Tour 1: Kerala & Southern India

Take the path less trodden with Pure Kerala Tours

Variety is the spice of life, and nowhere is this more true than India, the land of vivid colour, ancient temples, tongue-tingling curries and so much more! We like to think our bespoke itineraries reflect India’s incredible diversity, which is why our signature tour (Kerala & Southern India) is jam-packed with authentic cultural experiences, historic sites and dramatic landscapes.

From ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites to serene lagoons hidden away in Kerala’s beautiful backwaters, this trip dives deep into the cultural and historical heart of India. Walk with elephants, pick fresh tea leaves and marvel at rock cut caves in Tamil Nadu, where you will immerse yourself into the daily lives of the charming villagers and learn about their lifestyle first-hand.

Pass through the mountains into neighbouring Kerala, where dazzling natural beauty abounds. Adopt local customs and enjoy a fully immersive experience as you meet the locals, witness religious ceremonies and attend colourful dance rituals.

From heritage hotels to traditional homestays and everything in-between, this all-encompassing tour of Southern India takes the path less trodden, presenting you with unique experiences and exclusive accommodation every step of the way. Rest assured there’s plenty of downtime too! It wouldn’t be a trip to India without yoga, gorgeous beaches and Ayurvedic massage.

Exploring Tamil Nadu (approx. 9 days)

  • Arrive in Chennai. Soak up the sights and sounds of India as you’re whisked away from Chennai airport and transported in comfort to an exquisite beachside resort. Your first journey on our tour is a wonderful opportunity to see how the locals live, observe the style of the buildings and watch the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  • Before you know it, you’ll arrive at our handpicked beach resort, a peaceful haven for weary travellers after a long flight. Take the chance to relax and ease yourself into the first day of the tour. Lie on the warm sand, go for a swim in the ocean or stroll along the beach – the choice is yours.
  • The resort is also a convenient base to explore a truly incredible UNESCO World Heritage site. Famous for its rock cut caves and giant rock blocks, these impressive ancient monuments date back to the sixth and seventh centuries, and showcase true architectural innovation.
Accommodation: 2 nights at a lovely beach location, the perfect antidote to a long flight.
  • Keeping to the east coast, we head further south for our next adventure in Pondicherry, a charming town teeming with vestiges of its French ancestry. Once you’ve had your fill of French heritage, we will visit the nearby Elephant Care Facility, where you can join these gentle giants for a walk, watch them play in the mud and (if we’re lucky) witness the frenzy of feeding time!
  • We will also schedule a special trip to a well-known township, which is a must-see in the region. With extensive history and some amazing experiences on offer, a visit to this township is a fantastic way to garner a greater appreciation of all that India has to offer.
Accommodation: 1 night in a boutique hotel in the heart of the old French quarter. 
  • We’re on the move again! Enjoy the opportunity to take in the outstanding rural views as we head east and slightly inland, driving along one of the main river deltas in the region. Check your watches because our next destination has a habit of making time stand still… Arrive into an authentic village in Nagapattinam, where you will be greeted by goats and centuries-old temples. We aim to reach this authentic, ageless Indian village just in time to watch the changing colours as the sun sets over a 1,000-year-old temple. It’s quite a sight to behold.
  • Our base for the next two nights is a lovely heritage homestay, where you can fully immerse yourself into the lives of the local villagers, and learn about their lifestyle, customs and colourful festivals. Visit a temple frequented by elderly locals to renew their wedding vows and join an arts and crafts tour for the chance to witness some stunning Indian creations, including a pillared hall with a 300-year-old mural painted on the ceiling.
Accommodation: 2 nights in a village heritage homestay.
  • After five spectacular days on the coast, it’s time to move inland. Our base is a heritage home built for the landlady of the village, and from there we’ll visit some nearby coconut plantations, paddy fields, vanilla farms and tea and coffee gardens. These plantations are central to life in India, and a must see while we’re in the region. We’ll also meet some local craftsmen with an impressive talent for sculpting stone and wonderful terracotta pottery creations.
Accommodation: 2 nights in a heritage home.
  • In the morning, relax on a long scenic drive into the hills as we journey towards our next destination, where you’ll have the chance to submerge yourself in the local tea farming culture. No trip to Tamil Nadu is complete without a visit to this unique tea field, so during our two night stay we’ll take the local tea trail, pick fresh tea leaves and chat to the locals. We’ll even find time for a bit of bird watching to enjoy everything this part of India has to offer! We also make a stop at the local wildlife conservation centre to learn about their initiatives to maintain this beautiful natural environment.
Accommodation: 2 nights in a vintage tea estate bungalow.

Exploring Kerala (approx. 12 days)

  • Today, we say goodbye to Tamil Nadu and enter neighbouring Kerala via the Palakkad Pass, a major break in the Western Ghats and the only gap in this huge mountain range that otherwise acts as a natural border between the two states. The Palakkad Gap has served as a major trade route for at least 2,000 years and also plays a significant role in the climate, allowing the south west monsoon to enter Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
  • We pride ourselves on giving you the chance to immerse yourself in local life at every opportunity, and our next stop is the perfect example. From the Palakkad Gap, we make our way to our 300-year-old homestay, where we’ll spend two nights learning about the history and the culture of the Kerala Brahmin.
  • Witness a unique and truly fascinating religious ritual at the home of your hosts and meet a traditional family who will show you their collection of dress and ornaments from Kerala’s famous Kathakali dance-drama art form. You will also be able to mingle with other village artisans and dive deeper into the art and culture of this intriguing region.
Accommodation: 3 nights at a traditional Brahmin farm homestay
  • Our next stop is the beautiful River Nila, where we’ll visit a well-known local cultural centre established over 80 years ago that shines a spotlight on traditional dance, music and other art forms. We’ll also enjoy authentic folk music performed on bamboo drums by a famous local music group. At breakfast the following morning, we may be lucky enough to see elephants bathing in the river!
Accommodation: 1 night in a comfortable hotel overlooking the River Nila
  • We head north to the Kannur district, where we’ll spend the next four nights in a tranquil beach resort adopting the local fishermen’s way of life. This quiet resort is the perfect place to relax, perhaps with a yoga class or a swim at the beach – the choice is yours. One of the highlights of this area is the chance to attend a colourful ritual dance called a Theyyam at a local temple.
Accommodation: 4 nights in traditional Kerala cottages at a peaceful beach resort
  • No India trip is complete without a train journey, so we make our way to Kochi (also known as Cochin) the local way, by boarding a passenger train. Steeped in the history and culture of local and foreign traders and communities who settled here throughout the ages, Kochi is widely known as the commercial or economic capital of Kerala. Having played host to travellers, explorers and traders over the past 600 years, Kochi presents an intriguing and exotic blend of ancient mosques, Portuguese style houses, remains from the British Raj, 400-year-old synagogues and enormous Chinese fishing nets. It’s certainly an eye opener! We’ll visit a number of heritage buildings, a Jewish synagogue and a selection of churches, and take a tour of the local Folk and Art Museum.
Accommodation: 2 nights in a heritage hotel
  • Bring your 21 day tour to a close with two nights on a serene island. Our resort is set amongst the glimmering backwaters of the Alleppey district, which provides the perfect backdrop for a quiet, restful stay.
  • Sit back and enjoy the soothing ride through the backwaters as we travel to our accommodation by boat. During your relaxing two day stay in this peaceful haven, we have arranged for you to have a massage, witness a fish auction and visit a traditional boat builder.
Accommodation: 2 nights on an island resort in the beautiful backwaters of Kerala
  • On our final day, enjoy a traditional Ayurveda massage before packing your bags and saying goodbye. After a snack and a cup of tea, it’s time to head to Kochi Airport for your flight back home. Bon voyage, and we hope to see you again!
Click the map to enlarge

Tour Overview


  • The tour covers two key regions: Tamil Nadu and Kerala, dedicating equal time (approx.) to each
  • Marvel at UNESCO sites, walk with elephants and immerse yourself in village life
  • Dive deep into Kerala culture with traditional dance, ceremonies and homestays
  • Length of tour: 21 days / 20 nights

Upcoming Tour Dates

14 February 2019

22 October 2020


Cost of Tour

Cost per person
Twin share: $6,000 AUD (approx.) (minimum 6 people)
Single occupancy: $6,500 AUD (approx.) (minimum 6 people)


Tour Inclusions

  • Return flights – group departing from Melbourne.
  • All accommodation and transport.
  • Airport transfers with group.
  • Guides & entrance fees to historical sites.
  • Meals as listed.
  • *Slight variations may occur on tour

Tour Exclusions

  • Visa and passport fees.
  • Travel insurance.

PLEASE NOTE

The route detailed above is based on the tour commencing in Tamil Nadu and ending in Kerala. On rare occasions, it may operate in the reverse order mainly to maximise any local festivals or events taking place during your tour dates and ensure you get the most out of your trip!

The final itinerary may change slightly due to small amendments relating to connecting flights, public transport etc.

Airport arrival and departure points: Chennai (arrival) and Kochi (departure).

We will confirm the start and end point for your specific tour at the time of your initial enquiry.

Why Visit Southern India With Mary?

  • Sample fantastic home-cooked meals, from aromatic Chettinad to healthy Syro-Christian dishes.
  • Travel along centuries-old spice trails and explore traditional tea estates off the beaten track.
  • Watch costumed Theyyam rituals and stand in awe of the magnificent architecture.
  • Cruise serene backwaters on a thatched ‘kettuvallam’.
  • Participate in Kathakali dance festivals.
  • Practice yoga.

Read more

Read more about our Tamil Nadu to Kerala 2018 tour in this blog post – one woman’s experience of how much she enjoyed exploring and participating in the rich culture and fascinating history of India.

Pure Kerala Tours | Providing fully hosted small group tours to India including Kerala and Southern India, Kerala and Northern India, Kerala with Yoga & Wellness Retreat.