Temples, spas, beaches, hill stations . . . A tailor-made South India holiday is a luxury for body, mind and soul.
We loved the people as everyone was so friendly and helpful and we felt safe wherever we went. If we had to pick a special moment, Andrew's was riding on the back of a Royal Enfield with one of the guides and my highlight was birdwatching in Munnar - the guide was so knowledgeable and friendly.
A holiday in South India can give you anything from temples galore, to wonderful wildlife, skilled arts and crafts, and miles of beaches – or a combination of all of this, plus incredible food!
Arriving in one of the gateway towns of Mumbai or Chennai, South India is a vast and diverse area for you to explore – and you’ve got Kerala too, which we’ve described separately.
We believe that a tailor-made holiday here is best as we can base the itinerary specifically on your interests and suggest lovely places to stay with the standard and type of character that you prefer. Please call us for an informal chat and we’ll share advice and knowledge.
- Chennai : Formerly known as Madras, this is the capital of Tamil Nadu. The East India Company built Fort George here in 1653 and the city expanded ever after.
- Chettinad : A region that was home to a caste of traders and bankers called Chettiars. Visit some of their now-abandoned opulent 19th century mansions and try unique Chettinad cuisine. A little-known aspect of the area is the number of small Ayyanar shrines and temples decorated with rows of terracotta horses – you will see these nowhere else.
- Goa : This former Portuguese colony on the southwest coast is known for its miles of palm-fringed beaches popular for laid-back winter sun holidays. It’s not all hippies and backpackers (as it once was), there are now some excellent luxury hotels to choose from.
- Hampi: Once the centre of the Vijayanagara Empire, and now a Unesco World heritage site, the unusual, boulder-strewn landscape of Hampi is home to hundreds of ancient temples and monuments. It was one of India’s richest cities before its destruction in 1565. Fascinating.
- Hill stations: India’s hill stations are high-altitude towns where you can escape summer’s heat. Well-known stations in the Western Ghats mountain range of South India include: Munnar, Ooty, Coorg and Coonoor. A visit here is not about the towns but the beauty of the hills and nature.
- Madurai : The city’s focal point, the Meenakshi Temple, was built at a similar time to the Taj Mahal but the riotous colours of the carvings on its 9 tall towers are a complete antithesis to the Taj’s clean white lines. The city’s markets are also worth visiting.
- Mamallapuram: A centre of art, architecture and literature from 3rd to 7th century, it is just south of Chennai. Visit ancient temples and impressive rock carvings.
- Mysore : The scent of sandalwood and incense, the luxury of silk, the skills of local artisans, and the grandeur of royal palaces and gardens.
- Pondicherry: A town on the south east coast, known for its picturesque French Quarter and many beaches. The famous Auroville ashram is just outside of town.
- Thanjavur: Visit the incredible temples of this capital of the former Chola dynasty (850-1400 AD).
- South India’s wildlife: South India is home to some lovely sanctuaries and nature reserves such as Bandipur, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Nagarhole, Silent Valley, Wayanad and Eravikulam. See our section on Indian wildlife safaris.