Holiday Ideas
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions

India Exploring the South - Wildlife and Culture

  • Highlights
This 3 week-long tour is perfect for those looking to discover new cultures & wildlife in India. From the majestic temples of Tanjore and Trichy, up to the hills of the Western Ghats and the serene backwaters of Kerala, this trip offers a taste of South India and the chance to get up close and personal with the culture and the natural gems of a land far away ...

This 3 week-long tour is perfect for those looking to discover new cultures & wildlife in India. From the majestic temples of Tanjore and Trichy, up to the hills of the Western Ghats and the serene backwaters of Kerala, this trip offers a taste of South India and the chance to get up close and personal with the culture and the natural gems of a land far away from home. If you're searching for a trip of a lifetime that'll definitely create some unforgettable memories, this one's the trip for you! 

See more
Tour itinerary includes
  • Meet locals
    Meet locals
  • Sightseeing
    Sightseeing
  • Local cuisine
    Local cuisine
  • City
    City
  • Nature observation
    Nature observation

Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Arrival in Chennai - Mahabalipuram

Upon arrival in Chennai you’ll be met by and introduced to your driver.

Depart promptly for a 90-minute drive south to the beachside town of Mahabalipuram.

Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

70kms, 90 minutes drive

Accomodation
Radisson Temple Bay (Mahabalipuram)

Day 2: Discover Incredible Monuments in Mahabalipuram

Your first full day in India will be relatively low-key with a half-day sightseeing tour of the ancient monuments in Mahabalipuram in the afternoon, after a morning spent getting to know your new temporary home with perhaps a stroll along the beach.
Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Visited:
Mahabalipuram
Accomodation
Radisson Temple Bay (Mahabalipuram)

Day 3: Pondicherry: A Town Rooted in French Influence

In the morning, ride along the east coastal road to Pondicherry, a French colonial city where you can still see an abundance of French culture.

Make your way to the Aurobindo Ashram, a residence of Sri Aurobindo and his devotee Mother Mirra Alfassa Richard, or Maa (The mother).

Later, visit the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church with its large stained-glass panels that depict the life of Jesus Christ.

​Next, visit the Pondicherry Museum which has an outstanding collection of artifacts from the French colonial period.

The rooms are arranged in a French style - decorated with marble, paintings, clocks and mirrors.

There's also a unique collection of Brass, bronze and stone arts from the Pallava and Chola periods.

Visit Auroville, a universal town often considered as a "City of Dawn”.

Later on in the evening, relax by the sea. 

Overnight in Pondicherry. 

Visited:
Puducherry
Accomodation
night in Maison Perumal (Puducherry)

Day 4: The City of Chola

Depart for Chidambaram after breakfast and visit the Natrajar Temple built by the Cholas in the 9th Century.

The famous dance festival “Natiyanjali” takes place here. 

Next you'll be visiting Gangaikondacholapuram and the UNESCO-listed temple Darasuram.

The Airavateshwara Temple in Darasuram is a great example of the architectural marvels here in Chola, and is one of the oldest temples.

The temple's sculptures depict stories of the Chola period.

Overnight in Tanjore.

Visited:
Darasuram Thanjavur
Accomodation
Night at Ideal River View Resort (Thanjavur)

Day 5: Local Folklore & Culture  

In the morning, visit Tanjore, often referred to as “the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu”.
The culture extends beyond the palaces and many temples to both music and dance.
Pay a visit to the 1000 year old Brihadishvara Temple, which is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
After lunch, head to Chettinadu –  the “Land of Chettityars”, home to Tamil Nadu’s merchant community, and well-known for its 20th centruy huge houses. Overnight in Chettinadu.

Visited:
ThanjavurChettinad
Accomodation
night in The Visalam (Chettinad )

Day 6: Madurai: Thirumalai Nayak Palace

Today starts with a 2-hour drive to Madurai, “the temple city”, situated at the banks of the river Vaigai.

There you'll come across a distinguished collection of temples reflecting the culture of the Tamil people.

Meenakshi Sundareshvara Temple has around 12 gopuras within the temple complex.

The grand architecture is what attracts flocks of visitors.

Next, visit the thousand-pillared, beautifully decorated columns - now a museum called Thirumalai Nayak palace, home to bronze and stone images.

Later, walk the streets near the temple, stopping to shop if you so wish.

Overnight in Madurai.

Visited:
Chettinad Madurai
Accomodation
Heritage Madurai Heritage Madurai (Madurai)

Day 7: Full Day in Periyar 

Today will be your chance to visit Periyar, often called Thekkady, an exotic place boasting natural vegetation.

Later, stop at Periyar National Park, a thick lush forest where visitors can witness different species and types of wildlife, and the spice plantation adds a little something extra to the tour. 

If you're lucky, you might get to see some animals wandering about the forest, as well as witness the entire ecosystem come to life. 

Nature nerds, take advantage of the range of activities available, e.g. the nature walk, spice tours, trekking and tiger trails organised by the Kerala government.

In the evening you can buy some spices quite cheaply, choosing from the many types on offer. 

Among the most popular finds are bamboo rice, cardamom, almonds, cashews, coffee powders, coffee beans, eucalyptus oil, and many ayurvedic oils.

Overnight in Periyar.

Accomodation
night in Spice Village (Periyār Lake)

Day 8:  On the Way to Alleppey

Depart for Alleppey, a small, charming town known for its exotic backwaters.

Tonight you'll be lodging in a houseboat, aka a "kettuvallam", made out of jack wood planks.

Feel the excitement when visiting and staying in these floating cottages, which are few and far between in south India.

​After check-in, relax at the front deck, taking a look at the local habitants engaged in farming, fishing, coir making, dish washing and selling fish and veg in small canopy-like boats.

The most interesting aspect is Kuttanadu, a form of farming where the crops are cultivated below sea level. 

Kerala takes pride in being the pioneer for this kind of farming in India.

You will be provided with lunch and dinner, and if interested you can ask the crew to supply some fishing rods so you can try your hand at fishing.

Overnight in a houseboat. 

Accomodation
night in Lakes & Lagoons Tour Co. (Alappuzha)

Day 9: Cochin & its Amazing Story

Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city on the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly beautiful state of Kerala.

Here you can visit Parades (Jewish) Synagogue and Mattanchery (Dutch) Palace.

The mural paintings depict the many important scenes from the epic stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana.  

In the evening come across some Chinese fishing nets, believed to be bought by the famous Chinese ruler Kublai Khan.

Even nowadays the local fishermen use fishing nets which are widely spread across the seashore of Cochin.

Later on, witness a traditional iconic dance form of Kerala: “Kathakali”, meaning “story play”, and consisting of  a 2-hour show. 

Later on during the show, a voice elaborates the gestures, costumes and body movements along with percussion and play back music.

After dinner, relax at the hotel.

Overnight in Cochin.

Visited:
Kochi
Accomodation
Eighth Bastion (Kochi)

Day 10: Free Day in ​Wayanad

After breakfast, drive towards Wayanad. After reaching Wayanad, take some time to relax and do as you please.  
Overnight in Wayanad.​

Accomodation
night in Windflower Resort (Wayanad)

Day 11: Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary Exploration

This morning after breakfast, visit the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary - wild forests covering an area of 345 sqare kilometres.

Spot Elephants, spotted deers, bisons, tigers, cheetahs, wild bears and much more!

Then head to Chembra Peak, the highest peak in North Kerala -  a haven for admirers of natural gems and for those hungry for adventure. 

Then visit Banasura Sagar Dam, the second largest earth dam in Asia and the largest in India.

The dam has been constructed on Banasura Lake, and is situated amidst the Banasura Hills.

After a long jam-packed day, stay overnight in Wayanad. 

Accomodation
night in Windflower Resort (Wayanad)

Day 12: Mysore Palace

Today, drive towards Mysore where you'll visit the church of Saint Philomena with its gothic art and stained glass, following a trip to the vegetable market and bazaar.

Visit the famous Palace of the Maharaja of Mysore, with its domes, arches and colonnades of carved pillars and marble floors.

In the afternoon, stop at the Chamundeshwari Temple, situated in the hills of Chamundi.


160 Km - 3 Hour Drive

Visited:
Mysore
Accomodation
Royal Orchid Metropole (Mysore)

Day 13: Transfer to Hassan

Today, ride to Belur and Halebid, home to stunning architecture.

Sightseeing hotspots include Chennakeshava Temple, Hoysaleshwara Temple and the Jain temples.

Get a glimpse of Chennigaraya, Veeranarayana, Sridevi, and Bhoodei Temples which are all located in the same complex.

Later, drive back to Hassan for an overnight stay.

150 Km – 3 Hour drive
(Excursion to Belur and Halebid: 80km and 2 hour drive)

Visited:
MysoreHassan
Accomodation
Hoysala Village (Hassan)

Day 14: Journey from Hassan to Hospet

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before proceeding towards Hospet.

Upon reaching the hotel, relax and enjoy your new abode.

Overnight in Hospet.​

330km, 6 hour drive

Visited:
Hospet
Accomodation
night in Heritage Resort (Hospet)

Day 15: Full-day City Tour of Hospet

Today you'll visit some remarkable sites along with your guide, getting some background info and understanding Hampi's history.

Visit Vithala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Hazara Rama Temple, Old Palace Temple and Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.

On the second day you'll be able to explore at your own pace.

Overnight in Hospet. 

Excursion to Hampi: 15km, 25 min drive

Visited:
HospetHampi
Accomodation
night in Heritage Resort (Hospet)

Day 16: ​Full Day in Aihole & Pattadakal

Today you'll discover Badami, stopping en route at Aihole and Pattadakal.

Visit the Archeological museum, Virupaksha Temple and Malikarjuna Temple.

Next you'll start your excursion to Aihole and Pattadakal.

See the evolution of the Hindu Temple architecture from the early shrines of the Lad Khan Temple to more complex structures like that of the Meguti Temple.

Tour the Badami caves with a range of religious sects. 

Later on, pay a visit to Back in Badami, where you'll be free to explore the town on your own.

Overnight in Badami.

​250km, 5 hour drive

Visited:
AiholePattadakalBādāmi
Accomodation
Night at Hotel Krishna Heritage (Bādāmi)

Day 17: From Badami to Goa

Head to Goa, check into your hotel and have a relaxing day!

Overnight in Goa.​

​340km, 7 hours

Visited:
BādāmiGoa
Accomodation
night in Radisson Goa Candolim (Goa)

Day 18: Getting to Know Goa

After breakfast begin sightseeing in the North and South of Goa.

Visit the famous grand churches, which largely reflect European architectural styles.

The majority of these churches were built during the Portuguese regime.

Even today, Goa's churches stand tall with plenty of historical importance, as you'll find out during the tour.

Overnight in Goa.

Visited:
Goa
Accomodation
night in Radisson Goa Candolim (Goa)

Day 19: Goa’s Paradise Beaches

Feel spoilt for choice today as you enjoy the many beautiful beaches and choose from an array of water-based activities like diving or snorkelling.
In the evening you can go shopping at the local markets or the main shopping area.
Overnight in Goa.

Visited:
Goa
Accomodation
night in Radisson Goa Candolim (Goa)

Day 20: Let's Fly to Mumbai!

Board your plane to Mumbai, where upon arrival you will be greeted by our tour executive.

Check into the hotel, freshen up and visit the Elephanta caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This island is a popular destination for day trips because of its cave temples and the Elephanta Caves which have been carved out of rock.

Later on in the evening you can go shopping in Mumbai - known as a shopper's paradise! 

Shopaholics and curious types will love how Mumbai is dotted with a number of markets - Chor bazaars, Crawford markets and Dharavi markets, to name a few.

Purchase the best of the best souvenirs, and make your journey to Mumbai an incredible experience.

Overnight in Mumbai.

Visited:
Mumbai
Accomodation
night in Marine Plaza (Mumbai)

Day 21: Departure from Mumbai

Time to say goodbye! You'll be transferred to Mumbai Airport as per your flight schedule, for your onward journey home.

We hope you had an incredible time!

Visited:
Mumbai

Chennai Mahabalipuram Puducherry Darasuram Thanjavur Chettinad Madurai Periyār Lake Alappuzha Kochi Wayanad district Mysore Hassan Hospet Hampi Aihole Pattadakal Bādāmi Goa Mumbai

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. £2,280 / 21 days
Excluding international flights
2 Pax4 Pax
Price per person£2,300£2,000

Included in price:

  • 20-night accommodation in the mentioned hotels
  • Accommodation in double room
  • Breakfast is included all the hotels
  • An air conditioned Tata Indigo or Toyota Innova or Tempo Traveler depending on the total number of people with an experienced driver for all sightseeing visits and airport transfers
  • All expenses related to transport such as fuel, parking, toll fee and interstate taxes
  • All applicable government taxes
  • Vanakkam Madurai Heritage walk in Madurai
  • Bullock cart ride in Chettinadu
  • Kathakali Dance show ticket in Cochin
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tours
  • All meals in the houseboat such as ‘welcome drink’, lunch, snack, beverage (tea or coffee), dinner and breakfast (you can taste the typical Keralian cuisine)
  • Entrance fee to the monuments

Not included in price:

  • Flight and visa charges
  • Lunch and dinner at the hotels
  • Personal expenses

Itinerary not quite right for you?

Create your tailor-made trip Browse all tour ideas in India (19)

Other tour ideas

Tour ideas by activity, interest, or seasonality