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SOUTH INDIA - Kerala fishermen

In an age-old tradition, which is surprisingly effective, local Keralan fishermen throw huge nets into the sea, then slowly pull them in, harnessing a wealth of fish in the process.

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Houseboats were traditionally used to carry grain stores up the Backwaters of Kerala. Luxuriously adapted, they now the offer the unique chance to travel these nature-filled network of waterways.

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Walk among smiley locals as you wander the relaxed streets in South India.

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SOUTH INDIA 3A Farmers In Kerala Original

An ox-drawn plough races through the paddy fields of fertile Kerala.

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A warm traditional Indian welcome, offering flowers and a blessing.

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South India Chinese Fishingnets Fort Cochin

Watching the sunset behind the iconic Chinese fishing nets in Cochin makes for a memorable experience, especially from aboard Brunton Boatyard's boat.

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Everyday life in India – you’ll be surprised how much even a tiny shop can sell; bananas, cigarettes, even gasoline!

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SOUTH INDIA Taj Falaknuma Palace Facade At Night

Feel history seep from the walls of Hyderabad's Taj Falaknuma Palace, which boasts marble staircases, lavish chandeliers and rare objects d’art. It really is as grand and magnificent as it looks – a real-life fairytale!

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SOUTH INDIA - Taj Falaknuma Palace Dining room

Dine in stately grandeur in the opulent dining room of the Taj Falaknuma Palace and re-live the history of the Nizams of Hyderabad.

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South India Tamil Nadu Tanjore Temple

The stone temples in Tanjore are decorated with bas-relief figures and make for the perfect place to shelter from the sun while watching busy Hindu temple life unfold. 

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SOUTH INDIA Private Dinning On Beach

South India has a great buzz but sometimes it’s the quiet, peaceful spots that give you the lasting memories, like this scenic dining experience in front of lapping waves at the Taj Exotica in Goa.

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400 kilometres west of the Malabar coast lies the dazzling Lakshadweep Islands. Above water, find a deserted paradise and below, discover plentiful corals teeming with colourful fish.

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Pick through the exotic bazaars of Goa to immerse yourself in local life.

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SOUTH INDIA Marari Beach 2

A glittering morning scene as the fishermen set off on Marari beach, Kerala.

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South India Swaswara

The gentle pace here means that you can rest and rejuvenate in the natural surroundings.

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Marvel at the vibrantly coloured carvings that greet you at Chidambaram, one of Tamil Nadu's most exotic Hindu temple complexes.

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Multi-tiered brass lamps are lit by worshippers in temples across Kerala.

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SOUTH INDIA - Tamil Nadu (7)

The coastline of Tamil Nadu, remote and windswept, is largely off the tourist track. Come here to discover a chilled out pace and friendly welcome.

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Locals climb the swaying palm trees with ease to pluck coconuts.

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Be enchanted by a unique lifestyle aboard your traditional houseboat, drifting up the fertile canals and lagoons of Kerala’s Backwaters.

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SOUTH INDIA - Marari Beach Resort, Mararikulam, Kerala,

For an alternative and atmospheric beach break, Marari Beach in Kerala can't be beat. This laid-back resort consistently gets great feedback from our clients.

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SOUTH INDIA - marari beach, fish basket

Rise early to experience the bustle of the morning catch coming to shore at Marari Beach. Potential buyers line the beach to choose the day’s catch straight from the fishing boats. Fresh fish is a staple part of every Keralan’s diet – often laced with fiery chillis!

 

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SOUTH INDIA - Leela Kimpinski Goa

At the Leela Kimpinski in Goa, expect staff to go the extra mile to make your day. Al Fresco dinner surrounded by water lilies and candles? Not a problem.

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Philip Kutty's Farm is a luxurious private homestay in Kerala's Backwaters which offers a peaceful eco-friendly escape, coupled with amazing Ayurvedic treatments. You’ll feel totally re-junevated after a stay here.

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SOUTH INDIA - elephants at Periyar National Park

Watch magnificent elephants take a refreshing drink in the Periyar National Park. Keep an eye out for tigers too!

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SOUTH INDIA - Goa

Set on an idyllic spit of land in north Goa overlooking the ocean, ‘Elsewhere – The Beach House’ is a simple but charming 3 bedroom Portuguese-style house with just the friendly staff, fishermen and egg-laying turtles for company… bliss.

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SOUTH INDIA - Coconut Lagoon, Kerala

Accessible only by boat, Coconut Lagoon resort in Kumarakom, set amongst glistening lagoons, lakes and coconut plantations is a seriously serene spot. 

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SOUTH INDIA - Pondicherry Church

Explore the fine colonial architecture of Pondicherry and be sure to stop by this vast Roman Catholic church, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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Gaze out at views like this from one of our favourite hotels in Goa, Ahilya by the Sea.

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SOUTH INDIA - Coconut Lagoon

Use your time in the Backwaters to gain an understanding of daily life on these sleepy Keralan waterways. In between the rice paddy fields are a criss cross of canals, which locals use for transport.

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Welcome to South India

The tropical south has a different pace to the rest of India, it is slow and soothing, much like the idyllic backwaters of Kerala – South India’s answer to the North’s iconic Taj Mahal. Renowned for its welcoming people, lush scenery, delicious Indian cuisine and distinctive gopuram temples, South India is the perfect destination if you are looking for a relaxing, yet culturally stimulating escape. Its spiritual cliff-backed beaches are ideal for a meditative break on an Indian getaway and some of the country’s finest Ayurvedic medicine is practiced in the laid-back spas and resorts of this region.

Travel across India’s southern states, stretching from the palm-lined beaches of Goa down to the quiet Keralan Backwaters and across the Western Ghats to the thriving city of Chennai – once a hub of the British East India Company – with Bangalore, the "Garden City", on the plains in between. The state of Andhra Pradesh spans a huge part of the east coast, with Hyderabad, which is famed for its nawabs and markets at the heart. In Tamil Nadu, visitors can explore elaborately carved stone temple complexes with towering gopurams visited everyday by hundreds of pilgrims, such as the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. Chennai and the former French colony Pondicherry each have their own distinctive style of architecture. Besides the many fun beach resorts, Goa has a wealth of churches, a legacy of more than 400 years as a Portuguese colony. Few tourists make it to the remote, ruined Vijayanagara city of Hampi in Karnataka while travelling in India, but those who do are left overwhelmed by its beauty and atmosphere. For those seeking adventure holidays, this spot is worth visiting in tandem with the stunning natural backwaters. The trick with successful South India tours is to do less, rather than more, and plan to go back!

Below is a selection of our favourite India itineraries, but please bear in mind that all of Ampersand Travel's tours are bespoke for each and every client. Our specialists are more than happy to share their travel advice to fit your personal interests, as well as provide insights on the best times to visit South India – especially during special festivals and events - while planning your India trip to this wonderful part of the country.


Our suggested tours in South India

The Palaces, Wildlife, Plantations & Beaches of Karnataka

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16 days from £5,260

The astounding ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire at Hampi, exquisite rock cut temples of Badami, Pattadkal and Halebeedu, and giant...

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The Hidden Beaches of the Andaman Islands

Jalakara Andaman Islands South India 2

11 days from £3,650

Explore the hidden beaches and secret gems of India’s underrated and laid-back Andaman Islands on this relaxing 12-day itinerary.

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Boutique South India: From Chennai to Cochin

Boutique South India From Chennai To Cochin Itinerary 2

14 days from £5,495

This tailor made tour of South India comprises some of the best boutique hotels in the area, providing a unique...

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Taj Palace Tour... The Ultimate Indian Indulgence

Umaid Bhawan JODHPUR North India 6

16 days from £6,805

A combination of what we do best, this 17 day tour blends opulent luxury with the best of Indian culture....

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Essential India... Our Comprehensive Tour of North & South India

Essential India Itinerary 640

16 days from £6,800

This itinerary is one of our absolute favourites. It combines the fascinating historical and natural gems of the northern regions...

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A Jewish Heritage Tour of India

Jewish Heritage Tour Of India Mumbai 5

15 days from £5,100

Journey through India’s Jewish past and present on this special tour of her Jewish heritage hubs – Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta...

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Tamil Nadu & the Andaman Islands... Cultural Tour & Beach Holiday in South India

Chettinad Tamil Nadu South India 5

15 days from £4,530

A chance to experience two extremes of India: Tamil Nadu, a fabulous alternative to Rajasthan renowned for its incredible centuries-old...

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Classic Kerala Holiday... Beautiful Beaches & Balmy Backwaters in South India

Classic Kerala Itinerary

13 days from £3,845

A relaxed introduction to the diverse and beautiful state of Kerala, loved for her friendly charm, incredible Keralan cuisine and...

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Tamil Nadu & Kerala... A Luxury Tailor-made Tour of South India

South India Chinese Fishingnets Fort Cochin

15 days from £3,975

Towering temples, mist shrouded hills and palm fringed beaches are just a few of the incredible sights that await you...

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Immersive Journey through South India

Munnar South India 2

8 days from £2,900

At Ampersand we share Conde Nast's philosophy towards luxury travel, so when we organised a press trip for them to...

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Grand Tour of South India... Our Signature Family-friendly Holiday

SOUTH INDIA - Tamil Nadu (8)

20 days from £5,495

This fabulous journey cherry-picks the region's highlights, from the colonial charm of Cochin and the buzzing temple-town of Madurai to the...

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Mystical Tamil Nadu... Our Sacred South India Tour

Madurai Tamil Nadu South India 4

14 days from £3,950

Exploring the myths and legends of the sacred south-east, this journey encapsulates the essence of the spiritual state of Tamil...

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Deccan Discovery... Archaeology, Ancient Temples & Train Journeys in South India

Deccan Discovery Itinerary

14 days from £4,940

This extraordinary itinerary provides comfortable access to some of the most beautiful locations in southern India and to the Deccan,...

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From Bhutan to India's Andaman Islands... A Romantic Adventure from Mountain to Beach

South India Andaman Islands Havelock

14 days from £5,895

Bhutan and the Andamans could hardly be more different, a fantastic itinerary of mountain peaks and tropical reefs…

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Some of our favourite hotels in South India

Visalam ,
Chettinad

Visalam Chettinad South India 12

Visalam is an elegant 70-year-old Chettiar Mansion which has been carefully converted into a boutique hotel in the heart of this fascinating...

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Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa ,
Goa

Taj Exotica Goa South India 3

Located on the southwest coast of Goa, just 150 metres from the Arabian sea, this beach resort offers all the...

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Palais de Mahe ,
Pondicherry

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry South India 2

Opened in 2013, this extremely welcoming palatial mansion is located in the heart of Pondicherry's stylish French Quarter on Rue...

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Windermere Estate ,
Munnar

Windermere Estate Munnar South India 2

Windermere Estate is a charming 15 bedroom property perched on a hilltop, surrounded by a working cardamom estate. The 360...

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Brunton Boatyard ,
Cochin

Brunton Boatyard Cochin Kerala 4

Sitting on the waterfront of Cochin Harbour, this elegant white-washed building lies within the northern shores of Fort Cochin. What was formerly a...

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Coconut Lagoon ,
Kumarakom

Coconut Lagoon Kottayam Kerala South India 1

Located on the eastern shores of Vembanad Lake, Coconut Lagoon is a palm-framed haven of relaxation, set on an abandoned coconut...

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Some of our favourite places of interest in South India

Periyar

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This vast reserve, stretching over 750 square kilometres of densely forested terrain in the Cardomom Hills, does have a few...

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Ooty

Ooty South India

The great mountain ranges of the Western and Eastern Ghats sweep down to form a "V" about 400 kilometres from...

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Cochin

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Cochin, also known as Kochi, is the great port city of South India’s Western Malabar Coast, sprawling over islands and headlands...

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Neeleshwar

Neeleshwar South India

Neeleshwar is a tranquil area of empty beaches fringed by coconut plantations, uncrowded inland waterways and lush hillside spice gardens...

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Tanjore

Tanjore Tamil Nadu South India 5

The vast delta of the Kaveri River is a fertile rice-growing region, and Tanjore is its busiest rural centre. Once...

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Goa

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The South Indian idyll of Goa is a beautiful, small state, with almost 100 kilometres of rich golden sand beaches...

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Related Blog Posts

Read some of our hand-picked blog posts for South India


I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka

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