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Order your free copy of our India guidebook today. Written by our specialists, it details destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post. For those who live abroad, we will send you a copy by email.
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The Golden Triangle is a great starting point for anyone visiting India for the first time. The journey is made up of three of the most visited cities in north India – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, offering a fantastic combination of history and culture.
Only after stepping foot in India will you realise that Indian cuisine, as you know it, just doesn’t exist. To paint both the delicate and punchy flavours of India with the same broad brushstroke overlooks the smorgasbord of dishes on offer from north to south. Tried and tested recipes balance coriander, cumin and cardamom with almost scientific precision, guaranteeing a culinary experience you will never forget.
Enjoy a sneak peek into daily life in India by staying at a haveli or in a homestay. If only for a few nights, you will be shoehorned into a family, enjoying traditional Indian hospitality, sampling home cooked food and exploring the path less travelled. Staying at one of these unique lodgings will give you an incredible insight into real India, and you will be welcomed with open arms by hosts whose wealth of local knowledge knows no bounds. Coming in all shapes and sizes, from plantation bungalows to historic houses, majestic forts and charming cottages, a short stay in one of these unique properties allows you to immerse yourself in India rather than simply visit it.
India is a magical country which welcomes travellers with a chaotic and colourful assault on the senses. Never is this more prominent than during one of the many festivals. Below we have listed the dates for the major festivals in India. Speak to one of our specialists about incorporating one of these into a tailor-made itinerary.
With millions of passengers on the move every day, travelling on some 71,000 miles of track, India's intricate network of railways are the arteries of the country, connecting its bustling cities with its sleepy villages and everywhere in between. The sprawling rail network reaches the nooks and crannies of India which are otherwise impossible to find. Amongst the country's miles of train tracks are some of the most picturesque rail journeys in the world, most notable of which are its famed toy trains. Whilst perhaps not the most efficient way of getting from A to B, the experience is an absolute must to add to your India itinerary.
Essential Tamil Nadu
Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Chettinad, Madurai
Best for: Culture History, First time, Highlights
Discover Tamil Nadu on this culturally enriching ten night itinerary, taking you to soaring ancient temples, architecturally stunning 18th century mansions, and charming sea-side towns with rich colonial histories.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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Known for its extraordinary temples, Tamil Nadu is an enchanting state steeped in south Indian history, culture and religion. Starting in the coastal town of Mahabalipuram to explore its UNESCO listed monuments, you then travel along the coast to Pondicherry, often called the ‘Riviera of the East’ due its strong French cultural influences. Heading away from the coast, explore the remarkable intricate temples of Madurai and Tanjore, and the opulent 18th century mansions of Chettinad left behind by a wealthy community of Tamil traders. This itinerary is perfect for those seeking a particularly cultural experience of South India, however some time for relaxation can easily be added, perhaps on Kerala’s glistening backwaters, the golden shores of Marari Beach or amongst the picturesque tea plantations of Ooty.
Days 1 - 3 : Mahabalipuram, Kerala and the South
Stay at Radisson Temple Bay for 2 nights
The trip begins in Tamil Nadu’s capital of Chennai. After arriving in Chennai’s international airport, you will be driven approximately one and a half hours to the laid-back coastal town of Mahabalipuram. Spend the next two nights at Radisson Temple Bay, a grand hotel offering an excellent beachfront location, extensively manicured gardens and a fantastic range of the facilities. That afternoon and evening is free to relax and settle into your hotel before exploring Mahabalipuram’s Shore Temples with a private guide the following day, magnificent rock-cut temples showcasing some of the most beautiful stone architecture in south India.
Days 3 - 5 : Pondicherry, Kerala and the South
Stay at Palais De Mahe for 2 nights
On the morning of day three, you will be driven approximately two hours south to the charming sea-side town of Pondicherry. The next two nights will be spent at Palais de Mahe, a well-located boutique hotel that is strongly reminiscent of Pondicherry’s time as a French colonial settlement. The following day, enjoy a walk tour of Pondicherry’s Tamil and French Quarters with a private specialist guide. As you walk, you will notice a remarkable difference between the two areas, from the boutiques and cafes in the French side to the fine Tamil-style mansions in the Tamil Quarter.
Days 5 - 7 : Tanjore and Trichy, Kerala and the South
Stay at Svatma for 2 nights
From Pondicherry, it is approximately a four hour drive to Tanjore, a city known for its architecturally impressive 1,000 year old Brihadeeswarar Temple. The next day will be spent exploring the cultural, religious and artistic delights of Tanjore with a private guide, including the Brihadeeswarar Temple and the spacious halls and bronze sculptures of Thanjavur Palace. Two nights will be spent at Svatma, a boutique hotel offering secluded individually styled rooms, a range of wellness therapies and some delicious vegetarian cuisine.
Days 7 - 9 : Chettinad, Kerala and the South
Stay at Visalam for 2 nights
On the morning of day seven, you will be driven around two and a half hours to Chettinad. Once the home of a prosperous Tamil trader community known as the ‘Chettiars’, Chettinad is known for its opulent 18th century mansions these traders left behind. You will be taken to visit some of the stunning abandoned mansions the following day, accompanied by a private guide to tell you all about the history or the Chettiar community. Whilst in Chettinad, you will be staying as Visalam, a wonderfully restored family mansion ideally located for exploring the Chettinad region.
Days 9 - 11 : Madurai, Kerala and the South
Stay at Taj Gateway Pasumalai for 2 nights
From Chettinad, you will be driven approximately two hours to Madurai, an animated city home to some of Tamil Nadu’s most beautiful temples including the renowned Meenakshi Temple. The next two nights will be spent at Taj Pasumalai, a colonial-style hotel at the edge of the city offering panoramic views over Madurai. Enjoy a guided early morning walking tour of Madurai town the following day, interacting with locals and watching the city come to life as its inhabitants begin their day. That evening, you will be taken to the Meenakshi Temple to witness a ‘going to bed ceremony’, an evening ritual carried out by a number of priests that makes for a remarkable spectacle. The trip draws to a close on the morning of day 11, as you are driven to Madurai Airport in time to board your flight back home.
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This is just an idea to inspire you. Now let us make it yours. Call 020 3141 2850 and we will take your budget, favourites & timings and use our expertise to design the perfect holiday unique to you.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
From $2234 per person
All meals and experiences as per itinerary
Private car and guide
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.