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South India Family Holiday Tour kathakali dancer kerala
Duration: 21 days
Location: India
Price: $2,275
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South India Holidays. This fabulous holiday package around South India cherry-picks South India’s highlights including the regal city of Mysore, the fantastic Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, the colonial charm of Cochin, the buzzing temple-town of Madurai and the fabulous architecture of Tanjore and Mahabalipuram.

Intensely South India Holidays

Ancient spice ports, seaside temples, tea plantations—what a colorful world South India is! This South India Holidays guided Tour takes you to almost all the highlights of South India, and gets you intimate with an ancient culture. A leisure trip around South India, we discover Chennai, where the British built their first fort and church in India and Mahabalipuram, an awe inspiring outdoor museum of magnificent sacred architecture. We will explore tranquil rural villages with astounding temples and gigantic gopuras (towers) soaring above the palm forests and paddy fields. We will cruise on a house boat in enchanting Kerala and safari into tiger reserves to spot the elusive tiger and other mega fauna. Further, on the South India Holidays, we will visit the ruins of the Vijayanagara kingdom in Hampi and explore Mysore, the city of palaces. The South India Holidays ends in Goa, where you take time of on lazy, shady beaches with white sand and enjoy some excellent sea food.

The South India Holidays Guided Tour itinerary can be completely customized to match your budget, travel dates and interests.

On the Intensely South India Holidays we will visit:

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry –Thanjavur –Madurai – Thekkady – Kochi – The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve – Mysore – Hassan – Badami – Goa

Detailed Itinerary of Intensely South India Holidays

Price per person on twin sharing basis. Accommodation in luxury air conditioned hotels with a three star rating or higher. For a full hotel list, please ask us. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included. Transport in a luxury air conditioned SUV/Sedan/Mini Bus. Looking for 5 star accommodation? Contact us. Please read the Indian Expeditions Booking Terms and Conditions

Day 1 & 2: Chennai of Intensely South India Holidays

South India Holidays Chennai MarinaArrive at Chennai (formerly known as Madras), your gateway to sunny South India and capital of Tamil Nadu, a state renowned for grandiose temple sculpture and architecture of the Chola, Cheran, Pallava and Pandya Dynasties; a city with a rich heritage indeed! The British built their first fort here and leading to the British Empire in India. The Madras Presidency was one of British India’s most important divisions. The modern city of Chennai offers travelers and enthusiasts an interesting blend of the old and the new, the artistic and the academic, the historic and the scenic. We will tour this sprawling city with its wealth of art and architecture, its National Art Gallery and Museum, Fort St. George, Marina Beach and San Thome Cathedral, and many other landmarks.

Talk: Orientation, Art history of South India. Performing Art: Classical Concert. (depending on tour dates, please check with travel manager.)

Day 3 of Intensely South India Holidays: Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram)

South India Holidays Mahabalipuram

We depart Chennai early and a 1.5 drive takes us to the temple town of Kanchipuram, one of India’s seven sacred cities. The ancient capital of the Pallava and Chola dynasties, Kanchipuram still boasts of about 200 ancient temples. In addition to being an important pilgrimage center, Kanchipuram is today a bustling center of commerce, known best for its handwoven silk fabrics, especially sarees.

We then, on the Intensely South India Holidays proceed to Mahabalipuram and check into a beach resort. We will spend the evening and part of the next day exploring the ancient 5th century port, Mahabalipuram and be amazed by ancient, exquisite rock sculptures.

Talk: Pallava and Chola art.

Day 4 of Intensely South India Holidays: Pondicherry

South India Holidays PondicherryWe will visit an agrarian village and understand the true beat of India. Here, we witness traditional farming techniques and communal lifestyles. We get to interact with traditional farmers, get a glimpse of India’s cast system, and look into chores, rituals and festivals associated with everyday life in India. We then follow the scenic East Coast Road and explore India’s French connection, Pondicherry, where we will visit the Arabindo Ashram and Auroville, a spiritual commune. We then go on to a handicraft manufacturing unit, and other places of interest in peaceful Pondy and you could even learn some French here if you want!

Talk: French In India.

Day 5 and 6 of Intensely South India Holidays: Tanjavur

South India Holidays ThanjavurWe arrive post lunch and take a stroll through some of Thanjavur’s streets. Here, we will enjoy a 10th century Chola theme dinner, recipes of which have been taken from ancient rock inscriptions and manuscripts. We will visit the “Big Temple,” the magnificent Brahadeswhara Temple built in the 11th century, regarded as one of India’s most magnificent ancient structures. We will go on an orientation drive and visit a Vedic and Sanskrit school and commune, and interact with professors and students. We will view age old methods of bronze casting and attend a classical dance program, where you will have a chance to interact with traditional dancers and musicians

Talk: Orientation, Art history of South India. Performing Art: Classical Concert. (depending on tour dates, please check with travel manager.)

Day 7 and 8: Madurai

South India Holidays MaduraiMadurai is one of the worlds oldest cities. We will explore the bi lanes of this ancient city and witness vibrant and mysterious rituals in the awe-inspiring Madurai Meenakshi Temple.  Madurai was known to have had links with Greece as far back as the 4th Century BC, and became became a major center for writers, builders and academics. Today, its main attraction is the labyrinthine complex of temples within the Sri Meenakshi Temple, spread over six hectares. The temple contains friezes, stone and brass images, as well as one of the best exhibits of Hindu deities in its 1000-pillared hall. Outside the temple are the Musical Pillars which when tapped, produce the entire scale of ‘swaras’ or musical notes. Your sightseeing tour in Madurai will include visits to a tank with an island temple in the middle, the museums and the bustling bylanes of the Madurai market.

Talk: Madurai.

Day 9 and 10 of Intensely South India Holidays: Periyar National Park, Thekkady

South India Wildlife Holidays Tour TigerDrive on to Thekkady, the Spice Capital of India, renowned for its sprawling spice and tea gardens. At Thekkady, we explore our wildsides in the Periyar national park. The Periyar national park is one of South India’s most important tiger and elephant conservation parks in South India. We safari in search of Megafauna including the tiger and elephants.

Talk: Spice Trade.

Day 11 and 12 of Intensely South India Holidays: Kochi

We bid farewell to the Jungles and to all the friends that we would have made during our trip there and proceed to Kochi, the spice capital of ancient India. We will check into a home stay and experience the warmth of an Indian family hospitality. Here, you can have discussions with your host and let them show you around. We will explore ancient churches and synagogues, take walks around the beach and spot dolphins and watch fisherman catch fish using ancient style huge Chinese fishing nets.

Talk: Kerala.

Day 13 and 14 of Intensely South India Holidays: Jungle Retreat, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

South India Wildlife Holidays Jungle RetreatJungle Retreat is one of the finest wild life resorts in India, and we stay in the stunningly beautiful Nilgiris. We safari into the Mudumalai & Bandipur Tiger reserves. You will get up close to Asian Elephants at the Elephant Camp and watch Mahouts bathe & feed them. You can visit a Hero Stone or a Tribal Village. If you are interested in birding Jungle Retreat has some of the best local birding guides around.

Lecture: Wildlife conservation in India.

Day 15 and 16 of Intensely South India Holidays: Mysore

South India Tour HolidaysWe depart Jungle Retreat, which is never an easy thing and drive for 2.5 hours to Mysore. Mysore is one of the most well known destinations of Karnataka, and with good reason. The magnificent Maharaja’s Palace that marks the city’s skyline is adorned on the inside with an abundance of stained glass, mirrors and gilt. The Chamrajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore is one of the best in India, and the Art Gallery has what is probably the finest collection of paintings and musical instruments. Another must-see, is the Durga (Kali) temple atop the Chamundi Hill, only 10 kms south of Mysore. Mysore is also the incense manufacturing capital of the country. We also visit  Srirangapatnam, the place from where Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled much of southern India during the 18th Century. Built on a long island in the Cauvery River, the crumbling fort of Srirangapatnam stands as testimony to their historic resistance to the British.

Lecture:  Tipu Sultan and the Indo Carnatic Wars.

Day 17 of Intensely South India Holidays: Hasan

South India Holidays HampiDrive to Hospet which you will use as a base for an excursion to one of the most fascinating historical sites of south India, the ruins of Vijayanagar at Hampi, set amid a strange and beautiful boulder-strewn landscape. You will also visit the 16th Century Vittala Temple, a World Heritage Monument that stands as the pinnacle of Vijayanagar art and sculpture.

Talk:  Vijayanagara Kingdom.

Day 18 of Intensely South India Holidays: Hospet, Badami

Our next stop on this wonderful South India Tour is at Badami. Set in a beautiful countryside among red sandstone hills, rock hewn tanks and farmlands, Badami was once the capital of the mighty Chalukyan Empire, that ruled vast parts of central and south India from the 4th-8th Century. At Badami, you will see some of the finest examples of Dravidian cave temples.

From Badami, you will take an excursion to Aihole and Pattadakal. Aihole is where you will witness the evolution of Hindu temple architecture from the early shrines of the Lad Khan Temple to more complex structures like that of the Meguti Temple. In the centre of the village is the famous Durgigudi temple, known for its semicircular apse and the outstanding carvings that crowd the colonnaded passageway. Pattadakal, another developing ground for Hindu temple architecture, was the second capital of the Badami Chalukyans, used specially for royal coronations.

Talk:  Chalukya Empire and Art.

Day 19,20, 21 of Intensely South India Holidays: Beaches of North Goa

South India Tour GoaAfter two weeks of the Intense South India Tour, it’s time to unwind. No where else in India will you find, what in Goa  is called susegad, a luxurious laid-back languidness especially at lunchtime. Apart from the easy going people and the serene beaches, you can a wander around bird-filled banks of the state’s gentle rivers and poke
around centuries-old cathedrals and of taste excellent fresh sea food.

Add Ons:

If you choose to extend your South India Holidays, we have many options as an add on, and we can tailor one to suite you best.


Trip Lead of Intensely South India Holidays

South India Holidays Private Guide V.N Seetharam is considered by many as one of the best South India tour guides they have ever encountered. Acknowledged by academicians from across the globe  as one of the worlds leading experts in Indian Architecture, Sculpture, Indology and culture, Seetharam makes for a fantastic travel partner. It is his bookseller roots that have made Seetharam a cultural historian of our times, much appreciated for his insights on prose, poetry, literature and scriptures alike. For decades together and all of the 90′s Seetharam dominated the book business in India with his exclusive and rich treasure, popularly known as “The Bookshop” in Chennai. The press adored his niche motley of books and tagged it as one of the best collections in India.

Today Seetharam has hundreds of fans who once visited his bookshop, admired his passion and are coming back for South India Tours with him as the trip lead.

Looking for shorter South India Holidays? Check out our Art History of South India Tour or the Western Ghats Holiday

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 1 reviews

Fabulous guide, great attention to detail. Top marks!