Jewels of South India

Discover the hidden gems of Southern India with a visit to magnificent temples, ancient monuments, and palaces. Witness the art of statue making. Take a Cycle rickshaw tour through the narrow lanes of local villages. See tigers and elephants at one of the most picturesque wildlife sanctuaries in the world and cruise the beautiful backwaters on a houseboat on this treasure trove of a trip!

Specification: Jewels of South India




11 Days


Daily Departure

Group Size

Group Excursions, Private Tour


With 2 Persons

Tour Type

Adventure, Animals, Self Drive Tour


Daily Breakfast


1 Dinner, 1 Lunch


3 – 4 Star Hotels

On arrival you will be welcomed by our representative and escort you to your hotel in Mahabalipuram an air-conditioned car. Mahabalipuram – Seventh and eighth-century reliefs, rock temples, cave temples and chariot temples carved into the golden stone of the Coromandel Coast have made Mahabalipuram an astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pallavas, one of Tamil Nadu’s three great dynasties, dominated from the eighth to the eleventh century, building a thriving port here and growing rich on the lucrative trade with Southeast Asia. The town has a wonderful Shore Temple to Vishnu, built by the grateful merchants, as well as rock temples, over a dozen cave temples, constructed stone temples and some fine bas-reliefs – including the world’s largest, the Penance of Arjuna. (Overnight stay in Mamallapuram)

Morning drive to nearby village this tour takes you to the heart of rural India. Depart Mamallapuram and first stop at the Potters house for a small demo at their backyard of their house that happens to be their workshop. Then on to a small village of Kadumbadi to visit the Village school, And to village temple followed by a small pooja. If we are lucky we could get there during a local festival. During the tour you could catch plenty of photo opportunities such as ploughing, weeding, buffalos enjoying their plunge in the lake etc. Later drive to Mamallapuram and proceed for “History walk of Mamallapuram” is an interesting an walk that takes you to all important monuments in this area covering The Arjuna’s Penance (Bass Relief) and onward visiting monuments of Five rathas (symbolises equality of men & women) & the famous Shore temple. Apart from the monuments we also visit to a Sculpture studio. Evening free to relax on the beach. Overnight stay in Mamallapuram.

Check out from hotel after breakfast we drive to Kumbakkonam – a small typical Indian town. Enroute visit Darasuram temple (built in memory of the White elephant – AIRAVATH from the gods family), the temple has its original name as “Airavatheshwar temple”. Further more you will be taken for a special visit to the Silk Weaving at a nearby place (walkable distance). Untouched by regular tourist & no hassle of shop keepers/sellers, this visit will give you glimpse on weaving industry & the hard work behind it. (Overnight at hotel in Kumbakkonam)

Morning proceed for sightseeing tour of Tanjore. Visit the Sri Brihadeshwara Temple built by the great Chola king, Raja Raja I in the 10th century AD; this temple is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture. Guarding the inner shrine of the temple is the gigantic statue of Nandi, the Bull, while the walls of the sanctum are covered, with the wall paintings of Chola and Nayak periods. This superb monument has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Continue your tour to Tanjore Palace & Museum. The Palace is a vast structure of outstanding architecture built partly by the Nayaks and partly by the Marathas around 1550 AD. The Royal museum displays many items of the kings who ruled the palace – clothes, hunting weapons, head gears and many more. Also visit the impressive Bronze Museum with the world’s finest Chola bronzes, followed by a visit to a bronze factory. We will take you on a special visit to the nearby village to experience the art of statue making and glass. Later drive back to Kumbakonam for overnight stay.

This morning drive to Madurai covering a distance of 160kms in approx 4 hours.En-route visit Kanadukaathan village where you can see the girls threading garlands of jasmine, and the stalls selling bangles and biscuits, women bent double sowing rice in emerald-green paddy fields. stop at a small temple built around a banyan tree, where almost life-sized clay horses are ranged in rows as offerings to the gods, the churning of butter and the drawing of water from a well,
Continue your drive to Madurai and check-in at your hotel. Tucked snugly in the recesses of Tamil Nadu, on the sacred Vaigai River, Madurai – a city shaped like a lotus – is the destination of thousands of pilgrims. Madurai is the oldest and the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The legend has that the Pandyan King, Kulasekhara, built a great temple and a lotus shaped city around it. On the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva appeared to bless the people nectar flowed from his matted locks. So it was called ‘Madhurapuri’ and later it became ‘Madurai’.

This morning visit the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. Its enormous domes covered with gaily-colored statues dominate the landscape and are visible from all over Madurai. This temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and Goddess Meenakshi. Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was built during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak from 1623 to 1655 AD, but its history goes back 2000 years, when Madurai was the capital of the Pandya Kings. There are 4 entrances to the temple and 12 towers ranging from 45m to 50m. The temple is famous for its 1000 pillar corridor. It has also been the centre of Tamil culture, art, dance and music over centuries. Continue to the Palace of Tirumalai Nayak, an Indo-Saracenic building constructed in 1523. There is no other building in Madurai which can better illustrate the architectural style of the Nayaks. The most remarkable part of this palace is the Swarga Vilasam which served as the audience hall. Its dome which lies beyond a huge courtyard is a magnificent example of the engineering skill of its builders, rising as it does to a height of 20m without support of any kind. Return to hotel after refreshment proceed for Cycle rickshaw tour around Madurai city gives you a memorable experience of this ancient city. You drive through the narrow streets and lanes of Madurai showing the typical life of local people. The cycle rickshaw – the most eco friendly form of transport was fast being phased out, and the hundred and twenty rickshaw pullers of Madurai were deprived of their livelihood, as they were unable to buy the modern forms of transport like the auto rickshaw or taxi. To give these pullers another lease of life we created this tour as part of our commitment towards responsible tourism. By taking this tour, you not only support the rickshaw pullers but also encourage the locals to use this eco friendly transport. Overnight stay in Madurai.

Morning Checkout and drive to Periyar or Thekkady is located in Idukki district. The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. In the Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India and is amongst the most picturesque wild life sanctuaries in the world despite the tragic loss of the richly vegetated valley due to the dam and the 21 sq. mile reservoir. Since boat travel is the only way of travelling through this sanctuary, one can cover large areas in a short time and experience the wilderness like never before. There is probably no sanctuary in the world where elephant behaviour can be watched in such absolute comfort and safety. On arrival check into hotel. Evening enjoy a visit to Spice Plantation. See various species of spices and other aromatic plants/herbs. The guide will explain about the usage of different spices in Indian cuisine.

Morning you have an option to go on a boating in the lake. This boat trip gives you the chance to see the wildlife life at a very close distance. Usually you could witness sambar deer, mouse beer, wild dog, elephants, bison, and several species of birds and butterflies. Evening enjoy the Kalaripayatu performance, a local traditional martial arts form. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Morning checkout and drive to Alleppey embark on a “Kettuvallam” , the traditional trading vessel of this beautiful coastal region and cruise on the backwater. You will be awed at the vast expanse of the paddy fields that surrounds these beautiful backwaters.The boats will stop in villages for you to experience a glimpse of the village life in rural Kerala. The villagers will be too pleased to invite you to have a sip from the freshly picked raw coconut from their own fields.
(Overnight stay in houseboat)

Morning checkout from houseboat and drive to Cochin. On arrival check in. Later afternoon visit to the Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Friday & Saturday) built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace (Closed on Friday), resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. Culminate the tour at Fort Kochi, which is said to be the oldest European settlement in India. Fort Kochi is the earliest recorded settlement on the Malabar Coast, with its beautiful colonial bungalow peppered with Dutch, Portuguese and Malabar architecture. many small winding streets with lovely old houses are truly a treasure trove. Evening visit an auditorium to watch the famous dance drama of Kerala, the Kathakali. This dance is characterised by some great story telling, amazing costumes and extensive make-up.

Morning checkout and drive to Cochin airport for onward flight.

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SKU IJDB-CTR-44-2022 / 2023 / 2024 Categories , , Tags , , , ,

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