Kollam (Quilon), a tranquil trading town and one of the oldest ports in the Arabian Sea. Enjoy gourmet south Indian specialty dishes and witness a performance of the highly ritualized "Kathakali" dance and classical "Mohiniattam" dances or enjoy an Ayurvedic rejuvenation package.
Surrounded by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, Kochi, (Cochin), is a beautiful port city on the Malabar Coast of Kerala. With your private guide, experience the city's rich heritage from Portuguese, British, Dutch, Chinese and Jewish traders — including a 500-year old church, a 16th-century synagogue and a royal palace. Browse for antiques and perhaps indulge in a traditional Ayurvedic spa treatment—a specialty of southern India. The chinese fishing nets are distinctly unique and found only in Cochin outside China.
Return to Mumbai for last minute shopping and connect with your onward flight.
South India Highlights View beautiful scenery and experience rich culture, pilgrimage sites and backwater cruise.
(12 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Mumbai, Madurai, Chennai, Cochin, Backwaters of Kerala
Day 1 – Arrive
Mumbai Private arrival transfer to hotel for 2 nights.
Private afternoon city tour.
Day 2 – Tour
Mumbai Full-day private tour, including boat ride to Elephanta Island.
Day 3 – Transfer & Tour
Madurai Transfer and flights to Madurai for 2 night stay.
Day 4 – Tour
Madurai Private touring, including local bazaars.
Day 5 – Transfer
Covelong Beach Private transfer and flight to Chennai.
Introductory touring of Chennai and transfer to Covelong Beach for 2 nights.
Day 6 – Relax
Covelong Beach Private excursion to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram.
Day 7 – Transfer & Explore
Backwaters of Kerala Private transfer to Chennai airport and flight to Cochin.
Arrival transfer to Lake Vembanad in Kerala to board luxury cruise for 3 nights.
Days 8 & 9 – Explore
Backwaters of Kerala Cruise and land excursions in Backwaters.
Evening traditional performances.
Day 10 – Transfer & Tour
Kochi Private transfer to Kochi (Cochin) for1 night.
Afternoon private city tour.
Day 11 – Transfer & Tour
Mumbai Private transfer and flight to Mumbai for overnight.
Guide and driver at disposal this afternoon for flexible shopping or touring.
Day 12 – Depart
Mumbai Private airport transfer
Check In: 14:00h
Check Out: 12:00h
Make this your holiday
Getting There All major international airlines fly to India’s main airports: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Airports tend to be on the outskirts of cities. Pre-paid taxi services and auto-rickshaws are stationed outside the terminus to get you into the city.
When to go The best time to travel to India is between September and March. This is a high season and it is advisable to book your holiday well in advance. Summer starts in April and by June, it becomes very hot. By July there is the south-west monsoon, which brings heavy rains to the west coast. September is a generally a clear month though later, between October and December there may be a reverse pattern called the north-east monsoon that appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. The best time for trekking in the Indian Himalaya is between April and November but it varies from region to region and the altitude you are planning to reach.
Passport/Visa Visas are required to enter, exit or transit through Indian territories. The most common is a single entry 30-day visa. Multiple entry, 60-day and 90-day visas are also available. Passports must have a minimum of six months validity. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest Indian High Commission, embassy or consulate.
All visa applications in UK should be filled online at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. Cost of six months tourist visa for UK nationals including handling charges is £92.20.