The Majesty of Southern India
Southern India is a patchwork of palm-fringed backwaters, tea-covered hills and spice plantations - a complete contrast to the dusty desert scenery of the north. This 18-day itinerary sweeps from bustling Chennai to Mysuru (the ‘City of Palaces’), travelling via hill towns, golden beaches, national parks and Hindu temples. Standout moments include a lunch cruise along Alappuzha’s backwaters on a traditional Keralan houseboat and a ride to a tea town on one of India’s oldest mountain railways.
Your holiday includes:
16 excursions and visits
- Excursions to Mahabalipuram and Srirangapatna
- City tours of Chennai, Madurai, Ooty and Mysuru
- Visit to Meenakshi Temple, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Kumbalangi Island, Doddabeth Peak and Charing Cross Market, and Mysuru flower and vegetable market
- Wildlife mini-cruise in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Boat ride on backwaters of Alappuzha
- Walking tour of Kochi
- Mini cruise on the Arabian Sea
- Visit to Coonoor by toy train
- 15 nights in hotels and 2 in flight (accommodation as specified or similar)
- 34 meals: 15 breakfasts (days 3-17) 4 lunches (days 8, 10-11 and 17) 15 dinners (days 2-16)
- Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service
- Local Titan tour manager
- International and internal flights as detailed. Prices are based on return flights with Emirates from London Gatwick via Dubai. Supplements may apply from other airports
- 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 in Chennai we check into the Taj Coromandel (5-star), where dinner is included. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, explore and acclimatise.
Taj Coromandel, Chennai (5-star)
Chennai - Mahabalipuram
After a morning at leisure, we have an included tour of Mahabalipuram - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its 7th century rock carvings and famous shore temple on the beach.
Chennai - Madurai
We have a sightseeing tour of the city which was India’s commercial hub at the height of the British Empire. The tour includes visits to Fort St George, St Mary’s, San Thome Basilica, Mylapore temple and the Victoria Technical Institute. We take a flight to Madurai and transfer to Gateway Hotel (4-star).
Gateway Hotel, Madurai (4-star)
We spend this morning taking in Madurai. The old city is a labyrinth of temples, bazaars and narrow bustling streets filled with stalls, rickshaws and livestock roaming freely. The tour includes Meenakshi Temple, which is resplendent with stone carvings and columns. This afternoon, we visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum and this evening an optional sound and light show at Thirumalai Nayak Palace, is available.
Madurai - Thekkady
We leave Madurai and drive back down through stunning mountainous scenery as we head to Thekkady. We stay at the Shalimar Spice Garden (4-star), and this afternoon you can take time to explore your new surroundings independently.
Shalimar Spice Garden, Thekkady (4-star)
Today’s itinerary starts early with a boat ride on Lake Periyar. The Periyar National Park is a protected area and wildlife sanctuary, home to numerous mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles. You may even be lucky enough to spot a tiger.
Thekkady - Alappuzha - Kochi
This morning we drive to Alappuzha (Alleppey) for a cruise on the backwaters of Vembanad Lake. Enjoy lunch on the houseboat before we drive to Kochi. One of India’s largest ports and an important naval base, it is a fascinating city on the north Kerala coast. Check into the Vivanta by Taj-Malabar Hotel (4.5-star) our home for the next three nights.
Vivanta by Taj-Malabar Hotel (4.5-star), Kochi
We embark on a walking tour to Fort Kochi, the most historic part of Kochi. You will see the church of St Francis and the Bishop’s Palace. Later, at the harbourside, we view the unique Chinese fishing nets of bamboo and wood construction, this style of fishing has been practised here and in many other areas of Kerala, since their introduction by 14th century Chinese traders. This evening we take a mini-cruise on the Arabian Sea, watching the ships go by.
We visit Kumbalangi Island, a model fishing village. This evening we have an optional excursion to witness a superb Kathakali dance performance, based on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The dancers are elaborately made up with paint and masks, accompanied by drummers and musicians.
Kochi - Ooty
We spend today wending our way farther north to Ooty. We arrive at our hotel, Fortune Resort Sullivan Court (4-star) for the next three nights.
Fortune Resort Sullivan Court (4-star), Ooty
We start today with a sightseeing tour of Ooty. Nestled in the Nilgiri Hills, this agricultural town is dependent upon its surrounding tea gardens, eucalyptus trees and forest. This afternoon we travel to Doddabeth Peak, the highest of the mountains surrounding Ooty, and a visit to Charing Cross Market and Bazaar will give a greater insight into the town’s various cultures and traditions.
Today we take an excursion to Coonoor, a small tea garden town, by miniature train - the famous Toy Train. Opened in 1908 under the period of British rule, this is one of India’s oldest mountain railways and was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005.
Ooty - Mysuru
After breakfast we drive to Mysuru and check in to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel (4-star). The rest of the day is free to enjoy the surroundings of the hotel.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Mysuru (4-star)
For this morning we have arranged a sightseeing tour of Mysuru, the city of palaces often referred to as the ‘Sandalwood City’, as it is the country’s centre for incense manufacture. The city is steeped in a thousand years of history with a mythical past to match. It became a capital city in the 16th century, before the power was shifted to Bangalore first in 1831 and again until 1947. The city’s grandeur reflects the power it had during this first period of supremacy. This afternoon take an excursion to Srirangapatna, a fascinating fortress-city of great religious, cultural and historic importance.
Today we visit a vibrant flower and vegetable market and take in some more of Mysuru. The rest of the day is free; or you may wish to join an optional half-day excursion to Somnathpur temples. The small town of Somnathpur is home to the ornate Keshava Temple, a sculptural masterpiece built in the Hoyasala style and standing on an elevated star-shaped platform.
Day 17 Mysuru - Bengaluru - In flight
Transfer to Bengaluru Airport for your overnight return flight to the UK.
Day 18 UK
Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.