The cultural traditions of South India — music, dance, art, textiles, food, crafts, spiritual and religious practices — will all be made available for you to experience and appreciate in this unique and enthralling tour.
Our tour will begin with a visit to one of the great pilgrimage sites of Hinduism, the temples of Kanchipuram, outside Chennai. This city is also known for its famous silk and we will see some weaving before we travel down the coast to tour the archeological site of Mahabalipuram. After an overnight by the ocean, we continue South to the once-French colony of Pondicherry with a visit to the Shri Aurobindo Ashram. In the afternoon, we continue down to Tranquebar, a quiet former Dutch outpost where we spend the night. We then journey into the heart of the great temples of South India, experiencing amazing Hindu art and living religious traditions. We will visit the impressive temples of Kumbakonam and Thanjavur and take a rest at a hotel with antiques from an earlier time. Our next stop is the forgotten world and beautiful old mansions in the land of the Chettiars and their world-famous cuisine. A bullock-cart ride will enhance our experience of the past.
In Madurai, the magnificent Meenakshi temple will be a powerful experience you will long remember as well as our indulgence in South Indian food through a cooking class and food tour. We will drive down to the tip of India between the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal and relax in Kerala on one of its famous beaches. The next day we move North and embark onto a traditional houseboat for an overnight cruise amidst the famous backwaters of tropical Kerala. Our last stop is the capital town of Kochi where we will explore its history, see a Kathakali performance and try to assimilate what we have experienced in this beautiful land.
To fully visit the temples, walking up stairs and hills may be required but alternative provisions can be made for those with physical limitations. We will do our best to accommodate individual mobility and dietary needs that we are made aware of.
Both travelers experienced with India and those who are coming for the first time will be enriched and enthralled by this special tour. We will be staying at good quality hotels all with well-equipped private bathrooms and double or twin beds. Breakfast, some lunches and all dinners with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options will be included in the tour cost with optional lunch and tea/snack stops along the way.
If you have ever wanted to experience the traditions of South India and explore the treasures of this remarkable land, this tour will meet all your expectations! From sunrise on the beaches to starry nights surrounded by the sound of temple bells, join us for an amazing adventure into the heart and soul of an ancient land.
- Double or twin-bedded accommodations with private bathrooms in good quality hotels for 12 nights.
- One night on a houseboat in double or twin-bedded room with attached private bathroom
- 13 breakfasts and 13 dinners with vegetarian or non-vegetarian options and 3 lunches
- Bullock cart ride in the Chettinadu region
- Cooking class in Madurai
- Food tour of Madurai
- Tour with Varya of Varya Tours together with experienced local tour guides
- Entrance fees to all tour sites
- Pickup and return to airport in India
- Conference calls with Varya to prepare you for this journey.
Tour Does Not Include:
- International airfare or any domestic airfares (although group fares may be offered)
- Visa to India
- Lunches (except as indicated)
- Medical and evacuation insurance which is required for all travelers and available through Varya
- Trip cancellation or interruption insurance, not required but recommended and available through Varya
Please contact Varya for tour cost. We will provide roommate matching opportunities if requested. We hope you will join us on this very special and exciting adventure!
Tour Operator is Indian Panorama