Heritage of Tropical South

India is a country, or rather a Subcontinent. Its diversity can be seen in every corner. This country is a melting point of cultures. The landscape in the north ranges from the cool, towering mountain range of the Himalayas, through the tropical areas in the east and south to the... More

India is a country, or rather a Subcontinent. Its diversity can be seen in every corner. This country is a melting point of cultures. The landscape in the north ranges from the cool, towering mountain range of the Himalayas, through the tropical areas in the east and south to the dry desert region of the Thar of Rajasthan in the west. In terms of area, India is the seventh largest country in the world and the second largest in terms of population.

You have to experience southern India with all your senses!! Because the charm of the region is made up of the diverse impressions that give us a vivid picture of people’s everyday lives. Join the crowd of devout pilgrims and let the temple elephant bless you! Discover temple cities populated by thousands of pilgrims, sniff the scent of spices in the cardamom mountains and relax with a traditional Ayurvedic oil massage You will discover old harbor and Hindu temple cities in Tamil Nadu, the fascinating mountain world with tea, coffee and spice plantations as well as the tropical nature of Kerala with the unique lagoon system of the backwaters and will lead you, sometimes off the beaten path, to the bent cultural and natural treasures deep in the valley South of the subcontinent. Despite all the diversity, they have a common root!

This trail takes you through the most sought after attractions and experiences through the cultural rich Tamil Nadu and Nature of Kerala with a special inclusion of UNESCO Nature & Cultural Heritage sites! You will get to know so close the local community and their lifestyle, varied cuisine and the local traditions. Some exquisite strolls and day hikes are also a highlight of this tour. The climax comes as the lagoons of Kerala are cruised on a traditional houseboat before relaxing on the sweeping Marari Beach with an endless vista of sand and surf. You will never forget the local life experiences you come across during the tour.



  • Kathakali-The Dance drama of Kerala
  • Colonial tour of Cochin
  • Country canoe cruise with farm lunch prepare by village women
  • Witness enchanting manmade architecture in the ancient temples of Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and Pondicherry
  • Spice Farm visit with Farm lunch
  • Exclusive visit to the Dolmen site at Marayoor
  • Visit to the Tribal village
  • Tea plantation trekking with Tea Factory visit
  • Exclusive colonial lunch at a Tea Bungalow
  • Full day guided trekking with bamboo rafting in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Boating in Periyar Sanctuary
  • Visit to Meenakshi Temple
  • Organic Farm visit with Farm lunch
  • Bullock Cart Ride
  • Tuk-Tuk Ride

Welcome to India! Upon arrival in Chennai a travel-to-nature Asia guide/representative will be at the airport to greet and take us to our hotel. Please look out for your name-card once you exit out of arrival area.

Our representative shall assist and transfer us to airport hotel or nearby restaurant for some refreshments and afterwards, leave Chennai and drive to Mahabalipuram, which is ​about 52 km and takes roughly 1 hour. Upon arrival, check in at your Beach Front Hotel/Resort for three night stay.​

Afternoon : Free for independent activities and relax on the beach.​

Accommodation: Ideal Beach Resort
Meal: Dinner


We start our day with a delicious breakfast and proceed for the half day tour of Mahabalipuram (aka Mammalapuram) which include.

Shore Temples

It is believed that there were seven magnificent temples what are known as the seven pagodas, built near the sea shore, ​but the lonely survivor is the present shore temples; Arjuna’s Penance, This rock bas-relief was built by king Narasimha I. This rock is shaped ​like that of a huge whale. The sculpture is carved at the back portion of the whale shaped stone; the five Rathas is a set of magnificent ​ monolithic rock temples. They are built in the shape of pagodas and look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Rathas ​in English means chariots. These chariots are constructed with towers, multi pillared halls, and sculptured walls which are chiseled out ​ minutely. The Ratha’s have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife ​Dhrupadi, which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. Also there are remains of some ancient temples along the way to the top of ​hill & there is also a watch tower. After you have completed your sightseeing of Mamallapuram, return back to your hotel/Resort.​

Afternoon: Free for independent activities.​

Accommodation: Ideal Beach Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we proceed for a half day excursion/visit to Kanchipuram which is the ancient capital of the Pallava’s famous as a city ​of 1000 temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings ​on the walls. Temple of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for ​silk products. The Kanchipuram is an important place for Hindus as it is the seat of the Great Saint – Shankaracharya.

After ​sightseeing of Kanchipuram is completed, we return back to Mamallapuram. It is approx. 67 km each way from Mamallapuram and takes roughly 1 & 1/2 hour.​

Afternoon: Free for independent activities and relax on the beach.

Accommodation: Ideal Beach Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we leave Mamallapuram and drive to Pondicherry which is about 95 Km and takes about 2 hours. En route we make refreshment ​stops and witness salt collection/processing. We also see fisherman fishing and collecting prawns. Upon arrival in Pondicherry, check-in at the hotel.​

Afternoon free in Pondicherry for independent activities or explore the Old French Quarters.​

Accommodation: Anandha Inn
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we proceed for a half day sightseeing of Pondicherry to visit its important sights like Manakula Vinayagar Koil – this temple ​is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha; ​Varadaraja Perumal Temple, this is believed to be the oldest temple in town dating back to 600 AD. The temple built in the typical Dravidian ​style complete with brightly coloured ‘gopuram’ and sculpted pillars is probably the oldest standing structure in Pondicherry. Also visit Church ​of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this white and brown neo-gothic church is one of Pondy’s finest Catholic churches. It was built by French missionaries ​in the 1700’s in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner with towers flanking a central gable and stained glass windows on the side. The church ​has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life. Also visit the Aurobindo Ashram & ​walk through the Old French Quarters and along the sea shore . Pondicherry has four main beaches which are fairly popular with tourists & ​the beaches here are relatively clean and not much crowded.

Afternoon free for independent activities.

Optional activities: ​A visit to an elephant orphanage to spend some time with the Gentle Gaints can be arranged. It’s a part of our responsible tourism initiative to support the protection of elephants.

Accommodation: Anandha Inn
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we head out for a half-day tour to visit Aurovilla, which is about 15 km and takes approx. ½ hour from Pondicherry.​

Auroville is an experimental township where people from across the world of all cultures and traditions come and live together in peace. ​It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, a disciple of Aurobindo and fondly known as the ‘Mother’ of Sri Aurobindo Society.​ This universal township was inaugurated on 28 February 1968 with the agenda that it will be a place with people willing enough to make this a ​hub of uninterrupted education and progress, regardless of their caste, creed, nationality or race. People from 124 countries including Indians ​ from 23 different states came together with some of their native soil brought from their homelands and deposited in a marble urn.​

Accommodation: Anandha Inn
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning we leave Pondicherry and drive to Thanjavur, which is about 175 km takes roughly 4 hours. En route stop at Chidambaram ​to visit its mighty temple complex spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. It is an ancient and historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva ​Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place. ​ To the followers of Shaivism (Saivism) or the saivaite, the very word koil refers to Chidambaram. In the same way, to the followers of Vaishnavism ​it refers to Srirangam or Thiruvarangam. Chidambaram is one of the 5 holiest Shiva temples in India.

After temple visit, we continue drive to ​ Thanjuvar and upon arrival in Thanjavur, check in, at a hotel/resort. Remainder of the day free in Thanjavur for independent activities.​

Accommodation: Ideal River View Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After Breakfast, we proceed for half day sightseeing tour of the city and visit the Brihadeswara Temple, the biggest attraction of Thanjavur – it is also​known as the Big Temple, built during the reign of the Great Chola emperor, Raja Raja Chola and this temple is an architectural marvel.​

Protected by deep trenches on either sides and is a favorite among the pilgrims. The shrine itself is a 216 feet structure and atop the temple is the ​spherical stone which weighs 80 Tons. The sanctum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The statue of Nandi -the ​ Bull, welcomes at the entrance. The other places of sightseeing in Thanjavur is The Thanjavur Maratha Palace which is home to the centuries-old ​Saraswathi Mahal Library, with palm-leaf manuscripts, and Thanjavur Art Gallery, with bronze statues. Thanjavur is known for its rich architecture, ​exquisite handicrafts, paintings, bronzes and south Indian Musical instruments​

Rest of the day free for independent activities. ​

Accommodation: Ideal River View Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Morning, after breakfast, we drive to Madurai which is about 190 km and takes roughly 4 hours. On the way we stop in Trichy to visit the ​Trichy’s -the most famous landmark of this bustling town – the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop ​which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city. It is reached by a flight of steep steps cut into the rock and from its summit you ​get a fantastic view of the town plus its other main landmarks. Also visit the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is one of the largest and ​most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island surrounded by the Cauvery River and covering a staggering 2.5 sq. km

After sightseeing in Trichy are completed, we continue drive to Madurai and upon arrival in Madurai, check in at the hotel.​ Remainder of the day free for independent activities. ​

Accommodation: Fortune Panidyan
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning, after breakfast, leave for half day Sightseeing tour of Madurai, The most prominent tourist attraction in Madurai is the ​Meenakshi Amman Temple dedicated to Goddess Shakti or Meenakshi. It is one of the important centers of Hindu pilgrimage. The ​Meenakshi temple exemplifies the Dravidian architecture with gopurams (large gateways) and mandapams (multi-pillared halls) covered ​ from top to bottom in an abundance of multi-coloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. This temple was built by ​Kulasekara Pandya and the most impressive feature of this temple are the soaring towers that stand on the granite bases and have stucco ​figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters tinted in vibrant colors.

After visit to Meenakshi temple is completed, we continue with short ​drive to Tirumalai Nayak palace and visit the palace and its museum and afterwards. if time permits, continue drive to Gandhi Museum:- ​this is the most distinguished among the tourist attractions in Madurai and is a living memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Later on return back ​to hotel for rest & free for Independent activities.​

Towards late evening, after dinner, we visit Meenakshi temple again to witness the special evening ceremony at this temple​ which is a regular event at this temple. Here the Idol of goddess Meenakshi is carried in palanquin followed by a procession and ​taken into chambers of The Lord Shiva for the night and this procession takes roughly ½ hour. Next morning she is brought ​back to her own chambers.​

Accommodation: Fortune Pandiyan
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we leave Madurai and drive to Periyar, which is 135 km and takes roughly 3 hours, The first 110 km are on flat road ​but last 25 km are uphill drive through beautiful landscape/hills.

On the way we make an stop at Harvest Organic Farm for a guided walk. From the main road, we will be welcomed to drive through the village road to the farm. We will also be given a bullock cart ride experience en route to the farm. A Garden farm lunch will be served. Later guided walk through the farm. Upon arrival in Periyar, check into the hotel. ​

Thekkady – one of the world’s most captivating natural life saves. The Periyar untamed life haven in Thekkady is spread crosswise ​over 777 sq. kms. of which 360 sq. km is thick ever green backwoods. Noted for its geomorphology, decent variety of natural life and ​picturesque excellence, the asylum was announced a Tiger Reserve in 1978. ​

Afternoon, we may visit to Spice Village located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the western ghats of Kerala. Pepper and cardamom, cinnamon ​and ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise the Periyar hills became nature’s taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature’s harbor, ​the port of lading for a spice-hungry world. On the road to Spice Village, it’s easy to feel this centuries-old allure yourself. ​

Remainder the day free for leisure activities. ​

Accommodation: Peppervine Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Today in Periyar is to explore its surroundings and time to relax and for independent activities. During the day we will take a boat ride ​on the Periyar lake to witness the wild life. First we drive from your hotel to the landing point of the lake which is inside ​the sanctuary and from here take the boat ride for about 2 hours and if lucky, we see many wild animals, including wild Elephants, Gaur, deer species by the bank of the ​lake . Also we shall see many aquatic birds.​

Accommodation: Peppervine Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we leave Periyar (Thekkady) and drive to Munnar which is about 125 km and takes roughly 4 hours with stops en route.

Munnar, breathtakingly beautiful – a haven of peace and tranquility – an idyllic tourist destination in God’s own country with unending expanses of tea plantations pristine valleys and mountains…exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests with aroma of spice scented cool air. Munnar has all these and more. It’s the place you would love to visit. It’s the place you would wish never to leave. Set at an altitude of 1,600 m. in Idukki district, situated at the confluence of three mountain streams, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Sprawling tea plantations, picturesque towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities makes Munnar a holiday resort. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower, which bathes the hills in blue once every twelve years. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India – Anamudi (2,695 m), dominates the skyline and the many smaller peaks are a walker’s paradise.​

Upon arrival in Munnar, check in at the Hotel.​ Afternoon free for independent activities or to explore the local surroundings.​

Accommodation: Abad Copper Castle
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

We start the sightseeing of Munnar visiting the tea plantations, Tea Museum, the Eravikulam National park home of the ​ endangered Niligiri Thar (Ibex), followed by visit to the Mattupetty dam, the Kundala Lake and other scenic spots. Also we go for ​a short family hike and more.

Accommodation: Abad Copper Castle
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Free day for independent activities or (optional) proceed for Nature Walk followed by village visit. ​

Accommodation: Abad Copper Castle
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

We check out from the hotel and leave for Kochi which is about 135 km and takes roughly 3 & ½ hours. En route stop to see ​Cheyyara waterfalls, Valara waterfalls, Attukadu waterfalls, Spice plantations etc. Also if you wish stop at Kodanadu to visit its elephant care center. ​ Upon arrival in Cochin check in at the Hotel.​

Afternoon free for independent activities and towards evening take a walk along the sea shore & watch the fishing nets being ​operational with sunset at the back drop.​

Accommodation: Key Select by Lemon Tree Hotels
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Morning sightseeing of Kochi visiting St. Francis church, Chinese fishing net, Santa clause basilica, Mattanchery palace, Jewish ​synagogue etc. Kochi (also known as Cochin) has been a port since 1341, when a flood carved out its harbor and opened it to Arab, ​Chinese and European merchants. Sites reflecting those influences include Fort Kochi, a settlement with tiled colonial bungalows and ​diverse houses of worship. Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, typical of Kochi, have been in use for centuries.

Afternoon free in Kochi for independent activities.​

Accommodation: Key Select by Lemon Tree Hotels
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

We leave Cochin in the late morning and drive to Alleppey which is about 65 km that takes roughly 1 and ½ hours. We should reach Alleppey around ​noon and board the houseboat for 2 nights stay. The houseboat shall be for exclusive use and all the refreshments and meals ​like breakfast, lunch and dinner shall be provided on board. There shall be also some cruising across the lake and the canals with ​some stops by the villages. During the night, boats are anchored at specific places as they are not allowed to cruise after sunset. ​

Accommodation: Houseboat
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day on board the Houseboat to relax and cruising.​

Vembanad, also known as Punnamada is the longest lake in India, as well as the largest lake in the state of Kerala. With an area of 2,033 square kilometers and a maximum length of 96.5 km, it is the second largest Ramsar site in India only after the Sunderbans in West Bengal. Vembanad Lake is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters with hundreds of kettuvallams plied on it and numerous resorts on its banks. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake.

Accommodation: Alleppey Houseboat
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We leave houseboat after breakfast around 10 am and drive to Marari, which is about 20 km and takes roughly half hour.​

Upon arrival in Marari, check in at your Beach Resort. ​

Accommodation: Abad Turtle Beach Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Days at Marari to relax and enjoy the Golden sandy beaches of Marari on the Arabian sea.​

Accommodation: Abad Turtle Beach Resort
Meal: Breakfast

We leave Marari and drive to Cochin airport which is about 90 km and takes roughly 2 hours. Upon arrival at Cochin airport, check in for your homeward-bound flight​.

Meal: Breakfast


  • Airport (pick up/drop off) transfers by private A/C vehicle
  • Twin-Sharing room accommodation at all hotel/resort/lodge as mentioned
  • Daily breakfast throughout the trip, other meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All sightseeing and long distance transportation in private air-condition vehicle
  • Entrance fee at the monuments during the usual sightseeing as mentioned in the program (other than the optional ones)
  • Services of an English speaking guide as per program
  • One boat ride in the Periyar national park for wild life viewing
  • Organic farm House Lunch at Tambam, en route to Periyar
  • All applicable government taxes

Not Included

  • International air tickets
  • Visa fee
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal clothing and equipment
  • Tips for trip leader/guide, driver, hotel staff and porters
  • Items of personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, laundry, and other unforeseen expenses
  • Items/services not listed in "included"
  • Extra expenses/payment for 'Optional’ activities/programs if opted in

Price: US$ 3,200 per person (Twin Sharing | Based on Minimum 6  Travelers)
Single Supplement: US$ 1,015

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Ideal Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram

A picturesque resort surrounded by luscious greeneries and a private beach, Ideal Beach Resort offers personalized service, traditional Ayurvedic massage, a mouth-watering dining experience and a relaxing pool; our team does not spare an expense when it comes to guest satisfaction.

Anandha Inn, Pondicherry

Anandha Inn Convention Centre and Suites, a four-star, luxurious and elegant hotel, is located center part of Pondicherry, the ideal place for memorable moments, be it with your friends or family. Built-in 1994, Anandha Inn Convention Centre and Suites meets tradition and modern design.

Ideal River View Resort, Tanjore

Located 15 minutes' drive from the centre of Tanjore, the Ideal River View is the best available hotel in Tanjore situated along the banks of the Vennar river. Each air-conditioned cottage faces the river and has a balcony. It is surrounded by semi jungle and paddy fields .You can relax by the pool or enjoy a traditional Ayurvedic massage. 

Fortune Pandiyan, Madurai

Fortune Pandiyan, a Madurai hotel, features 57 elegantly appointed spacious rooms including 11 Standard Rooms, 12 Deluxe Rooms, 26 Fortune Club Rooms, 3 Suites, and 5 Exclusive Club Rooms considered the best among all the hotels in Madurai. The rooms offer a wide range of modern amenities to suit the needs of the discerning traveler.

Peppervine Hotel, Thekkady

To feel the freshness of the vistas and recharge your mind with the energy in abundance from these natural marvels, we welcome you to Peppervine! Wander across Thekkady and find shade in our luxurious rooms. Our premises are equipped with all those modern amenities to provide you with comfort and functionality for a better stay here.

Abad Copper Castle, Munnar

Abad Copper Castle is nestled in the heart of Munnar and offers postcard views of the lush green valley on one side and the vast tea estates on the other, making it one of the best resorts in Munnar. Located just 2 km from Munnar town can take in this poetic beauty, which serves as the perfect antidote for the city-weary soul.

Key Select by Lemon Tree Hotels, Kochi

The hotel with its 151 smartly furnished rooms and apartments, offers you a wide array of accommodation options. Room categories include Keys Room and Keys Indulge and Suites. The hotel is equipped with a hip recreation bar – Unlock Bar, a multi-cuisine Coffee Shop KEYS CAFE, a 186 sq.mtr. of conference area, a fully functional gym.

Alleppey Houseboat

Houseboats in Kerala were traditionally cargo boats that carried rice, spices and other commodities, which now are transformed into luxury boats complete with bedrooms, kitchen, living area, bathrooms and other amenities. Today, these allow travellers to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Alappuzha while gliding along and exploring the tranquil backwaters - an experience of a life time.

Abad Turtle Beach Resort, Marari

Abad Turtle Beach Resort in Mararikulam, is a beautiful beachfront resort that overlooks the white sandy beach and has a rivulet flowing on one side. The resort, located very close to the coastal village of Mararikulam, is spread across an area of 13 acres of land with 30 premium cottages. This is a premium resorts with a private beach in Marari.

Trip Facts

  • Price (USD) From 3,200
  • Duration 22 Days
  • Group Size 2-12 Pax
  • Arrive Chennai
  • Depart Cochi
  • Trip Level
    easy to moderate
  • Activity Cultural Discovery
  • Meals 21 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • Accommodation 4-5* Hotels, Houseboat

Giving back to the communities is our responsibility!

With every trip, you also support the SWAN and thus projects for Sustainable Community development and Biodiversity protection.

Our primary NGO partner is Social Welfare Association of Nepal (SWAN), with whom we have carried out multiple CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects. Besides carrying out regular CSR activities in the areas of education and women empowerment, we have supported relief and rehabilitation initiatives in the aftermath of several natural disasters like earthquake, immediate response to COVID-19 pandemic across Nepal. 

Giving something back to the world is a special and responsible affair of travel-to-nature Asia right from its inception. When you travel with travel-to-nature Asia and SWAN-Nepal, you become an integral force for change in addressing the most pressing social and wildlife conservation issues. Your tourism funds help transform the future of under-privileged and marginalized communities and transform the future of at-risk natural places you travel. Portion of our profit flows to local communities who live with and steward nature, creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

By joining one of our holidays you are playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

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