India: The South
Explore the variety of Southern India – As seen on ‘Joanna Lumley’s India’
Southern India offers a lush contrast to the peaks and plains of the north of the country. This region is bright, bold and beautiful. It is home to splendid civilisations, magnificent relics and sacred sites. This tour includes the burgeoning drinking and dining scene of Bangalore, as well as the intriguing blend of global cultural influences in Kochi. Another highlight of the tour is the glittering royal heritage of The Maharaja’s Palace in Mysore. As a contrast to this, the tour also includes a jungle safari in Nagarhole National Park, home for an astonishing abundance of wildlife.
Southern India is inspiring and unique. A region perfect for adventurer seekers, nature lovers and relaxation revellers – head here for an unforgettable experience.
Dates available throughout the year
Suggested itinerary by Air
Arrival – Bangalore and transfer to Mysore
Travel from the UK to Bangalore International Airport. On arrival you will be met by an English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel in Mysore. A “world of royalty”, Mysore has been always associated with the royal families and their patronage, be it the Wodeyars or the Sultans. Mysore is a city known for its resplendent palaces and majestic buildings. This former state capital still retains its tradition in music and dance, art and literature and its time-honoured crafts.
Mysore – Kabini
Enjoy a city tour of Mysore. For centuries this city has been an important centre for South Indian culture and learning. Mysore is one of the major manufacturers of incense sticks through scores of family owned factories as a result, the aromas of Jasmine, Musk, rose and sandalwood linger in the city. Visit The Maharaja’s Palace, a huge building in Indo – Saracenic style of architecture; it hosts an extravaganza of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and gaudy colors, beautifully carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and a series of historically important paintings. Of special mention are the beautifully carved mahogany ceilings, solid silver doors, white marble floors and superbly columned durbar hall. Later, visit the beautiful Chamundi Hill to see the famous Chamundeshwari Temple. The temple itself is a huge building with a 4-Meter-high seven-storied Gopuram (tower). Enjoy a panoramic view of Mysore from top of the hill. In the afternoon, travel to Kabini.
Wake up early for a jungle safari in Nagarhole National Park, one of India’s best wildlife parks. On its northern confines is the Kabini River and on its southern fringes is the Bandipur National Park. A dam on the Kabini River and its picturesque reservoir demarcates the two national parks. The park hosts an astonishing abundance of wildlife including large mammals such as tigers, leopards, wild elephants, dhol (Indian wild dog), and gaurs (Indian bison). In the afternoon enjoy a boat safari before travelling back to the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel enjoy the day at leisure to explore Kabini. The legend and romance of Kabini plays out in a theatre called Nagarhole, and revolves around a pristine river called Kabini (originally Kapila) that snakes its way through the Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, and forms an aqueous boundary with the Bandipur National Park. Together, this area constitutes the largest contiguous forest cover in this part of the world and is part of the Nilgiri biosphere, the largest in Asia, and home to the largest concentration of herbivores in Asia. And herbivores don’t get larger than the Asiatic elephant, that calls this playground home.
Kabini – Bangalore – Kochi
Enjoy breakfast before transferring to Bangalore Airport for your flight to Kochi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Kochi is also known as ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ due to its natural harbour being one of the finest. Made up of islands and connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries, this interesting city perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala.
This morning visit the Jewish Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. It is an interesting little place with hand painted willow pattern floor tiles brought from Canton in China in the mid-18th century. The synagogue is located in an area called Jew Town which also is one of the centres of the spice trade in the region. Later visit the ancient Mattancherry (Dutch) Palace built by the Portuguese in 1557. This palace was presented to the ruler of Kochi as a gesture of goodwill. The Palace’s alternative name “Dutch Palace” resulted from substantial renovations by the Dutch after 1663. The most important feature of the palace is the astonishing murals that adorn some of the palace rooms, depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. In evening, visit a local theatre where you will learn about Kerala’s fascinating art form, Kathakali, and enjoy a dance performance. Kathakali is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, South India, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology.
Kochi – Alleppey – Marari
Kerala has a network of 1500 km of canals, 38 rivers and 5 big lakes extending from one end of region to the other. Before trucks became popular, the main cargo transportation was through backwaters by ‘Kettuvalloms’ (stitched boats). Enjoy a ride on a traditional Kettuvallom, a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters. In the afternoon, travel to Mararikulam, a beach village in the district of Alappuzha.
Day 8 - 10
Spend some time in this sleepy idyllic village. From the palm thatch roofs to the rigorous eco-practices, and even the little taps outside the huts, you’ll find constant echoes of Malabar’s coastal cultures. Relax on one of the regions finest white-sand beaches.
After breakfast, transfer to Kochi Airport for your return flight to the UK.
The best time to travel to India’s southern states is from November onward when the monsoon has ended.
You’ll need to get a visa before travelling to India. You can find further information about how to apply here: