(12 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis) Mumbai, Madurai, Chennai, Cochin, Backwaters of Kerala
Whether you're a first-time or return visitor to India, this tour is a highly recommended itinerary for those wishing to experience the beautiful scenery and rich culture of southern India. Explore some of India's most important pilgrimage sites and temples, cruise atmospheric waterways, and experience the multicultural harbor town of Cochin and the bustling city of Mumbai.
Begin in exciting Mumbai (Bombay), India’s economic capital and the home of the Bollywood film industry. Tour the city’s cultural attractions, bazaars and most interesting neighborhoods, and take a private boat ride to the Elephanta Island Caves—inside are extensive Hindu stone sculptures linked to the cult of Shiva.
Next, fly to Madurai, an ancient city considered the center of southern Indian culture, art, dance and music. Tour the Meenakshi Temple, a temple that buzzes with Hindu pilgrims performing rituals at all hours of the day. In the evening, attend a spectacular ceremonial procession of worshippers. Explore colorful local bazaars and more remote temples.
Continue to Chennai (Madras), for a stay in a private beachfront villa on Covelong Beach. With your private guide and driver, visit important cultural sites in the area including Kanchipuram, one of the country’s holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites, and the seaside town of Mahabalipuram, where Pallavan stonecutters produced some of the finest carvings in India.
Then, board a luxury cruise for a three-day exploration of the scenic Backwaters of Kerala—a vast, intricate network of lagoons, canals and lakes. Listen for the birdsong drifting out of the nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and observe the local life along the waterways. Enjoy gourmet south Indian specialty dishes and witness a performance of the highly ritualized "Kathakali" dance and classical "Mohiniattam" dances, both Kerala traditions. Learn about traditional snakeboat building and visit the home of a local family.
Transfer to Cochin (Kochi), an evocative harbor town stretched across islands and peninsulas on the Malabar Coast. With your private guide, experience the city's rich past flavored from Portuguese, British, Dutch, Chinese and Jewish traders — including a 500-year old church, a 16th-century synagogue and a royal palace. Browse for antiques and perhaps indulge in a traditional Ayurvedic spa treatment—a specialty of southern India.
Conclude with a night in Mumbai and enjoy last-minute shopping and sightseeing.
Private arrival transfer to hotel for 2 nights. Private afternoon city tour
Mumbai Full-day private tour, including boat ride to Elephanta Island
Mumbai – Madurai
Transfer and flights to Madurai for 2 night stay
Private touring, including local bazaars
Madurai – Chennai – Covelong Beach
Private transfer and flight to Chennai. Introductory touring of Chennai and transfer to Covelong Beach for 2 nights
Private excursion to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram
Covelong Beach - Backwaters of Kerala
Private transfer to Chennai airport and flight to Cochin. Arrival transfer to Lake Vembanad in Kerala to board luxury cruise for 3 nights
Days 8 & 9
Backwaters of Kerala
Cruise and land excursions in Backwaters. Evening traditional performances
Backwaters of Kerala - Cochin
Private transfer to Cochin for1 night. Afternoon private city tour
Cochin - Mumbai
Private transfer and flight to Mumbai for overnight. Guide and driver at disposal this afternoon for flexible shopping or touring
Private airport transfer
The Taj Mahal Palace or The Oberoi Mumbai
Taj Fisherman's Cove:
Backwaters of Kerala:
Oberoi M.V. Vrinda
Per person (double occupancy)
Optional surcharge for regional business class flights (when available):
From $400 per person
The Artisans of Leisure Style of Travel:
Private touring with your own personal guides and drivers
Preferred rooms in the very best luxury hotels
Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our travel specialists
Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and schedule
Artisans of Leisure upgrades and amenities
A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, skipping lines during touring whenever possible, restaurant and spa reservations, performance tickets, private airport transfers, internal transportation, VIP and fast-track airport assistance in many destinations
Around-the-clock support in each destination during your trip
Unique, insider travel experiences and access to the Artisans of Leisure network of experts around the world
All Artisans of Leisure tours are private and depart daily.
Please Contact Us for more information regarding the above tour, or to begin customizing your own itinerary.