Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Day 1 ARRIVE IN MUMBAI
Welcome to Mumbai, a multicultural metropolis with a colorful history. Your hotel room is available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 MUMBAI
This morning’s PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR includes the GATEWAY OF INDIA, Mumbai’s most famous monument, which commemorates a visit by Queen Mary. From here, cross Mumbai Harbor by ferry to the ELEPHANTA CAVES, a collection of cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to Mumbai and drive along Marine Drive, a seafront promenade, and see a traditional Dhobi Ghat (an open-air laundromat). You will also visit the MANI BHAVAN (former residence of Mahatma Gandhi) and the MUMBAI MUSEUM.
Day 3 MUMBAI–CHENNAI
Fly to Chennai, India’s fourth largest metropolis.
Day 4 CHENNAI
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit FORT ST. GEORGE, built in 1644, and stroll through Mylapore, the cultural hotspot of Chennai. Your evening is free to explore at leisure.
Day 5 CHENNAI–MAHABALIPURAM–PUDUCHERRY
Start your day with a visit to DAKSHINACHITRA, a unique heritage center for the living traditions of Indian arts, crafts, and architecture. Later, journey to MAHABALIPURAM, once the main port of the Pallava Kingdom and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Puducherry early this evening.
Day 6 PUDUCHERRY
A full day of sightseeing awaits you today. First, visit AUROVILLE, the city of dawn. This experimental township was established as a universal place where men and women of all countries could live in peace and harmony above all nationalities, politics, and religious beliefs. Then, enjoy a LIFE OF PI TOUR and HERITAGE WALK of the French Quarter. Visit the SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, one of the highlights of Puducherry, visited by thousands of people from all over the world.
Day 7 PUDUCHERRY–TANJORE
Travel through the rich and varied countryside to Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. Once there, visit the famous BRIHADESHWARA TEMPLE and TANJORE PALACE. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner.
Day 8 TANJORE–CHETTINAD–MADURAI
Continue exploring Southern India on the way to Madurai via Chettinad. Visit Chettinad Village Market where you can opt to try a traditional meal served on a banana leaf. Later, arrive in Madurai, one of southern India’s oldest towns.
Day 9 MADURAI
In the morning, enjoy a tour of the local FLOWER MARKET, followed by a visit to the THIRUMALAI NAYAK PALACE, built in 1636. Then, reflect on Mahatma Gandhi and his influence on India’s history at the GANDHI MEMORIAL MUSEUM. This evening, enjoy a glimpse of Madurai’s devout religious culture during a visit to the atmospheric MEENAKSHI TEMPLE at prayer time.
Day 10 MADURAI–THEKKADY
Admire the changing sights as you journey to Kumarakom. Along the way, stop for a visit to a SPICE PLANTATION. Later, enjoy a KALARIPAYATTU PERFORMANCE, one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world that developed in Kerala.
Day 11 THEKKADY–KERALA BACKWATERS CRUISE
Board your HOUSEBOAT for an overnight cruise on the backwaters of Kerala. As you drift along, enjoy authentic local food, watch the villagers go about their daily chores, and marvel at the beauty of southern India’s backwaters. Tonight, remain on board for a unique stay on Lake Vembanad. NOTE:Due to space restrictions, please plan to pack a small overnight bag for the houseboat stay.
Day 12 KERALA BACKWATERS CRUISE–COCHIN
Say goodbye to your houseboat and travel to Cochin, an important spice trading port since the 14th century and now a cosmopolitan business center. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a local village.
Day 13 COCHIN
Your tour of Cochin starts with the CHINESE FISHING NETS—the livelihood of many local fishermen—and a HERITAGE WALK in Fort Cochin. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore, shop, or visit an art cafe. In the evening, celebrate the success of your tour at a spectacular show of KATHAKALI DANCE, a form of storytelling distinguished by the elaborately colorful costumes and face masks worn by the dancers.
Day 14 COCHIN
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.