This leisurely journey through Tamil Nadu and Kerala encompasses all the highlights of South India. The beach side retreat of Mamallapuram is your initial base and from here you explore the historic `French' town of Pondicherry and the temple cities of Tamil Nadu. Next is the lush tropical land of Kerala with wildlife and palm-fringed backwaters and the harbour city of Cochin, with its diverse architectural and religious influences.
Day 1 - Mamallapuram
Arrive in Chennai where you are met and transferred to your hotel at Mamallapuram. Here stunning archaeological remains co-exist with a beautiful long white-sand beach. In the afternoon visit the shore temples.
Day 2 - Pondicherry
The coastal road from Mamallapuram leads to the former French colony of Pondicherry, a small town of multi-coloured villas, quiet, tree shaded lanes and a long boulevard along the sea.
Day 3 - Tranquebar
Further south from Pondicherry is Tranquebar, once a fort established by the Danish for exports of spices, silks and other textiles. Rest of your day is at leisure to relax on the beach.
Day 4 - Thanjavur
From Tranquebar an inland road leads to Thanjavur, a city which boasts of almost a hundred temples including the monumental Brihadeshwara Temple, built entirely from granite.
Day 5 - Thanjavur
Visit the extraordinary 10th century Brihadeshwara Temple, now a World Heritage monument. In the afternoon you make an excursion to Trichy where you visit the Rock Fort and the superb Srirangam Temple complex, probably the largest in India.
Day 6 - Karaikudi
Moving southwards from Thanjavur you reach Karaikudi, the bastion of Chettinads and home to some of the most exquisite heritage homes which provide genuine home-cooked Chettinad Food.
Day 7 - Madurai
From Karaikudi, Madurai is just a short drive. Here you find the magnificent Meenakshi Temple complex whose soaring temple towers are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters, painted in vivid colours.
Day 8 - Thekkady
This morning drive to Thekkady. Enjoy the enchanting journey as the road winds through tranquil countryside, rich plantations and thick jungles.
Day 9 - Thekkady
The best way to explore Periyar is by an early morning boat trip, which allows visitors to watch animals drinking at the lakeside. Enjoy the aromas of exotic spices with a walk in a spice plantation (optional).
Day 10 - Allapuzha
The greatest joy of travelling in Kerala is exploring the backwaters, a labyrinthine network of waterways which weave through villages set amidst lush vegetation. The most relaxing and romantic way of seeing the backwaters is by taking a cruise on a houseboat. There is a larger open sitting area where you can relax and watch the world go by, sipping from a tender coconut and enjoying the sheer peace of the surroundings.
Day 11 - Mararikulam
Mararikulam is one of the picturesque fishing villages that dot the lovely coastline of Kerala. It offers one of the most fabulous stretches of soft sandy beach fringed with swaying palms.
Day 12 - Mararikulam
Marari is an excellent place to soak up the sun and enjoy the sea.
Day 13 - Kochi
A short drive takes you to Kochi (Cochin). The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore Fort Cochin on your own. Walking around the city lanes is a great delight.
Day 14 - Kochi
Enjoy a guided tour of Fort Cochin. This evening watch the enthralling classical dance-drama of Kerala, the Kathakali.
Day 15 - Kochi
Tour ends. Transfer to Kochi airport for your onward flight.