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Private guided round trip - India

From Chennai to Cochin: The Real India


  • Discover the south of India on our 12-day round trip from Chennai to Cochin

  • Selected Boutique & Heritage Hotels

  • Private houseboat tour of the backwaters

  • Visit numerous temples and pagodas

  • English speaking tour guide


Many call South India the "real" India: Here, thousands of years of culture have been preserved in their purest form. In Tamil Nadu, skyscrapers already rose into the sky in the Middle Ages. "God's own country", Kerala welcomes you with dreamy landscapes between cardamom mountains, palm groves and waterways.



Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Madurai - Periyar Nationalpark - Kumarakom - Backwaters - Cochin

Welcome to India! You will be met by your tour guide in the arrival hall of the airport in Chennai and get transferred to Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram to your hotel.

Spend the rest of the day as you wish. Time to get used to the warm climate.

Trip duration Chennai Airport - Hotel Mamallapuram : approx. 1 hour 30 minutes / approx. 50 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Mamallapuram, India

Kanchipuram - the city "of 1000 temples" - is one of the seven holiest cities in India and has an ancient tradition whose roots go back to the pre-Christian times. You will reach Kanchipuram early in the morning and take a sightseeing tour of the city, which is also known for its rich culture of silk weaving.

The final destination of today's drive is Mahabalipuram, famous mainly for its beach and cave temples. You can get a deep insight into the original culture of the south in a spacious open-air museum. Experience the architecture, arts and traditions of the region first hand.

The famous coastal temple, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located so close to the water that it had to be shielded from the sea tide by a large wall. Also noteworthy are the cave temples, some of which date back to the 7th century and are decorated with a wide variety of reliefs of Hindu deities. The amphitheater with its temples shaped like chariots is also worth a visit.

1 night with breakfast included in Mamallapuram, India

This morning you will continue along the coast and first reach Auroville. In the 1960s, the "City of Dawn" was founded to follow the teachings and beliefs of Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo. People from all over the world come here to participate in the life of the community and to develop spiritually. Built as a utopian paradise, Mirra Alfassa, also known as the Mother, had the intention that all people, regardless of religion, caste or nationality, could live here in peace. The center of Autoville is the Matri Mandir, a dome used as a meditation center.

You will then reach Pondicherry, which is unusual in many ways. A touch of French flair wafts through the alleys. Catholic churches, the city park, the Hotel de Ville and the colonial-looking house facades bear witness to this place’s French past. During a walk through the city, you will get to know the charming city, which was the setting for the movie "Life of Pi".

Trip duration Mamallapuram - Pondicherry: approx. 2 hours / approx. 120 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Pondicherry, India

Leaving the coasts, drive inland and reach Chidambaram, the city of the cosmic dancer. Stroll through the Nataraja Temple, arguably the largest temple complex in India. The many shrines in the courtyard of the temple complex, along with the fire rituals of the puja ceremony, attract numerous devotees from the surrounding area. The Nataraja Temple is a living temple with priests at each of the shrines.

Next, continue to Darasuram, where the Airavatesvara Temple (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) awaits you with its magnificent reliefs and finely sculpted sculptures of gods, mythical animals and demons. The temple was built in 1146, when it used to be called the Rajarajescaram Temple.

After the visit, continue to your destination of today, Tanjore.

Trip duration Pondicherry - Tanjore: approx. 4 hours / 170 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Tanjore, India

Today you will visit the capital of the great Chola Empire, Tanjore. The city also served as the capital for the Nayaka Empire and the Mratha rulers. The Chola kings were art lovers and built most of the 93 temples, of which the Brihadisvara temple was the most famous. While showing their prosperity through the temples, they advocated for faith in the divine rights of kings, as well as for donations as a sign of prosperity.

Afterwards, you will continue your journey to Madurai.

Trip duration Tanjore - Madurai: about 3-4 hours / about 200 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Madurai, India

Start your sightseeing tour today at the famous Minakshi Temple. This classic example of a temple town refers to a checkered history of over 2,000 years and is dedicated to Minakshi, the fish-eyed deity, the consort of Shiva. Shiva dedicated a temple to him in this complex. Also at this temple are numerous priests at the shrines performing rituals.

Afterwards, you will stroll through the market laid out around the temple. You will stroll through the streets where a myriad of unusual items are sold - an environment that may seem chaotic sometimes, but has an its own order and rhythm. The area of the market looks like a large open sales point where flowers, fruits and spices are offered. Can you believe that there is an entire aisle dedicated only to bananas? There are over 50 varieties sold here in southern India. Located in a 16th century ruin, the market is adorned with wooden carvings and a remarkable collection of market stalls selling everything from silk to pink plastic hair clips. Walking through the market is a unique experience in which you get to meet the locals.

1 night with breakfast included in Madurai, India.

Today you will leave the state of Tamil Nadu and travel via the Western Ghats to Kerala. Tigers, elephants, monkeys - India's wildlife is as diverse as its culture. At the Periyar National Park, the most famous wildlife sanctuary in South India, you will have the opportunity to observe wild animals that have become very rare on our planet.

The park stretches over hills and valleys and is one of the most beautiful in the country. The area was designated as a tiger sanctuary in 1978, which is why tourists are forbidden there and safari tours are only possible from a boat.

In the afternoon, you will take a tour on a bamboo raft.

Trip duration Madurai - Thekkady: about 3 hours / 135 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Thekaddy, India

In the morning, after a tasty breakfast, we will take you on a hike through nature. The route leads you on a distance of about five kilometers through extensive green hills and valleys. On the way there, you will have a good chance of encountering sloths or elephants - not to mention numerous birds and butterflies.

In the afternoon, a jeep will drive you to a Gudalur vineyard. The route takes you through the tiger reserve on the border with Periyar. Arriving at the vineyards, there is a dreamy view of the Chellarkovil waterfalls. At the farm, you will get an insight into the daily life and culture of the local people.

1 night stay with breakfast included in Thekaddy, India

After breakfast, drive to the village of Kumarakom, which is hidden under palm trees at the mouth of a river in Lake Vembanad. Enjoy the tranquility of the secluded village and get to know its inhabitants and their daily life at eye level. After the drive, spend the rest of the day as you wish.

Trip duration Thekkady - Kumarakom: approx. 4 hours / 130 km

1 night stay with breakfast included in Kumarakom, India

A highlight of this trip is the boat trip through the lagoons of the backwaters. The backwaters are a widely branched waterway network that lies below sea level. You will explore this water labyrinth aboard a comfortable houseboat.

Let the tropical lagoon landscape of Kerala pass by and catch a glimpse of the life of the locals. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to disembark from the boat and get in direct contact with the villagers during a visit to the villages on the shore. When night falls on the backwaters, the fishermen light oil lamps on the banks, whose flames are reflected in the river surface. Let yourself be enchanted by this sight while you are served typical local dishes on deck. On the houseboat you will enjoy all amenities including a comfortable room with bathroom.

The houseboat is a typical country kettuvallam, which was originally used as a rice boat. But when road transportation became easier, these boats were converted into comfortable houseboats with sleeping cabins and showers made of natural materials.

Trip duration Kumarakom - Cochin Backwaters: approx. 1 hour 30 minutes / approx. 45 km

1 night stay on board of your private houseboat with full board in Cochin Backwaters, India

Welcome the new day aboard your houseboat and experience the backwaters coming to life. After a delicious breakfast on board, continue to Cochin. Cochin has exciting stories to tell: The French, Portuguese and Dutch came and went. Today you can still find many traces of this colonial past in the alleys and buildings of the capital of Kerala.

During a walk through the city, you will visit its most important sights. In the evening, you should not miss to visit the fishermen near the harbor. With their Chinese fishing nets, they offer a unique spectacle.

Today you will also visit the Mattancherry Palace, which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the Raja of Cochi in exchange for trading rights. The palace is two stories high and built of wood in the traditional Kerala style known as Nalukattu.

Optionally, you can attend a Kathakali performance in the theater in the evening. Kathakali is a classical dance form that originates from the Theyyam ritual, which is over 1000 years old. The dancers use dramatic costumes and eye-catching makeup while you dance to the sounds of exotic instruments.

Trip duration Backwaters - Fort Cochin: approx. 45 minutes / 18 km

1 night with breakfast included in Cochin, India

Your round trip through the south of India is coming to an end. Depending on the departure time, you will be transferred to the airport. If you wish, we can offer you an extension on the dreamy beaches of Goa. Just contact us!

Duration of the trip: 12 days / 11 nights


  • 11 nights in selected Boutique & Heritage Hotels or similar each in a standard room
    • 2 nights in Mamallapuram at Hotel Mamalla Heritage***.

    • 1 night in Pondicherry at Shenbaga Hotel & Convent Centre****

    • 1 night in Tanjore at Lakshmi Hotel***

    • 2 nights in Madurai at JC Residency***

    • 2 nights in Periyar at Coffee Routes****

    • 1 night in Kumarakom at Abad Wispering Palms****

    • 1 night in the Cochin Backwaters on a private houseboat

    • 1 overnight stay in Fort Cochin at Fort Abode***

  • Private guided round trip with transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles in accordance with the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • English speaking, locally changing tour guide
  • Sightseeing and boat trips according to the program incl. entrance fees
  • One water bottle per person per day in the vehicle
  • The starting price is valid in the period 16.01. - 30.09.2020

Included - Premium travel option

  • 11 nights in selected boutique & heritage hotels or similar, each in a standard room
    • 2 nights in Mamallapuram at the Grande Bay Resort And Spa****

    • 1 night in Pondicherry at the Promenade Pondicherry****

    • 1 night in Tanjore at the Sangam Hotel****

    • 2 nights in Madurai at the JC Residency***

    • 2 nights in Periyar at the Cardamom County****

    • 1 night in Kumarakom at The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa*****

    • 1 night in the Cochin Backwaters on a private houseboat

    • 1 night in Fort Cochin at the Dutch Bungalow - Heritage Hotel****

  • Private guided tour with transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles as per itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking, locally changing tour guide
  • Sightseeing and boat trips as per itinerary incl. entrance fees
  • One water bottle per person per day in the vehicle
  • The from price is valid in the period 01.10.2019 - 30.09.2020 (except for the period between 20.12. - 15.01.)

Not included

  • International flights
  • Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • Meals and drinks not included in the package
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Early Check-In or Late Check-Out
  • Personal expenses, such as minibar or tips

Additional experiences

Traditional Indian dinner

  1. Per person from 15 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

Bike Tour through Fort Kochi

  1. Per person from 15 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

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