A classic yet comprehensive itinerary for this 2-week tour starting from Chennai, during which you will experience the Indian way of life! This trip offers a great overview of the two essential regions of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Customizable as desired, like all of our tours.
- Day 1: Chennai International Airport – Mahabalipuram
- Welcome to India! Your driver will warmly welcome you at the airport and take you directly to Mahabalipuram. This village, an ancient port of the Pallava dynasty during the 7th century, is famous for the numerous temples it houses, as well as its beautiful beach. In the afternoon, you will embark on a guided tour of the city's archaeological site, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Shore Temple, the village of the 5 rathas, and the temple complex around the fresco of Arjuna's Penance. You will continue with a visit to various sculpture workshops, as the city has been famous for its stone sculptors for centuries, who are still very present today. Finally, the day will end with a visit to an evening school - smiles and laughter guaranteed with the children! Overnight stay on site.
- Day 2: Mahabalipuram
- Early wake-up (at 7 a.m.) to witness the return of the fishermen, an opportunity to have breakfast on the beach. You will then have the rest of the morning free to enjoy a pleasant swim and relax from your journey or simply take a stroll in the village. For lunch, you will be invited to a fisherman's family — seafood and seasonal fish will be on the menu. In the afternoon, accompanied by a guide, you will visit the Eagle Temple located on the heights of Tirukalukundram, a village located a few kilometers from the city. You will witness the pujas, the religious rituals. Finally, you will take a walk in this typical Tamil Nadu village and exchange some smiles with the locals before returning to Mahabalipuram. In the evening, you can admire a magnificent sunset on the village beach. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 3: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry
- Transfer to Pondicherry after breakfast. The two-hour drive to Pondicherry is very pleasant, as it is one of the most picturesque routes in South India. Pondicherry is a former French trading post, and the city remains the capital of the Pondicherry territories to this day. After lunch, led by your English-speaking guide, you will begin the tour of the old town, including the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo, the Manakula Vinayagar temple — dedicated to the god Ganesh —, the ashram's paper factory, the Notre Dame des Anges church, the workshop of the Sisters of Saint-Joseph de Cluny, and finally the immense covered market, the Goubert Market. In the evening, you will have a friendly experience by having dinner at your guide's home. An opportunity to savor local food and for ladies to try on saris. Overnight at your hotel.
- Day 4: Pondicherry
- This morning, a walk in the "old pondi" is on the agenda. Accompanied by your English-speaking guide, you will have the privilege of visiting some of the old colonial buildings in the city and learning a multitude of things about these Franco-Tamil architectural blends. The afternoon is free for experiencing the bustling rhythm of an Indian city by strolling along Nehru Street, the city's commercial artery, or Beach road, the promenade of Pondicherry, along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 5: Pondicherry - Thanjavur
- Early departure for the city of Tanjore, now called Thanjavur. Along the way, at the Chidambaram temple, you will witness the rituals in honor of Shiva Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. Not far from there, lush nature awaits you for a stroll through the Pichavaram mangrove. You will continue your journey to discover the ancient Chola capital of Gangaikondacholapuram, and its exceptional temple renowned for the beauty of its sculptures. After the visit, you will have lunch in a local restaurant — bhavan in Tamil —, served in a traditional manner, on a banana leaf. Finally, this day will end with a visit to a complex of temples in Darasuram, a masterpiece built by one of the greatest kings of the Chola dynasty, in the 12th century. You can witness a demonstration of silk brocade weaving in one of the small family workshops adjacent to the site. Installation at your hotel in the evening.
- Day 6: Thanjavur - Chettinadu
- Departure after breakfast for a guided tour of the city's main sites. Tanjore is famous for its sumptuous Brihadesvara temple, classified by UNESCO, built by Rajaraja Chola, the first king who built a maritime empire. Within the temple grounds, you cannot miss Nandi, a gigantic black stone bull. Quietly seated, he is the powerful guardian of the main sanctuary. Among the other historical buildings in the city are the Vijayanagar fort and the royal palace of Thanjavur, which is a true labyrinth: wide corridors, large halls, watchtowers, shaded courtyards, collections of statues of deities (Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, etc.). You will visit these monuments as well as the library of Saraswathi, the goddess of arts and letters. The great dynasties that ruled over Tanjore developed a craftsmanship that is still practiced today: there are still many workshops for bronze, glass painting, and even artisanal fabric manufacturing (saris), so there is an opportunity to visit a local workshop for making bronze statuettes, for example. In the afternoon, depart for Chettinadu. The region is home to many palaces, built in the past by the Chettiars, these great merchants who traded with neighboring Asian countries. In the late afternoon, upon your arrival, you will visit one of these palaces, the Chettinadu Mansion. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 7: Chettinadu - Madurai
- After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll in the peaceful village of Athangudi, where you will visit an artisanal workshop for the production of cement tiles before heading to Madurai. Along the way, you can make a stop at the Pillayarpatti temple, dedicated to the God Ganesh, very popular and highly venerated in the agricultural world. You will also visit a local market where you will find all kinds of natural products such as spices, coffee, etc. Lunch on the road, an opportunity to savor the cuisine specific to this region, highly renowned in Tamil Nadu. You will finally arrive in Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. This holy city, blessed by Shiva, is a major Hindu pilgrimage site. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 8: Madurai
- You will depart, if possible early in the morning, to explore the city starting with the flower market, followed by a visit to the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. Finally, you will continue with the Thirumalai Nayak palace, a royal residence built in the 17th century, combining Dravidian and Rajput architectural styles. In the late afternoon, you will visit the magnificent Meenakshi temple, where the sacred marriage of the god Shiva and the goddess Parvati was celebrated. This temple symbolically reflects the celestial union of the feminine and masculine polarities of the Universe. It is one of the rare Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu with four towers or gopurams, oriented towards each cardinal point. These are beautifully decorated with thousands of colorful deities. Return to the hotel.
- Day 9: Madurai - Thekkady
- Departure at 9am for Kerala, heading to Thekkady and its picturesque landscapes of spice and coffee plantations. You will make a stop on the way at an artisanal brick factory, and if you wish, at a grape producer. Upon arrival, you will tour the spice gardens and enrich your knowledge about the healing and aromatic properties of Indian spices. After lunch, you will visit a tea factory. For the younger ones, there will be an opportunity to visit the elephants. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 10: Thekkady - Alleppey
- Depart this morning for the famous backwaters region. You will reach the Malabar coast in the early afternoon, and there is nothing like an Ayurvedic massage to relax after these long hours on the road. The day will end beautifully with a sunset after a long boat ride through these landscapes of rice fields and coconut groves. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 11: Alleppey
- Wake up very early for a ride in a Kerala gondola. But you will not be the only witnesses to the first rays of the sun, as the crab fishermen are already busy nearby. Return to your lodge for breakfast. Accompanied by a guide, you will visit the surrounding markets and farms. You will then have bicycles at your disposal to explore and discover the neighboring villages. Return to the hotel in the evening.
- Day 12: Alleppey - Fort Kochi
- After breakfast, you will head north to reach Fort Kochi. You will surely not hesitate to stop along the way at Mararikulam for its beautiful beach lined with coconut trees. Upon your arrival in Cochin, in the late afternoon, you will attend a Kathakali dance performance and the makeup session of the dancers preceding the show. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 13: Fort Kochi
- This morning, you will stroll through the peaceful alleys of the old town, where the imprint left by the Europeans is omnipresent: Jew Town and its synagogue, the Saint-Francis Church, the oldest European church in the country, the Dutch Palace, dating back to the 16th century, as well as the Portuguese museum and the laundry district - the Dhobi Wallah, not to mention the famous Chinese fishing nets. Overnight stay on site.
- Day 14: Fort Kochi - Cochin International Airport
- Enjoy this free day before your departure for a leisurely walk and some last-minute shopping! Depending on your flight schedule, you will be transferred to the airport.
|during low season
|during peak travel season
The single room supplement is:
* Above quoted rate is Per Person. Applies to peak holiday season for 4 travelers (1st October through 31st March)
If you are traveling solo then please contact us.
Quotation is subject to change according to availability, exchange rates and government tax rise. All the rates mentioned are based on current best available rate and can be modified at the moment of the booking.
- Accommodation in 2 or 3-star hotels with breakfast included and twin-share rooms
- AC taxi with English-speaking driver
- Private English-speaking guide
Package does not include:
- The Flight tickets
- Any international airfare and airport tax
- Visa Charges
- Lunch and Dinner unless stated otherwise
- Any personal, medical and evacuation insurance
- Drinks and personal expenses
- Depending on your arrival and departure time you may have to pay for the additional nights stay.
The Covid-19 Health Crisis in South India?
As of 11/01/2023
All the restrictions related to this health crisis have been completely lifted. Travelers wishing to come to India are no longer required to undergo a PCR test or present a vaccination status. No health measures are currently affecting the daily life of Indians. Last August, mass media once again attempted to instill fear with the Nipah virus, of which less than ten cases were diagnosed in Kerala, in Kozhikode (Calicut). However, absolutely no specific measures were taken regarding it.
When to Visit South India?
Do you want to enjoy the Indian sun without suffering from the heat, with few or no rainy days? It's in the winter that you should come, more precisely between mid-December and mid-March.
The climate in South India is predominantly tropical, both dry and humid. Humid in the west — the states of Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala — and dry in the east, meaning in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The so-called humid period is characterized by more significant rainfall. The humidity level in South India is very high, and the periods of intense heat — from March to September, with May and June being the hottest months — can be challenging to endure, unless, of course, you seek refuge in mountainous areas.
When to Visit Tamil Nadu?
As mentioned above, ideally between mid-December and mid-March. The monsoon usually arrives at the end of October, and the rains become regular and abundant until at least the end of November. In recent years, heavy rains have extended until early January, causing numerous floods in the North of Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai. Conversely, if the monsoon is absent, the rains concentrate in the first half of November. During the months of July and August and until the end of September, temperatures are high, with more rainy days in August.
When to Visit Kerala?
Plan your trip between early December and late March, the most pleasant period. Considered as the garden of India, with its lush nature, Kerala experiences more significant precipitation than Tamil Nadu. There are two monsoon periods: the first starting in June and ending in September — with the heaviest rainfall observed in July and June — and a second monsoon in October, with the return of some heavy showers that taper off in November.
Internet in India?
The vast majority of hotels offer Wi-Fi. However, it is not uncommon for it not to work for various reasons! It is better to have your own access! If you have a smartphone and wish to communicate and navigate via the internet during your stay, we recommend buying a SIM card upon arrival at the airport, where this purchase is particularly facilitated for foreigners. The 30-day internet (data) package costs around 3 euros. In addition, your driver will share his own internet connection during your various journeys. Remember to inquire with your phone operator to obtain a possible unlocking code in order to substitute your French chip with the one we will provide you.