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Journey from the vibrant markets of Hyderabad to Madurai to witness the spectacle of the evening ceremony at the astonishing Meenakshi temple. Continue into the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats, replete with tea plantations and elephants, before crossing over into Kerala to experience its colourful artistic culture and tranquil backwaters.
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Fly from London to Hyderabad with Emirates via Dubai. (N)
Early morning arrival and early check-in at Park Hyatt for 2 nights. Settle into your hotel before an afternoon sightseeing in Charminar, home to one of India's largest mosques, the Mecca Masjid, built in 1598. Visit the magnificent Chowmahalla palace, inspired by the Shah of Iran's Palace in Tehran. A maze of bazaars surrounds the Charminar arch, the best known and oldest being Lad bazaar. Here you can buy almost anything, from colourful bangles and rosewater to silverwork, antiques, fabrics and elegant pearls. Tucked away in the labyrinthine streets are a handful of perfume shops paying homage to the Mughal legacy of ittar, an essential oil. Learn more about the blending of these oils and blend your own unique perfume. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant in Old Charminar. (D)
This morning visit the impressive Golconda fort, once a centre of Muslim power for 400 years. This afternoon explore the timeless and luxurious Taj Falaknuma Palace with high tea. (B)
This morning you will be driven to the airport for the midday flight to Madurai. Spend the afternoon at leisure before visiting one of India's liveliest and most colourful temples, Meenakshi, for its spectacular evening ceremony, which involves a procession filled with music, rituals and colour. To reach the temple you will travel by tuk tuk through vibrant markets and winding streets. Overnight at Heritage Madurai (or similar). (B)
Today you leave Madurai for the misty mountains and stunning scenery of the Western Ghats, heading towards the small scenic town of Pollachi. En route observe how the landscape changes to verdant hills, quiet villages and rolling tea estates. Check in to the Coco Lagoon which is surrounded by coconut groves and tropical gardens for a 2-night stay. This afternoon visit Appachi Cotton, a social enterprise where you can learn firsthand about cotton cultivation in India from true artisans of the craft. (B, D)
Full-day visit to Valparai, set in the Anaimalai hills of the Western Ghats and surrounded by lush tea plantations and forest. The hill station is also home to herds of wild elephants, lion-tailed macaques and vivid flora and fauna. Take a tour of a private tea plantation and factory, followed by lunch and a walk through a tea estate where you are likely to see local workers clipping tea bushes. (B, L, D)
Head to Thrissur, in Kerala's cultural heartland, to witness a Tholpavakoothu performance of traditional shadow puppetry based on stories and characters from the religious epics. Enjoy lunch with a family whose mastery of this craft dates back generations. Later board a train to Ernakulam before travelling by road to the Keralan backwaters for 2 nights at the Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere. (B, L, D)
Explore the picturesque waterways that make up the Keralan backwaters on a traditional houseboat. You will pass many boats carrying loads of coir, copra and cashews and, along the water's edge, numerous churches and marketplaces. The network of canals, lakes and estuaries that make up the backwaters is formed by the 40-odd rivers that flow down to the Arabian Sea from the Cardamom Hills. (B, L, D)
Leave the backwaters and travel to Kochi for an afternoon's sightseeing of this enchanting port. View the cantilevered fishing nets, explore the 16th-century Portuguese-built Mattancherry Palace, the church of St Francis and the world's oldest active Jewish synagogue. Wander through the local spice market and visit the vibrant Dhobi Ghats. Spend 2 nights at Forte Kochi. (B)
Optional morning visit to Neema's Kitchen for a taste of traditional Indian cooking and to learn the techniques and spices behind authentic home cooking*. Alternatively visit Kumbhalanghi village,* a small model village that aims to preserve and promote the culture of Kerala by showcasing several crafts.
Take the morning flight to London, via Dubai,
with Emirates. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals
These activities can be
pre-booked or booked locally and incur an
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
These small group tours have been specially created
for solo travellers. Benefits include single
occupancy of double / twin rooms as standard
and at sensible prices, plus the company of
like-minded travellers. View the complete
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits
you, for which guideline prices are shown.
Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact
requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
XBS2019: 9 Nights
Kochi (Cochin), overlooking the Arabian Sea and once a strategic port on the spice route, is an enchanting blend of east meets west...
In 1590 Quli Qutub Shah started to plan ‘a replica of Paradise itself’ and Hyderabad, th...
Madurai, formerly the seat of power for the Pandya dynasty, is one of the oldest cities...