Tailor MadeOriginal

Kerala and the Spicy South

Southern India is in vogue and it is easy to see why.

Tamil Nadu is the home of the Tamils who have existed in this region for over 5,000 years. Stunning architecture such as the Shore temple and Anjuna’s Penance reflect the ancient culture that has persevered. The Chettinad cuisine is distinctively spicy and has one of one of the oldest culinary heritages in the world. There are some of the grandest Hindu temples reflecting the Dravidian style of architecture as well as pilgrimage sites and stunning beach resorts. The seaside French enclave of Pondicherry is a jewel in its crown. Kerala has a timeless ring. Your thoughts may turn to the sleepy backwaters and cruising the myriad of waterways in your luxurious houseboat. You must not overlook the cool hill station town of Kodaikanal where you can gently while away the afternoon in you Kashmiri shikara boat. Nor should you forget the pristine jungles of the Periyar National Park where you may be fortunate enough to view the majestic elephants that roam free or even the elusive tigers that still inhabit the region albeit sadly in small numbers. To experience the diversity and cultural melting pots of these two states makes for an unforgettable journey of spice, sound and colour.

14 Day Itinerary
Departure:25th January 2025(Saturday to Friday)


Day 1 - Chennai
Arrival day, no activities planned
Day 2 - Chennai to Mamallapuram
An easy morning in Chennai sightseeing by bus is planned with a number of the local sights visited including Fort St. George, the Santhome Cathedral Church and Kapaleeswarar Shiva temple. Early afternoon we take a short drive south to the history and beautiful beaches of Mamallapuram. We are abruptly reminded of more recent issues with displays and reminders of the recent Tsunami tragedy. We have time to visit to the stunning Shore Temple constructed in the 7th Century
Day 3 - Mamallapuram to Pondicherry
This morning we heading south along the coast of the Bay of Bengal and arrive in the French colonial enclave of Pondicherry. There is not an experience like this to be found anywhere in Southern India. We settle in with an orientation walk along the Promenade and dinner in a lovely French restaurant
Day 4 - Pondicherry
We begin the day with Pondicherry's “Heritage Walk”. There are some significant temples including the Manakula Vinayagar dedicated to Ganesh the Elephant God of beginnings. If your timing is right, for a few rupees the resident elephant may bless you with a tap on the head and snort of the trunk. Pondi is home to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram where a Frenchwoman known as “The Mother” developed a spiritual code combining modern science and yoga. The Ashram deserves a visit to gain an insight into alternate ideas and how suited India is to New Age contemporary thinking
Day 5 - Pondicherry to Madurai
An easy drive today inland through rice fields and agricultural variety. Our first stop is to a World Heritage site the ornate Gangakondacholapuram Temple. No need to pronounce it correctly, it is easier to take in this beautifully designed 11th Century place of worship. We continue further south west to the central city of Madurai. Famous for the huge and inspiring complex of the Sri Meenakshi Temple the city is also a centre for pilgrimage and learning. It is one of South India’s oldest cities
Day 6 - Madurai
Our morning is set aside to visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple. We engage the knowledge of a local guide who can describe the grandeur and history of the entire complex. There temple complex is situated on six hectares of land and is complete with Gods and Goddesses at every turn. Whether you are a temple aficionado or not you will be left spellbound by your visit. It truly is the most stunning temple experience you will have in Southern India. In the afternoon we visit the Tirumalai Nayak Palace. Built in the early 1600’s the entrance gate and halls are examples of the grandeur of one of the best examples of secular architecture in India. Our day concludes with an optional night of Kollywood (Southern India’s cinema industry) cinema at the local Theatre
Day 7 - Madurai to Kodaikanal
We take a break from the plains and the temples and head high into the Western Ghats. Our destination is the cool hill station of Kodaikanal. Our journey is breathtaking up through the hills past waterfalls and forests and our ultimate destination is the grand old Carlton hotel on the banks of Kodai Lake. Late afternoon we find ourselves on Kashmiri style Shikara boats being paddled gently around the lake. Predinner drinks could well be inside the great common room as the temperature drops sharply at night here
Day 8 - Kodaikanal to Periyar
We leave the state of Tamil Nadu behind us today and are bound for the tea and spice plantations of Kerala. The feel is tropical almost instantly as we drop down from the Western Ghats. Our destination is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary home to elephants and tiger as well as a wide range of deer and bison. On arrival we check into our delightful hotel and enjoy an evening cruise on the Periyar Lake. With luck we will spot some of the abundant wildlife as the day winds down
Day 9 - Periyar
This morning we plan a visit to one of the many local Spice Plantations to discover the variety of plants and spices available. We can sample some of the tastes and our local guide will share many of the surprising uses of each and every plant in the gardens There is time for further excursions in to Wildlife Sanctuary if you are so inclined, by boat or even a short hike. Late afternoon we will head to a local residence and enjoy a cooking class with a lovely Kerala family. We share in the local secrets and are pleased to be able to enjoy dinner in the home of our hosts.
Day 10 - Periyar to Kumarakom
We drive west to the Kerala Backwaters. A leisurely drive and we have time to stop at a tea plantation. With luck can sample the local product first hand. An afternoon’s relaxation beckons although for this active there are very interesting villages and waterside communities in walking distance
Day 11 - Kumarakom onto Houseboats
We relax this morning in preparation for our overnight boat journey through the Kerala backwaters. Our boat arrives late morning and we step onto our home for the next 24 hours. The boats are sumptuously appointed and are fully self contained with kitchens showers and luxurious bedroom facilities. All meals are served on the boat as we wind our leisurely way through the canals and streams. We have time to call into local villages and come sunset our pre dinner drinks are served as we tie up together in a sleepy section of the Backwaters. Truly an amazing experience and everything you have always heard about. Each boat has its own cook and he will be happy to share his own personal cooking recipes and you can even help in the kitchen if you are so inspired
Day 12 - Arrive Alleppey to Cochin
After breakfast we slowly head into the town of Alleppey where we reluctantly disembark. After a drive down to the ocean and a dip of the toes in the Arabian Sea we head north to the old town of Fort Cochin. As busy city port we head for the slow pace of the leafy Fort area which will be the final destination of our tour
Day 13 - Cochin
Cochin is a lovely destination to finish our tour. The pace of life here is never more than a stroll. All we wish to see is in walking distance and there are numerous cafes and outdoor eateries to take a break. Jew town is perfect for any final shopping needs and there is an opportunity for an early evening cruise. We will have ample time today to wander the quiet streets and take a look at the ancient Chinese fishing nets as the sun sinks over the ocean. A farewell dinner will give us the chance to reminisce about our wonderful journey through Southern India
Day 14 - Cochin
Departure day

Trip Options

Single Travellers:USD$850Details
Extra Accommodation: Single USD$140Details
Double USD$140
Arrival Airport Transfer:USD$40Details


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