Southern India - Boulevards and Backwaters
13 days from £1,999 per person
From colourful temples to laid-back lakeside resorts, experience the very best of southern India on this unhurried two-week tour. We’ve balanced sightseeing and cities in Tamil Nadu with time to take it easy in Kerala’s peaceful hills and backwaters - the perfect introduction to this captivating part of India. You’ll have a chance to spot wildlife, step inside palaces, watch traditional dance, witness spectacular sunsets and much more as we journey from bustling Chennai to coastal Kochi.
Your holiday includes:
11 excursions and visits
- Tours of Chennai, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Madurai and Kochi
- Visits to Mamallapuram; and Airavatesvara temple & Swamimalai bronze casting centre
- Wildlife boat trip on Lake Periyar
- Sunset cruise on Lake Vembanad
- Kathakali performance
- Cruise around Kochi harbour
- 11 nights in hotels and 1 in flight (accommodation as specified or similar)
- International flights. Prices are based on return flights with Emirates from London Heathrow via Dubai. Supplements may apply from other airports
- 22 meals: 11 breakfasts (days 3-13) 11 dinners (days 2-12)
- Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service
- Local Titan tour manager
- Travel in destination by coach
Day 1 UK - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Chennai.
On arrival, we transfer to our hotel in Chennai. You’ll have the rest of day 2 at leisure to settle in and explore a little of this bustling city. Enjoy your first taste of southern Indian cuisine or perhaps watch a tangerine sunset from Marina Beach. After a laid-back morning on day 3, we’ll enjoy a guided tour. We’ll visit the oldest English fort in the city, admire the collection of bronze statues in the National Art Gallery, and gain an insight into local culture at the Government Museum. We’ll finish with a visit to the Hindu temple at Mylapore, its gopuram (entrance tower) covered in colourful carvings.
Grand by GRT Hotels, Chennai (4-star)
Our route to Puducherry takes us via Mamallapuram. This coastal village is home to a UNESCO-protected series of rock-carved temples and shrines - we’ll have a chance to visit while we’re here. Puducherry is a complete contrast to busy Chennai. Its famous ashrams (which we’ll visit during our orientation tour) are magnets for spiritual travellers. You’ll also notice an air of Parisian elegance here - the town was once a French colony and still boasts tree-lined boulevards and French-colonial architecture.
Hotel Atithi, Puducherry (3.5-star)
Darasuram - Thanjavur
We’ll continue south today, stopping at the 12th-century Airavatesvara temple and the nearby bronze casting centre where sculptures for the temple were created. Once we reach Thanjavur - former capital of the Chola dynasty - you’ll have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Hotel Sangam, Thanjavur (3.5-star)
Thanjavur - Madurai
A tour of Thanjavur takes us to the famous Brihadeeswara temple. Exquisitely carved gopurams lead through to the main temple, decorated with sculptures and Chola frescoes. Next, we’ll pay a visit to the royal palace, now used as an art gallery. Our journey continues to Madurai, Tamil Nadu’s oldest and most sacred city.
Heritage Madurai (4-star)
Madurai’s timeline stretches back thousands of years - Ancient Romans who traded here even wrote about the city’s splendour. You’ll find some of India’s greatest temples in Madurai - you can easily see these monolithic monuments rising above the skyline. During our guided tour, we’ll see one of these ornate temples, and watch as locals come to offer gifts to their deities. We’ll also have time to tour the impressive Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the Gandhi Memorial Museum. The afternoon will be at leisure.
A morning’s drive will bring us to Thekkady, nestled among the spice plantations of Kerala’s Cardamom Hills. After settling in to our hotel, we’ll head to Lake Periyar for a laid-back boat ride. The lake is set within a wildlife reserve, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for elephants, monkeys, wild boar and all manner of bird life. If we’re lucky, we might even spot a tiger dozing among the greenery.
The Elephant Court, Thekkady (4-star)
We’ll slow the pace down today as we make our way to Kerala’s sleepy backwaters. After an afternoon relaxing by the pool or in the gardens of our lakeside hotel, we’ll board a traditional house boat for a sunset cruise on Lake Vembanad.
Aveda Resort and Spa, Kumarakom (4.5-star)
Today is free to unwind at the hotel. The spa has an extensive menu of traditional Ayurvedic massages and rituals if you fancy treating yourself.
Kumarakom - Kochi
After a leisurely morning at the hotel, we’ll make our way to Kochi, a lovely port city boasting a blend of Indian, Portuguese, British and Dutch influences. This evening, we’ll enjoy a traditional kathakali performance at a local theatre - it’s a mix of dance and drama with performers dressed in beautifully elaborate costumes and masks.
Le Meridien Kochi (5-star)
Our sightseeing tour of Kochi takes us to the historic streets of the Fort Kochi area. We’ll visit the Mattancherry Palace, the oldest synagogue in India and the 16th century Church of St Francis, and see the traditional Chinese nets lined up at the harbour mouth. This afternoon, we’ll reflect on our Indian adventure on a relaxed harbour cruise.
Day 13 Kochi - UK
We transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.