Tailor-make your trip to Kerala & The South
Kerala is rightly famous for its lush backwaters, enticing cuisine and languid pace of life but the forested hills and narrow waterways can also be enjoyed by those seeking some gentle activity.
Alternatively, for those seeking respite from the summer heat of Kerala, the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have long been a haven, which is in addition to their splendid art and architecture.
Bordered by the Indian Ocean and the spice growing Cardamon Hills to the east, Kerala is a beautiful and fertile paradise.
Between the hills and coast are the lush backwaters, a network of waterways providing a source of fish for food, water for farming and a communication route for villagers. The result is a tropical land inhabited by a warm, welcoming people who ensure that the weariest of travellers unwind and slip into the local rhythm and pace of life.
An altogether more boisterous area than neighbouring Kerala, Tamil Nadu retains many of its Hindu art and architecture: there are vivid depictions of the 300 million Hindu gods and goddesses in its temples and the religion here is all-pervasive. More recent colonial influences remain in Chennai and the tea-growing hill districts.
The modern city of Bangalore in Karnataka makes an ideal starting point for touring south India. Nearby, the city of Mysore was home to the legendary Muslim warrior king Tipu Sultan while the jungle of the Western Ghats provides excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife.
See the Maharaja's Palace illuminated at Mysore
The former capital of the Wodeyar dynasty, Mysore has been named as the cultural capital of Karnataka, thanks mainly to the city's Wodeyar rulers who were great patrons of art and culture. The current Maharaja of Mysore still resides in the opulent palace at the city's heart, and on Sundays and public holidays, after the sun has set, the palace is illuminated with thousands of individual bulbs.
Watch the sunset over The Backwaters
A network of palm-fringed canals that lead from the waters of Lake Vambanad, The Backwaters are a haven for wildlife and boast a relaxed charm which makes them so welcoming to visit. Sunsets here are particularly beautiful, as the fiery red sky reflects off the still water to creates a stunning, peaceful vista.
See turtle hatchlings escape to the sea at Neeleshwar
Between August and March each year, female sea turtles climb the beach at Neeleshwar to lay eggs deep in the sand. This endangered species (the Olive Ridley sea turtle) is the smallest of all sea turtles, and visitors can witness hatchlings escape to the safety of the sea to begin their long journeys out into the ocean.
Mingle with worshippers at the temples of Kanchipuram
Known as the 'City of 1000 Temples', Kanchipuram is home to a breathtaking array of small and significantly larger temples and holy shrines. Many of the better preserved temples still attract hundreds of Hindi worshippers, and visitors can wander the religious sites and shrines whilst prayers are said and offerings made. The area is also famous for the production of fine silks and hand-woven saris.
Spot wild elephants at Nagarhole National Park
Located in the southern state of Karnataka, Nagarhole is one of the best places in India to see wild elephants. Surrounding a huge reservoir, the park features a landscape or dense forests and lush swamps, and game drives in this region can be taken by coracle, motorboat or open-top jeep.
Explore the colourful Meenakshi Temple at Madurai
The magnificent, imposing Meenakshi Temple in Madurai was built at the same time as the Taj Mahal. It features nine towering gopurams covered in colourful stucco statues and images, and its dark, atmospheric halls are filled with fragrant scents and the soft sounds of worshippers praying to their deities.
Some of our favourite places in Kerala & The South
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
The Andaman Islands are India's secret paradise: stunning beaches, pristine coral reefs, dense forests, active volcanos, swimming elephants and elusive dugongs
A large part of Kerala’s considerable charm lies in the Backwaters, a network of canals that lead off Lake Vembanad.
Great places to stay in Kerala & The South
This hotel has tremendous character, is beautifully designed with the best facilities in Fort Cochin and very well placed for sightseeing.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, Coconut Lagoon offers all the comforts and facilities you would expect from a good resort.
On the picturesque island of Fort Cochin an 18th century colonial house has been converted into a characterful hotel by its European owners.
Marari Beach Resort
Located 14 kms from Alleppey, this eco-friendly resort is set in 25 acres of coconut palm groves leading directly to the beach.
The best place to stay in Periyar with its beautifully designed cottages and surrounding spice gardens.
Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove
Built amongst the ruins of a Dutch fort just south of Chennai, Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove is set above a stunning beach that stretches away on either side.