Flight - 1 night

Mahabalipuram - 2 nights

Pondicherry - 1 night

Tanjore - 1 night

Madurai - 2 nights

Periyar - 2 nights

Kumarakom - 1 night

Houseboat - 1 night

Cochin - 2 nights

Spendology - Widgets

Splendours of Southern India

Majestic temples, friendly villages, colonial heritage, verdant hills, the Keralan backwaters plus historic Cochin and Madras

Southern India’s history, varied culture, green landscapes and beautiful coastline make any visit a rich and diverse experience.

Start in eastern Chennai, formerly Madras, where the British East India Company started trading and travel across the region of Tamil Nadu, viewing its majestic temples, through hills and tea plantations to the lush Kerala region with its inland waterways and charming Fort Cochin.

The tour is enhanced by the inclusion of some ‘CGH Earth’ hotels, which are harmonious to the local environment with high standards – for example at the Spice Village, Periyar, the fine ‘50-mile’ restaurant only uses ingredients from within 50 miles and the colonial style bar reflects its hill station history, whilst ‘Coconut Lagoon’ is only accessible by boat and the ‘Eighth Bastion’ lies within the Fort Cochin area.

Other hotels include the Svatma, a member of the prestigious Relais Chateaux group of hotels and the colonial Taj Gateway, set in 62 acres of gardens, with superb views of the city of Madurai.

Key Features

Culture & Natural Wonders
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
4 Lunches & 6 Dinners
No Single Supplement
Local Expert Guide

Special Events

Canoeing the Backwaters, Indian Dance & Cooking

A canoe ride through the canals of the Keralan backwaters. A cooking demonstration and dinner at the home of a local family, lunch at a plantation house. A Kathakali classical dance performance.


Day 1 Fly from your chosen airport to Chennai (former Madras).

Day 2 Tour of Chennai visiting the Government Museum, Fort St. George, St. Mary’s Church and Marina Beach. Lunch at the 5-star Hotel Taj Connemara. Continue to Mahabalipuram for two nights at the 5-star Radisson Resort Temple Bay. (B, L)

Day 3 Visit Shore Temple, a World Heritage monument, Arjuna’s Penance, Five Rathas and Krishna Mandapam. (B)

Day 4 Drive to Pondicherry (3 hrs) for overnight at the 4-star ‘CGH Earth’ Palais de Mahe, a boutique hotel in the French Quarter. Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, museum and the Sacred Heart Basilica. (B)

Day 5 Continue south through the Kaveri to the temple of Gangaikondacholapuram (3 hrs). Travel to Tanjore (3 hrs) for overnight at the boutique hotel Svatma. (B, D)

Day 6 Visit Brihadeeshwara Temple. Continue to Trichy (Tiruchirappalli), mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century BC. Visit the temple complex of Srirangam and view the Rock Fort. Travel to Madurai (3 hrs).Two nights at the 4-star Taj Gateway Hotel in Madurai. (B, D)

Day 7 Enjoy a rickshaw ride to Meenakshi Temple. Visit Thirumalai Nayak Palace and Gandhi Memorial. (B)

Day 8 Drive up into the Western Ghats to Periyar (5 hrs). Visit a spice plantation. Two nights at the 4-star ‘CGH Earth’ Spice Village. Kalaraipayattu performance, a local martial art. (B, D)

Day 9 Morning boat ride in Periyar National Park. Afternoon at leisure. (B, D)

Day 10 Visit a rubber plantation with lunch at a plantation house. Travel to Kumarakom (4 hrs) on Lake Vembanad. Overnight at the 4-star ‘CGH Earth’ Coconut Lagoon. (B, L)

Day 11 Board a Keralan houseboat for an overnight backwaters cruise. Canoe through the smaller canals. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Disembark and drive to Cochin for two nights at the 4-star boutique ‘CGH Earth’ Hotel Eighth Bastion in Fort Cochin. A walking tour of Fort Cochin includes the Synagogue, Palace, St. Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets. Cooking demonstration and dinner with a local family. (B, D)

Day 13 Visit the backwaters fishing village of Kumbalanghi. Afternoon at leisure. Evening Kathakali classical performance. (B, L)

Day 14 Return flight. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


Itinerary includes some walking over uneven ground. Temple visits include a walk with shoes off.

Time to relax or see even more of India!

No one can cover all of India on one tour, so why not make the most of your time in India by choosing further experiences?

We invite you to customise your tour by adding one or more extensions from our great range shown on the following pages. Relax in a resort or discover more of India with our specialist guides.

Also please consider adding extra nights before the tour if you would like to draw breath after the flight to India or stay on to reflect, relax or explore independently. Extra nights can also be added to most extensions. Please talk to one of our knowledgeable Personal Travel Experts to let us know what you are looking for and they will work out the best way. Sometimes extra transfers, internal flights and nights are recommended or needed, and sometimes two extensions can be combined into a more logical sequence.

We recommend Marari Beach at the end of this tour.

Click here to view all our pre- and post- India extensions


per person in a twin/double room
Emirates from Heathrow

Date Price
October 16 £2995
November 6 £2695


per person in a twin/double room
Emirates from Heathrow

Date Price
January 15 £2695
March 5 £2695
March 19 £2795
October 15 £2995
November 5 £2895
No Single Supplement

(limited dates/availability)

Regional Flight Options

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

(limited availability)
2023: Oct 15

Double for sole use £595

Flight Options

Emirates from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow - nil
British Airways from Heathrow - On request
Emirates Business Class - On request

Extension Options

We offer a wide variety of pre- and post-tour extensions, click here for more information.
Pre/post tour extra nights and transfers are available.

Privately Guided

2 guests - £695 per person
3-4 guests - £295 per person
5-9 guests - £135 per person
10+ guests - No extra charge

Tour Only

Save £600
Arrival or departure transfer add £24

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 12 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 4 lunches and 6 dinners, itinerary as described, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, overseas airport taxes, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.


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Splendours of Southern India

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