India: The Beautiful South

Icy FPO

Delight in bright waters, vibrant saris and colorful flowers in glorious Southern India with a world class operator who offers insider access to unforgettable experiences.

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SPECIAL OFFER

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7.7*

ECO SCORE

18

PASSENGERS

15

DAYS

3/5

ACTIVITY LEVEL

India: Drink It In

Welcome Aboard the

 

Immerse yourself in India’s more spiritual side on this journey through the relaxed southern states of the subcontinent. Prized for millennia for its aromatic spices and natural beauty, the south remains a feast for the senses, with fragrant cuisines, friendly people and fascinating cultures. Bask in the color and movement of bustling, sophisticated cities, sleepy fishing villages, tropical coastlines and lush hinterlands. Observe the astonishing Pallava sculptures and towering Chola Temples of Tamil Nadu, the colonial charms of Puducherry and the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, in an India still largely undisturbed by tourism.
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    • Explore historic Chennai, the cultural, culinary and artistic hub of southern India.
    • Experience an evening aarti ceremony at Meenakshi Temple with a local guide.
    • Have all your desires met by this world class operator who will see to your every need.

Travel Curator’s Insights:

SPECIAL OFFER:

Rates:
From $6,295 per person
Cancel up to 15 days prior to departure for a future travel credit. (Restrictions apply) Policies and protocols provided before you book.

Sept 14-28, 2022
Oct 19-Nov 2, 2022
Nov 23-Dec 7, 2022
Jan 11-25, 2023
March 8-22, 2023
Ask us about later dates.

Sept - Nov 2022, Jan-March 2023
Hover here for specific dates

Departures:

Trip Sustainability Awards 

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CARBON

Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.

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ENERGY

On the East African Energy Renewal Board

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EDUCATION

Runs local educational facilities for children.

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Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive Chennai, India
Arrive in Chennai (formerly Madras) and transfer to your hotel. No meals offered on this day.
Accommodation: Taj Connemara

Taj Connemara: Reminiscent of an English mansion, each room and suite at this hotel commemorates its glorious past with the right contemporary touches. Light and neutral shades mixed with dark wood accents create comfortable spaces with an air of formality. Huge windows and sit-outs welcome the early morning sun and evening sundowners with equal exuberance.

Day 2: Chennai
Discover colonial Madras through the buildings left behind by the British. Then, zigzag your way through the bustling bylanes of vibrant Georgetown as your guide points out the fresh produce, local everyday commodities and colorful market stalls, pausing along the way to taste handpicked street food treats. Finish the day at Marina Beach at sunset before a welcome dinner. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Taj Connemara


Day 3: Mahabalipuram
Travel south to the ancient Pallava capital of Mahabalipuram, site of the UNESCO-listed cave temples, bas-relief sculptures, pillared halls carved out of the rocky hillside and the delightful shore temple. After a lunch of southern Indian delicacies, head to Puducherry and your hotel in the French Quarter. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Palais de Mahe

Palais de Mahe: Palais de Mahe lies close to the seaside promenade, barely 50 metres from the cool breezes and gentle rumblings of the Bay of Bengal. This signature hotel - with its majestic courtyard, deep verandahs, attractive pillars and period furniture - combines south Indian fire and flavor with French intensity and fervor to bring you an experience that is in every way unforgettable.

Days 4-5: Puducherry
Explore “Pondy” on foot starting in the French Quarter, admiring the wide shady streets, colonial architecture and soft pastel colors. Pause at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which influences much of the city. Founded by the Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet and nationalist Sri Aurobindo in 1926, it is home today to 1,200 devotees from around the world. The main building houses the mortal remains of Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, “the Mother,” in a marble mausoleum.


On your first evening, visit the local market under the guidance of a local chef, where greengrocers, fisherfolk and fruit vendors display their wares under colorful canopies, learning how to pick the best produce and what secrets lie behind the perfect Indian cuisine. Back at the hotel, join the kitchen staff in preparing your meal. The nearby New Age community of Auroville, founded in 1968, also attracts devotees of Aurobindo from over 45 nations. If you wish, wander through the site and visit Mohanam Cultural Center, which preserves the rich cultural heritage of South India. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner (Day 4); Breakfast (Day 5)
Accommodation: Palais de Mahe

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Day 6: Thanjavur
Drive farther south to Thanjavur (formerly Tanjore), the ancient Chola capital, stopping on the way in Chidambaram to visit the vibrant Nataraja Temple, famed for its bronze dancing Shiva. Observe the daily Brahmin rituals at shrines throughout the 40-acre complex. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Accommodation: Svatma, Thanjavur

Svatma, Thanjavur: The Svatma experience is designed as a voyage of discovery of the mind indulging in the luxury of leisure, dabbling with the arts, in a beautiful home environment. At every spot, Svatma has a personality and there are unique spots to match every mood of every person.

Day 7: Thanjavur
Spend some time today admiring the 11th-century Brihadisvara Temple, one of India’s most spectacular. Seek out its elaborate stucco sculptures, shrines and statues, along with the exquisite Chola frescos. Later, stroll through the 14th-century Tanjore Palace — built for Maratha royalty — and meet artisans who craft the melodious veena, a musical instrument carved from a single piece of jackwood. Watch master painters at work perfecting the classical Thanjavur style, and bronze sculptors whose techniques have changed little since the Chola period. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Svatma, Thanjavur


Day 8: Karaikudi
Journey on to the Chettinad region, home to a prosperous banking and business community and remarkable cuisine, among Tamil Nadu’s most famous. Take a bull cart to lunch, where you’ll savor the subtle and aromatic local flavors, followed by a visit to a tile factory and a weaving center to admire soft cotton sarees before continuing to Madurai. This evening, enjoy a sundowner on the magnificent Moon Deck overlooking Madurai city followed by dinner. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai

The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai: A short distance from Madurai's IT corridor, The Gateway Hotel, Madurai sits at the top of the Pasumalai hill, surrounded by 62 acres of scenic gardens. The 5 star hotel in Madurai serves a perfect vantage point to take in the picturesque views of the temple town and the Kodai hills.

Day 9: Madurai
Step out into vibrant Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Famous for temples built in the Dravidian style, Madurai is also home to a maze of markets and museums. This afternoon, choose between three activities:


-Visit a potters’ village, and discover mystifying stories from the potters who breathe life into mud structures. 

-Head out on a food trail, experiencing Madurai’s lively food scene and some of its recorded history spanning two millennia.
-Dive into history on a Once Upon a Madurai tour, walking through the ancient city with a local expert, who mesmerizes with her stories of Madurai's past.

This evening, travel like a local by tuk-tuk to an aarti (Hindu prayer ceremony) at the 12th-century Meenakshi Temple, a dazzling, multi-tiered wonder alive with carved mythical figures and devout pilgrims. Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai

Day 10: Munnar
Your journey continues into Kerala and the lush Western Ghats, where your old-world plantation retreat is located. Stroll around the estate with an expert naturalist, who identifies the local flora and fauna. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Windermere Estate

Windermere Estate: Inspired by the magic of plantation life, the property is intimate, with just 18 lovingly handcrafted rooms arranged around the original Planter’s Bungalow which still serves as the owner's residence. We’ve embraced our little cliff, building around the existing rock formations and trees to create a space that’s refreshingly close to nature.

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Day 11: Munnar
Discover a world of tea today as you witness every step, from leaf plucking and processing to packaging and pouring. Visit the tea gardens, see the plantation workers and their villages, taste the various grades at the Lockhart Tea Factory established in 1879, and enjoy the opportunity to make your own brew. Afterward, enjoy some lively conversation with the planter’s family over high tea in the hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Windermere Estate

Day 12: Periyar River
Drive through scenic forest into the countryside, where rubber trees grow and spices are cultivated. After lunch, continue the drive to Kochi (formerly Cochin). This evening, motor around the harbor and soak up the sunset. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard

Brunton Boatyard: A former shipyard in British times, it has been converted to faithfully reflect the symbols and signs of a historical period known for its stately grandeur and good taste as expressed through its ambiance, amenities, service and food.

Day 13: Kochi
Today, watch as the local fisherfolk set off to cast their nets. Get a peek into the massive seafood auction and witness the morning hustle as buyers haggle over the prized catch. Savor a cup of tea at a local chaikadda, after which you visit a Soviet-era Communist reading room. Later, ride the local ferry to Ernakulam to further your live action market experience. End your tour with a visit to the local temple Ernakulathappan, and savor some fresh South Indian breakfast. 


After breakfast, visit one of the oldest Jewish synagogues in India. See the story of the Ramayana depicted in the wonderful murals at charming Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) and visit St. Francis Church, both of which were erected by the Portuguese in the 16th century. On the harbor shore, see the cantilevered fishing nets brought from southern China by traders, a testament to the centuries-old link between these regions. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before absorbing Kerala’s Hindu culture at a Kathakali performance, one of the oldest dance forms in the area. See the elaborate makeup process before the show, and then, watch this unforgettable art form combining classical dance, theater, opera and pantomime. Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard

Day 14: Kochi
Today, personalize your travel experience with a selection of adventures:


-Meet a local cook and food consultant, Nimmy, who shares her Syrian-Christian heritage through home-cooked food.
-Tour the city with a local expert, who shares the heritage and history of the Malabar Coast through its temples, mosques, palaces and museums. 

-A day in the backwaters. Cycle to a market to taste local fruits and delicacies, cruise leisurely down palm-lined canals, lunch on typical Keralan fare with a local family and witness the impressive craftsmanship of local boat builders.


Return to Kerala in time for a farewell seafood dinner. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard


Day 15: Depart Kochi
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Meals: Breakfast

Minimum number of guests to guarantee operation: Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests. Maximum number of guests: Limited to 18 guests.

First group event: Welcome briefing at 8:30 a.m. on Day 2.
Last group event: Farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m on Day 14.

ACHIEVEMENTS 

Life On Board

Deck Plan

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Questions?

Rates

 

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DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

Two people sharing a room. The rate is per person.

From in USD:

$6,295pp

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SOLO SUPPLEMENT

As a solo traveler, a supplement will be added to your trip.

From in USD:

$1,795pp

I loved my time in the colorful, sunny south of India and I think you will too.

Joy Martinello, Founder

Questions?

 

What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

WHAT'S INCLUDED
All accommodations, meals and fully guided sightseeing (including park and entrance fees) as noted in the itinerary; airport transfers to/from hotel/ship in the first/last published city regardless of day of arrival and departure; services of Resident Tour Director or appropriate guide on Pre- and Post-Tour Extensions; coffee/tea/soft drinks/water at included meals; local wine and beer at all designated lunches and dinners; local bottled water during sightseeing; porterage of up to two (2) pieces of baggage per person; hotel taxes; and gratuities throughout inclusive of the Resident Tour Director.