Southern India Highlights

Suggested 12-day tour experiencing the magic of southern India's exotic fusion of rich and vibrant culture, lush emerald scenery and delicious food.


Departure Date To Suit You - Prices Available on Request

TRIP LENGTH: 12 days/11 nights - GROUP SIZE: Minimum 2 people 

MEALS: Breakfast daily -  STYLE/GRADE: Easy touring 

PRICE: On request depending on group size, time of year and style of accommodation

Dating back to some of the oldest tribal settlements in the world, southern India is renowned for it’s warm and welcoming people. From the multitude of ancient languages to the rhythmic musical recitals and various classical dances, from the mystical temples to the serene romanticism of the backwaters, this trip is an ideal introduction to Southern India.

Starting with a brief interlude encompassing the highlights of Mumbai, India’s financial capital, the journey explores the tranquil charm of the plantation towns and meandering backwaters of Kerala, the beautiful wildlife sanctuary of Periyar National Park and finally one of India’s finest and most impressive temple towns, Madurai.

Some of the unique highlights in this itinerary include a variety of palace accommodation, the private houseboat in Kerala and local food prepared on the banks of the backwaters. 

This itinerary can be booked as is, or alternatively used as a starting point for Wandering the World to create your own tailor made trip.  It can be tailored for individual travellers or groups of 2 – 12.






Enjoying local cuisine is an integral part of the experience of travel. To sample the flavours and food of a country is all a part of being immersed in the culture. And your journey in India with us is no exception. 


Day 1/Night 1

On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel, where you relax and get ready for a sensational journey in Incredible India.

Day 2/Night 2

The perfect introduction to Mumbai is the Heritage Tour that starts at the Gateway of India and pays homage to the distinct yet important British history. You  will see the colonial structures venerating the skyline of South Mumbai, Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Yatch Club, Mumbai Police Headquarters, Prince of Wales Museum, NGMA, Sasson Library, Watson Hotel, Kala Ghoda District, Mumbai University, High Court, Flora Fountain, Victoria Terminus Railway station.

(Meals included: Breakfast)

Day 3/Night 3

Today you fly to Kochi. The commercial capital of Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of Kerala’s cities, Kochi is a fascinating blend of cultures. From time immemorial, it has been the favourite destination of globe-trotters and explorers. Blessed by one of the finest natural harbours in the world, Cochin has been eulogized as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. In and around Kochi are several cities of monumental value, but step into Fort Kochi, and you are in a totally different world. The Chinese fishing nets, the Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch palace, the Portuguese and British Architecture, all finely blend with the rich heritage of the land, intricately woven folklore and fact. In the evening witness the oldest living opera of the world - Kathakalli dance drama which owes its transnational fame to this nearly 1300 years old classical dance form which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakalli explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas.

(Meals Included: Breakfast)

Day 4/Night 4

Today starts with a visit to the impressive Fort Kochi. You then visit Mattanchery Palace, built by the Portuguese (1557) as a gift for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights; it was largely rebuilt by the new occupants, the Dutch. There is also a visit to Jew Town, now a fascinating mixture of shops (some selling antiques), warehouses and spice auction rooms. Later, a drive to Fort Kochi beach area to visit St. Francis Church originally dedicated to Santo Antonio, the patron saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first to reflect the new, and European influenced tradition. Vasco da Gama died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. Fourteen years later his body was removed and transported to Portugal. 

Lastly a visit to huge Chinese Fishing nets lining the entrance to the harbour mouth. It is worth spending some time watching the technique and energy of the fisherman as they go about their daily routine.  They will also welcome your assistance if you feel like trying your hand.  History tells us the Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the late 14th century although, today, parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names.

(Meals Included: Breakfast)

Day 5/Night 5

A spectacular and relaxing highlight of the South, is enjoying your private houseboat floating through the backwaters of Kerala. After breakfast it is just a short drive of approximately an hour to Allepey to board your boat. Your accommodation onboard comprises furnished bedrooms, with attached private bathrooms, running water, and a lounge area on the front deck where you will enjoy the sights on the shore. Your sailing starts through scenic backwaters, passing through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. In the evening, catch a glimpse of village life along the backwaters and experience a way of life unique to this region.

Overnight on your Private Houseboat

(Meals Included: Dinner, Lunch & Breakfast)

Day 6/Night 6

Continue to soak up the journey onboard your private houseboat for a second day. It’s impossible not to be immersed in the relaxing mood that stems from the gentle slow cruising through the picturesque stretches of the backwaters – the unique asset of God’s Own Country Kerala.

The food is also a highlight as the crew onboard proudly display their cooking talents, and if the fish are biting they will be included on the menu.  Enjoy the outdoor eating onboard, moored on water’s edge.

Overnight on your Private Houseboat.

(Meals Included: Dinner, Lunch & Breakfast)

Day 7/Night 7

You disembark from your houseboat with some reluctance, and drive to your hotel in Kumarakom, a small village 14 km west of Kottayam. It is a part of Kuttanad, which is a 'wonder land' lying below sea level, comprising of a number of islands, in the back waters. Kumarakom is a paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting water ways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, this small water world has plenty of traditional country boats, crafts and canoes which will take you into the heart of scenic Kerala village located on the banks of Vembanad Lake.

(Meals Included: Breakfast)

Day 8/Night 8

Today you enjoy an excursion to Aranmula, declared as a heritage village of India by Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Aranmula is world famous for its metal mirrors, “Aranmula Kannady”, unique for its alloy and its ancient method ‘lost wax’ and polishing techniques. 

You also visit  Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam in Aranmula  which offers regular courses in traditional architecture and mural Painting. Kerala is noted for its traditional architecture; be it in the case of dwellings, places of worship like temples or palaces. The traditional architecture of Kerala is an interesting blend of art and science that combines to provide better spaces suited for specific purposes. Written texts and oral traditions co-existed in Kerala since ancient times and most of the basic tenets of this unique architectural know-how still exist for the modern day generation to study and preserve. The architectural acumen of Kerala, especially the traditional method is today reckoned for its aesthetic marvel and also for living in absolute harmony with Nature. In the realm of tradition architecture of Kerala, the Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta District is today a centre reckoned for its efforts to preserving the nuances of Kerala's traditional architecture. It is now well on course in becoming a centre of repute for learning the many facets of Kerala's traditional architecture and preserving them for posterity.

You also visit the Sree Parthasarathy Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Sree Krishna, known here in the name of Parthasarathy (Partha's charioteer; Partha (Arjun) was one of the five Pandava princes, the heroes of the epic, Mahabharata).

(Meals Included: Breakfast)

Day 9/Night 9

There are many highlights along the way today that will keep your camera in close range as you drive to Paradisa Plantation through the cardamom hills, with endless breathtaking views. Your spectacular accommodation awaits in this impressively scenic part of the world.            

(Meals Included: Dinner, Lunch & Breakfast) 

Day 10/Night 10

Today after a relaxing breakfast take a walk through the Plantation to see the organic cultivation of coffee and spices. Later in the day a Guided Nature walk to a historical site of the Pandavas called Panchalimedu, just one kilometre from the resort with a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

(Meals Included: Dinner, Lunch & Breakfast)

Day 11/Night 11

It is well worth the early morning wake up call to stop at Periyar National Park.  The Periyar wildlife sanctuary is in a beautiful setting and was designated a part of Project Tiger in 1973; though Tigers are very rarely seen and it is better know for its elephants, which are very likely to be seen until March/April. Most bull elephants here are tusk less. Bison, Sambar, Wild boar and the barking Deer are fairly common. A brilliant site for bird and butterfly enthusiasts, in addition to 246 species of birds, there are 112 species of butterfly.

Later we take 250 km/5 hr drive to the city of Madurai. One of South India's well-known temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2,500 years ago

A visit to the Meenakshi Temple is a must - with its huge gopurams towering over the city, the life of Madurai revolves around the Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple, dedicated to Meenakshi, the lovely consort of Shiva or Sundareswar, as he is known here. Originally built by the Pandya king Kulasekhara in the 13th century, it attained its present splendor only in the hands of the Nayaks, 400 years later.

(Meals Included: Breakfast) 

Day 12

Start today with a visit to the Thirumalai Naykar Palace, built by Thirumalai Nayak, which testifies to their glorious reign. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, all that remains of this magnificent mansion today are the principal entrance, the dance hall, and the main hall.

Your driver will transfer you to the airport. Although your journey to India comes to an end, the memories of the South will be etched in your memory.

(Meals Included: Breakfast)

Wandering the World hope you have had a journey of a lifetime and welcome your choice to wander with us again.


PHONE: +61 402 910 552

EMAIL: Glenyce Johnson glenycej@wanderingtheworld.com.au

VISIT: www.wanderingtheworld.com.au

Full booking conditions and payment details available on request.

Wandering the World
specialises in creating and tailoring exceptional walking, trekking and touring holidays in some of the most beautiful places on earth. This includes both escorted small group and self-guided trips, as well as individually tailored itineraries for privately organised trips.

We are passionate about sharing the places we love and offer our expertise to ensure our travellers enjoy rich and authentic travelling experiences. Wandering the World select authentic and comfortable accommodation and our itineraries are focused on immersing travellers in the local culture and uncovering the hidden gems of a destination. We are committed to ensuring our travellers have a trip of a lifetime

*If your printer does not print to pdf, try using Chrome as your browser - download software here