Discover Southern India & Kerala
12 days with Cosmos Rating:
Day 1 CHENNAI, INDIA.
Welcome to Chennai, India’s fourth largest metropolis. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 CHENNAI.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit FORT ST. GEORGE, built in 1644, and stroll through Mylapore, the cultural hotspot of Chennai. Your evening is free to explore at leisure. (B)
Day 3 CHENNAI–MAHABALIPURAM–PUDUCHERRY.
Start your day with a visit to DAKSHINACHITRA, a unique heritage center for the living traditions of Indian arts, crafts, and architecture. Later, journey to MAHABALIPURAM, once the main port of the Pallava Kingdom and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Puducherry early this evening. (B)
Day 4 PUDUCHERRY.
A full day of sightseeing awaits you today. First, visit AUROVILLE, the city of dawn. This experimental township was established as a universal place where men and women of all countries could live in peace and harmony above all nationalities, politics, and religious beliefs. Then, enjoy a LIFE OF PI TOUR and HERITAGE WALK of the French Quarter. Visit the SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, one of the highlights of Puducherry, visited by thousands of people from all over the world. (B)
Day 5 PUDUCHERRY–TANJORE.
Travel through the rich and varied countryside to Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. Once there, visit the famous BRIHADESHWARA TEMPLE and TANJORE PALACE. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner. (B,D)
Day 6 TANJORE–CHETTINAD–MADURAI.
Continue exploring Southern India on the way to Madurai via Chettinad. Visit Chettinad Village Market where you can opt to try a traditional meal served on a banana leaf. Later, arrive in Madurai, one of southern India’s oldest towns. (B)
Day 7 MADURAI.
In the morning, enjoy a tour of the local FLOWER MARKET, followed by a visit to the THIRUMALAI NAYAK PALACE, built in 1636. Then, reflect on Mahatma Gandhi and his influence on India’s history at the GANDHI MEMORIAL MUSEUM. This evening, enjoy a glimpse of Madurai’s devout religious culture during a visit to the atmospheric MEENAKSHI TEMPLE at prayer time. (B)
Day 8 MADURAI–THEKKADY.
Admire the changing sights as you journey to Kumarakom. Along the way, stop for a visit to a SPICE PLANTATION. Later, enjoy a KALARIPAYATTU PERFORMANCE, one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world that developed in Kerala. (B)
Day 9 THEKKADY–KERALA BACKWATERS CRUISE.
Board your HOUSEBOAT for an overnight cruise on the backwaters of Kerala. As you drift along, enjoy authentic local food, watch the villagers go about their daily chores, and marvel at the beauty of southern India’s backwaters. Tonight, remain on board for a unique stay on Lake Vembanad. (B,L,D)
Due to space restrictions, please plan to pack a small overnight bag for the houseboat stay.
Day 10 KERALA BACKWATERS CRUISE–COCHIN.
Say goodbye to your houseboat and travel to Cochin, an important spice trading port since the 14th century and now a cosmopolitan business center. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a local village. (B,L)
Day 11 COCHIN.
Your tour of Cochin starts with the CHINESE FISHING NETS—the livelihood of many local fishermen—and a HERITAGE WALK in Fort Cochin. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore, shop, or visit an art cafe. In the evening, celebrate the success of your tour at a spectacular show of KATHAKALI DANCE, a form of storytelling distinguished by the elaborately colorful costumes and face masks worn by the dancers. (B)
Day 12 COCHIN.
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
All This Included
This affordable vacation in India begins on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India’s ancient city of Chennai. Guided sightseeing includes Fort St. George, built in 1644, and Dakshina Chitra heritage center where fascinating history and sights bring Indian art and architecture to life. Continue to the historic port city of Mahabalipuram, take a Life of Pi tour in Puducherry, and explore the temple and palace of Tanjore. In Madurai, wander the flower market, visit the palace and temple, and explore the Gandhi Memorial Museum. Your inspiring tour of India also includes visits to Thekkady to visit a spice plantation and enjoy an ancient martial arts performance. Board a houseboat for an overnight cruise into the beautiful backwaters of Kerala. Your value-minded tour of India concludes with two nights in Cochin—home of the traditional Chinese fishing nets and a colorful dance performance.
Chennai: Courtyard by Marriott
Puducherry: Accord Hotel
Tanjore: Paradise Resort
Madurai: Courtyard by Marriott Madurai
Thekkady: Elephant Court
Cruising: Cain onboard Kerala Houseboats/RKV Tours
Cochin: Radisson Blu Kochi
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Chennai:
in single room $87; in twin room $50
Extra nights per person in Cochin:
January 1-Septmeber 30: in single room $92; in twin room $52
October 1-December 22: in single room $95; in twin room $53
Terms and Conditions
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.