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Epic South Indian Trail by Green Earth Trails

The Epic South Indian Trail - 15 days by Green Earth trails

Price starting from INR 1,80,000 per person

  • Arrival at Chennai International Airport [MAA]

  • Departure from Cochin International Airport [COK]

Program highlights

Chennai

  • Metropolitan Indian city, capital of Tamil Nadu

  • Fort St. George, Marina Beach, St. Thomas mount

 

Mahabalipuram

  • Monolithic Temples of the Pallava kingdom

Pondicherry

  • Old French colonial buildings, restaurants & Beach

  • Auroville

Chidambaram

  • Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram

Tanjore

  • The Marvellous Brihadeshwara Temple

Chettinad

  • Experience Chettinad lifestyle & their mansions

  • Chettinad cuisine & Saree weaving

Madurai

  • Meenakshi Amman temple

  • Naickar Palace and Flower Market

Munnar

  • Tea Plantations, tea factory

  • Eravikulam National Park

Thekkady

  • Periyar National Park, Boat safari

  • Kalaripayattu & Spice garden tour

Alleppey

  • Lakes, Lagoons, canals and Houseboat

  • Backwater village tour

Marari Beach

  • Fishermen Village on the shores of the Arabian sea

Kochi

  • Old colonial town, historic buildings

  • Chinese nets & City tour of the old colonial town

Video Itinerary

Group Tour during Onam to experience the soul of Kerala
Play Video

Five days Kerala itinerary route map

Epic South India tour - 15 days Itinerary

Chennai city local tender coconut vendor

Day 1 - Arrival at Chennai airport, transfer to the hotel

Upon arrival at Chennai airport, our representative will receive you at the airport. Further drive to the hotel. Check in at the hotel after the long haul flight, you have the day at leisure or you can opt to go for a visit around Chennai with a guide. Chennai is a bustling metropolitan city, one of the very first settlement of the English in India. Drive past the Fort St. George and the Marina beach and probably a visit to the St. Thomas Mount. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

The five rathas visit at Mahabalipuram

Day 2 - Visit Mahabalipuram and drive further to Pondicherry [3 hours]

Mahabalipuram is a historic site of temples from the monolithic times where temples are carved out of stones. This UNSCO World heritage site was once a bustling centre of the Pallava kingdom. One can see monuments and carved stone temples with fine intricate carvings. Half of the monuments are today under the Bay of Bengal. The butter ball and the five rathas are common places of visits. After lunch, you can proceed to Pondicherry.

Pondicherry was once a small French colony painted in yellow. Though it was British who were primarily in control of the pre independent India. The French had some five small colonies which were primarily used as trade posts, of these Pondicherry was a prominent one. Check in at the hotel on arrival, overnight stay at Pondicherry.

Pondicherry Beach

Day 3 - Visits in and around Pondicherry

A little away from Pondicherry is a global village named Aurovillie founded by Mirra Alfassa. She is often referred to as "the mother" who experienced enlightenment and started this global village which depicts human unity. It is more about spirituality, thoughts, meditation and Aurovillie houses multiple communities that work towards the betterment of humanity and sustainability.

As mentioned earlier, Pondicherry was once a French colony, and the places depicts very intense influence of the French culture and language. There are two quarters, the Tamil quarter and the French quarter and one can witness a potpourri of culture, people, architecture, temples and a lot more. It is a place that holds a lot of charisma.

Brihadeshwara Temple Tanjaur

Day 4 - Drive to Tanjore via Kumbakonam [4.5 hours]

Tanjore is local known as Thanjavur, a was the capital of the Chola Dynasty who reigned between 8th and 11th century. By evening reach Tanjore and be ready to witness an ancient architectural marvel - The Brihadeshwara Temple was built over a thousand years back. The temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and comes under the UNSCO World heritage site. 

The temple is built with granite and follows a dravidian architecture. It houses a series of intricate carvings that tell the story of the past and present of the Chola Kingdom. In all terms the temple is a wonder and still stands strong overlooking Tanjore. The guide will take you through the temple and it stories in details. Overnight stay at Tanjore.

Chettinad mansion large courtyard

Day 6 - Proceed to Chettinad [2.5 hours]

After breakfast, drive to Chettinad, the land of Chettiars. The Chettiars are an affluent business community that thrived doing various business activities. Their lifestyle was distinct and they lived together and had built large extravagant mansions for their joint families. The architecture and the materials used to built these mansions were mostly imported from overseas. Watch how the Athangudi tiles of Chettinad are made out of hand. There are around 1500 all across Chettinad and experiencing their life and lifestyle would be a distinct experience.

They follow a very interesting cuisine and experiencing their cuisine is again part of the experience. The Athangudi hand made tiles come from this part of the country. Stay overnight in Chettinad with local visits in and around Chettinad.

Madurai Meenakshi temple night ceremony

Day 6 - Visit the ancient temple town of Madurai [2.5 hours]

Madurai is an ancient trade post which evolved into a bustling business center over the centuries. Madurai had trade relations with the Greeks and Romans. The Pandya kingdom were predominantly the rules of Madurai and the Madurai city is built around the renowned Madurai Meenakshi Amman Kovil. A temple that has been built and extended over centuries and withstood multiple attacks including that of Malik Kafur in the 12th century, who was a slave general bought by Alauddin Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate. 

The temple is dedicated to the wife of lord Siva - Parvati. The temple complex is huge and exhibits the architecture of various time periods. It has a large pond in house and has various gopuras (towers) that stand on various directions. Enjoy this marvel along with a guide and take part in the night ceremony and return to the hotel on a tuk tuk.

A walk through the tea plantations of Munnar

Day 7 - Drive up the Western Ghats to Munnar [4.5 hours]

From the plains of Tamil Nadu, drive up the Western Ghats from the Eastern side. You are climbing up an elevation of 1500 meters. From the dryness of the plains in Tamil Nadu, you are entering an entirely different zone, to the high ranges of Kerala. As you reach atop the Ghats all of a sudden the temperature drops and you start to see vivid greenery all around mostly cardamom and tea plantations. Winding roads through the tea plantations leads you to the Munnar. A summer hill station of the British, Munnar holds a two hundred year old enterprising plantation history.

Upon arrival in Munnar, check in at the resort on arrival. Rest of the day for leisure and in house programs at the resort.

Tea Tasting session at Munnar

Day 8 - Visits in and around Munnar 

Munnar is one of the highest point of elevation in the whole of Western Ghats. Today this hill station is mostly known for the tea plantations and amazing scenery. After breakfast proceed for a visit to the Eravikulam National Park, known to be a sanctuary to preserve the Nilgiri Tahr, the highest peak in South India - Anamudi [2695 MSL] is also located inside this park. Further drive to Shrishti a community that is established by the Tata trust for the rehabilitation of differently abled children and young adults., further drive past the Munnar market and finally visit the Lockhart tea factory, where you experience the real processing of tea leaves into a tea and take part in a tea tasting session. Return to the hotel by afternoon, you have rest of the day at leisure and rest. Overnight stay in Munnar.

Fresh cardamom pods - spice garden tour thekkady

Day 9 - Drive to the Cardamom hills of Thekkady [3 hours]

The high ranges of Periyar is known to be the cardamom hills of Kerala. It was the Travancore kingdom who reserved large tracts of forest region for cardamom plantations, as it was a major source of income from the export of these little green pods. As you approach Thekkady you will find large expanse of cardamom plantations on both sides of the road. Upon arrival Check in at the Resort.

Just like Munnar is know for tea, Thekkady is known for their cardamom cultivation. Visit a local spice garden to learn and experience more about spices. Later in the evening visit a local theatre where you get to see the performance of Kalarupayattu, a traditional martial art form from Kerala. Stay overnight in Thekkady.

Thekkady reservoir boating

Day 10 - visits to Periyar National Park

The Periyar National Park and tiger reserve is one of the most reknown National Parks in the India. The park is home to great flora and fauna and there are multiple options to experience this slice of tropical vegetation. 

The National Park houses are large lake which was formed as part of the Mullaperiyar dam which is located inside the park. The reservoir give you a chance to take boat through the lake where you get to sight wild being of the forest on the banks of the lake. The boat ride lasts for one and a half hours and offers a great opportunity to sight wild animals, mostly Elephants, Indian guar, Otters, Sambar deer, spotted deers, etc.

Kerala houseboat cruise in Alleppey

Day 11 - Houseboat cruise on Vembanad Lake [4 hours]

From the high ranges of the Western Ghats you drive to the low lands of Kerala towards the Arabian sea coastline. The Vembanad lake is one of the largest backwaters lakes located in Kerala. The best way to experience this water world is to board a Keralan houseboat and cruise along the narrow canals and large water highways where you get to see the backwater life and lifestyle in very close proximity.

Upon check in the cruise continues until evening, where lunch and dinner will be served on board the houseboat. This private houseboat will have a living and dining spaces, bedrooms and a kitchen at the rear of the boat. By evening, get on a little country boat and row along narrow creeks where you get see people and their lifestyle of the backwaters.

vaikom village experience

Day 12 - Kumarakom & Mararikulam Beach [1 hour]

After a short morning cruise with breakfast on board the houseboat, disembark the boat and proceed to the opposite banks of the Vembanad Lake to a little agrarian backwater hamlet named Kumarakom. There would be a little boat waiting for you to take you through the countryside for a village tour where you get to see how people on the bank of the river live. Their life, lifestyle, occupation, houses, attire and a lot more. This would be truly an authentic backwater village experience.

Later proceed to the beach destination of Mararikulam right on the shores of the Arabian sea. The beach resort is going to be your place for next two days. This place is about a relaxed holiday almost towards the end of the tour. Enjoying the tropical setting amid the swaying palms. Overnight stay at Marari Beach Resort.

Mararikulam beach on the shores of the Arabian sea

Day 13 - At Marari Beach 

Spend your day at the Marari Beach. The property will have a long pool with beds. The restaurant serves some very interesting combination of local seafood and the beach deck bar is also available. Enjoy the real tropical paradise of Marari Beach.

If you are looking for a good ayurveda experience, the property has a nice Ayurveda center equipped with an Ayurveda doctor who can give you good guidance as to what therapy would be suite you the best.

Overnight stay at the Marari Beach Resort.

Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi

Day 14 - Transfer to Kochi [1 hour]

After breakfast, drive to Fort Kochi. A historic town on the shores of the Arabian sea, often referred to as the queen of the Arabian sea. Upon arrival check in at the resort.

Later in the afternoon proceed for the sightseeing tour of Kochi with a English speaking local guide. The tour will take you to Mattancherry where the Paradeshi Synagogue and the Dutch Palace share a common wall. Witness the old belongings of the Kochi Royal family. The Jew town houses numerous handicraft and antique shops.

Later proceed to Fort Kochi, to see the St. Francis Church, the oldest Church built by Europeans in India and walk past the chinese fishing nets at the estuary. The day comes to an end watching a Kathakali dance show at a local theatre. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Departure flight from Cochin Ariport

Day 15 - Departure transfer to Cochin Airport [2 hours]

After breakfast, be get ready for the departure transfer to Cochin Airport. The tour comes to a climax as it is time to head home with amazing experiences of this amazing country called India.

Accommodation & Pricing per person

  • The above rates are per person rates based on minimum two adults traveling together.

  • Rates valid until 30th April 2025

  • Rates are not valid from 15th December to 10th January and for the month of February 2025

  • The program can be tailored to the guest's requirement, also alternate hotels can also be incorporated in case if you intend to spend a lesser or a higher price for the tour

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The program includes

  • South India tour program based on the above itinerary.

  • All transfers and sightseeing in comfortable Large car with a professionally experienced driver from arrival till departure.

  • Bottled drinking water and cab amenities through out the tour.

  • Hotel accommodation as mentioned above with breakfast.

  • Service of an English speaking local guide in Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Chettinad, Madurai, Munnar and Kochi.

  • Entrance tickets at places of interest.

  • Cycle rickshaw ride in Pondicherry.

  • Night ceremony at Madurai Meenakshi temple and tuk tuk ride in Madurai.

  • Tea factory and tea tasting session in Munnar.

  • Spice plantation tour in Thekkady.

  • Boat safari at Periyar National Park.

  • Kalaripayattu show at Thekkady.

  • Houseboat day cruise with all meals served on board.

  • Kumarakom backwater village tour.

  • Kathakali dance show at Kochi.

  • 5% Goods and Service Tax.

  • 24 / 7 customer support / assistance.

Notes

  • The price is based on 2 adults travelling together.

  • Houseboat meal menu would be a local backwater cuisine.

  • The houseboat will be docked from 5 PM to next day 8 AM.

  • All meals except breakfast are on direct payment basis, excluding houseboat.

  • Flight tickets, visa to India, travel insurance are excluded and should be availed on own arrangement.

  • Table Drinks, laundray, expenses of personal nature, shopping, tips, lunch and dinner are on direct basis.

South India tour booking Procedure

  • Once the tour is confirmed with us we make reservation at the respective hotels / resorts / houseboat.

  • We shall send you a confirmation voucher based on the confirmation we have received from the service providers.

  • 60% advance deposit is required to guarantee the tour and the rest could be paid on the first day of the commencement of the tour.

  • We accept payments via credit cards, debit cards, internet banking, UPIs, bank transfers to our overseas local bank accountsfor Euro, USD, GBP, and various other currencies. additional charges apply for card transactions.

  • International wire transfer is available for foreign remittances.

  • In the event of a cancellation, the cancellation policy applies - kindly refer to the cancellation policy.

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Kerala tour packages -  Kerala tours
  • Is five days Kerala tour customisable?
    The above five days Kerala tour is a private tour program and is 100% customizable, you can add or remove the number of days, change the accommodation option for particular destinations, add or remove the number of people traveling. All this is possible and we can work out revised quotes for the respective customization required.
  • Are the prices for the Kerala tour on per person basis?
    The above Kerala tour price is per person based on two adults traveling together. Essentially you need to double the price for a couple. In case if you have more than 2 people and require additional rooms, we recommend you to get in touch with us and get a customised quote.
  • Is five days enough to see around Kerala?
    Five days is ample to visit the popular destinations of Munnar (2 nights), Thekkady (1 night) and the Kerala backwaters (1 night houseboat). Provided you have a morning arrival flight and evening departure flight from Kochi. We have observed that 4 nights and 5 days is what guests are comfortably ready to allocate for Kerala travel and that is the reason why this is the most popularly sold Kerala tour for us.
  • Where is the arrival and departure for five days Kerala tour?
    Cochin, this five days Kerala tour is a round trip, meaning the arrival and departure is from same place. The program is curated based on an arrival flight before noon and a departure flight by evening from Cochin International Airport.
  • Why is there multiple price options for five days Kerala tour?
    The five days Kerala tour proposal has four different price options. These options are based on the type of hotels incorporated in the program. The multiple price options allow you to have the flexibility to choose the appropriate price for you.
  • When is the best time to visit Kerala?
    The best time to visit Kerala is from August to May, because during June and July you have the South West monsoon. The monsoon season is considered to be an off season, you can expect around 15% to 20% reduction in Hotel prices. August and September is a great time, transition from Monsoon to Winter. However the weather has been changing over the years due to various global reasons, we had less rains in June and July and more rains in August and September in 2023.
  • Are the five days Kerala tour prices negotiable?
    This is a popular Kerala tour program and we have incorporated the best prices for all the services included in the program. There are lot more things included in the program than what is mentioned. When it comes to negotiations, something starts to drop out of them. This affects the overall experience of the program and hence we do not encourag