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15-Day Spiritual Southern India Tour

Discover the beauty of Southern India on an unforgettable 15-day tour, taking you from Chennai to Kochi. Visit ancient temples and attend a candlelit prayer ceremony, cruise through the ‘Venice of the East’, Kerala, spot tigers, deer, leopards and more at Periyar National Park, learn to craft authentic Indian cuisine during a cooking class, see the fishermen of Kochi at work and more. Includes premium accommodation, 32 meals across the duration of the tour – including authentic Indian cuisine and eight dinners with wine – guided sightseeing and more from only $1,899 per person (twin share), valued up to $2,286.
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15-Day Southern India Tour Deal
Package Options
15-DAY SPIRITUAL SOUTHERN INDIA TOUR - LOW SEASON: Includes premium accommodation, 32 meals across the duration of the tour - including daily breakfasts and eight dinners with wine - guided sightseeing in air-conditioned vehicles, the services of an English-speaking tour manager, hotel porterage, tipping and gratuities for one adult (twin share).
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15-DAY SPIRITUAL SOUTHERN INDIA TOUR - HIGH SEASON: Includes premium accommodation, 32 meals across the duration of the tour - including daily breakfasts and eight dinners with wine - guided sightseeing in air-conditioned vehicles, the services of an English-speaking tour manager, hotel porterage, tipping and gratuities for one adult (twin share).
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  • Highlights
  • Fine Print
  • Details
  • Itinerary

Ride an Elephant, Cruise the Kerala Backwaters and More

Discover the beauty of Southern India on an unforgettable 15-day small-group (max. 22 people) tour, taking you from Chennai to Kochi. Includes premium accommodation, 32 meals across the duration of the tour – including authentic Indian cuisine and eight dinners with wineguided sightseeing and more from only $1,899 per person (twin share), valued up to $2,286.

See below for the incredible experiences that await, including a candlelit prayer ceremony, a cruise through the ‘Venice of the East’, Kerala, visit to an elephant camp, an authentic Indian cooking class and more.

Low season and high season dates are available from November 2017 to April 2018 – see the 'Fine Print' for further details.

Itinerary Highlights

Begin this unforgettable experience in the coastal city of Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal. On a guided tour, take in the Government Museum, the 17th-century St. George Fort, the Fort Museum, the 7th-century Kapaleeshwarar Temple and Elliot’s Beach.

Explore the DakshinaChitra open-air museum with its 18 authentic historical houses, artisan workshops and art galleries showcasing crafts including pottery, silk weaving and basket making.

Visit Kanchipuram, the ‘City of a Thousand Temples’, one of Hinduism’s most sacred cities. Discover the Ekambareswarar Temple and the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its elaborate carvings, before visiting a traditional silk weaving factory.

Soak up the atmosphere of the city of Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement with charming tree-lined cobbled streets, villas draped in bougainvillea and sidewalk cafes.

Explore the huge and spectacular temple complex of Chidambaram, which is spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. 

Visit Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River. Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the famous and sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Soak up the sights of the temple city of Madurai. See the historic Meenakshi Amman Temple, the 17th-century Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace and the Gandhi Museum, shop at the bazaars and spend a very special evening at the spectacular candlelit Aarti Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Take a stroll through a spice plantation near Periyar National Park in the Cardamom Hills, breathing in incredible aromas as you journey through fields of cardamom, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and other fragrant spices as you learn about how they are used in medicine and food.

Visit the beautiful Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Embark on a scenic boat ride on the lake, take a walk through the National Park – spotting animal such as tigers, deer, leopards, bison and more en route – and visit the Elephant Camp, where you can watch these majestic creatures bathe and eat.

Enjoy a colourful performance of Kathakali; Kerala's popular classical Indian dance form that combines dance, drama and music to tell a story.

Learn how to cook authentic Indian cuisine with a cooking class at a private home in Kochi.

Discover the sights of Kochi city on a guided tour, taking in the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portugese in the 16th century; St. Francis Church, one of the oldest European churches in India, also dating back to the 16th century; the Santa Cruz Cathedral; the Old Quarter; the magnificent Paradesi Synagogue and the harbour, where local fishermen famously use cantilevered Chinese fishing nets for their catch.

Board a houseboat for a cruise through the ‘Venice of the East’, Kerala, with its network of canals, lagoons, rivers and lakes. Witness daily life in action as you glide past villages and rice fields, spotting local fishermen at work, women washing clothes on the river banks and children playing in the waters.

Your Package Includes

14 nights of premium accommodation in hotels such as the five-star Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay overlooking the Bay of Bengal and the charming Cardamom County nature retreat, nestled in lush gardens against the backdrop of the mountains of the Periyar Forests.

32 meals across the duration of the tour. Enjoy daily breakfasts, 10 lunches and eight dinners with wine, including authentic Indian cuisine and a memorable cooking class.

Guided sightseeing as detailed in in the itinerary in modern, air-conditioned vehicles with complimentary bottled water and comfortable wireless headphones for an enhanced touring experience.

A more intimate, smaller-group tour of 22 people maximum.

The services of an English-speaking tour manager throughout.

Hotel porterage, tipping and gratuities.

Important Information

Click on the 'Fine Print' tab above to read all the terms and conditions relating to this offer.

What We Like

This tour is the perfect way to soak up the beauty and heritage of Southern India, with all accommodation and transport organised for you.

Click on the 'Fine Print' tab above to read all the terms and conditions relating to this offer.

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Valid for the following tour dates:

Low Season
23 March 2018
27 March 2018
30 March 2018
6 April 2018

High Season
19 November 2017
24 November 2017
12 January 2018
23 January 2018
6 February 2018
9 February 2018
13 February 2018
16 February 2018
23 February 2018

Important: Please allow time for travelling from Australia. International flights are not included in your package and must be purchased separately. It is your responsibility to make your own travel arrangements and ensure that you arrive in India on your chosen tour date.

The package is valid for ONE PERSON aged 12 years and older (based on twin share). If you are travelling with another person you must purchase TWO PACKAGES, otherwise, an additional single traveller surcharge will apply. Single travellers will get their own room throughout the tour.

Single Traveller Surcharge: If you are a solo traveller, you must pay a single traveller surcharge of AU$580 (approx. US$457), payable directly to the tour operator.

Please note this tour is not suitable for children aged under 12 years.

The maximum capacity on this tour is 22 people.

This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 3-4 hours on our feet during tours and 4-7 hours driving between cities. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep slopes. We have many early mornings. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

These packages are for luxury accommodation only. Flights are not included and need to be purchased separately.

Instant Booking: To confirm your dates of stay at purchase, select 'Instant Booking' and select your preferred package. Use the calendar to browse and select available dates. Dates with a surcharge are identified.

Can I change my check in date post purchase: Once you have purchased your package and received confirmation your dates cannot be changed without contacting the hotel directly. This decision is strictly at the discretion of the hotel and subject to availability, so please ensure you have selected your intended travel dates.

Strictly subject to availability and please book early to lock in your preferred dates. After the booking guarantee period, bookings for specific dates during the validity period will be accepted on a first in, best dressed basis.

Accommodation packages are valid for two adults.

Tour includes accommodation in the following hotels:
Nights 1 & 2: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Nights 3 & 4: Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram
Night 5: Le Pondy
Nights 6 & 7: Sangam Hotel
Nights 8 & 9: The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai
Nights 10 & 11: Cardamom County
Nights 12, 13 and 14: Trident, Cochin

Accommodation is subject to availability and may be substituted for a hotel of a similar standard.

Maximum Room Capacity: The maximum room capacity is two adults plus one child subject to availability. See the ‘Child Policy' for more details.

Child Policy: One child aged from 12 to 18 years may stay in the same room as two adults, subject to the availability of a triple room or rollaway bed. Please note a full price twin-share package must be purchased for said child.

Bedding configuration is a double bed or twin single beds.

Booking confirmation must be presented at check-in.

All surcharges are payable directly to the tour operator.

Dining inclusions do not include beverages (unless otherwise stated) and menu options are subject to change.

Note: your itinerary will change depending upon the day of the week you depart.

The following optional tours are available, bookable directly with the tour operator:
Vanakkam Madurai Tour – AU$34 (approx. US$27) per person
Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with Dinner – AU$53 (approx. US$42) per person

Please note, disability access is limited during the tour, please consider this before making your booking. Hotels may not have ramps, wide entryways or elevators to accommodate disabled passengers or devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and motorised scooters. Due to physical constraints and space limitations, wheelchairs, walking frames and motorized scooters may not be taken aboard motor coaches.

Travel insurance is strongly recommended. We suggest purchasing travel insurance as soon as possible after purchasing this accommodation package.

Strictly no refunds for this accommodation package for amendments and change of date - fees are at the hotel’s discretion/policy.

Not valid in conjunction with any other offer or on existing reservations.

Any unused portion of the package is non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for other services or cash.

Additional expenses such as (but not limited to) flights are not included with this accommodation package.

Package cannot be split.

Offer only available for consecutive nightly stays.

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond your intended stay overseas.

A visa may be required to the countries you are visiting and transiting. It is your responsibility to ensure you are holding a current visa.

The value and comparative savings has been determined based on the tour operator’s published rack rates and the value of inclusions. Please be advised that rack rates may not be reflective of actual rates being charged, dependent on the timing and manner of your booking and therefore are only indicative of the level of saving.

All activities and services (including late checkout) are subject to availability.

Please note that full terms and conditions apply - refer LuxuryEscapes.com/terms

Note: your itinerary will change depending upon the day of the week you depart.

DAY 1 - Depart for India
Welcome to India! Arrive in cosmopolitan Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, gateway to South India. Time to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone or venture out to get acquainted with some of the city's extraordinary sights and the lively shops selling vibrant handmade silk sarees.
Overnight: Chennai

DAY 2 - Government Museum, St. George Fort, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Elliot's Beach
After a welcome lunch at a local restaurant, begin your exploration of the city at the Government Museum, with its fascinating exhibits about ancient Chennai. Then, on to St. George Fort built in 1653 by the British East India Company, housing the Tamil Nadu's Legislative Assembly and Secretariat. At the Fort Museum, view important relics dating back to the British rule in India including weapons, medals, and uniforms. Then, on to the 7th century Kapaleeshwarar Temple, highlighted by its ornate rainbow-colored monumental tower and pillared pavilions dedicated to Shiva. A scenic drive along the coast then takes you to Elliot’s Beach, a surprising combination of historical temples, churches, and monuments accented by the natural beauty of endless skies and sea. Leisure time in this lovely setting before returning to the hotel. This evening, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at a briefing on the exciting discovery of South India that lies ahead. Following the briefing, dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Chennai
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 3 - Village of DakshinaChitra, Mahabalipuram’s Temples
This morning, travel to the cross-cultural village of DakshinaChitra, an open-air museum, acknowledged as South India’s treasure chest of art and architecture. View the astonishing collection of reconstructed authentic historical houses. Walk the lanes of the preserved village, stop at the artisan workshops and art galleries (pottery, silk weaving, basket making), and enjoy a delightful lunch. Afterward, on to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Once a major seaport, these magnificent temples, and carvings are remarkable examples of exquisite architecture, illustrating tales from mythology and highlighting the development of the Dravidian temple style. On your spectacular walking tour, admire the Shore Temple standing by the sea for over 12 centuries, with an impressive bas-relief and imposing twin towers. At the southern end of the site, see the Five Rathas carved from large boulders and Arjuna’s Penance, a massive bas-relief that magnificently depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayas coupled with scenes from Indian daily life. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. At dinner tonight, recall highlights of this fabulous day.
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 4 - Kanchipuram, "City of a Thousand Temples," Silk Weaving Artisans
Today, visit Kanchipuram, the "City of a Thousand Temples," one of Hinduism’s most sacred cities. Here, you tour the historically important Ekambareswarar Temple with its 540 pillars and the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its elaborate carvings. Next, an authentic Indian lunch before heading to Varadaraja Perumal, a huge temple complex on over 20 acres. Kanchipuram, world-famous for its hand-woven silk sarees, is the center of silk production and design in India for over four centuries. As you walk along the lanes of the city, view colorful displays of sarees waving in the breeze, woven on hand looms by artisans throughout the city out of dazzling bright silks, embellished with golden threads. On your exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory, meet with some of the artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari. Return to Mahabalipuram after an enlightening day.
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

DAY 5 - Pondicherry's French Quarter, Auroville Meditation Center, Paper Factory
Your journey along the coast takes you to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement that still retains its carefree French atmosphere and architectural legacy. In the charming Old Quarter, with its tree-lined cobbled streets, colonial villas are draped with fragrant bougainvillea, and sidewalk cafes abound. Even the policemen are dressed in traditional French red hats and belts! A relaxing lunch is followed by a visit to serene Auroville, City of Dawn famous for the meditation center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. Many spiritually minded visitors come here and stay to nurture his vision of human unity. Visit the golden-domed Mother Temple that includes a meditation hall and the place where the Yogi is interred, bursting daily with fresh flowers. Later, tour a factory where delicate individually handcrafted papers are produced followed by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram. Tonight, dinner together at the hotel.
Overnight: Pondicherry
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 6 - Chidambaram Temples, UNESCO Site of Darasuram, Thanjavur
Depart Pondicherry to Chidambaram, home to the massive temple complex of Nataraja, one of the holiest of all Shiva sites, a spectacular architectural marvel spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. After time to relax over lunch travel to the outstanding UNESCO World Heritage listed Airavatesvara Temple with its unique design symbolizing an elephant pulled chariot and exquisite carvings. At the end of the day, you arrive in Thanjavur (Tanjore) once a thriving capital of the celebrated Chola Empire, known as the "rice bowl" of the Tamil Nadu region. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Thanjavur.
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

DAY 7 - Amma Mandapam, Ranganathaswamy Temple, Maratha Palace, Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple
The early morning drive to Trichy is highlighted by a visit to Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River. Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple. Stop at this famous temple, one of the most illustrious in the country, nestled in an ethereal setting on the island of Srirangam. Following lunch, arrive at the spectacular Maratha Palace, within a maze-like complex; walk through the open courtyard Art Gallery displaying priceless collections of superb Chola bronzes and stone carvings and visit the Saraswathi Mahal Library. The day concludes with a stop at the grand Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where thousands of people worship daily. Built by King Raja Raja Cholan over a thousand years ago, this impressive temple is one of South India’s most magnificent architectural accomplishments. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 8 - Chettinad’s Palaces, Meenakshi Temple, Madurai’s Bazaars
Your travels take you to Chettinad, land of the Chettiars, a community that dates back to the Chola period making its fortunes as money lenders, merchants and jewelry dealers. Here, see lavish palaces and mansions that reflect the opulence of a bygone era. Also known for its food and Master Chefs, enjoy a distinctive traditional lunch of local favorites. Next, you reach the vibrant city of Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, a center of learning and pilgrimage for many centuries. View the 1000-year old Meenakshi Temple, the principal attraction of the city esteemed as one of India’s largest pilgrimage sites with 12 towering gopurams. In the afternoon, shop at the bargain-filled bazaars bursting with treasures and jewelry shops galore. This evening, dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 9 - Madurai's Temples, Ghandi Museum, Aarti Prayer Ceremony
Don’t miss this morning's optional Vanakkam (means welcome in Tamil language) private interactive walking tour of Madurai! At the first light of dawn, walk the quiet streets as the city awakens. Observe first-hand how everyday life begins in this Indian city from prayer rituals at the temple to market shopping -- truly a total immersion into the culture. Return for breakfast, followed by a visit with the group to the ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple, an enormous Nayak complex built between 1623 and 1655, as a majestic testament to their ruler. Later, to the massive Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace with its imposing courtyard, grand throne chambers and entry flanked by stone carved horses. A visit to the Gandhi Museum follows with an opportunity to learn about this remarkable man lovingly called the "Father of the Nation" instrumental in India’s fight for independence. After dinner on your own, join together to witness throngs of people at the spectacular candlelit Aarti Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Amman Temple, along with singing songs in honor of the deities. Surely, an experience you'll long remember.
Optional: Vanakkam Madurai Tour (AM)
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

DAY 10 - Periyar National Park, Spice Plantation
Today, drive to Periyar National Park perched high in the Cardamom Hills, the best-known wildlife sanctuary in South India, home to Bengal tigers, elephants, antelope, deer and many species of birdlife. Its variety of flora and fauna, pristine lakes and magnificent forests will surely make this visit most memorable. After time to relax and settle in at the hotel, stroll leisurely through one of the area’s spice plantations. Magnificent aromas permeate the landscape on your walk through fields of cardamom, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and other fragrant spices. You’ll hear about the many different ways to use these spices in both medicines and in the preparation of food. In the evening, join the optional Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner. Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest fighting styles in the world, is believed to have been adapted from various martial art forms like karate, kung-fu and judo.
Optional: Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11 - Periyar National Park
Thrilling activities await you today at the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Begin the day with a boat ride on the picturesque lake followed by a nature walk inside the National Park, observing animals drinking at the water's edge. A highlight of the day is your visit to the Elephant Camp and an elephant ride - watch them bathe, eat and drag piles of timber. At the end of this exciting day, perhaps treat yourself to a rejuvenating and soothing Ayurveda massage. Tonight, dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 12 - Kochi, Kathakali Dance Performance
Arrive in Kochi, a principle port and center of the Malabar Coast spice trade since the 14th century. Known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea," it was here that the first European settlement in India was established by Vasco da Gama. Subsequently, the city was ruled alternatively by the Dutch and the British until its independence. Time to relax before tonight’s colorful Kathakali dance performance, Kerala's popular classical and emotional form of dance, drama and music that combines storytelling with music and rigorous physical training. Following the performance, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 13 - Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Home Hosted Cooking Class
Today you’re treated to a specially arranged cooking class at a private home in Kochi. Join your hosts in the preparation of lunch while learning some of the secrets of Indian cuisine. After lunch, highlights of your exploration of Kochi include the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch in the 17th century. View 16th century St. Francis Church, before proceeding to the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its pastel-colored interior and impressive murals. In the heart of the Old Quarter, a visit to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. Magnificently decorated with hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, the synagogue has preserved four important scrolls of the Old Testament. After, head to the harbor where local fishermen continue to use cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, distinctively unique to Kochi, living symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast dating back to the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own in Kochi.
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

DAY 14 - Alleppey Back Waters, Houseboat Cruise, Farewell Dinner
The drive to Alleppey reveals this tranquil backwater region of Kerala. Boarding a houseboat, you cruise along this very intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers called the "Venice of the East." Observe Kerala’s rural lifestyle as you glide past tiny villages sprinkled with rice fields and witness a way of life that has changed little through the ages. With women washing clothes on the river banks while children play in the shallows, kingfishers dart among the palm trees and the fishermen stand with water up to their necks, seeking out fish with their feet. Enjoy a specially prepared lunch of Keralan cuisine cooked on board just for you. Return to Kochi for overnight. Back at the hotel, time to freshen up before tonight's festivities. Enjoy a very special Farewell Dinner - a perfect conclusion to your wonderful journey through South India. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and fellow travelers.
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 15 – Tour Ends
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast today.
Meals: Breakfast

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