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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 welcomed 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.
Tamil Nadu and Kerala
Chennai, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Chettinad, Madurai, Dinidgul, Thekkady, Backwaters, Cochin
Best for: Culture History, Family, Beach
Combining Tamil Nadu’s ancient temples with the rolling hills and stunning backwaters of Kerala, this 15 night itinerary is the perfect introduction to two of south India’s most entrancing states.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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This 15 night itinerary takes you to experience the best of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, particularly perfect for first time visitors to south India looking for culture rich towns coupled with some rural retreats. The trip begins in Tamil Nadu, walking through the French colonial town of Pondicherry before visiting the soaring intricate temples of Tanjore and Madurai followed by a short stay in the leafy outskirts of Dindigul. You will then move on to the wonders of Kerala, staying at a wonderful plantation retreat, cruising the glistening backwaters and exploring the cosmopolitan city of Cochin and its diverse cultural influences.
Day 1 - 2 : Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at The Leela Palace, Chennai for 1 night
The trip begins in Tamil Nadu’s capital of Chennai. Upon arrival, you will be driven you the Leela Palace, a magnificently designed luxury hotel offering sweeping ocean views. That afternoon is free to relax at the hotel, perhaps in the luxury spa or by the hotel’s large outdoor swimming pool. If you prefer, a private guided tour of Chennai can easily be arranged, whether you wish to discover the general highlights, specific temples, traditional dance culture or the very best of local street food.
Days 2 - 4 : Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at Palais De Mahe for 2 nights
The following day, you will be driven approximately three and a half hours to Pondicherry, a delightful sea-side town known as the ‘Riviera of the East’ due to its strong French cultural influences. The next two nights will be spent at the charming boutique hotel of Palais de Mahe, designed in a style strongly reminiscent of Pondicherry’s time as a French colonial settlement. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Pondicherry, exploring both the Tamil and French Quarters. The difference between the two is remarkable, from the boutiques and cafes in the French side to the fine Tamil-style mansions in the Tamil Quarter.
Day 4 - 5 : Tanjore and Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at Svatma for 1 night
From Pondicherry, it is approximately a four hour drive to the city of Tanjore, a highly important centre for south Indian art, religion and architecture. Explore the cultural delights of Tanjore the following day with a private guide, including the renowned Brihadeeswarar Temple and the spacious halls and bronze sculptures of Thanjavur Palace. Whilst in Tanjore, you will be staying at Svatma, a wonderfully unique hotel that strives to connect guests with the cultural heritage of the Tamil Nadu state.
Days 5 - 7 : Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at Visalam for 2 nights
From Tanjore, you will be driven approximately two and a half hours to the heritage town of Chettinad, known for its opulent 18th century trader’s mansions. The next two nights will be spent at Visalam, a beautifully restored family mansion conveniently located for exploring Chettinad by foot. Explore Chettinad with a private guide, touring the stunning abandoned mansions previously owned by the Tami traders, a prosperous business and banking community also known as the ‘Chettiars’.
Day 7 - 8 : Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at Taj Gateway Pasumalai for 1 night
On the morning of day eight, you will be driven approximately two hours to Madurai, one of south India’s finest temple towns. After settling in to the Taj Gateway hotel on the outskirts of town, you will be taken to the Sri Meenakshi Temple for the evening ‘going to bed ceremony’, a wonderfully unique spectacle carried out every evening by a number of priests. Arise the early the next morning for a walking tour of Madurai, watching the city come to life before enjoying a tour of the city’s main attractions including the 16th century Tirumalai Palace and the Sri Meenakshi Temple. That afternoon you will be driven two and a half hours to Rajakkad Estate.
Days 8 - 10 : Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India
Stay at Rajakkad Estate for 2 nights
The next two nights will be spent in the rural retreat of Rajakkad, an intimate boutique hotel surrounded by lush forests and coffee estates just outside of Dindigul. Your time at Rajakkad is free to spend how you wish, perhaps enjoying some delicious south Indian and Mediterranean cuisine, practising some Ashtanga Yoga overlooking the mountains, or trekking through the surrounding forests.
Days 10 - 12 : Thekkady and Periyar National Park, Kerala, India
Stay at Spice Village for 2 nights
From Rajakkad, it is approximately a three and a half hour drive to Spice Village, a wonderful property featuring a number of secluded cottages nestled amongst spice gardens in the foothills of Kerala’s Western Ghats. The following morning, enjoy an early morning brisk jungle-walk through the buffer area of Periyar National Park, hopefully spotting a number of wildlife species that inhabit the area including the elephant, Sloth Bears and Indian Wild Dogs.
Days 12 - 14 : Backwaters, Kerala, India
Stay at Philip Kutty's Farm for 2 nights
On the morning of day 12, you will be driven three and a half hours to Kerala’s famed backwaters, a vast network of waterways, lakes and lagoons. The next two nights will be spent at Philip Kutty’s Farm, a characterful homestay located on an island in the middle of the backwaters. The following day, explore the backwaters on a cruise aboard an iconic houseboat. Sit out on deck and watch the tiny communities and lush paddy fields pass you by as the boat slowly meanders along the river.
Days 14 - 16 : Cochin, Kerala, India
Stay at Old Harbour Hotel for 2 nights
From the backwaters, it is a two hour drive to the port city of Cochin, a city known for its diverse cultural influences from its varied colonial history. Whilst exploring the cultural treasures of Cochin, you will be staying at Old Harbour, a luxury colonial-style boutique property located just steps away from Cochin’s famous Chinese fishing nets. Explore Cochin the next day with a private specialist guide, visiting highlights including the St. Francis church, the Chinese fishing nets and the markets of Ernakulam. If you wish, a specialised tour with a photographer guide can be arranged, who will take you to some of the more picturesque parts of the city to help you capture Cochin’s beauty on camera. The trip comes to an end on the morning of day 16, as you are drive to Cochin’s airport in time to board your flight back home.
And every holiday we design is different too. Call us on 020 3141 2850 to talk through your ideas and let’s see what we come up with. It’s what we do best.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
From $3685 per person
Meals and experiences as specified in itinerary
Transport in air conditioned vehicles
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.