Introducing South India

Perhaps nowhere on Earth is as discovered and undiscovered as South India. Europeans have been coming here since 1498, and while Goa’s beaches are legendary and Kerala’s backwaters revered, the likes of Kodagu’s lush coffee plantations and northern Kerala’s colourful village rituals beg to be uncovered.

Such places, though, tell only half the story. Travel east into Tamil Nadu, via the Western Ghats’ sweeping tea estates, and you’ll enter a different world. Here, beaches are adorned by ancient temples and, in Pondicherry at least, boules is played on the village green. This is India’s Dravidian centre, albeit with the slightest of French influences.

These South India holiday ideas are crafted by destination experts from trusted local travel companies.

Highlights

  • Exploring Kerala’s beautiful backwaters in a houseboat
  • Lazy days on one of Goa’s pristine secluded beaches
  • Sampling the perfect cup of coffee in deepest Karnataka
  • Seeing Tamil Nadu’s dramatic Dravidian temples
  • Marvelling at Munnar’s picture-perfect tea plantations

When to go

  • High: Oct to Mar
  • Shoulder: Apr
  • Low: May to Sep

South India Coast to Coast

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 10 nights

Sample what Rick Stein believes is the “perfect curry” on the Coromandel Coast, discover the world’s finest Dravidian temples in Tamil Nadu and sip tea surrounded by the glorious Western Ghats. Not forgetting, of course, exploring Kerala’s blissful backwaters on a private houseboat, or watching the sunset over Fort Cochin’s Chinese fishing nets. To experience South India is to travel from its eastern to western coasts on this most enchanting of journeys.

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Classic Kerala

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 8 nights

Stretching from a palm-fringed Malabar Coast in the west to the verdant peaks of the Western Ghats in the east, Kerala is a state that richly rewards those who explore it. Beginning in historic Fort Cochin – which blends Portuguese, Dutch and British influences – this classic route takes in Munnar’s lush tea estates, Kumarakom’s enchanting backwaters and some of South India’s finest beaches.

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Secret Goa

  • When to go: October – March
  • Duration: 7 nights

Beautiful beaches, warm waters and lush landscapes – minus the crowds. Get off the beaten track and discover not only Goa’s best-kept secrets, but the ‘real’ face of this former Portuguese colony. Starting in the sublime south and ending in the nearby north, this week-long holiday combines the state’s coast and backwaters with the finest hand-picked boutique accommodations.

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Exclusive Secret Goa

  • When to go: October – March
  • Duration: 10 nights

Discover Goa’s blissful beaches from two secluded seaside retreats. This exclusive take on our Secret Goa holiday allows you to experience a slice of tropical paradise otherwise hidden from view, in the most authentic way possible. Beginning in the north – at a location separated from the mainland by a salt water creek – this unique trip ends in the south at what is, quite possibly, the prettiest beach in India..

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Temple Hopping in Tamil Nadu

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 6 nights

Largely untouched by would-be conquerors from the north, Tamil Nadu has firmly held on to its Dravidian identity – most notably via its collection of awe-inspiring temples. Dating from the ancient Chola, Pallava and Pandyan dynasties, they range from Mamallapuram’s modest Shore Temple to Madurai’s magnificent Meenakshi Amman complex. Discover both – and just about every monument in between – on this eye-opening north-to-south journey through one of India’s most awe-inspiring states.

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Karnataka: Culture, Coffee & Wildlife

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 9 nights

Sandwiched between central India and the country’s tropical south, Karnataka is among South Asia’s most rewarding destinations – largely because of its fascinating culture, verdant coffee plantations and superb wildlife-spotting opportunities. From exquisitely ornate temples to spotting herds of wild elephants, this is the perfect introduction to one of India’s most captivating – and largely undiscovered – states.

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Wellness South India: Goan Yoga Retreat

  • When to go: November – April
  • Duration: 7 nights

Sandwiched between the palm-fringed shores of the Arabian Sea and the peaceful waters of the Mandrem River, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect location for a spiritually minded wellness retreat. This week-long escape to a relatively undiscovered, completely relaxed corner of Goa will introduce you not only to elemental yoga therapy, but to ancient practices like meditation and chanting – all set in a serene tropical environment tailor-made to relaxation and rejuvenation.

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