Kamalan Ready-to-Travel

Deep Into Southern Lands

This route will take you into Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which boast of a long and glorious history, replete with huge empires, great kings, spectacular architectural wonders, spellbinding art, ancient traditions thriving in tandem with modern technology. The Dravidian land does indeed hold a very special place in the cultural and historical landscape of India. It spans a large timeline right from the earliest human settlements on the subcontinent to the relentless buzz of modernity.

Meant as an initiation into the incredible diversity of India, Kamalan’s Ready-To-Travel programs are classic journeys that you can purchase off the shelf and get packing! Born out of a synchronous blend of our knowledge of the country and 30 years of travel experience, these journeys have been curated with passion and care.


Routing:

Chennai (1N) → Mahabalipuram (2N) → Pondicherry (1N) → Thanjavur (1N)
 Chettinad (2N) → Madurai (1N) → Periyar (1N)  Kumarakom (1N)
→ Marari (2N) → Kochi (2N) → Wayanad (1N) → Mysore (2N) → Hassan (1N)
→ 
Bangalore (1N)

This path begins in thesilicon valley of India, Bangalore from where it heads to the sculptural extravaganza of the Hoysala Empire in Belur and Halebidu. From there it proceeds to the capital of the Wodeyar Dynasty of Maharajas in Mysore. The path then traverses the southern plains to the cultural capital of south India and the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. It then heads to Mahabalipuram, the once vibrant ancient Pallava port from the sixth century. From Mahabalipuram it takes a detour into the French colonial quarters of Pondicherry from where it will emerge to find its way back in time to the 11th and 12th centuries in and around Thanjavur. The road then leads to the heart of Chettinad in Karaikkudi and proceeds to the ancient Tamil capital and the heartland of Tamil culture, Madurai. From Madurai, the journey will take you, to the serene tropical paradise in Periyar in the Western Ghats. It then emerges from the mountains in the historic metropolis of Kochi from where it traces its way back into the legendary backwaters in Kumarakom and then on the pristine beaches of Mararikulam. It will end back in Kochi.

For a detailed itinerary, please check out our brochure.


Highlights:

  • Take curated themed walks through the medieval and colonial parts of the most ‘modern’ city, Bangalore
  • Discover Chennai’s streets, the city’s story, its culture, its food with an experienced, knowledgeable guide
  • Let a learned history enthusiast take you on a journey back in time as you walk through the grand erstwhile French colonial districts of Pondicherry
  • Adventure seekers can take a private lesson in surfing in Pondicherry, a paradise for surfers
  • Watch the process of making one of the most iconic Indian musical instruments, the long necked lyre called veena
  • Interact with an experienced chef and cook yourself a delicious Chettinad meal
  • Take a safari into the Periyar National Park

Starting from USD 1645 per person

Duration

20 days, 19 nights

Best Time to Travel

Ideally September to March, but can be done all year round

Themes

Art and crafts, history, nature, adventure, UNESCO, culinary

Price Ranges

This journey is available in Luxury, Mid-range and Budget options

Brochure

 

One thought

  1. Spent a beautiful 20 days in South India, where we got to indulge in Art and crafts, history, nature, adventure, UNESCO heritage sites and South Indian food. Our Vacation was planned by Kamalan, A travel agency that does bespoke package holidays exclusively in India.
    Among online travel agents, Kamalan offered us more than just Luxury Holidays, they blend in Indian History and Indian Culture, both ancient and contemporary, into our entire tour package. We got to experience the Culture of India, South Indian Food, Indian Handicrafts and the History of the land.
    Our list of destinations included Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur – Chettinad – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Marari – Kochi – Mysore – Hassan – Bangalore, where Kamalan also suggested the best tourist places, historical places to visit and other famous places in India.

    Our vacation began in Chennai city, Also known as Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu. Hitting off with the tourist places in Chennai our first stop was to Georgetown, in the north part of the city, which is a historical neighbourhood of Fort Saint George, a monument that we visited. We also roamed around in the nearby Sowcarpet area, a bustling commercial area, which has vintage buildings and narrow streets and then went to the famous market of Mint Street.
    Next morning we went to see the sunrise at Marina Beach and took a late night walk at Edward Elliot’s Beach. A journey through the spiritual heritage of Chennai saw us visiting multiple temples and churches which included: Kapaleeswarar Temple, Parthasarathy Temple, Sri Ramakrishna Math Universal Temple, Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Thomas, St. Mary’s Church, St. Matthias Church.
    As I stated earlier about Kamalan doing travel differently, Kamalan also arranged an art visit to Government State Museum, Dakshinachitra and the Birla Planetarium,
    where we got to experience a contemporary side of South India. Since we were visiting South India in the month of December, we had the opportunity of attending various musical performance across the city during the Madras Music Season, a famous music festival in India, during our winter vacation. The Chennai tourism department was also very helpful in the places we visited and provided us with chennai travel guides that we really appreciated.

    Our next stop was Mahabalipuram- also known as Mamallapuram, a UNESCO world heritage village, it is filled with ancient structures and monuments. We visited, Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Thirukadalmallai and Sculpture Museum during our stay there which were some of the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram. Kamalan arranged a 5 star hotel in Mahabalipuram for us just by the beach which offered Boat rides in the Bay of Bengal, Fishing trips and Scuba Diving. We also visited several carved out rock structures and particularly enjoyed Arjuna’s Penance, Krishna’s Butterball and Varaha Cave.
    On our last day in Mahabalipuram, we did a bike trip to the countryside on a Royal Enfield which was an experience unlike anything else. What we really enjoyed was the ancient Mahabalipuram temples and the coastal cuisine.

    Just ending our first week in India we went to Pondicherry a french colonial sea side town and had a list of tourist places in pondicherry to visit. We took a Heritage walk in the french colonial district & Cycle Rickshaw tour of the old French Quarters and met many other tourists partaking in pondicherry sightseeing. Again, we took the surf lessons and scuba diving at Promenade Beach.
    The following day we visited Lady of the Angels, Church of our Lady, Chunnambar Boat House and spent a whole day at Auroville a unique community service based town that attracts many architects and designers world over. We really indulged on the south indian cuisine at Surguru, Udupi Hotel and our personal favorite Baker Street.
    The next day we took a 4 hour drive to Thanjavur where Kamalan arranged for us a Veena Making workshop. We also visited Brihadeeswarar, Royal Palace, Darasuram Temple and Gangaikonda Temple.

    We had an awesome culinary experience at Chettinad, their authentic cuisine was a festival for our tastebuds. In Chettinad we took a bullock cart ride in and went for an architectural Walk to the streets and mansions in Chettinad. On our last day we visited a small production workshop of Athangudi Tiles and Pillaiyarpatti Temple.

    Mid way into our vacation and Madurai was our next stop. Unparalleled in their architecture, the temples in Madurai were marvels we could not stop admiring;
    Meenakshi Temple in particular. We also got to see Thirumalai Palace and Mariamman Tank. We took a sensory walk for exclusive Madurai Cuisine and enjoyed their vegetarian cuisine, visited Jasmine and Sambac fields as well.

    Shifting to a different state we were off to Kerala, which we were really looking forward to for its natural beauty and culture. Thekkady was our first stop where we visited their famous Tea plantations and took a safari to Periyar National Park, home to a variety of flora and fauna. We stayed at the luxurious Greenwoods resort in Thekkady where we treated ourselves to their excellent spa and massage services. Their traditional shirodhara massage was a tranquil experience and a must try for anyone visiting Kerala.
    The resort also organised a boat ride on the Periyar Lake and a Kalaripayattu performance in the evening, an ancient martial arts form which is said to be the origin of all other forms of martial arts, it was an exhilarating experience as we witnessed the well choreographed fight sequences of the warriors in a fighting pit.

    We left Thekkady next day early morning for Kumarakom where we had rented a houseboat for the night. While on our way, we attended a guided tour of a spice garden
    and saw for ourselves what do the spices look like in plant form. On reaching our houseboat we were surprisingly pleased by how well-made the houseboats really are.
    With fully functional rooms, a sitting area, toilets and a kitchen it truly was a house on a boat. While cruising down our way on the backwaters of Kerala, we took a canoe to a little market on the backwaters itself where we bought Tiger prawns for our dinner and a local alcoholic beverage made of coconuts called Toddy.
    Our hotel in Kumarakom was the luxurious Vivanta by Taj, where we spent the night and visited nearby abad turtle beach as well.

    Our second last stop on our sojourn in Kerala was Marari, where we mostly lazed on its pristine beaches sipping on coconuts and sunbathing.
    The tourist places in Marari included St. Augustine Church and Mahadeva Temple. A medieval looking village, Marari was a completely different experience.
    Finally, we reached Kochi, the most awaited destination on our Itinerary. We were lucky to have been in Kochi during their art festival “Kochi Biennale”, we strolled through the art exhibition completely in awe of the talent and aesthetics of the displays.
    Kamalan arranged a guided tour of the touristic places in Kochi that included: St. Francis Church, Hill Palace Museum, Santacruz Basilica, Bastion Bunglow, Dutch Palace, Chendamangalam Palace Fort, Museum of Kerala History, Indian naval Maritime museum, Indo-Portuguese Museum, Thrikkakara Temple,
    Ernakulam Siva Temple, Dharmanath Desar Jain Mandir, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Street and Paradesi Synagogue over the next few days that we were there. We Also took a leisurely walk at Cherai Beach and Fort Kochi Beach.
    Kochi was an arts and heritage experience, the city is clean and green and the people are friendly and very proud of their culture, which they are eager to share with you if you have the interest to listen. Our journey ended in Kochi and the memories of this place will never fade, we bought many Indian handicrafts including their fabulous white and gold saris and also picked up a few spices that we have since used at home.

    It was hard to leave Kochi but we were really looking forward to what Mysore had in store for us. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore is also called the City of Palaces because of several ornate examples in the city; among the most notable palaces that we visited was Amba Vilas, popularly known as Mysore Palace.
    Our itinerary for the day of places to visit in Mysore included Chamundi Temple on the hills, Devaraja Market and Brindavan Gardens. Mysore sightseeing was an exciting experience because of the culture and heritage of Mysore city.
    We went to places near Mysore too, a short drive from Mysore to Srirangapatna took us to ancient monuments and structures dedicated to Indian lord Vishnu.
    Our hotel, Fortune JP Palace, scheduled a great yoga class in mysore for us that helped us get rid of all the toxins in our body and revitalize ourselves.

    We ended our journey with our travel planner in Bangalore city, where we went on our last guided tour that was organised by Kamalan; we visited Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore Palace, Botanical Gardens, Basavanagudi Temple. Our travels ended on an artistic note by visiting the National Gallery of Modern Art and Government Museum. Our South India Tour Package had ended and it was hard saying goodbye to the best vacation experience we’ve had.

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