Treasures of Southern India

Treasures of Southern India

11 Days

Treasures of Southern India

11 Days Starting and ending in UK/Ireland

Visiting: Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Madurai, Periyar, Kumarakom, Kochi

Tour operator:

Exoticca

Group size:

1 - 30

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Embark on a captivating journey through the Treasures of Southern India, a tour designed for those who seek to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of India's culture, history, and natural beauty. This meticulously crafted tour takes you from the bustling metropolis of Chennai, through the ancient temples of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram, to the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey. Experience the vibrant city of Madurai, the serene beauty of Periyar National Park, and the picturesque canals of Kumarakom. Highlights include a boat cruise in Alleppey, known as the "Venice of the East," and exploring the cultural mosaic of Kochi. With a blend of sightseeing, wildlife tours, and spiritual encounters, this tour offers a small group experience that delves deep into the gardens, nature, and wildlife of Southern India, making it an unforgettable adventure.

Highlights

  • Explore the bustling metropolis of Chennai, blending tradition with modernity

  • Discover the ancient temples of Kanchipuram

  • Uncover the incredible sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram, including the Shore Temple and the world's largest bas-relief, Arjuna's Penance

  • Experience the vibrant culture and architecture of Madurai, including the Meenakshi Amman Temple

  • Embark on a boat safari on Periyar Lake in the lush Periyar National Park

  • Relax in the serene village of Kumarakom, nestled on the Vembanad Lake

  • Cruise through the picturesque backwaters of Alleppey on a houseboat

  • Tour Kochi, visiting the Dutch Palace, Kochi Harbor, and witnessing a Kathakali Dance Performance

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Uk/Ireland - Night On Board

Location: Chennai

Accommodation Name: Flight

Meals Included: None

Arrive at your UK/Ireland departure airport ready to check-in for an overnight flight* to Chennai. Night on board.*If either your outbound or inbound flights depart in the early hours (before 4:00 a.m.) you must arrive at the airport the night before the indicated departure day.

Day 2 : Chennai

Location: Chennai

Accommodation Name: The Residency Chennai

Meals Included: None

Arrival in Chennai, the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. This bustling metropolis that harmoniously blends tradition with modernity, is a hub for classical music, dance, and cinema, with the annual Chennai Music Season drawing artists and enthusiasts from around the globe. Meet your representative at the airport and transfer to the hotel*. Overnight stay in Chennai**.*You will have the option to add early check-in on arrival in the next step of the booking process. To guarantee optional services, we recommend that you add them to your current booking, as they are subject to availability.**You have the possibility to upgrade to half-board by adding 10 dinners in the next step of the booking process.

Day 3 : Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram

Location: Mahabalipuram

Accommodation Name: Ideal Beach Resort Mahabalipuram

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Today marks the start of your journey through southern India. Enjoy a complete sightseeing tour of Chennai, including a visit to Fort St. George, the Museum, St. Mary’s church and Marina Beach, the second largest in the world.Close by, find the Aquarium and several historical buildings of interest, including; the University of Madras, the Senate-House and Chepauk Palace. Continue your journey on the road and make a stop at Kanchipuram, to visit the Kailasanatha and Ekambaranathar temples. Finally, arrive at your destination for the day, Mahabalipuram. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.Estimated transfer distance 140km (75km from Chennai to Kanchipuram and 65km from Kanchipuram to Mahabalipuram).

Day 4 : Mahabalipuram

Location: Mahabalipuram

Accommodation Name: Ideal Beach Resort Mahabalipuram

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you’ll visit the incredible sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram, beyond the Shore Temple. It was designed to capture the first rays of light from the rising sun, so it has a rather peculiar and fascinating structure. Next, uncover The Descent of the Ganges or "Arjuna's Penance", the largest bas-relief in the world. This huge rock, shaped like a whale's tail, is decorated with figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts and birds in what is believed to be a representation of the creation of the world.Then, visit the Rathas, a series of monolithic processional temples shaped like chariots. Their construction remains a mystery, as they look wooden but are actually carved from a single granite stone. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Day 5 : Mahabalipuram - Chennai - Madurai

Location: Madurai

Accommodation Name: Regency Madurai by GRT Hotels

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. At the indicated time, transfer to Chennai airport to connect to your flight to Madurai. Known as the ‘Athens of the East’, it’s a vibrant center for art, literature, and music. The city has been a hub for Tamil culture and language, and hosts numerous festivals and events that celebrate its heritage.Madurai's bustling markets, aromatic street food stalls, and the intricate art of silk weaving add to its charm. Once you arrive, transfer to the hotel and overnight stay in Madurai.Estimated transfer distance from Mahabalipuram to Chennai 65km.

Day 6 : Madurai

Location: Madurai

Accommodation Name: Regency Madurai by GRT Hotels

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Begin your day prompty at 8am with a visit to the Madurai Flower Market, which gives a thrilling slice of local life. Sample regional fruits and vegetables and take in the sounds and smells of southern India. Proceed to the Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, a local landmark built in the 17th century. Though there is important renovation work being done on this structure, it remains partially open to visitors.Next, visit the spectacular Meenakshi Amman Temple. A sprawling complex that showcases intricate Dravidian architecture, vibrant sculptures, and a bustling temple town atmosphere.This architectural marvel is known for its towering gopurams (pyramidal gateways) adorned with colorful sculptures and intricate carvings that depict various mythological stories. The temple's inner sanctum houses the idols of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, attracting devotees and tourists from around the world. The Aayiram Kaal mandapam or Hall of the Thousand Columns in the outer corridor is a highlight. Return to the hotel for a few hours and have an independent lunch. Set out again for the Gandhi Museum to learn more about this key historical figure. See the Mariamman Teppakulam, an enormous water tank with religious significance covering over 16 acres, on the way back to the hotel.After an early dinner, take a tuk-tuk ride through town back to the Meenakshi Amman Temple to observe a special ceremony only performed after nightfall. Transfer back to the hotel by car. Overnight stay in Madurai.

Day 7 : Madurai - Periyar

Location: Periyar

Accommodation Name: Peppervine Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, head by road to Periyar. One of the most popular National Parks in Southern India, it’s a favorite destination due to its tranquility, peaceful surroundings and wonderful nature. The sanctuary is renowned for its conservation efforts and its role in safeguarding the endangered Indian elephant and Bengal tiger. The uniqueness of the sanctuary extends around the banks of a huge artificial lake that was created by the damming of the Periyar River a century ago. Although known for homing tigers and elephants, there is a wide range of animals living there. Arrive and check in to your hotel. Overnight stay in Thekkady.Estimated transfer distance 145km.

Day 8 : Periyar

Location: Periyar

Accommodation Name: Peppervine Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Early this morning, set off on an exciting boat safari on Periyar Lake, the central element of the incredible Periyar sanctuary. Situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala, this lush and biodiverse haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, including dense forests, grasslands, and the picturesque lake. There are roughly 700 elephants roaming the forest, which can normally be seen on the banks of the Periyar Lake. Later in the evening, your guide will take you on a tour of a nearby spice plantation. A sensory journey through the lush, fragrant world of spices in the heart of Kerala. Witness the vibrant hues of turmeric and vanilla vines twining around tree trunks among others, enhancing your understanding of their significance in Indian cuisine and culture. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Day 9 : Periyar - Kumarakom

Location: Kumarakom

Accommodation Name: Backwater Ripples

Meals Included: Breakfast

After a relaxing breakfast, begin your drive to Kumarakom. This small village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala is a beautiful paradise stocked with mangrove forests, green paddy fields and coconut groves, with waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Part of the Kuttanad region and a bird sanctuary spread over 14 acres, it’s a safe haven for many migratory birds and a fascinating sight for visitors. Arrive at your resort for check-in. The rest of your day is at leisure, which you can spend exploring the surroundings or relaxing and enjoying the facilities. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.Estimated transfer distance 145km.

Day 10 : Kumarakom - Alleppey - Kochi

Location: Kochi

Accommodation Name: Casino

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, head for Alleppey. Often referred to as the "Venice of the East," Alleppey is famous for its intricate network of picturesque backwaters, serene lagoons, and tranquil canals. Board a houseboat or "floating house" where you’ll enjoy lunch onboard. Enjoy a fascinating canal cruise where you can observe the villages and lush vegetation on the banks. Disembark and depart by road to Kochi. This city is one of the most famous ports on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the multicultural style of its buildings. This is a city of peninsulas and islands considered today the commercial center of Kerala. Arrive and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Overnight stay in Kochi.Estimated transfer distance 66km.

Day 11 : Kochi

Location: Kochi

Accommodation Name: Casino

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Today enjoy a complete tour of Kochi. Visit the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Kochi Harbor, St Francis Church and Fort Kochi Beach, an ideal location to saunter in a peaceful and relaxing way.To make the most of your last evening, your guide will take you to a Kathakali Dance Performance at a local theater. This classical dance form, portraying Indian epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), features dancers with painted faces that depict the various characters of the ancient legends. Overnight stay in Kochi.Important note: The Dutch Palace is closed on Friday.

Day 12 : Kochi - Uk/Ireland

Location: Kochi

Meals Included: Breakfast

Breakfast* at the hotel. Sadly, it’s time to end your journey through the wonders of the South of India. At the indicated time, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK/Ireland. Arrive in the UK/Ireland and end your trip**.* Depending on the return flight schedule and the hotel breakfast service, you may not be able to enjoy the included breakfast on the last day.**Depending on the choice of flight, you may arrive back in the UK/Ireland the next day.

What's Included

  • Departures from main UK/Ireland airports.

  • International flights: UK/Ireland - Chennai; Kochi - UK/Ireland.*

  • Internal flight: Chennai - Madurai.**

  • 10 nights hotel accommodation in Charm and Superior category hotels.

  • 10 breakfasts and 1 lunch.***

  • Transfers with English speaking assistant in air-conditioned vehicles.

  • Visits and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary.****

  • All air taxes and fuel surcharge.

  • Kathakali dance show in Kochi.

  • Boat ride on Periyar Lake and houseboat canal cruise in Alleppey.

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Mode of Transport

Travel comfortably with internal flights connecting major destinations, and air-conditioned vehicle transfers. Experience the local scenery up close with a unique Tuk-Tuk ride in Madurai and boat rides on Periyar Lake and Alleppey's backwaters.

Accommodation

Stay in Charm and Superior category hotels, offering a blend of comfort and local character. Enjoy modern amenities and warm hospitality, ensuring a restful night's sleep after each day's adventures.

Check out our Q&As

  • What is included in the Treasures of Southern India tour?

    The Treasures of Southern India tour includes departures from main UK/Ireland airports, international and internal flights, 10 nights hotel accommodation, 10 breakfasts and 1 lunch, transfers with an English speaking assistant in air-conditioned vehicles, visits and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary, all air taxes and fuel surcharge, a Kathakali dance show in Kochi, a boat ride on Periyar Lake and houseboat canal cruise in Alleppey, ATOL Protection, a full tour accompanied by a guide, and a Tuk-Tuk ride in Madurai.

  • What type of accommodations are provided in the Treasures of Southern India tour?

    The Treasures of Southern India tour provides accommodations in Charm and Superior category hotels.

  • What are the highlights of the Treasures of Southern India tour?

    The highlights of the Treasures of Southern India tour include exploring Chennai, discovering ancient temples in Kanchipuram, uncovering sanctuaries in Mahabalipuram, experiencing the culture and architecture of Madurai, a boat safari on Periyar Lake, relaxing in Kumarakom, cruising through Alleppey's backwaters, and touring Kochi with a Kathakali Dance Performance.

  • Are there any meals included in the Treasures of Southern India tour?

    Yes, the Treasures of Southern India tour includes 10 breakfasts and 1 lunch.

  • Where can I check the latest Travel Restrictions?

    It is the traveler's responsibility to verify and comply with the passport, visa, and travel requirements applicable to your itinerary. It is also the responsibility of the traveler to verify and comply with the health requirements, proof of testing, and vaccination applicable to your itinerary both at the destinations and for, if applicable, countries where you have a connecting flight. Requirements change quickly and you should check the updated guidance well in advance of departure as well as shortly before departure. You should check the requirements for your own specific circumstances with the corresponding government embassies and/or consulates as appropriate.

  • What recommendations should I follow before traveling?

    Passport validity: It is the traveler's responsibility to verify and comply with the passport, visa, and travel requirements applicable to your itinerary. You should check the requirements for your own specific circumstances with the corresponding embassies and/or consulates as appropriate. Requirements change so please check the up-to-date requirements in advance of your departure date. In many cases, countries now require that passports are valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure from their borders.

  • How can I upgrade my flight?

    If you would like to make an upgrade to your flight or ask for a quotation, please contact us with all the information. Our customer success agents will answer your request as soon as possible.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    Changes of flights and related services are not permitted after the booking is confirmed. If you wish to make any significant amendment affecting the flights, you will need to cancel it as per the terms & conditions applicable to your booking and make a new booking. If you require more information about your cancellations policy please go to the relevant Terms and Conditions for your booking (See Cancellation Policy section). If you would like to proceed with the cancellation or require assistance please contact us.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    The COVID-19 pandemic not only created an unparalleled impact on health and economy globally, but it has also changed fundamental behaviors with regards to traveling. In response to such changes, Exoticca provides extra peace of mind for all reservations made from 18th January, 2022 onwards by including Covid 19 Protection. Testing positive for COVID-19: If you or anyone else traveling with you on your booking cannot travel due to testing positive for COVID-19 you will be given the option to reschedule your trip or receive 100% of the trip value in Exoticca travel credit. **Proof of infection must be provided in the form of an official COVID-19 positive test result. For more information on the details of the Covid 19 Protection Policy, please go to the relevant Terms and Conditions for your booking (See Cancellation Policy section).

  • Travelling to the USA or Canada?

    Traveling to the United States: Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA is an online application system, developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers before authorizing them to board a plane or ship bound for the United States. Starting on the 12th of January 2009, any person entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must have an approved ESTA travel authorization. This includes travelers who travel to the United States to catch a connecting flight. An ESTA does not guarantee entry to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials determine the admissibility of travelers upon arrival. For more information click here. If a traveler is found to have visited a country designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (09.11.2022, Countries: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria), the traveler is no longer eligible to participate in the Visa Wavier Program and must apply for a visa to enter the United States. Traveling to Canada: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for citizens of visa-exempt countries traveling to Canada by air. This includes travelers who travel to Canada to catch a connecting flight. An eTA is linked electronically to the traveler's passport and is valid for a maximum of five years or until the passport expires, depending on which of these two scenarios occurs first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA. An eTA does not guarantee entry to Canada. When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and other documents to determine whether you are admissible to enter Canada. For more information click here. Traveling to a Schengen member country (Europe): Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) The ETIAS travel authorization will be needed to enter a Schengen member country by air, land, or sea. From November 2023, visitors that do not need a visa to enter Europe will be able to register with ETIAS. ETIAS will become a mandatory entry requirement. The ETIAS for Europe will grant travelers authorization to visit the ETIAS countries that are all members that compose the Schengen zone. The ETIAS visa waiver has been designed for short-term stays of up to 90 days. For more information click here.

  • COVID-19 vaccination recommendations and other vaccines?

    It is the responsibility of the traveler to verify and comply with the health requirements, proof of testing, and vaccination applicable to your itinerary both at the destinations and for, if applicable, countries where you have a connecting flight. Requirements change quickly and you should check the updated guidance well in advance of departure as well as shortly before departure. Check with the migration and health authorities for the country of origin, destination, and stopover to learn more about vaccination requirements.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Once your purchase is complete, you will receive confirmation by email and all your travel documents will be uploaded on to your booking and the Exoticca customer account (which you'll be provided details of). These will include: transport details, hotels, itinerary, important notes, and insurance policy (if applicable).

Reviews of this operator

Jane S  

South America with Exoticca

04-Jun-2023

Most of the time we were travelling as a couple although we kept bumping into others in a simialr situation. Wherever we went there was someone there to welcome us and take us to our hotel, tell us about arrangements for the next few days and to generally look after us. Guides always turned up as expected and were all of a very high standard. We never felt concerned about what was due to happen the next day - it always did! Tours were always of interest. Accommodation which was charm class was perfectly acceptable and if not in the centre of town, taxis were always easy to use and safe whether a white pick up van in the Galapagos or a tuk tuk in Peru. I had a slight accident while there and I have to say that Exoticca guides etc could not have been more helpful. I would not hesitate to recommend Exoticca to anyone thinking of using them. We had an amazing experience in Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos.

https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/647e07eb706f837cb1f86880
Diana Gwynn  

Imperial Cities and Desert

20-May-2023

Really excellent way to see Morocco. Our first experience of Exoticca and we were impressed with all the arrangements and attention to detail. The local guides were excellent and our driver Ayoub the absolute best - helpful, kind, knowledgeable and funny. What an outstanding young man! We are definitely recommending Exoticca to our friends and are interested in exploring other countries with you. Many thanks!

https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/647ccf3f81ea8608ae6d5e06
S A (Google Reviewer)  

Exoticca was a great experience....

11-Apr-2024

Exoticca was a great experience. Very well planned itinerary and our tour driver Leo was excellent. We were lucky to get good weather for the most parts and were given good guidance about local attractions. The hotels were well located and of a good quality. Overall a very pleasant experience. We will travel with Exoticca again.

Kimberly Penna (Google Reviewer)  

I very much enjoyed my...

10-Apr-2024

I very much enjoyed my trip to Portugal with Exoticca. I love that you're able to book the flight at the same time as the vacation booking because you won't get stuck with a bunch of layovers like other tour companies spring on you at the last minute. I felt like the trip was very organized and well-planned. I also like that I was back in my hotel room everyday prior to 6:00 p.m. so I had the whole night to myself to do whatever I wanted rather than being stuck on a bus for hours. I will definitely be booking with Exoticca again.

Dale Foster (Google Reviewer)  

We had a great time...

29-Mar-2024

We had a great time and great experience on our recent trip to South Africa through Exoticca. Very good value with the pricing and very organized and good communication from them. It was a busy trip with so much to see and someday I would like to go back to Capetown and spend a month or so. The safari in Kruger National Park was awesome and we saw every animal there was including the Big 5. And because of traveling to and from Kruger and the safari, we made some lifelong friends. Looking forward to traveling through Exoticca again as I have had my eye on other trips they offer.

Muhammad Zubair  

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Our whole trip was meticulously planned. Our guides were really helpful and informative. Special mention to Adnan in Jordan and Mohamed Raouf in Egypt our guides they made this trip lot more interesting. Accommodations and flights to food everything was amazing. Both the countries were amazing and an overall amazing experience

https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/647533e4706f837cb1f40c85
Cathy Wallace (Google Reviewer)  

One of the best trips...

09-Apr-2024

One of the best trips ever from start to finish. Great choice of accommodations , very well organized, excellent guides and so much fun. Ecuador and the Galapagos was our trip! Very helpful and polite on the phone with booking process . Very impressed, will definitely book with Exoticca again 😊

JB  

Saw most of what was on the itinerary…

04-Jun-2023

Saw most of what was on the itinerary… Saw most of what was on the itinerary but not the best guide (our Exoticca guide in Ecuador was great but ones since then less so). More free time would have been good ( we didn't even get the free time listed on the itinerary) especially at lunchtimes. Beautiful scenery ranging from the sand dunes to the snow capped mountains. Date of experien

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XQ Tong (Google Reviewer)  

The tour of 'Essence of...

12-Apr-2024

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  • Low Deposit

    Exoticca requires a minimum deposit of 60% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exoticca charges.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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