Skip link for screen readers

India Holidays

Southern India, from Chennai to Kerala

20 Night Itinerary from  £4,291

Meenakshi Tour

Journey through Tamil Nadu and Kerala, admiring colonial architecture, temples, culture, wildlife, nature and beautiful scenery.

Select your Preferred Departure Date OR Default to Today's Date

Request Quotation

Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • Explore Chennai's fine colonial architecture including St George's Cathedral.
  • Discover French influenced Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram the “City of the Seven Pagodas,”.
  • Explore Tamil Nadu in depth visiting Tanjore and Chettinad.
  • Travel to Madurai and admire the incredible Meenakshi Temple.
  • Visit a colonial tea plantation in Munnar and explore the wildlife at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Enjoy a 2-night cruise on the backwaters of Kerala on a traditional houseboat on a full board basis.
  • Explore Kochi, rich in colonial architecture including the fort and St Francis Church.
  • Relax for 3 nights at the inspiring resort at Neeleshwar Hermitage in Northern Kerala.

This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.

Tour Itinerary

Chennai Pixabay

Chennai (Madras) - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from the UK on an overnight flight to Chennai

Day 2 - Arrive Chennai

Day 3 - Guided tour of Chennai


  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Thursday, 25 July 2024

Fly from the UK to Chennai (Madras)

Depart from the UK on an overnight flight to Chennai.

Friday, 26 July 2024

Arrive in Chennai

Arrive at Chennai airport. Our local Veloso Tours guide will meet you and transfer you to your chosen hotel for a 2 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Your guide will also give you a short orientation tour of your local surroundings and help you settle in. Rest of the day is at leisure. 

Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital of Tamil Nadu and the fourth largest city in India. A city that encapsulates the spirit and unique culture of India's southernmost state. A major centre of commerce - cars, buses, auto-rickshaws, mopeds, pedestrians, fish carts and cows all compete for space on the streets. Although seriously congested there is an almost complete lack of stress and tension which is greatly symbolic of the deep spirituality of this state. The first British settlement in India, Chennai still has a fine legacy of colonial architecture which display a wide range of influences from the elegant classical style of the 18th century to the much more eclectic Anglo-Indian school of the late 19th century. It is the latest of a line of Indian cities that is hurtling into the 21st century and now even has a small but impressive collection of trendy shops, coffee bars and nightclubs.

Like many cities of the North, Chennai is an intriguing blend of the old and new, with an array of both traditional Indian and Western colonial architecture. Today, it is the centre of political power for the Tamil people.

Saturday, 27 July 2024

Guided tour of Chennai

After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour exploring key sites in the old city. St. George’s Cathedral occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. The architecture of St. George’s Cathedral is remarkable for its tall spire, pillars, marble statues, mural tablets and memorials inside. The Cathedral is a piece of architectural grandeur resting on a tier of steps. The Government Museum is another treasure trove worth exploring, with the Bronze exhibit one of the best in India.

We continue to Santhome Church and the National Shrine of St.Thomas Basilica built over the tomb of Apostle St.Thomas. St.Thomas one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ came to India in A.D.52, martyred in A.D.72 and was buried here in  Mylapore.

Taj Connemara, Chennai

Chennai (Madras) and Tamil Nadu - Deluxe Hotel

The centrally located Taj Connemara is one of the most iconic buildings in Chennai, built in 1799 and first becoming a hotel in 1854. It became the Connemara in 1890, the name being the then Madras Governor. The modern day hotel has delightful colonial charm and grand architecture including marble floors.

There are spacious Heritage, Luxury and Grand Luxury rooms to choose from, each being air-conditioned with private bathroom. Amenities include telephone, sofa, TV, FREE Wi-Fi, minibar, tea/coffee maker, luxury toiletries, bathrobes and included snacks.

Pubic facilities include the Lady Connemara Bar and Lounge, the Varandah and Raintree restaurants serving international and Tamil dishes. Other facilities and experiences include peaceful gardens, afternoon tea, the Jiva Spa, a walk discovering the hotel's rich heritage, a swimming pool and terrace.




Relax By The Pool
Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry

Pondicherry - 2 Nights

Day 4 - Travel to Pondicherry, via Mahabalipuram

Day 5 - Explore Pondicherry

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Sunday, 28 July 2024

Travel to Pondicherry, via Mahabalipuram

This morning we drive along the coastline of the Bay of Bengal to the Pondicherry, stopping en-route to explore the  ancient temple town of Mahabalipuram, yet another of India’s fabulous UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Mahabalipuram is commonly known as the “City of the Seven Pagodas,” even though five of the seven pagodas are actually rathas (stone chariots). The Pallavas, the ruling power of South India during the 7th and 8th Centuries and prolific patrons of the arts, reached their greatest architectural achievement in the visually dramatic temples at Mahabalipuram. A wealthy maritime trade with Southeast Asia enabled the Pallava monarchs to construct a large number of temples and sculptural programs, which garnered them both religious merit and promoted the political and social ideals of South Indian society.

We will also visit the photogenic and windswept Shore Temple, dramatically perched near a promontory overlooking the Bay of Bengal. We can see the aforementioned Panch Rathas (Five Stone Chariots), at the southern end of town. The rathas, which date to the 7th Century, are extraordinary examples of rock shrines hewn from monolithic stone, and are named for the heroes of the epic Indian tale the Mahabharata.

In the centre of Mahabalipuram is the main cluster of temples and rock sculptures. Life size stone statues of an elephant, bull and a lion guard these delicately sculptured temples. Depictions of scenes from Indian mythology carved out of stone cover the temples. One of the most elaborate is the Bhagirathi’s Penance, which despite its mammoth proportions, is intricately carved. So large is the bas-relief that it is often described as a “fresco in stone.” In fact, a number of stonecutters still work in Mahabalipuram and continue to produce high-quality traditional sculptures.

Monday, 29 July 2024

Explore Pondicherry

Pondicherry is a union territory that retains the borders of former French India. It consists of four small unconnected districts. Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam by the bay of Bengal and Mahe by the Arabian Sea. Of these, Pondicherry is the largest. Steeped in history, this quaint world charms you with Cathedrals, French-styled villas and tree-lined boulevards. The perfect setting for you to relive an era straight out of history books.

"Pondy" (as it's locally known) still bears its European heritage. The local cuisine has a distinctive French influence, as does the architecture of homes, boulevards and city buildings. Often referred to as "a little piece of Medieval France in India" and "a sleepy provincial French town," Pondicherry has managed to retain its French aura. From its delightful restaurants offering French cuisine and streets bearing French names, Pondicherry's French connection is very much alive - yet, very subtle. Pondicherry is also famous as a centre chosen by late Sri Aurobindo, revolutionary turned saint, who built his Ashram here in 1926, drawing huge crowds of followers with its unique spiritual concept revolving around work as a divine offering.

Early this morning explore the Pondicherry by Cycle Rickshaw. Pondi has lot to offer be it White town, Tamil quarters, Muslim quarters, temples, churches, government heritage buildings or the lively fruit and vegetable market. We will finish our rickshaw ride at the Vegetable market and from there we will board our vehicle to continue our sightseeing by visiting the Ganesha temple and Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry

Chennai (Madras) and Tamil Nadu - Luxury Hotel

What a gem of a hotel. Located in the quaint French quarter of Pondicherry, Palais de Mahe resembles a French Mansion complete with cool, airy high ceilings, traditional roof beams, arched doorways and colonnades, and ochre yellow wall flourishes.

The hotel has superior, deluxe and deluxe rooms with private terrace. Each is air-conditioned with private bathroom, FREE W--Fi, safe, hair dryer, TV, telephone, tea/coffee maker and bathrobe.

The public areas include a stunning pool, bar, lounge, small library, cafe and Les Alizes restaurant serving freshly caught seafood in a delightful colonial ambiance.

Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry
Tamil Nadu Bee

Tanjore - 2 Nights

Day 6 - Travel to Tanjore

Day 7 - Guided tour of Tanjore

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Tuesday, 30 July 2024

Travel to Tanjore

This morning we drive to Tanjore, stopping en-route to explore Chidambaram Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. 

The temple complex is spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. It is an ancient and historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place. The word Chidambaram may be derived from chit, meaning "consciousness", and ambaram, meaning "sky" (from aakasam or aakayam); it refers to the chidaakasam, the sky of consciousness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain according to all the Vedas and scriptures.

Continue to Tanjore for a 2-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

Wednesday, 31 July 2024

Guided tour of Tanjore

This morning we explore Tanjore, built in 1010 CE by Raja Raja, one of the Chola dynasty kings who once ruled much of South India. The magnificent Brihadishwara Temple is the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture and is dedicated to Shiva as Nataraja, king of the cosmic dance. Its beauty is particularly enhanced in late afternoon, when its sandstone tower is bathed in the golden hues of sunset. The vimana, or tower, over the temple sanctuary soars to 200 feet, and is adorned with several exquisite pieces of Chola sculpture. The temple sits in the middle of a spacious courtyard, faced by a massive 20-foot long sculpture of Shiva’s vahana (vehicle), the great bull Nandi, carved from a single piece of granite.

We will then visit Tanjore’s second great historical site, the Royal Palace complex, with its impressive observation tower. The Nayakas, who ruled this area in the 16th and 17th Centuries, constructed the palace. Aside from the historical significance of the palace itself, the complex also houses several important museums and libraries, including the Raja Raja Museum and Art Gallery, which contains a number of fabulous sculptural pieces representative of the broad array of South Indian styles over the centuries.

Tanjore is famous for the bronze sculpture and paintings, we will visit the small manufacture unit to understand more about this art.

Svatma, Tanjore

Chennai (Madras) and Tamil Nadu - Luxury Hotel

Located in the centre of Tanjore, close to the temple of Shiva, Svatma is an oasis of luxury and charm - the perfect base. Part of a 100 year old family home, the design and furnishings are heavily influenced by Tamilian building styles and materials. It is a super place to get a good understanding of Tamil culture. 

The 34 spacious rooms vary from studio to deluxe, premium rooms to suites. Each is air-conditioned with private bathroom, balcony or terrace, safe, hair dryer, FREE Wi-Fi, minibar, flat screen TV and tea/coffee maker.

Public facilities include a the Aaharam restaurant, serving all-day fine food with a traditional display kitchen that overlooks the pool. It has a unique menu – an exploration of Tamil cuisine available a la carte in an exclusive bouquet of plated mini meals.

The hotel also has a bar, lounge, gardens, swimming pool, gym and yoga classes. There are many activities available from the hotel including concerts, painting, sculpting and weaving.

Enjoy the Svatma experience
Temple of Tamil Nadu

Chettinad - 2 Nights

Day 8 - Travel to Trichy and Chettinad

Day 9 - Guided tour of Chettinad

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Thursday, 01 August 2024

Travel to Trichy and Chettinad

After breakfast, we will drive to Chettinad. En-route visit Tiruchirapalli “The Town of the Three Headed Devil,” so called after the demon who achieved salvation after being slain by Shiva. The city is now more commonly known as Trichy, the moniker bestowed upon it by the British. Trichy has the historical distinction of being the centre around which the Carnatic Wars were fought in the 18th Century during the British-French struggle for supremacy in South India. Despite its historical importance in colonial times, Trichy is an ancient city, its position on the Kaveri River delta lending it strategic importance during several of South India’s prominent political dynasties.

Once in Trichy, you will head to the superb Sri Ranganatha temple complex at Srirangam, situated on a 2 mile long island formed by two arms of the Kaveri River. The temple complex is incredibly vast, covering an area in excess of 140 acres. Srirangam is dedicated to the god Vishnu and, like Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple, is one of the most sacred of all pilgrimage sites in South India.

We continue to Chettinad and check-in to the hotel for a 2-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

Chettinad is the home to the Chettiars, a prosperous mercantile community. Apart from many other things this place is well known for its fiery cuisine and architecture. Most of the palatial 18th century mansions  were built using materials imported from east Asian countries and Europe about 100 years ago.

Friday, 02 August 2024

Guided tour of Chettinad

Walking about the narrow streets of Kanadukathan - one of 9 villages of the prominent Chettiar community of these parts - you could be forgiven for having fallen back in time to a past that still looms large and casts its shadow upon the daily lives of people here; where majestic villas, imposing colonial-style bungalows and other stately ruins of a bygone era trying to impress onlookers with their stature and grandeur.

There are many facets to the Chettinad region. Like, the astute business community of Chettiars, distinct spicy cuisine, stunning ancient mansions and the artistic Athangudi floor tiles. The timeless temples built centuries ago with intricate stone carvings and towering gopurams are still around. Even today, they adhere to the age-old religious customs and traditions. Chettinad is known for its architectural splendour, with around 11,000 of Chettinad’s mansions still remaining.

The celebrated Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. The fresh ground masalas give it the distinctive integrity in taste.

Visalam, Chettinad

Chennai (Madras) and Tamil Nadu - Luxury Hotel

Visalam is a wonderful 70 year old restored mansion, once owned by a prosperous trading family of the Chettiars of Tamil Nadu. The hotel is committed to the local community, ecology and preserving the local culture. The hotel can organise trips to Chettinad and Aathangudy, a nearby village famous for its hand made tiles. Also enjoy bullock cart and cycle adventures and a chance to meet local weavers.

The rooms or suites are all air-conditioned with private bathroom, safe, hair dryer, tea/coffee making facilities, FREE Wi-Fi and bathrobe.

Public facilities on offer are a Pool Cafe, Garden Cafe, Terrace Grill and Sapadu Shala restaurant serving local Tamil recipes. There are well maintained gardens, a large pool with sun loungers, an Ayurveda Centre and gift shop.


The Large Pool At Visalam

Madurai - 1 Night

Day 10 - Madurai & Meenakshi Temple

  • Full Description

Saturday, 03 August 2024

Madurai & Meenakshi Temple

This morning we drive to Madurai and check into our hotel for a 1-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis..

Enjoy guided exploration of Madurai city with the visit of Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in the 17th Century and partially restored by the British in the 19th Century. The Palace is built on a grand scale, with towering pillars and a large courtyard, where the ruler Thirumalai Nayaka received his audience in bygone days.

Take the cycle rickshaw through the streets of Madurai and explore the banana market, vegetable market, other activities on the street and ending at the Meenakshi temple. Visit the Tailor’s market next to the Meenakshi temple at the east entrance. It is where all locals goes to get their clothing made or tailor work done. You can bring the fabric and they will give you the tailor made stitched clothing in just 2 hours.

We then explore one of the most important temples in the South, the awe-inspiring Meenakshi Temple, whose complex occupies an area of six hectares. The Meenakshi temple of Madurai is estimated to receive 10,000 pilgrims every day. A riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with twelve gopuras (towers), ranging in height from 130 to 165 feet, the towers are covered from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicoloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. Legend has it that the temple was founded by Indra (King of Gods) himself. Every point in the temple has a legend attached to it. While exploring the temple, visit the “Hall of a Thousand Pillars,” with its fascinating study of “human expression” carved on the pillars, the walls and the ceiling. Just outside you will find the “musical pillars,” each emitting a different musical note when struck. Explore the Kambatti Mundapum (yet another hall) containing pillars sculptured with various manifestations of Lord Shiva. The Meenakshi Temple is arguably the preeminent example of South Indian temple architecture, and is also one of India’s most important places of pilgrimage.

In the evening, we can return to the Meenakshi temple in time for the evening Aarti, a ceremony at the great Meenakshi temple where the Lord Shiva is reunited with his wife Meenakshi for the night.


Munnar - 2 Nights

Day 11 - Drive to Munnar

Day 12 - Tea plantation tour


  • Full Description

Sunday, 04 August 2024

Drive to Munnar

Today drive to Munnar, A magnificent hill station in the Western Ghats at about 5000 feet above sea level. This is one of the best hill stations in Kerala and is the major centre of Kerala's tea industry. Munnar means three rivers and the town is located at the confluence of 3 mountain streams - Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. These 3 stream confluence at the heart of the town and meet all the water requirements of the settlers and visitors. Munnar has lakes, forests and several tea estates. Anaimudi, the highest peak in South India (2695 m/8883 ft.) is nearby. Munnar was the British Government's Summer Resort in the South and it has been the favorite summer resort of the European sellers for centuries.

On arrival, check-in to your hotel for a 2-night stay. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Monday, 05 August 2024

Tea plantation tour

The town of Munnar is one of the best places to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala's high ranges. With special emphasis to Munnar, and to the delight of tea lovers and tourists, Tata Tea recently opened a Tea Museum which houses curious, photographs and machineries, each depicting a turning point that contributed to a flourishing tea industry, as seen today in the region.

Wildlife Abound

Periyar - 2 Nights

Day 13 - Drive to Periyar

Day 14 - Guided nature walk


  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Tuesday, 06 August 2024

Drive to Periyar

Today we will drive to Periyar. The journey by road itself is an experience, passing through bustling towns in the plains, rubber plantations on the foothills and undulating tea gardens and spice plantations on the mountains. We stop at the plantation homestay for the lunch. Continue to Periyar and check-in to the hotel for a 2 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

Later, we take a guided walk of a nearby private spice plantation which grows pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and more. You will enter the magical world of Indian spices. What they are, how to use them, combine them, and savour the special magic they bring to even the most commonplace foods and understand how each tree has a story to tell.

Wednesday, 07 August 2024

Guided nature walk

Early this morning we take a guided Nature Walk that takes one through dense deciduous forests and swampy grasslands followed by the exciting bamboo rafting. Packed lunch included.

Later this afternoon, enjoy a the Kalaripayatu (ancient martial art technique) performance.

Shalimar Spice Garden

Kerala & the Backwaters - First Boutique

Nestling in the heart of the spice area in the low hills of the Southern Ghats and surrounded by tropical jungle, this rustic retreat is ideal for visiting nearby Periyar. It is the only boutique Hotel in the area and comprises of a main lodge, dining room, snug sitting room and a hall.

Sprawling up the hill are 22 rooms and cottages which are decorated simply but comfortably in contemporary yet local style. Most have verandahs or a small garden, 2 are traditional Keralan style and 2 villas have private pools. 

There is a pretty swimming pool, treehouse and Ayurvedic massage room. The property abounds with exotic trees and different spices. You can explore the area on a walking tour, go bamboo rafting or spotting elephants.  

Discover spice gardens, exotic plants and wildlife
Kochi Dancer Bee

Kochi (Cochin) - 2 Nights

Day 15 - Travel to Kochi (Cochin), evening Kathakali performance

Day 16 - Guided tour of Kochi



  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Thursday, 08 August 2024

Travel to Kochi (Cochin), evening Kathakali performanc

After breakfast we drive to Cochin. Kochi, “Queen of the Arabian Sea” (formerly called Cochin), the first of Europe’s colonies in India and the southern state of Kerala’s commercial capital. From antiquity the prosperous spice trade drew seafarers to Kochi: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews, Chinese, Portuguese, the Dutch, and finally the British.

On arrival, check-in to the hotel for a 2-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

In the evening, we attend a performance of Kathakali dance, where facial expressions and hand gestures combine with movement to create this highly expressive traditional Kerala art form which depicts great Indian epics.  Distinct among the six classical Indian dances, Kathakali is a highly dramatic and mimetic  dance  depicting  various stories from Indian epics. It originated in Kerala during the 17th century and has developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming.

Friday, 09 August 2024

Guided tour of Kochi

Our tour of Kochi begins with a walking tour of Mattancherry, the bustling part of Old Fort Cochin and the epicentre of the spice trade for centuries. It remains a densely populated place housing people from different ethnic groups and faiths in very close quarters.

Mattancherry is home to a small Jewish community whose origin dates back nearly 2000 years, during the period of King Solomon, when large scale trade took place between the Middle East and the Malabar Coast.

Our explorations today reveal Kochi’s multi-layered past, a rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch influences. We begin with the Dutch Palace, actually built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi in 1555. The Dutch renovated and expanded it a century later, earning it its name. The palace also contains some of India’s finest mythological murals; the walls depict scenes from the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Then we see St. Francis, India’s first European church (ca. 1510), famed as the original burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524 while on his third visit to India. Not immune to the turbulence of the colonial era, the originally Catholic St. Francis changed hands – and denominations – with each new power that took control of Kochi, becoming a Protestant Dutch Reformed church under the Dutch in 1663 then Anglican under the English in 1804. 

Next we pay a visit to the picturesque Chinese fishing nets unique to Kochi.  These iconic land-based nets combine elegance and ingenuity, their massive frames balanced by counterweights manipulated by teams of up to six men. Long believed to have been introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He in the 14th century or possibly travellers from Kublai Khan’s court, these nets actually trace their origin to Portuguese settlers from Macau.

Brunton Boatyard

Kerala & the Backwaters - Luxury Hotel

Brunton Boatyard is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. Located in Fort Cochin, it’s an inspiring place to explore Kochi. The hotel was a boatyard under the British Raj, now beautifully converted and restored to a luxury hotel.

Twenty two rooms overlook the sea, each with en-suite bathrooms and a small balcony. Four rooms have views of the pier and Fort Kochi town. Each room is air-conditioned, with tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer, safe, bathrobe and FREE Wi-Fi. There is also a very spacious suite with a balcony and sitting area.

Dine in style at the Armoury Restaurant and bar or al fresco on the Pier or on the terrace. Other facilities include a swimming pool looking out to sea, gym, spa, Ayurveda centre and cooking demonstrations.

From the hotel, there is much to explore, perhaps a sunset cruise, or a visit to nearby Mattancherry market and Palace, the David Hall Art Gallery and St. Francis Church.

View Of The Hotel

Kerala backwaters cruise - 2 Nights

Day 17 - Embark your backwaters cruise

Day 18 - Backwaters cruise

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Saturday, 10 August 2024

Kerala backwaters cruise

Early this morning, we transfer to Ernakulam Railway station to board the train to Neeleshwar, from where we take a short drive to embark our backwater boat for a 4-night cruise on a full board basis. Unwind as you cruise through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala.

Sunday, 11 August 2024

Backwaters cruise

On this comfortable floating home you may spend your day relaxing and unwinding. As you slowly cruise along the backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, you may choose to stop and explore some of the many small villages, farmlands, old temples and churches that you come across.

We see Indian life up close as we slowly cruise along the palm-fringed backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, a distinctive region whose beauty and tranquility have earned it the sobriquet “God’s own country.”  A vast network of lagoons, lakes, and canals formed by the confluence of Kerala’s numerous rivers and the Arabian Sea, the Kerala backwaters run alongside the coast for more than 550 miles.  These labyrinthine waterways have served as a thoroughfare for boats like ours from ancient times, and the daily existence in the communities here has changed little over the centuries.

The Lotus

Kerala & the Backwaters - First River Cruise

The glorious vessel has been converted from a rice barge into a contemporary floating hotel exploring the quiet backwaters.

The Lotus has clean lines and much use of teak, it is bright and fun and fresh. The chef serves delicious meals. There are two large bedrooms with teak floors, cheery colours, large observation windows, i-pod docks, mosquito netting, fans and silent air-conditioning. Each room has a private sit-out and en-suite airy bathrooms (showers).

Relax in the spacious indoor sitting room, by the bar and on the glorious large sun deck for al fresco dining and soaking up the sun - a perfect vantage point for watching a way of life that has changed little over the years.

Undisturbed by the sound of traffic, the birdlife is exceptional and dining under the stars feasting on delicious, freshly caught seafood whilst listening to fish jumping, is magical.

There is no better way to explore Kerala and its hidden secrets of the waterways than by boat. The Lotus offers 1 or 2-night cruises with part of each day spent gently cruising and the rest of it ashore, visiting otherwise unreachable temples, villages and local cottage industries.

View From The Front
Pool At Sunset

Neeleshwar Hermitage - 3 Nights

Day 19 - Drive to Neeleshwar Hermitage

Day 20 - At leisure

Day 21 - At leisure 

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Monday, 12 August 2024

Drive to Neeleshwar Hermitage

After breakfast, disembark and drive to Neeleshwar Hermitage where we stay for 3-nights on a bed and breakfast basis. This hidden tropical destination set in a secluded palm grove beside the Arabian Sea in Northern Kerala. The Hermitage offers its guests a peaceful haven far removed from the pressures of everyday living, and a chance to enjoy the essence of authentic India: her friendliness, hospitality and serenely balanced lifestyle. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

Tuesday, 13 August 2024

At leisure

Relax at your resort, enjoy nature and the beautiful white sandy beach.

Wednesday, 14 August 2024

Relax on the beach

A final day enjoying the beautiful resort, gardens and beach at Neeleshwar Hermitage.

Neeleshwar Hermitage

Kerala & the Backwaters - First Resort

Neelishwar Hermitage is a unique and special retreat in Northern Kerala. An oasis of calm set in twelve naturally landscaped acres, Neeleshwar Hermitage is built according to the traditional architectural principles of Kerala Vastu. The whole site oriented to the east and the rising sun, while the buildings are all placed in correct relation to each other, the four directions and the site as a whole.  The traditional wood-and-thatch architecture is balanced with stylish contemporary touches and familiar modern comforts.  The site overlooks a gloriously unspoiled beach of sand, stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions. The sea is clean and safe for swimming most of the year.

The accommodation is in spacious individual cottages, each with private bathroom. Some have a sea view.

Public facilities include a stunning pool, deserted sandy beach, restaurant, a wide range of wellness activities including yoga and massage - plus delightful and peaceful gardens to relax.

Pool At Sunset

Fly back to the UK - 0 Nights

Day 22 - Fly back to the UK

  • Full Description

Thursday, 15 August 2024

Fly back to the UK

Transfer to Mangalore Airport and fly back to the UK arriving later the same day.

Price Guidelines

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates September and May October - 15 April
Room Arrangement First First
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £4,291 £4,932
Single Traveller - Own Room £5,903 £7,408

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.

What's Included

  • Guidelines prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a twin room
  • 21 Days / 20 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • 20 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Transport  throughout the itinerary
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees 

Client Testimonials

AITO Widget

Speak with a Specialist
Travel Enquiries

Contact an Advisor

Please be a descriptive as possible


READY - 20 July 2024

LANDMARK TOURS - Multi-Country Itineraries

AIR PORTUGAL - Best Airline to 15 cities in Brazil


WINTER SUN - Get away from our dark Winter days

WEATHER TODAY - Check the weather worldwide

TRAVEL INSURANCE essential cover including COVID