15 DAYS

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A Masala Journey
ITINERARY


1-2
Chennai
City
Are you ready to be swept away by the sensational sights of South India? Once you’ve flown through the night and landed at Chennai airport, your local representative and private driver will meet you and whisk you off to downtown Chennai where you'll be staying.   

Freshen up and get ready to head back out as you'll be kicking off this sensational journey with an introduction to some of the finest South Indian vegetarian cuisines at a local authentic restaurant. Once bellies and senses are satisfied, go out with a local guide to explore the city. Located on the Bay of Bengal, and playing host to unique artistic and culinary traditions, Chennai is also steeped in colonial history. Through this tour, you'll gain an intriguing insight into colonial 'Madras' and uncover some of the most beautiful architectural sights of the city.

THINGS TO DO
British Blueprints Tour
British Blueprints Tour
Half-day experience
Have Chennai’s monuments brought to life as you explore with a local guide who will tell you about their history under colonial rule.


3-4
Pondicherry
City
Your 3rd day will see you traveling south of the capital this morning to the small town of Mamallapuram, where you can enjoy a whistle-stop tour of its famous sights, such as the Shore Temple, Five Rathas and Krishna's Butterball.

From there continue down the coast further as you head to the town of Pondicherry, where you'll be staying at the heart of its French Quarter. After checking in why not wander down to its idyllic seaside promenade to watch the sun setting over the Bay of Bengal? 

The next morning you'll be uncovering the delights of the town as you head out on a cultural heritage walk of the charming French Quarters. As you meander along tree-lined avenues passing boutiques and flaxen-colored colonial villas, you’ll feel as though you’re wandering the streets of France. A real highlight of this tour is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a small spiritual community oozing calmness and tranquility. 

To refuel, you’ll join a local family for a traditional culinary experience. Pick out your own fresh ingredients from the local market before heading back to the family home to prepare a sumptuous Indian feast. Be sure to come with an empty belly as with food this tasty it's hard to resist seconds and thirds! 

THINGS TO DO
Heritage Walking Tour in Pondicherry
Heritage Walking Tour in Pondicherry
Half-day experience
Explore colonial Pondicherry with its wide tree-lined avenues and colonial buildings.

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Indian cookery experience
Indian cookery experience
Half-day experience
Pick out fresh ingredients from the market before heading into a local home to learn some secrets of South Indian cuisine.

 

5
Tanjore
General Tour
Today's journey takes you south deeper into Tamil Nadu as you drive through quaint rural villages and past a plethora of ancient temples. Look out for traditional thatched roofs and chilies roasting out on the street. The stars of this show are the vast Chidambaram and Kumbakonam temples which you'll explore with a local guide as you marvel at their ancient history and spiritual significance.

From here you'll be carrying on to Tanjore where the impressive Brihadeshwara temple awaits and you'll be staying the night at a local boutique property.

THINGS TO DO
Temples of rural Tamil Nadu
Temples of rural Tamil Nadu
Full-day experience
Take the scenic route between Pondicherry and Tanjore to enjoy some of the best temples the region has to offer.

 


6-7
Chettinad
General Tour
Bid farewell to Tanjore this morning as you head deeper into rural Tamil Nadu and you are driven to the small village of Karaikudi in the Chettinad region. This fascinating part of the state is home to a vast array of impressive mansion houses which were built by the wealthy Chettiar merchants and then abandoned, left hauntingly empty. On arrival, you'll explore some of these with a local guide as well as taking in the antique market and arts and crafts of the area.

The following day, enjoy a leisurely morning before rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in an afternoon cookery experience. The Chettiars may have long left the region, but, as merchants of spice, the legacy of their cuisine lives on. Where better to learn the secrets of these fragrant and flavourful dishes than in Chettinad with an esteemed local chef!

THINGS TO DO
Chettinadu mansions and Karaikudi village
Chettinadu mansions and Karaikudi village
Half-day experience
Marvel at the abandoned Chettinadu mansions and see some of the local crafts of the region.

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Cookery Experience at the Bangala
Cookery Experience at the Bangala
Half-day experience
Enjoy an authentic cookery experience to learn the secrets behind Chettinad cuisine.

 


8-9
Madurai
City
A new day and a new destination this morning as you travel to the city of Madurai. How better to be welcomed into the city than with a visit to its sprawling flower market on its outskirts where beautiful garlands and vibrant blooms will greet you. From here you'll carry onto your hotel where you can spend a leisurely afternoon by the pool, or strolling the markets of this enticing city.

The next morning, you’ll embark on a cycle rickshaw tour, and discover one of the best ways to explore the city sights. Pick up some fresh local produce at the extensive fruit and vegetable markets before stumbling across the Sri Meenakshi temple - a spiritual Hindu temple with 4 towers reaching high above Madurai's skyline. Take a visit to the Gandhi Museum and City Palace before heading back to the temple in the evening once the sun has set to watch an intriguing ritual where Lord Shiva is ceremoniously put to bed for the night. 

THINGS TO DO
Madurai by rickshaw
Madurai by rickshaw
Half-day experience
Enjoy Madurai’s highlights from the back of a local cycle rickshaw.

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‘Going to Bed’ Ceremony
‘Going to Bed’ Ceremony
Evening experience
Head to the Meenakshi Temple of an evening to see Lord Shiva ceremoniously put to bed.

 


10
Munnar
General Tour
As your journey across Southern India continues you'll be crossing into the state of Kerala as you drive to the tea plantations of Munnar, high up in the Western Ghats. Here pay a visit to a local tea factory and museum where, of course, you'll get the chance to sample some famous Munnar tea for yourselves! Spot the local tea pickers, as they work their speedy magic collecting the tea leaves by hand. The sight of these hard-working pickers filling their bamboo baskets with tea leaves is quite something!

THINGS TO DO
Letchmi Hills Trek
Letchmi Hills Trek
Half-day Experience
Trek through tea plantations, grasslands, and lush forests to enjoy idyllic views over Munnar’s tea estates and the Western Ghats.

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Tea Museum and Tea Tasting Tour
Tea Museum and Tea Tasting Tour
Half-day Experience
This interactive tour takes you through the process of Munnar tea production and the history of the region.

 

11-12
The Backwaters
General Tour
As you head onwards to the sparkling West coast today, you'll be driven to Kerala's famous backwaters where you'll be staying in a local homestay renowned for its hearty home-cooked Keralan delights. 

Spend the next couple of days soaking in the sights of local life and dining on extensive, freshly-made meals, taken together as a family. Located right on a quiet stretch of canals this is truly the ultimate backwaters experience and provides the perfect place to chill out in the warm Keralan sun towards the end of your trip.   

THINGS TO DO
Overnight Keralan Houseboat Cruise
Overnight Keralan Houseboat Cruise
Overnight Experience
Hop aboard your own private houseboat and enjoy cruising through the rivers and canals of Kerala’s peaceful backwaters.

13-15
Kochi
City
From a relaxing riverfront stay to the crumbling charm of Fort Cochin your final stop on this exciting tour takes you to Kerala's capital. Steeped in rich, colonial history, you’ll enjoy a walking tour on arrival, uncovering the sights of the resplendent Mattancherry Dutch Palace and the hidden gem that is the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening hop onboard an intimate cruise in the harbor, as you watch the sun disappear behind the Chinese Fishing Nets.

On your final day, you're at leisure to do as much or as little as you please. Why not take an enchanting stroll through the ancient streets of Fort Cochin at your own pace? With little traffic and a plethora of restaurants and cafes to enjoy this makes the perfect place to finish this foodie adventure of South India. Be sure to leave some room though as tonight you'll be dining in style with a selection of delicious dishes, expertly prepared for you at a local restaurant. 

What a way to say goodbye to a beautiful part of India, before you are transferred to the airport in the morning in time for your return flights to the UK.

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