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Make an epic exploration from west to east across Tamil Nadu to Kerala. Sacred cities and towering temples, isolated sandy beaches and shining waters of an emerald green lake.
Step off the plane and into our care with an easy transfer to the Radisson Temple Bay from the airport. Plan your adventures for the days ahead over a breakfast briefing. Dive straight into the treasures of this ancient port town which dates back to the 7th century with a city temple tour.
Begin your Indian odyssey with sand between your toes, the waves of the Bay of Bengal lapping the shoreline. Learn the fate of the Pallava Kings in their ancestral home of Mahabalipuram. Choose from a dizzying range of hand-woven silken sarees in rainbow colours at the sacred city of Kanchipuram. Slip off your shoes at the holy pilgrimage site of Varadaraja Perumal.
A day of travel made stress-free by our assisted departure to speed you on your way to Madurai. Step into an elegant restored mansion at the Visalam hotel; Italian marble, original Art Deco grilles and gleaming walls, hand-finished with an egg white wash. Discover a gracious style of living.
As the sun sets after a full day, relax at the pool-side cafe as the sound of flutes fills the air. Walk in the shadow of history at the Chettinad museum. Feast on a thali banquet of Chettinad specialities; game birds and seafood, delicately spiced lamb with fresh pepper and mango. On a half-day sightseeing tour, explore the village and meet new friends.
After breakfast set off on a scenic drive to the city of Madurai, an ancient cultural centre, more than 2500 years old, known as the ‘City of festivals’. Discover its temples and palaces on a city tour.
Sleep in Geoffery Bawa-designed tropical modernism at the Heritage Madurai. Learn the legend of the city that’s said to have grown from drops of nectar that flowed from the locks of Shiva. Join in a centuries-old tradition at the Meenakshi temple as the shrine of Lord Shiva is carried through the temple and ‘put to bed’ with his wife, the goddess Parvati.
After breakfast, leave the city behind and head to the interior to the Idukki wildlife sanctuary, home to a wide variety of animals and birds including monkeys, antelope and elephants. Relax in the sanctuary of the Shalimar Spice Garden hotel, surrounded by coffee and cardamom pods growing wild. Feel close to nature cosseted by modern luxury.
Take an interpretive nature walk with park guides, learn nature’s secrets, breathe in the perfume of her tropical flowers. Swim a few lengths in the refreshing pool. Lie back and enjoy the shade of the palms. Listen to the cries of the Macaque monkeys and see how many kinds of butterfly you can spot. Sip fragrant tea made from the spices you see hanging in abundance in the plantation.
Head back to the coast on a scenic drive to the Kumarakom Lake Resort, acclaimed as the finest luxury heritage resort in India. Nestled on the banks of the tranquil Lake Vembanad, romance and relaxation await. Savour a memorable meal in Ettukettu, the princely eight-sided mansion restaurant. Perhaps catch of the day simmered in rich coconut and fresh-ground spices?
Luxuriate in your pool-side villa with its own private bathing cove. Book a sunset cruise on the shimmering emerald-green waters of lake Vembanad, make a picture-postcard moment a reality. Indulge with an Ayurvedic massage, let talented therapists soothe your spirit with ancient knowledge.
Time to shift into a deeper level of relaxation, after breakfast enjoy a drive to Alleppey for a day cruise. Your home for the next three nights is the Marari Beach Resort, an oasis of calm where you can unwind completely, enjoying secluded beaches and stunning sunsets. Cruise along enchanting rivers and canals on a picturesque houseboat. Tuck into traditional Kerala cuisine for lunch.
Awaken your senses with a hot shower in your private courtyard open to the sky. Stroll the beach and watch the fishermen take their boats out in the morning, later feast on ocean-fresh fish in the shade of the coconut palms. Feel the sun on your skin and a gentle, cooling breeze as you rest in a hammock, lulled by the sound of the crashing waves.
Believed to be the oldest European settlement in India, uncover the history of Cochin, ‘museum city’. From the Dutch to the Portuguese and Chinese, walk in the footsteps of past explorers on a half-day tour. Dive in to enjoy one last swim in the sunshine at the Vivanta By Taj resort pool.
Visit synagogues, temples and churches, experience the cultural melting pot of this ancient port city. Sway to the irresistible rhythm of a traditional Kathakkali dance drama. Visit the gravestone of Vasco de Gama, the explorer who discovered the sea route from Europe to India. Linger over a farewell dinner before we assist you with your departure to the International Airport.