Southern India: Spices, Temples and Backwaters

Southern India: Spices, Temples and Backwaters

Kochi, India

Southern India is an amalgam of exotic flora and fauna, spices, temple bells and miles of ocean and sand. As you travel through this region, discover a wealth of culture, incredible landscapes and a vibrant, welcoming people. Sail through the backwaters of Kerala, witness an aarti ceremony at a sacred temple, visit a traditional Indian dance academy, and dine at the home of a famous South Indian chef. Along the way, see the sights in historic Kochi and the buzzing cities of Chennai and Madurai.


Chennal – Madurai – Kumarakom – Kochi


• Explore the wonders of Kanchipuram, one of India's seven sacred cities
• Discover the varied cultures of South India on a visit to Dakshinachitra in Chennai
• Marvel at a sacred aarti ceremony at the spectacular Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
• Cruise the backwaters of Kerala and enjoy lunch aboard a traditional houseboat
• Visit the world's oldest Synagogue in Kochi
• Savor an authentic Keralan dinner at the home of an acclaimed South Indian chef


• Private arrival and departure airport transfers to and from your hotel
• All planning, handling and operational charges
• Accommodation as noted in itinerary, based on double occupancy
• Privately guided sightseeing in air-conditioned vehicle (exceptions may apply)
• Services of Professional English-Speaking Guide(s) and/or Tour Escort as detailed in your itinerary
• All entrance fees mentioned in itinerary
• Meals as mentioned in itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
• Baggage handling, 2 pieces per person unless otherwise noted. (Please note that any additional luggage may require modification in vehicle size)
• Other inclusions as noted in your itinerary

Not included:
• Meals that are not shown, and items of a personal nature
• Gratuities

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View Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Chennai
Upon arrival in Chennai, you will be welcomed by your Cox & Kings local representative and escorted to your hotel.

Day 2: Chennai
After breakfast this morning, visit the Kalakshetra Dance Academy, founded by Rukmini Devi in 1936 to revive Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form of the state. Continue to the temple city of the Pallava dynasty, Mahaballipuram, where you enjoy lunch at a seaside resort. After you dine, it's on to visit Dakshinachitra, a unique Heritage village. As you tour this fascinating open-air museum, you'll get an authentic insight into the diverse culture. (B, L)

Day 3: Chennai
Take a day trip to Kanchipuram, one of the seven ancient sacred cities of India. The spectacular temple city reflects the glorious traditions of South India, with its grand temples and a thriving handloom industry, which has made the city renowned for its excellent silk. (B, L)

Day 4: To Madurai
After breakfast this morning, head for the airport for your flight to Madurai, a prominent city in Tamil Nadu and home to the spectacular Meenakshi Temple. Upon arrival, you have the rest of the day at leisure to begin your explorations of the area. (B)

Day 5: Madurai
Embark on a visit to Sri Meenakshi Temple. One of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage, the temple is a baroque example of Dravidian architecture, filled with gopurams (spires) in a profusion of multi-colored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The 1,000-pillared hall in the complex houses the Temple Art Museum with its stone images and exhibits on Hindu deities. This evening, witness the sacred aarti ceremony, which consists of music, chanting, song and crowds of spiritual revelers. (B)

Day 6: To Kumarakom
Drive through the picturesque South Indian countryside to Kumarakom, where a labyrinthine network of rivers, canals, streams and lagoons form the famed backwaters. Enjoy stunning views as you continue your journey to your resort. (B)

Day 7: Kumarakom
Embark on a leisurely exploration of the Kerala backwaters, an unforgettable journey through a luxuriant palm-fringed landscape, where the locals and the river enjoy a symbiotic existence. You'll cruise through the tropical landscape on a rice barge, savoring a traditional lunch along the way. (B, L)

Day 8: To Kochi
Transfer by boat to the jetty and then proceed to Kochi. In the evening, sample some of the local flavors as you dine on authentic Kerala cuisine at the residence of a famous culinary expert. (B, D)

Day 9: Kochi
Unravel the ancient treasures of the quaint harbor town of Kochi. Visit the Portuguese Church of St. Francis and the oldest living synagogue in the world. Continue to Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese for the King of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. Later, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. This evening, consider celebrating your last night in India with dinner at one of the city's many seafood restaurants. (B, L)

Day 10: Depart Kochi
Today you will be escorted to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Operated through Cox & Kings

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