South India Tea, Temple and Backwaters

TripCompanion / South India Tea, Temple and Backwaters

South India Tea, Temple and Backwaters


per person

There is no better place to understand the vast and complex culture and history of India than by visiting south India. Reach back into the Dravidian culture and observe the influence of the French, Dutch and English colonialists.

Starting from Chennai, marvel at the historic stone monuments, temples and the French colony. Traveling southwest you will explore more temples as well as tropical spices and exotic Chettinad cuisine. Excite your taste buds with an interactive kitchen experience with an authentic Chettinad chef. Enrich your knowledge about the English Raj while enjoying a cup of tea at the Munnar Tea Plantations and Tea Museum.

Finally we arrive at Kerala where St Thomas the Apostle introduced Christianity in the 1st century. Stroll by the Arabian Sea front and relax on a Backwaters houseboat cruise.

Chennai, Mylapore, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Karaikudi, Madurai, Munnar & Kochi


Day 1: Meet Up at Chennai

Day 2: Chennai | Mylapore

Day 3: Chennai – Puducherry | Mahabalipuram

Day 4: Puducherry

Day 5: Puducherry – Thanjavur | Silk Weavers’ Colony

Day 6: Thanjavur | Brihadeeswara Temple

Day 7: Thanjavur – Karaikudi

Day 8: Karaikudi – Madurai | Meenakshi Temple

Day 9: Madurai – Munnar

Day 10: Munnar| Tea Plantation, Tea Museum, Kudla Dam, Echo Point

Day 11: Munnar – Kochi | Fort Kochi

Day 12: Kochi | Alleppey

Day 13: Depart Kochi


Destination Hotel Rating
Chennai Lemon Tree ★★★★
Puducherry Anandha Inn ★★★★
Thanjavur Sangam ★★★★
Karaikudi The Bangala ★★★★
Madurai GRT Regency ★★★★
Munnar Silver Tips ★★★★
Kochi Casino Hotel ★★★★

 Hotels mentioned are subject to availability at the time of reservation. Hotel check-in time is 2 pm and check out at 12 noon.



‣  Welcome Dinner with Local Dance Performance

‣  Authentic Chettinad Dinner and Cooking Demonstration with local chef

‣  Houseboat Lunch Cruise on Kerala Backwaters

‣  Famous Kathakali Dance Performance & Farewell Dinner

‣  Airport Transfers

‣  Traditional Garlanding Welcome with Welcome Kit

‣  Hotel Accommodations

‣  Daily Breakfast and All Meals (See tour plan for details)

‣  English-speaking Local Guide

‣  Entrance Fees to Monuments



Meet Up at Chennai (MAA)

Upon arrival at Chennai airport, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax and enjoy the hotel or explore this capital city of Tamil Nadu state on your own with an optional add-on private car and chauffeur.

Chennai | Mylapore

Let’s take the Peacock Trail through Mylapore, a town that predates Chennai by at least 2,000 years and is the religious and cultural epicenter of the Tamil people. Visit the Kapaleeshwarar temple, re-built 300 years ago, which is a fine example of the pure Dravidian style with gopurams and mandapams. The original Kapaleeshwarar (dedicated to Shiva) was demolished in the mid-sixteenth century by the Portuguese. The Portuguese built a colony on the shore and pushed Mylapore inshore where it still stands today.
The Kapaleeshwarar temple is surrounded by jewelers, silk merchants, fruit and vegetable sellers, flower vendors in the bazaars.  You will also find stores selling music and religious memorabilia in this neighborhood.
Marina Beach is 4 miles long along the Bay of Bengal, one of the longest beaches in the world. Near the north of Marina Beach is Fort St George which was the first English fortress in India. The fort also houses St Mary's Church, both the oldest Anglican church and the oldest British building in India.
This evening, enjoy a local dance performance with your welcome dinner.
Breakfast     Lunch     Welcome Dinner

Chennai – Puducherry | Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is a small seaside village and once the main port of the Pallava Dynasty from the 5th to 9th centuries. It has a group of sanctuaries carved out of rock during the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple with thousands of sculptures dedicated to the glory of God Shiva. This Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Afterwards you continue by road to Puducherry.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner

Puducherry (Pondicherry)

Today you visit a local village to interact with the locals and get an insight into their traditions and daily life.
In 1674, Pondicherry became a French colony. Experience the French colonial atmosphere in Puducherry, visit the French quarter and the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram (an ashram is akin to a monastery), founded by one of India's greatest philosopher-poets.
Other attractions are the lush Government Park and elegant Gandhi Memorial.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner

Puducherry – Thanjavur | Silk Weavers’ Colony

Witness the process of traditional weaving at the silk weavers' colony. Tamil Nadu is well known for its hand-woven "Kanchipuram" silk sarees. Embroidered intensely with zari (gold or silver thread), these sarees are large and heavy. These sarees are well known throughout the world for its well-defined weaving patterns and good quality silk. Tanjavur is one of the major silk centres in Tamil Nadu.
Tie and Die: It involves two techniques. The patola or ikat technique involves the dyeing the dye-resistant yarn.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner  

Thanjavur | Brihadeeswara Temple

Thanjavur thrived as the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, and later of the Marathas and Nayaks.
The great Brihadeeswara (Brahadeeswara) Temple in Dravidian architecture, also known as the Big Temple, was built by Rajaraja Chola I. It is one of the most magnificent pieces of South Indian temple architecture.
To explore more about Chola artifects, visit the Thanjavur Palace, Saraswati Mahal library and the art gallery. The art gallery hosts an excellent collection of Chola bronzes and stone carvings. Enjoy an introduction to the Thanjavur style of paintings.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner

Thanjavur - Karaikudi

Drive from Thanjavur to Karaikudi to visit a nearby charming and unspoilt village. Explore its delightful markets where vendors sell vegetables, fruit, fish, household and farm utensils, and a variety of other items under colorful canopies.
You will enjoy Chettinad cuisine at its finest with an interactive culinary experience followed by a traditional dinner. Chettinad cuisine from Karaikudi is renowned to be the most aromatic and spiciest cuisine in South India.  It uses a variety of spices and dishes to make fresh ground masalas (spice mixes). Chettiars also use a variety of sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Chettinad cuisine evolved from ethnic vegetarian recipes, famous spicy seafood and meat dishes with influences from Christian and Muslim traders.
Chettinad recipes are prized with strong flavors ranging from spicy to sweet that have been handed down through generations. You will learn more about this cuisine by conversing with a local chef in an open courtyard. The process of dining is an experience in itself: there are many courses and the food is served in a traditional manner presented on freshly cut banana leaves.
Enjoy a unique experience with this Indian cuisine that is not commonly shared outside of this region in such depth.
Breakfast     Lunch     Cooking  Demo Dinner

Karaikudi – Madurai | Meenakshi Temple

Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India, a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome. It’s celebrated Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of India's greatest temples with a dazzling maze-like structure. Meenakshi Temple with its nine gopurams (temple towers) soaring to almost 164 feet above the gateways, is decorated with colorful stucco images of gods, goddesses and animals.  The incredible thousand-pillared hall and the Golden Lotus tank are must-see attractions!
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner  

Madurai - Munnar

Drive to Munnar, the hill station 6,000 ft above sea level that is the home to many tea plantations. These tea plantations were the British Raj’s solution to Chinese tea monopoly in the 1800s. With its cooler weather, the fog often wafts over the mountains. The tranquil beauty of nature is punctuated by signs of women plucking buds and leaves from the green tea gardens (tea plantations).
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner  

Munnar | Tea Plantation, Tea Museum, Kudla Dam, Echo Point

You stroll through a working tea plantation. Depending on the time of the year, you may be able to see the colorful tea pluckers at work and visit the factory to observe the Tea making process - crush, tear, curl. Then visit the interesting Kannan Devan Tea Museum with machines, photographs, classic bungalow furniture and office equipment of the Colonial era.
Other attractions are Kudla Dam, Echo Point and a gentle hike through the lush landscape.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner  

Munnar - Kochi | Fort Kochi

We drive to Kochi today. Serene Kochi is a melting pot of medieval Portuguese and Dutch heritage mixed with an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. You will visit the historical towns of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, the spice markets, antique shopping market, synagogue and the famous Chinese fishing nets.
Breakfast     Lunch     Dinner  

Kochi | Alleppey

Alleppey is in the hub of Kerala's backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. Take a house boat lunch cruise to explore the unique water world of villages, shikaras (traditional motorized small boats), toddy shops and houseboats surrounded by great paddy fields.
Then back to Kochi to enjoy a performance of famous Kathakali dancing demonstrating an ancient ritual that plays an important role in Kerala's cultural life. The plays are based on the three major Hindu epics, acted out with elaborate hand gestures, facial expressions and beautiful choreographed movements.
Breakfast     Lunch     Farewell Dinner

Depart Kochi (COK)

The tour comes to an end after breakfast. Hotel check-out and transfer to the departure airport.

Departures and Prices Guaranteed

TripCompanion Departure Guarantee Every small-group (up to 20 passengers) departure is guaranteed to operate, needing a minimum of only two passengers. Guaranteed departures will operate except only in cases of force majeure, which could include any major world event adversely affecting international travel patterns or other circumstances beyond TripCompanion’s control.

TripCompanion Price Assurance

TripCompanion Price Assurance ensures that you always pay the lowest published price for your small group tour - if the price of your tour is reduced after booking, TripCompanion will refund you the difference - guaranteed. Our Price Assurance applies to all group tours (with the exception of yoga tours) available through TripCompanion USA, excluding international and domestic air fares and extra services. The TripCompanion Price Assurance applies only to 2017-2018 advertised rates on for the same program, travel date and accommodation classification. TripCompanion reserves the right to modify or cancel the Price Assurance for future bookings without prior notice.

Dates & Prices

Weekly Departures, Monday
Oct 1 to Dec 15, 2017
$3,925 $4,945 Yes
Weekly Departures, Monday
Jan 15 to Mar 31 2018
$3,925 $4,945 Yes
  Special Departure Dates on Request*
DBL OCC: Price (US Dollars) per person with double occupancy sharing a room.
SGL OCC: Price (US Dollars) per person with single occupancy room.
Total price = relevant per person price, plus any elected add-ons.
Private tours and single-person tours are available with nominal supplement price, call for details. Discounts are available for a group of 10 or more, call for details. Prices include all currently applicable taxes.
  • ‣ Pre-trip or post-trip hotel accommodation     CALL FOR PRICE
  • ‣ Any travel Insurance
  • ‣ Medical Expenses
  • ‣ Domestic/International Air Fares and Airport Departure Tax
  • ‣ Gratuities
  • ‣ Laundry Service
  • ‣ Telephone Calls
  • ‣ Professional camera/video camera fees at monuments
  • ‣ All other services which are not mentioned in the inclusions


A non-refundable deposit is required to hold reservations made 60 days or more before departure.  The deposit consists of the items below.
  • ‣ $500.00
  • ‣ Costs of any selected add-ons or cultural performances