On arrival in Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, India’s fourth largest city, we welcome you to your dream vacation! At the airport in Chennai one of our staff members will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel, where you can check in.
After lunch on Wednesday, you will get to know Chennai, also known as Madras, on a short city tour. Once the first settlement of the East India Company in 1639, Madras has since been transformed into a modern city of 5.5 million inhabitants. The South Indian center of film making is found here, giving it the name of the Hollywood of India. Don’t miss the visit to St. Thomas Church, built in neo-Gothic style and bearing the name of St. Thomas the Apostle, who died here as a martyr in 52 AD. This is followed by a drive past the High Court, the Indo-Saracenic style Madras University on the way to the National Museum where sculptures from the Pandava, Pallava and Chola eras are on display.
Overnight stay in Chennai.
Afterwards you will drive 43.5 miles to Kanchipuram, which is also called the City of a Thousand Temples and is one of the Seven Holy Cities of India. People here worship Vishnu and Shiva in equal measure. Kanchipuram was successively the capital of the Pallava, the Chola and the Vijayanagar kings. An incredible number of about 200 Hindu rock cut cave temples have been preserved, several of which are among the most prominent structures of the 7th and 8th centuries. We pick out the three most important temples and visit the Kailasanatha Temple, the Ekambareshwara Temple and the Vaikunthaperumal Temple. Other highlights of Kanchipuram are the traditional silk weaving mills, where the colorful fabric for saris is made. The price depends on the weight of the gold braid. You have a wonderful opportunity to purchase a souvenir for yourself here in the silk weavers’ cooperative.
We continue for another 40 miles to Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) on the Bay of Bengal. The city’s name can be translated as The city of Mamalla, the Great Fighter, immortalizing the Pallava ruler Narasimha Varma I, whose initiative led to the construction of most of the local temples in what was once an important seaport. Rock reliefs and magnificent temples tell us about this era. Today Mahabalipuram is a village characterized by fishermen and stonemasons.
Overnight at the beach hotel in Mahabalipuram.
Right after breakfast, sightseeing in Mamallapuram is on the agenda. This site has monuments with many sculptural features to admire. Here, in a picturesque setting of sea and sandy beaches, you can get an idea of the main temple styles that defined temple construction in Tamil Nadu for a long time. In the era of the Pallava Kingdom Mamallapuram was a port city. Today it is a center of sculpture and home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but more on that later. There is a variety of sights to see; caves, monolithic temples like the Five Rathas, and varied reliefs in the stone walls depicting fables from the Panchatantras and scenes from Hindu mythology. We visit the largest and most important bas-relief in the world, the 7th century Arjuna’s Penance or The Penance of Arjuna, carved into a cliff. It is a fabulous 90 ft. long and 30 ft. high relief. The central gap of the rock was used to represent the holy river Ganges. On both parts are depicted mythical creatures, as well as people and animals. The relief got its name from the epic Mahabharata, the story of the archer Arjuna, who repents so that the gods give him a bow with which he can defeat his enemies. We then look at the monolithic temple called the Five Rathas, built in the form of a magnificent chariot and also known as Pancha Pandava Rathas. Here, five temples were carved out of monoliths, each in a different style. And to finish this tour, we will stop at the Shore Temple. It is the oldest temple in South India and was built in the 8th century in Dravidian style. It now has the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has two shrines, one for Vishnu and one for Shiva. The beach temples and the Arjuna’s Penance Relief are the main sights of Mamallapuram, and even today it is possible to look over the shoulder of the local stonecutters at work.
The afternoon is spent relaxing at the beach.
Overnight at the beach hotel in Mahabalipuram.
We travel to Pondicherry, the capital of the former French colony with the same name. It has grown from a fishing village into a tranquil town and has managed to preserve the charm of the French era, so we are always reminded of its heritage, whether on the beach or in the old town. There are a lot of French schools, and the inhabitants amuse themselves playing pétanque or reading French newspapers. The rebuilt city was originally laid out by the French in a geometric shape and surrounded by a belt of boulevards. The main sight is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram founded by the philosopher Sri Aurobindo, The Venerable (1872-1950).
A very interesting part of the program is a visit to the 1960’s settlement Auroville. Here people from all parts of the world live together, following an ecological lifestyle in a peaceful and spiritual community. The idea originated from The Mother who was the spiritual successor of Shri Aurobindo. Of the 1,800 people living together in communes here, about two-thirds are foreigners, but there is still a long way to go before the targeted number of 50,000 residents is reached. The architecturally experimental buildings fit harmoniously into the landscape of red earth and fresh greenery with its narrow paths. All kinds of agricultural products and handicraft items are produced, which also find grateful buyers outside Auroville, because their high quality is widely known.
Stroll along the seafront promenade at dusk on your 30 Day South India Travel tour and you may think you are in a Mediterranean seaside town – until you see the gigantic statue of Gandhi. At the beach cafes you will find coq au vin on the menu, alongside a spicy chicken curry.
We will spend the night in the old quarter of this city, still saturated with French influences like the rues and boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries.
Overnight stay in Pondicherry!
On a route lined with hundreds of temples and rice fields we drive to Tanjore (Thanjavur), the former capital of the Chola Empire which lasted between the 8th and 13th centuries. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tanjore is also called the rice basket of Tamil Nadu and can be recognized from a distance by the imposing temple towers or gopurams of the Brihadeeswara Temple.
On the way we visit the Gangai Konda Cholapuram Temple and Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram, which together with the Brihadeswara Temple of Tanjore belong to the group of The Great Living Chola temples and have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. These three temples, built of granite and dedicated to Shiva, provide a historical picture of the development of the art and architecture of the Chola culture. They are representative of the progression of Chola civilizations, which defeated the Pallavan dynasty who constructed Mahabalipuram, and went on to flourished from the 10th to the 13th centuries.
Our first stop is at the Heritage Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, also a UNESCO Site and an exquisite architectural wonder. Rajendra Chola I (971 – 1044), who succeeded his famous father Rajaraja Chola I was responsible for the construction of this temple, which he built to celebrate his capture of the Ganges plains. The temple was actually built in 1020 and is in good shape with its numerous graceful sculptures depicting the various mythologies associated with Shiva and Vishnu. The temple’s outstanding architecture boasts a nine-story vimanam or temple tower that extends to a height of 185 feet. The entire temple is covered with detailed intricate carvings exclusive to Chola style artistry. Its stone sculptures include a dancing Ganesha, an elaborately decorated sculpture crowned with a lion’s head, a massive stone lingam (Shiva phallus) and an exquisite frieze depicting King Rajendra Chola crowned by Shiva and Parvati. Unlike the Brihadeswara Temple of Tanjore and the Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram, the temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a non-working temple.
Continuing south on the Great South India Journey, we visit the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram (UNESCO), the third and newest of the three extraordinary World Heritage Chola Temples. It was built in the 12th century by Rajaraja Chola II, a descendant of Rajaraja who built the Brihadeswara Temple in Thanjavur. Unlike Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the Vimana or Tower of the Holy of Holies is only 79 feet high. In fact, the entire complex is smaller. What makes it exceptional is the magnificent quality of the detailed sculptures that bring this temple to life. Some wonderful friezes, carved on the outer walls of the main temple include scenes with dancers and musicians, as well as the usual deities. Some intricate wall carvings depict warfare. One of the beautifully carved figures is that of a pregnant lady with a manifestation of Lord Shiva showing his people the correct position to give birth. One of the creatures depicted is Yali, a mythological animal to keep away evil and which has the face of a lion, the body of a seahorse, the trunk of an elephant and the tail of a bull. Of particular charm is a hall or mandapa built like a horse-drawn chariot. Outside the temple walls is a magnificent shrine to Ganesh, the elephant god and son of the god Shiva. The shrine is the famous worship center among the locals, who are often seen there offering food and flowers.
Upon arrival in Tanjore, you will be transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to spent at your leisure at the Ideal River View Resort, picturesquely situated on the banks of the sleepy Cauvery River.
Overnight stay in Tanjore.
After breakfast, we set out for the world famous Brihadeshwara Temple. A prime example of Chola architecture, the temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Chola and dedicated to the god Shiva, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entrance to the temple courtyard is through two enormous towers or gopurams. Here, in the pavilion in front of the temple building, one can marvel at India’s third largest Nadi bull, a bull that represents Shiva’s mount. A 13 ft. high lingam stands in the inner sanctum and a 200 ft. high tower rises above it, surpassing the two temple towers at the entrance. The granite dome is formed by a monolith weighing 88 tons and was raised with a 3.7-mile-long ramp, like the ones used by the Egyptians when they built the pyramids. In the courtyard of the temple there are three smaller temples. The main temple has several pillared halls, 250 linga (representations of Shiva’s creative power embedded in the outer walls) and several shrines. Next we visit the Thanjavur Royal Palace which houses an incomparable collection of bronze sculptures. It was built on the one hand by the Marathas and on the other hand by the Nayaks from Madurai in the 16th th century.
In the afternoon we will make an excursion to Tiruchirapally, often shortened to Trichy. On the way there, we stop in a village on the outskirts of Tanjore to watch how bronze statues are made and glass is painted the traditional way. Trichy is a very lively town with narrow bazaar alleys. Due to its location on the Cauvery, one of the largest rivers in southern India, it looks like a green oasis. Here we visit the famous Rockfort Temple and the Ganesh Temple, which was built at a height of 272 ft. on a rock that is 3.8 million years old, the oldest in the history of the earth. As you climb 430 steps, you pass a tunnel that was carved into the rock. Again and again you pass small cave temples from the 7th century. Once at the top, you are rewarded with a breath-taking view of the city and the Cauvery River, as well as the Shirangam Temple Complex, located on an island in the river.
This temple town of Shirangam is also our next stop, and what looked so manageable from above now turns out to be a huge complex with 21 towers stretching over 1.55 miles. Without a doubt, it is one of the most magnificent complexes in all of India. It is surrounded by seven walls and there are even vehicles inside. The Ranganathasvami Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, is one of the largest temples in South India. It is also famous for its magnificent sculptures. Next we look at the Jambukeshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva, which with its five walls and seven gopurams is one of the largest in Tamil Nadu, and certainly one of the most beautiful. Brahmins live in this district. In the end, you will return to Tanjore for your overnight stay with many impressions of the vibrant bazaars, the labyrinthine courtyards, the devotees, and much more. After the trip we return to Tanjore.
Overnight stay in Tanjore.
Today we travel to Kanadukathan, located in the heart of Chettinad and home to a unique style of sumptuous southern cooking. A 19th century Chettinad mansion, now converted into a boutique hotel, will be our home. We will explore local markets, learn about local vegetables, fruits and spices, and hone our cooking skills and knowledge of South Indian food.
The Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu is the homeland of the Chettiar, a successful trading group that made great fortunes over centuries by trading in India and abroad. Many returned to their small ancestral villages to build enormous mansions, often with 30 to 40 bedrooms. These are used for family gatherings and displayed as prominent statements of their Chettinad origins. The villas are often built with teak imported from Burma, where the Chettiar had a trading presence, and are filled with family heirlooms from generations of successful merchants and travelers.
The first stop is at an old grand residence, the Chettinadu Mansion. Lunch will introduce you to the region’s famous curry, the oiliest, most fragrant and hottest in the country according to many. Mostly vegetarian, it is made of an endless number of special spices, always including masala and invariably the essential boiled egg on top. Some of the ingredients which gives this curry its distinctive spiciness are star anise seeds, cinnamon, peppercorns, nutmeg, bay leaves, the unusual black stone flower which is a species of lichen, as well as marathi mokku, the dried buds of the Kapok tree.
Many of the Chettinad villas fill an entire street block, with an entrance on the front street and the exit on the street at the back. A typical Chettinad mansion will have a wide entrance way leading to the thinnai, the front porch which in turn leads to a large veranda. From the veranda one moves into a large space where celebrations like weddings are held. A corridor connects the hall to the next veranda and the next. The different verandas are surrounded by the family’s living spaces and storage areas, sometimes as many as a hundred! A number of mansions have spacious rooms running the length of the veranda, seating up to a thousand people. On your Great South India Tour, you will have the opportunity to walk through a few of these palatial villas. The janitors or owners are always very proud to point out fine wood carvings on the doors, the beautiful Spanish ceiling tiles, Belgium mirrors, Italian marble tiles, Burmese teak columns and other exotic decorations used to decorate the interior. The walls have a soft sheen even after so many decades because of the mixture of lime and egg whites they were coated with. The houses were designed to stay cool during the warm summer months and still use the water systems installed a hundred years ago.
Next on the itinerary of your 30 Day South India Trip is a visit to a tile workshop in Athangudi. Here you will learn the ingenious techniques in which a simple stencil and color is used to create the stunning floor tiles with their amazing geometric, floral and Turkish designs. The superior quality of these tiles are due to the unique skills passed down from generation to generations and the high quality of the water and soil used to make the tiles.
At a weaving center, there will be time to watch these skilled craftsmen creating stunning cotton fabrics. These cloths and colorful saris are for sale at very reasonable prices as there are no middleman involved and the income of all sales goes straight to the weavers.
Stay overnight at the Chettinadu Mansion.
After breakfast, we will drive to Madurai where the famous temple Shree Meenakshi is the destination of thousands of devout Hindus who come here on pilgrimage from all over India. The imposing structure can be recognized from a great distance by its four colorful temple towers or gopurams.
In the afternoon we visit the Meenakshi Temple Complex. This is the most important temple complex in all of South India and probably the best place to feel the religiosity, especially in the mornings and evenings when the temple gods are worshipped. The entire complex covers an area of 6 hectares and is surrounded by an outer wall and an inner wall. To enter, one passes four outer and eight inner temple towers, each of which is painted with incredible artistry, mainly depicting mythical creatures and figures of gods. The complex has a complete infrastructure of streets, bazaars, stores and ponds, as well as a hall with 100 pillars, a sacred lake, long colonnades and, of course, the main shrine. Numerous Brahmins reside in the temple. There are an incredible 33 million representations of deities in stucco and stone, so you will certainly not be bored. During the ceremonial procession in the temple every evening, the statue of Shiva is carried to the shrine of the goddess Meenakshi.
In the evening, you will take a cycle rickshaw through the narrow bazaar streets to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in 1636 in the Indo-Saracen style, where there are musical pillars and magnificent ambulatories to see.
Overnight stay in Madurai.
Right after breakfast we leave for the day trip to Rameshwaram, a holy city at the southern tip of India. The city and a temple are located on the island of Pamban, surrounded by palm trees and only 30 km from Sri Lanka. We move away from the tourist crowds to travel though a pristine region with agricultural activities involving rice, coconut palms and sugar cane, and numerous brick kilns.
Over a narrow headland across the 2 mile- long bridge we reach the town of Rameshwaram. In the past, it was possible to take a train across a railroad bridge to the southern tip, where one could then take a ferry to Sri Lanka. Worth mentioning are the beautiful beaches in the area and the Pamban Bridge.
Rameshwaram is considered the holiest temple town in India and is also famous because Lord Rama stayed here before going to war in Sri Lanka. It is the only pilgrimage city in the south; the remaining three are far away. The local center is also known as the Varanasi of the South. We will show you one of twelve Indian Jyotirlingas, divine manifestation of Shiva perceivable only on a spiritual level, the Linga of Sri Ranganatha. It is believed that the one who can see pillars of fire rising here from the earth is on a higher spiritual level of perception, and that a visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory for attaining salvation.
You will visit one of the holiest places in India, the Ramanathaswami Temple, and then take a three-wheeler to the southern tip for a leisurely picnic. Afterwards you will return to Madurai to see the craft of brick making in a brickyard where cow dung is still used as fuel alongside wood. Gas is the absolute exception and electricity is cut off during the rainy season. After this we return to Madurai.
Overnight stay in Madurai.
After breakfast we will visit the southern cape of India, the Kanya Kumari, where three seas meet and one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage centers is located. Before that we will stop at Padmanabapuram Palace, which was once the summer residence of the Maharaja of Travancore and has great art historical significance with its opulent wood carvings.
Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin is a magical place where the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea converge, and the sun and moon rise simultaneously on the night of the full moon, something that does not occur anywhere else in India. It attracts pilgrims from all over the world who come to visit the temple dedicated to the Virgin. After the death of Mahatma Gandhi, his ashes were kept here until they were offered to the sea. On an island, the Gandhi Memorial is precisely aligned so that on October 2, his birthday, the sun’s rays illuminate the former repository of his ashes. Next door, on a neighboring island, you can visit the Vivekanand Rock Memorial, erected in memory of meditation practiced here in 1892 by the eminent Indian philosopher Swami Vivekanand.
From Kanyakumari we continue to the beach hotel in Kovalam, and upon arrival you will immediately know that the long journey was worth it.
You are at the very popular and beautiful beach of Kerala, which fortunately is much less crowded with tourists than the other beaches of Goa. Cute and cosy restaurants invite you to spoil yourself on freshly caught seafood.
For a perfect quiet night, we have chosen a resort a few beaches away, 10 minutes by tuktuk from Kovalam, with a full spa offering Ayurveda, a variety of massages and alternative treatments. A delightful little house is ready for you on this dream beach, made of the finest teak and comfortably furnished.
Overnight stay in beach hotel in Kovalam.
You have a free day in paradise, which you can use for sunbathing, swimming and reading in a hammock. The relaxed atmosphere of Kovalam is guaranteed to infect you. Stroll along Kovalam’s beaches and splash around in the warm, shallow water, then grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent restaurants. As a backdrop, there are colorful fishing boats bobbing on the waves. It is pure relaxation.
Overnight stay in a beach hotel in Kovalam.
Today, on one of the highlights of the trip, we head to Alleppey, the center of the backwaters, where around noon you will start a cruise in your own houseboat. The vast waterways in the hinterland of Kerala with its countless lakes, rivers and lagoons, as well as the Arabian Sea to the west, is paradise. During your relaxed houseboat ride, you will first cross Lake Vembanand and then admire unforgettable landscapes and fishing villages in the narrow channels of the backwaters, where people have built their houses right on the river banks. The quiet pace of the houseboat allows you to look at everything up close and in detail so as to imprint the memories in your mind.
At dusk, incense and oil lamps are lit everywhere to keep the mosquitoes away, providing an impressive spectacle as the myriad lights float across the water and exotic scents fill the air. You are immersed in Indian country life. It is not for nothing that the backwaters are called the Venice of the East. This is also a wonderful place for nature lovers, since there is a great variety of animals, especially birds. Enjoy typical Kerala dishes served on banana leaves.
The houseboats are pure luxury and have bedrooms with double beds, individual bathrooms, a small kitchen in the back, as well as air conditioning and fans, so that this overnight stay becomes an extraordinary experience. For the night we have chosen romantic settings to cast anchor.
The backwaters are located in the hinterland of the Malabar coast in the state of Kerala and covers an area of 734 square miles, which is intensively used for agriculture. The focus is on rubber, rice, coconut palms and cashew trees. Fishing and fish farming also play an important role. The backwaters have a centuries-old trade tradition and have always been part of an important traffic route. The typical barges called Kettuvallams are primarily used to transport cargo, but recently they have also been converted into luxurious houseboats.
Overnight stay on the houseboat.
Today, while enjoying breakfast, we can once again contemplate the landscapes passing by the houseboat and absorb the peacefulness. Immediately upon arrival in Kumarakom, you will be transferred to your hotel right on the backwaters.
Kumarakom is a small town and is located right on the largest freshwater lake in Asia, Lake Vembanand. Today you can enjoy and spend at your leisure. You can simply watch the fishermen, relax with an Ayurvedic massage or read a book. It is a day for sweet idleness and for this Kumarakom offers the perfect scenery.
Overnight stay at the Backwater Resort in Kumarakom.
In the morning we visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, especially famous for its wild elephants. On the way you can visit a tea factory and a rubber plantation and smell the aromas of the spice road in Thekkady. You will see an incredible variety of spices, including ginger, pepper, cardamom and nutmeg. Your hotel also has its own herb garden, which offers everything the Orient is known for; cinnamon, pepper, pistachios and rhubarb.
In the afternoon we leave the mainland for a boat safari through the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a variety of wildlife to see here with monkeys, deer, leopards, wild dogs, Indian bison and countless bird species. And with a little luck you may spot one of the 36 tigers. But as mentioned, it is especially the elephants that amaze everyone here, as we watch them walk along the banks in the fresh grass or take a refreshing dip in the water.
In the evening, as we stroll through the market of Thekkady, the smell of freshly cut spices sold at every corner of this small town increases the urge to visit one of the spice stores. Along with spices, products such as spiced chocolates, spiced preserves, speciality teas and coffees are also worth purchasing.
Overnight stay in Thekkady
Today you will travel on to Munnar in the highlands of the Nilgiri Mountains, the former summer residence of the British and one of the main centers of Indian tea production. Surrounded by endless tea plantations and close to India’s highest mountain, the 8530 ft. high Anaimudi lies south of the Himalayas, and true treasures for the distinguished tea lover are produced here.
Upon arrival, you book into your hotel which has wonderful views of the tea plantations from the rooms.
You will get to know Munnar with its over 55,000 hectares of tea plantations and make a side trip to the Eravikulam National Park in the Munnar Hills. After lunch, a tour of a tea factory and a visit to the Mattupetty Reservoir are on the agenda. You will then have the opportunity to stroll through the Munnar market before spending the rest of the day at leisure. You certainly will not have a hard time enjoying the home of cardamom!
Those who wish, can join a drive to the Rajamalai Sanctuary, located just 7.5 miles from Munnar. It is the last retreat of the extremely rare Nilgiri tahrs, the Indian wild goats which are not shy at all and love to be photographed.
Overnight stay in Munnar.
The next stop is Cochin or in the new variant Kochi, a museum city that perfectly combines the turbulent history and the lively present, adorning itself with names such as Queen of the Arabian Sea, Venice of the Orient, etc. The Portuguese and Dutch influences are clearly visible in the island city, as from 1503 to 1663 Cochin was part of Portugal after which it was ruled by the Dutch. In 1814, the British era of the largest city in the state of Kerala began. Its importance as a port city where textiles, fish and gold are handled for trade, is unbroken, only the spices have lost importance.
Immediately upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel for a short rest.
Afterwards we leave for the city tour, the Pearl of the Arabian Sea, to take a closer look at the economic and cultural center of Kerala. In the harbor surrounding the fort, you can admire the Chinese fishing nets, not seen in any other place in India, a relic of the era of the Maharajas who maintained good relations with the court of Kublai Khan. Another indication of the former settlement of the Chinese are the conical roofs of the fishermen’s huts. In stark contrast are the colonial buildings and avenues of the Portuguese, Dutch and British seen behind the nets. Fortunately, there are hardly any high-rise buildings in Fort Cochin, so the original character has been preserved.
The main sights are the Maharaja palace with its famous murals on the Mattancherry, Bolgatty Palace located on Bolgatty Island, St. Francis Church, which contains the tomb of Vasco da Gama, and the synagogue, which reveals that Cochin traditionally always had a substantial Jewish community. There are some antique stores worth seeing, run by local Jews. Next, we take a tour of Ernakulam, which could be described as Cochin’s modern sister on the mainland. A local guide shows us the bazaar street, also called Broadway. After the leisurely stroll, we return to the hotel.
In the evening, you will get a cultural treat when you attend a special performance of the Kathakali Dance Theater, which uses colorful costumes to bring to life the tales of the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana from Indian mythology. It is a dance form typical of Kerala with music, costumes and opulent makeup. Kathakali can be translated as an acted story and what makes it special is that there is no text. The stories are told solely through dance and facial expressions, with eye movements playing an important role. The performers are exclusively male, even for the female roles. They are trained since childhood, because it takes about 10 years to completely learn the gestures, facial expressions and choreography, and a high degree of discipline and patience is required to rehearse the movements so that they express the particular meaning in each case.
Overnight stay in Cochin.
The next stop on your journey is Ooty, located about 7217 ft. high in the northwest of Tamil Nadu, passing several nature reserves on the way up the Nilgiri Mountains. The town with typical colonial era mansions, discovered in 1821 by British soldiers as a summer resort for the English, is also called Udhagamandalam or Queen of the Hill Stations, in reference to colonial architecture. It is located at the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats of Peninsular India in the Nilgiri Mountains. The temperate climate gives the small town great popularity as a resort.
After your arrival in Ooty, transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight stay in Ooty.
In the morning, we take the UNESCO Nilgiri Blue Mountain Railway, also called the Nilgiri Toy Train from Ooty to the tea planter and bazaar town of Coonoor, located at the upper end of the Hulikal Gorge at an altitude of 6096 ft. It will feel as if you have been transported to a bygone era as you ride the 19th century narrow-gauge mountain railroad with its Swiss factory built steam locomotive at walking pace through tea and coffee plantations. The 22-mile ride takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Afterwards, the journey is considerably faster, as a car will be waiting for you at the Coonoor train station to take you back to Ooty.
Here a visit to the Botanical Garden with its 650 different plant species from different countries is on the program. In this idyllic place, founded in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweed, you can admire palms and other exotic plants in the wild, which usually only thrive in your living room at home.
Afterwards, you will visit the huts of the Toda tribe, whose members, who speak their own language, are said to be descendants of the army of Alexander the Great. Lake Ooty is a worthwhile destination not only for lovers of boating or fishing, and the wax museum with the replicas of famous personalities such as Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. is an entertaining pleasure.
Finally, enjoy the panoramic view of the endless tea plantations from the Doddabetta viewpoint, and to stay right on topic, stop by a tea factory with an integrated museum so you can learn all about tea production in Ooty.
Overnight stay in Ooty.
We begin the next morning with a journey to the Kabini River with wild wetlands along its banks where animals come to drink and birds fish for their suppers. In the hot summer months, the water level reduces and grassy banks attract grazing animals.
Once in Kabini, the resort will help you check in and get settled. You will then enjoy a delicious lunch and have time to reset before the afternoon activity of a Kabini River boating safari.
Experience Culture Activities at the Hotel in the Evenings
After dinner, gather with others to witness a Kurubu tribal dance performed by professionals who have studied and practiced the traditional steps. This will take place in the open air near a campfire just as the dance would have been performed many years ago. Although traditionally a festival dance, the troupe is happy to present it to visitors to entertain and education them. Through the power of the dance, the tribal gods are asked to visit and bless everyone involved.
You can also visit the hotel lounge to watch a film presentation about the local ecosystems and mysterious nature in all its glory.
Alternative: Instead of Kabini and Nagarhole National Parks, Visit the Bandipur National Park.
After breakfast, you will drive about 3 hours to Bandipur National Park where the largest herd of elephants in all of India can be found. Located in the middle of the Western Ghats in the Beunda State of Kanataka, Bandipur National Park, which also includes the neighboring wildlife sanctuaries of Wayanad in Kerala and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu, it is also home to sloths, deer, leopards, macaques, wild dogs and many more. There are very few national parks in Asia that are home to large elephant populations. Bandipur became one of the first tiger reserves in India in 1973 and was selected by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for the Tiger Scheme Project.
Upon arrival in Bandipur, you can first relax in the comfortable hotel surrounded by the greenery of nature.
In the late afternoon a jeep will pick you up for the evening safari. Now is the moment to face the elephants! And with a little luck you can also capture tigers on camera. The open jeep is ideal for this, so photo equipment and binoculars should be brought along. After this adventure you will be brought back to the hotel.
Stay at the Kaav Safari Lodge.
Optional: Here, at an additional fee, animal lovers can add a few extra days to their tour for visits to the national park, where jeep safaris take place in the mornings and evenings.
During the morning, you will go on a guided nature walk of 1.5 hours in Kabini, starting from 7am to 8:30 am.
Suggested Morning Activities for Free Time
Kabini Coracle Ride – 20 minutes
For adventurous visitors, a ride in a small round coracle boat is something not to be missed. These ecologically sound boats are piloted with paddles in any direction you choose at any time. Since the boats are perfectly round like a large bowl, it can feel rather odd to figure out which way to turn next. They do allow you, however, to get closer to the shoreline and the animals that congregate near it than the long boats do. Just remember to balance well!
Try out your physical prowess and luck by hopping aboard a coracle and try to pilot it along the river edge without tipping over and getting everyone wet.
Bicycle Rides in Kabini
The resort has bicycles for four adults and two children available to borrow. Cycling is an excellent way to explore the surrounding landscape and the town to see how the local people go about their daily lives. The bicycles are also suitable for dirt roads if you would rather see more of nature than built-up areas.
Kayak Excursions In Kabini
Discover the waterways on your own or with a friend in a kayak. They are easier to maneuver than a coracle so you can explore more and get some nice upper-body exercise. Watch the wildlife from a distance when you paddle around the reservoir. Find the perfect position to snap a picture of wading and flying birds along the lush green shores.
In the afternoon there is a 4-Wheel Afternoon Safari in the Nagarhole National Park, after which you will be driven back to the Resort Hotel for the overnight stay.
Optional Night Tour
Experience a nocturnal Kabini adventure after the sun goes down. All of the animals and birds you saw during the day talked themselves out of sight, and now a new world emerges. Grab your flashlight and stay close as you explore the nighttime world around this teaming river.
Follow the guiding naturalists to the riverbanks to discover the unseen world of creatures that live, eat, and do everything but sleep after the sun goes down. You will see lizards and spiders, moths and beetles, and owls soaring silently overhead. There are even plants that bloom at night to attract nocturnal pollinators.
Adventurous nature lovers will enjoy this nighttime ramble down the banks of the Kabini River. Not only is it a very unusual exploration, but it can teach you much about the smaller parts of the food web that many people never think about.
Today you will conquer the city of fragrances and silk, Mysore. Here jasmine, incense and sandalwood, one of the basic materials for perfume production, are produced. Rich maharajas lived in Mysore, so the city truly earned the nickname of City of Palaces.
In the morning we start with the magnificent Maharajah’s Palace built in 1857, which was the seat of the Wodeyars at that time. With arches and colonnades of gleaming marble and grand proportions, it is a prime example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, combining diverse elements from European, Rajput and Indo-Islamic with traditional Hindu architecture. Here, the lavish lifestyle of the rulers of Mysore from the turn of the century is reflected in exuberant splendor. Unfortunately, there is a strict ban on photography. You will have to memorize the treasures of inestimable value without technical aids, a treasure of ivory, precious stones, gold and silver, as well as antiques. The largest palace in the area is lit up on Sunday evenings with countless lights to remind everyone of the magical world of 1001 Nights.
Afterwards you will drive to the Chamundi Hill, 1.8 miles outside Mysore, and 3806 ft. above sea level with the Sri Chamundashwari Temple from the 12th century and a magnificent view. A 131 ft. high gopuram was added to the temple about 300 years ago. You can see what is probably the largest monolithic Nandi, Shiva’s mount, halfway up the hill. It was carved from the rock in 1659. A statue of the demon Mahishasura can also be seen nearby.
In the evening you will have the opportunity to go to Krishnarajasagar Lake on the Cauvery River, which was artificially created during the largest dam project in Karnataka, and which was constructed entirely without cement using only stone and mortar. The Brindavan Gardens below, with their water features and terraces illuminated in the evening and framed by watercourses in the Islamic tradition, are very popular.
Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to stroll through one of India’s most colorful bazaars, the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market.
Overnight stay in Mysore.
First you will drive to Srirangapatna, 9 miles away, where the enormous fort, built at the end of the 18th century in the era of the Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan, awaits you with its temples, mosques and palaces. In defending the complex against the British, Tipo Sultan earned the name of the Tiger of Mysore, but ultimately could not win, so Srirangapatnam fell as one of the last bastions. Fortunately, some important buildings remained intact and still give a picture of the splendor and strength of the former empire, while other parts can only be seen as ruins due to the destruction by the English. In addition to the mausoleum and the fort, you will also visit the two-story summer palace built in 1784 almost entirely of teak in the North Indian Mughal style. It is surrounded by an ornate garden and stands on a square platform. The rich decorations such as partly gilded interior walls with glass and mirror work, as well as frescoes are truely impressive, and splendid paintings on the exterior and a pretty veranda complete the picture. The palace now houses a museum displaying various pieces from Tipu Sultan’s estate.
Next on the program is the small village Somnathpur 20 miles away. Here you can visit the only complete and best preserved of the original 80 Hoysala Temples from the 13th century. With its elaborate star-shaped layout, the main shrine stands like a jewel in the middle of a well-kept and peaceful park. Special mention should be made of superimposed relief bands artfully integrated into the high base by the stonemasons.
At the end of the day you will be driven back the 30 miles to Mysore.
Overnight stay in Mysore.
You will have breakfast and then start the drive to Coorg in the highlands of the Western Ghats, which still belongs to the state of Karnataka despite the urge for independence and melancholic yearning of its inhabitants. The local people, the Kodavas or Coorgis, are famous for their very own rites and customs. Driving up the narrow curves, you will have an excellent view of the lush green valleys with their orange and coffee plantations. The Orange County Hotel is idyllically situated on a lake and surrounded by plantations.
On the way you make a stop in the nearby Tibetan enclave, where you suddenly feel transported to the Himalayas, because here there are Buddhist exile monks, stupas and typical Tibetan handicrafts, and that in the middle of South India! Near Kodagu, Tibetans established one of the largest Tibetan settlements outside their homeland in the 1960s. Visit Sera Je Monastery, a training center for monks, and Namdroling Monastery with its wonderful golden temple.
Built in 1970, the monastery was constructed near the edge of Coorg on land given to the Tibetan refugees by the Maharaja of Mysore. These people fled from Tibet after the 1959 uprising to attempt to push out Chinese forces. The refugees tried to build themselves a home away from home and succeed with Bylakuppe and Dharamsala. These towns and other settlements in between were mostly occupied during the 1960s.
Now, when you visit the Namdroling Monastery, you will walk past Tibetan monks all decked out in red robes. They debate and argue, strike poses and sometimes raise their voice in their vigorous conversations with each other. Even if their behavior seems shocking to you, understand that the Vajrayana Buddhist teachings actually have strict rules about how to debate that are always followed. To get away from the noise, peek into the Golden Temple to view the magnificent three golden Buddha statues.
Afternoon Coffee Plantation Tour
Visit The Giving Tree in the southern region of Coorg to take a guided tour of a working coffee plantation. In this hour-long walk, you can collect beans, listen to engaging and informative talks, learn about other crop trees like passion fruit creepers and avocados, and experience first-hand how a large farm and farmhouse operate in India. Meet the host’s many animals, feed them by hand, and take a few minutes to try your hand at fishing. After the walk, return to the house for fresh fruit juice and brewed coffee. Keep your eyes open for the multitude of butterflies that live in the area. You can even buy some coffee to take back with you if the wonderful memories are not enough.
The nearby rice paddies will provide more farmland education and interesting insight if you go at the time of year when they are flooded with water and actively growing. It is a thrill to see how the rice goes from a simple seed to one of the most commonly consumed foods on earth.
Overnight in Coorg.
Today you will travel on to Hassan, stopping on the way at one of the most famous centers for Jain pilgrims, Shravanabelagola. Here, on the top of Mount Indra, you can admire the 1,000-year-old colossal statue of Gomateswar, a Jain saint, carved out of a granite monolith and measuring 57.5 ft. in height. You will not find a bigger one in the whole world! In a religious ceremony held only once every twelve years, the statue is covered by a priest with honey, butterfat, coconut milk, saffron and other precious offerings, attracting Jain pilgrims from all over the country.
Upon arrival in Hassan, check into the hotel. Then you can enjoy the highlights of Hoysala architecture in Belur and Halebid.
The heyday of Belur was about 800 years ago during the Hoysala Dynasty. The Chennakesava Temple, which has been preserved in excellent condition, is a reminder of this period. It is a unique testimony to the ingenuity of the Hoysala craftsmen. The outer walls, made of polished black stone, depict scenes from the aforementioned period, with each individual figure extremely delicately crafted with minute details. The interior decoration of the temple deserves special mention. Here pilgrims and tourists from all over the world gather.
Near Belur, in Halebid one can admire the sister temple, Hoysalesvara, dedicated to Shiva the Auspicious One, one of the most important forms of the divinity in Hinduism.
The temple of Halebid is not as large as the Dravidian temples, but there is no lack of works of art to be seen around every corner. A magnificent wall relief depicts more than 2,000 elephants with riders, each one individually designed. Also depicted are dancing gods, as well as scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana. There are also warriors, mystical beings, lions, horses, birds, floral designs and celestial maidens of unimaginable grace. Here the myths of the Indian world of gods come to life. Afterwards you will be taken back to the hotel in Hassan.
Overnight in Hassan.
Today you will travel on to Hampi by road.
In the afternoon, we will visit the ancient village of Hampi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and former capital of the 14th to 16th century Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi is set in a rugged rocky landscape. The enormous bulwark against the Muslims was built in 1336. For about two hundred years, trade in spices, jewels and cotton brought great wealth to the city until it was conquered and plundered by the Mughals in 1565. Several wars against the Muslims almost completely destroyed the city of Hampi, but even the ruins tell their story and make many experts draw the comparison to the Egyptian pyramids. The remains of forts, palaces, temples, pavilions, victory gates, aqueducts with their still functioning water supply system, and baths and stables testify to the power and splendor of the bygone era. The fall of Hampi still puzzles archaeologists today. The remains of the city cover an area of 10 square miles, so it is easy to imagine the hustle and bustle with market criers in the bazaar, caravans passing through and women in splendid colorful saris washing their clothes by the river Tungabhadra. History comes alive here!
The highlight is the visit to the Queen’s Bath, a rectangular Rajasthani-style bath with ornate balconies, verandas and a gallery. In its day, cold perfumed water poured into the basin in a small waterfall, then drained through an underground channel. The bathing experience must have been unique, as one had an unobstructed view of the open sky and was protected from all sides, a good example of the luxurious life in Hampi. Another part of the UNESCO cultural heritage is the Vithala Temple, designed by the artists of the Vijaynagar rulers, which stands 1.2 miles east of the bazaar. The pillars of this wonderful work of art are so skilfully tuned that they literally have musical qualities, and the walls are decorated with intricate carvings. The royal scales next to the Vithala Temple have a unique past; legend has it that jewels, gold and food were weighed here before being distributed to the Brahmins. Another example of Dravidian architecture, the Raghunath Temple can be found on the top of a hill, offering a picturesque panorama at sunset. One of the oldest structures of Hampi is the Virupaksha Temple near the bazaar. The Achyutraya Temple, an enormous temple complex dedicated to the god Vishnu, also deserves attention. Vishnu is depicted here reclining on the coils of a snake. The Lotus Mahal in the walled part of Zanana, a pavilion near the Hazara Ram Temple, is magnificent.
Overnight stay in Hampi.
Tip: In the above 5 to 6-hour sightseeing trip, we have covered the main sights of Hampi. The archaeological site of Hampi is huge. If you want to explore Hampi in full, we recommend another one-day stay.
Right after breakfast, you start your journey to Badami, enjoying the diverse enchanting landscape of Karnataka with vast plains on the Deccan Plateau crisscrossed by meandering roads. There are endless betel nut plantations and fields of sunflowers and sugarcane that benefit from the fertility of the hinterland.
You will stop at the other two corners of Karnataka’s Golden Triangle, where India’s first temples, the Chalukya Dynasty Temples were built during the 6th to 9th centuries. At more than 100 temples in the area of Aihole you can learn a lot about the Indian architecture throughout the different eras, starting with the oldest temple from the 5th century, the Ladkhan Temple, through countless artistic monuments that followed it. With very special characteristics, the Durga Temple was built in the 7th and 8th centuries. It has an oval ground plan and features a high tower in the style of a gopuram, which is known as a typical feature of Tamil Nadu temples. Completing this unique variety of temples richly decorated with sculptures, Aihole also has cave temples that were constructed in the 6th century.
You will next stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pattadakal between Aihole and Badami. There are ten temples close together with innumerable pillars and various shrines, including a Jain temple. The interplay of the Nagara architectural style with the Dravidian style is highly interesting. Pattadakal was very important as the second capital of the Chalukyans and the setting for many state receptions. It is also a mecca of Chalukyan architecture, as are Aihole and Badami. Most of the numerous temples were built in the 6th and 7th centuries, and the most significant are the Sangamesvara Temple, dating from the reign of Vijayaditya (696-733 AD) making it the oldest temple in Pattadakal, and the Virupaksha Temple, built in 745 AD, with an impressive 41.3 ft. high Nandi bull created from chlorite stone. After that you will be transferred back to your hotel in Badami.
The visit to the cave temples of Badami dating back to the 8th century is planned for the afternoon. The city of Badami is located in the northern part of the Deccan Plateau in the state of Karnataka, on an idyllic range of hills that shine with their red sandstone. The Great Lion King, Pulkeshin I founded it in 543 under the name Vatapi. With its status as the capital, which it held until 757, it became the temple center of the era along with Pattadakal and Aihole. The small town is characterized by the ruins from the dynasty of the Chalukyans, who created important free-standing temples and cult caves from the late 6th to the 8th century, and by the narrow streets, small squares and old houses.
The high temples, the most important monuments of Badami, were carved into the red sandstone of the surrounding hills. From here one has an enthralling view of the Agastyatirtha Lake, which was artificially created as early as the 5th century and is surrounded by fortifications and temples. The total of five caves, four of which were artificially created, have connecting staircases. There are two temples dedicated to Vishnu and two that are Buddhist and Jain. From the number and construction of the temples, one can see that they were built by a wealthy people. In addition, a great deal of information can be gleaned about the religion, rituals and way of life of the people. The iconographies of the sculptures can be identified from the inscriptions and attachments.
Overnight stay in Badami.
Today after breakfast you will start your drive to Goa, where golden sandy beaches, blue sparkling waters, coastal roads with coconut palms and white churches against a backdrop of green rice fields await you. Goa promises love at first sight and offers the best beach resorts in all of India. But you will soon realize that Goa has much more to offer than just sun, beach and sea. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight stay in Goa
This is a day of leisure. Laze around on the beach, go swimming, explore the cashew nut stores, and shop for vacation clothes. You may also want to take an excursion to one of the popular markets on your one-month South India Tour. Every Wednesday the Anjuna Market in north Goa is open. It is located near the beach and is a treasure trove of inexpensive jewelry, colorful shoulder bags and purses, cotton sarongs and a myriad of handicrafts sold by local vendors, as well as craftsmen from Karnataka and states further afield. At the food stalls you can buy anything from brownies and bean burritos to falafel and hummus from the Middle East. Set amongst a mango orchard, the nearby Arpora Saturday Night Market has an even larger choice of tasty delights including Italian ice cream and roast chicken, and many other products to entice the visitor.
Overnight at the Beach Resort Hotel.
Today is yours to spend any way you feel like.
Upon request and at an additional fee, we offer the following day tour in Goa.
Goa is a gorgeous old Portuguese town with green foliage snaking around ruined churches from bygone days. For 450 years it served as the center of Portuguese India, the overseas territory of the Portuguese Empire until repeated cholera outbreaks necessitated the government’s 1843 move to Panaji. The former glory of the settlement is still evident in the beautiful convents, a basilica and churches, many in the Baroque style which just became prominent at that time.
A half-day guided tour of Panaji and Old Goa reveals the profound Portuguese influence on the architecture, religion cuisine and culture of the region. First on the itinerary is the Basilica of Bom Jesus where St Francis Xavier, by many regarded as the patron saint of Goa, lies buried. India’s first basilica is a wonderful example of Gothic and Portuguese architecture of that time. The floor is of marble with semi-precious stone inlays. The altars are gilded and pictures on a wall depict scenes from the life of the saint. In the mausoleum his mortal remains are kept in a silver coffin. Upstairs, the art gallery exhibits interesting paintings by the famous surrealist Goa painter Dom Martin.
Next stop is the neighboring Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina in dedication to the Christian saint Catherine of Alexandria who was persecuted for her religious beliefs in the 4th century by Maxentius, a Roman Emperor. The building has an impressive Portuguese Gothic façade, and in the tower is the largest bell in Goa called the Golden Bell because of its rich tone.
A 15-minute drive takes you to Panaji with its wonderful historic Latin Quarter. Fontainhas, as it is called has narrow streets lined with colorful old mansions. Your stroll will take you to the well preserved St Sebastian Chapel with an old well on its premises, and past a number of historical statues like that of Abade Faria, the Catholic monk, a pioneer in the field of hypnosis.
One of the most popular hangouts is the Dona Paula Jetty from where you have an ethereal view of the Mormugao Harbor and Arabian Sea where two rivers, the Mandovi and the Zuari meet the sea. Fronts of palm trees that line the beach sway in the gentle breeze, giving the area a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Further along the promenade you can see what the local little market has to offer.
If you feel peckish, the O Coquerio is a popular restaurant that serves delicious traditional Goa and Portuguese dishes like their well-known Pomfret Grilled Recheado, a tasty dish consisting of fish stuffed with red masala. This meal is for your own expense. After lunch it is back to the hotel.
Overnight stay in Goa.
Early in the morning you will be transferred to the airport in Goa for your flight to Chennai or Mumbai from where you will take your international flight back home.
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We booked a 30 day trip of southern India with Vacation India through the internet. The director Vikas Agarwal was very helpful. We booked a car, driver and escort, which was Mr Argawal. When we arrived at Chennai Airport he and driver were waiting for us. The trip was very well planned and organised. We booked an economic trip with 3* hotels which were very good, once we had a bridal suite. It was quite hot, but with airconditioned car and hotel rooms it was OK. There was always plenty of drinking water in the car. We went down the east coast to the tip, then the highlands to Munar, tea growing, Ooty (coffee), Bandipur national park, unfortunately we didn’t see a tiger, you got to be lucky. We visited several heritage listed temples and finished in Goa, which is a popular tourist destination. The tour was very good and interesting and would recommend it to anyone. I am 76 and the wife 78 and the tour wasn’t strenuous. We congratulate Mr Aggarwal for the success.
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Keywords: south india tour in 30 days, 30 days south india tour in india
Old and New Delhi ➜ Udaipur ➜ Ranakpur ➜ Jodhpur ➜ Deogarh Palace Heritage Hotel ➜ Jaipur ➜ Ranthambore Tiger Reserve ➜ Agra ➜ Fatehpur Sikri ➜ Orchha ➜ Khajuraho ➜ Varanasi (Ganges) ➜ Chennai ➜ Kanchipuram ➜ Mamallapuram ➜ Tanjore (Thanjavur) ➜ Trichy ➜ Chettinad Region ➜ Madurai ➜ Munnar ➜ Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Alleppey (Houseboat Kerala Backwaters) ➜ Kumarakom ➜ Mararikulam Beach ➜ Kochi ➜ Chennai/Mumbai
Chennai ➜ Kanchipuram ➜ Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) ➜ Pondicherry (Puducherry) ➜ Tanjore (Thanjavur) ➜ Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) ➜ Chettinad Region ➜ Madurai ➜ Munnar ➜ Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Alleppey (Houseboat Kerala Backwaters) ➜ Kumarakom ➜ Mararikulam Beach ➜ Kochi ➜ Chennai
Bengaluru ➜ Bandipur National park ➜ Mysore (Srirangapatna) ➜ Halebidu ➜ Chikmagalur ➜ Hampi ➜ Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal ➜ Goa ➜ Bengaluru
Chennai ➜ Mahabalipuram ➜ Kanchipuram ➜ Puducherry ➜ Thanjavur ➜ Chettinad ➜ Madurai ➜ Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Alleppey Backwaters ➜ Kochi (Cochin) ➜ Ooty ➜ Bandipur National Park ➜Mysore (Mysuru)➜ Shravanabelagola ➜ Belur and Halebidu ➜ Ancient City of Hampi ➜ Aihole and Pattadakal ➜ Badami ➜ Goa Beaches
Kochi (Cochin) ➜ Houseboat through Backwaters ➜ Kumarakom ➜ Kovalam Beach ➜ Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) ➜ Madurai (Meenakshi Temple) ➜ Munnar (Tea Plantations) ➜ Mararikulam Beach
Madikeri (Coorg) ➜ Nishani Motte Trek ➜ Namdroling Monastery ➜ Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary ➜ Nagarhole National Park ➜ Ooty ➜ Pollachi ➜ Anamalai Tiger Reserve or Parambikulam Tiger Reserve ➜ Munnar ➜ Eravikulam National Park Madurai ➜ Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Thoovanam Waterfalls) ➜ Madurai (Meenakshi Temple) ➜ Chennai
New Delhi ➜ Indore ➜ Dhar ➜ Mandu ➜ Omkareshwar ➜ Maheshwara ➜ Ujjain ➜ Bhopal ➜ Sanchi and Udaygiri ➜ Bhimbetka Caves and Bhojpur ➜ Jabalpur ➜ Bandhavgarh Tiger National Park ➜ Khajuraho ➜ Orchha ➜ Jhansi ➜ Datia ➜ Sonagiri ➜ Gwalior ➜ Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary ➜ New Delhi + Optional tour of Taj Mahal
New Delhi ➜ Sawai Madhopur ➜ Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve ➜ Gwalior ➜ Khajuraho ➜ Bandhavgarh National Park ➜ Kanha National Park ➜ Pench Tiger Reserve ➜ Tadoba National Park ➜ Mumbai
Madikeri (Coorg) ➜ Nishani Motte Trek ➜ Namdroling Monastery ➜ Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary ➜ Nagarhole National Park ➜ Ooty ➜ Pollachi ➜ Anamalai Tiger Reserve or Parambikulam Tiger Reserve ➜ Munnar ➜ Eravikulam National Park Madurai ➜ Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Thoovanam Waterfalls) ➜ Madurai (Meenakshi Temple) ➜ Chennai
Old and New Delhi ➜ Jaipur ➜ Ranthambhore National Park ➜ Keoladeo Ghana National Park ➜ Agra ➜ Khajuraho ➜ Orchha ➜ Bandhavgarh National Park ➜ Kanha Tiger Reserve ➜ Jabalpur ➜ New Delhi
13 Days starting from Mumbai or New Delhi ➜ Nagpur ➜ Pench Tiger Reserve ➜ Kanha National Park ➜ Bandhavgarh National Park ➜ Panna Tiger Reserve ➜ Khajuraho ➜ Ranthambore National Park ➜ Agra (Taj Mahal and Red Fort) ➜ Delhi (End)