Into the Heart of South India

Dive deep into vibrant Dravidian culture

  • World Heritage Site temples, monuments, and mountains
  • Hiking among Munnar’s brilliantly green tea estates and lively markets
  • Meander Kerala’s paradisiacal waterways, past verdant mangroves and paddy fields
South India
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 14 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

Step foot in South India and you’ll discover that the Hindu heartland is a far cry from the mountainous north. This 14-day journey takes us into the south, where the true Indian culture—Dravidian culture—originated and thrives. We’ll be captivated by extraordinarily diverse landscapes, enchanting retreats, smiling locals, and the cultural legacies left behind by ancient dynasties, Muslim spice traders, and European seafarers.

We begin in the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Then it’s on to Mamallapuram to explore World Heritage Site stone-sculpted reliefs and temples. Flying south, we visit the Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) rock fort and the Brihadishwara Temple, a treasure of Chola architecture. We get a sense of the spicy Chettinad region through its culinary delicacies and embellished mansions before traveling to the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai, home to the ornate Meenakshi Temple. Next we climb into the high ranges of the Western Ghats to hike though bright green tea estates and browse markets near lovely Munnar. Moving on to the historic city of Kochi, we take in the spirited music, dancing, painted elephants, and colorful fireworks of a village festival. For our finale we cruise through the meandering, luxuriant Kerala Malabar Backwaters of the Arabian Sea, overnighting at a tranquil waterside resort with private bungalows.

Into the Heart of South India

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Chennai (Madras)
  • Day 2: excursion to Mamallapuram
  • Day 3: fly to Trichy, drive to Tanjore
  • Day 4: Tanjore to Chettinad
  • Day 5: explore Chettinad
  • Day 6: Chettinad to Madurai
  • Day 7: Madurai
  • Day 8: drive to Munnar
  • Day 9: explore Munnar
  • Day 10: on to Kochi (Cochin)
  • Day 11: Kochi temple festival
  • Day 12: Kerala backwaters
  • Day 13: Kumarakom
  • Day 14: depart.