Beautiful view of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
A Masala Journey
Travel from East to West across mighty Southern India as you take a journey of culinary discovery to taste its signature dishes, explore its colourful temples and revel in its epic scenic views.
A Masala Journey will awaken all of your senses, as you hop between lively cities and hidden rural spots. Wander between ancient temples in Tanjore, enjoy hearty home-cooked food in French Pondicherry, and breathe in the delightful scents of vibrant flowers in the Madurai market.
Wander the streets of French colonial Pondicherry
Travel through rural Tamil Nadu exploring its temples and small villages
Learn the secrets of the spicy Chettinad cuisine
Sip on authentic Indian tea in Munnar's tea plantations
Take to the harbour to watch the sun setting over captivating Chinese fishing nets
Slip into a slower pace of life in Kerala's languid backwaters
This awe-inspiring trip to southern India includes international flights, a private car and driver throughout, accommodation, excursions, breakfasts and some lunches and dinners.
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
Are you ready to be swept away by the sensational sights of South India? Once you’ve flown through the night and landed at Chennai airport, your local representative and private driver will meet you and whisk you off to downtown Chennai where you'll be staying.
Freshen up and get ready to head back out as you'll be kicking off this sensational journey with an introduction to some of the finest South Indian vegetarian cuisine at a local authentic restaurant. Once bellies and senses are satisfied, go out with a local guide to explore the city. Located on the Bay of Bengal, and playing host to unique artistic and culinary traditions, Chennai is also steeped in colonial history. Through this tour you'll gain an intriguing insight into colonial 'Madras' and uncover some of the most beautiful architectural sights of the city.
Your 3rd day will see you travelling south of the capital this morning to the small town of Mamallapuram, where you can enjoy a whistle stop tour of its famous sights, such as the Shore Temple, Five Rathas and Krishna's Butterball.
From there continue down the coast further as you head to the town of Pondicherry, where you'll be staying at the heart of its French Quarter. After checking in why not wander down to its idyllic seaside promenade to watch the sunsetting over the Bay of Bengal?
The next morning you'll be uncovering the delights of the town as you head out on a cultural heritage walk of the charming French Quarters. As you meander along tree-lined avenues passing boutiques and flaxen-coloured colonial villas, you’ll feel as though you’re wandering the streets of France. A real highlight of this tour is the Sri Aurobindo ashram, a small spiritual community oozing calmness and tranquility.
To refuel, you’ll join a local family for a traditional culinary experience. Pick out your own fresh ingredients from the local market before heading back to the family home to prepare a sumptuous Indian feast. Be sure to come with an empty belly as with food this tasty it's hard to resist seconds and thirds!
Things to do
Today's journey takes you south deeper into Tamil Nadu as you drive through quaint rural villages and past a plethora of ancient temples. Look out for traditional thatched roofs and chillies roasting out on the street. The stars of this show are the vast Chidambaram and Kumbakonam temples which you'll explore with a local guide as you marvel at their ancient history and spiritual significance.
From here you'll be carrying on to Tanjore where the impressive Brihadeshwara temple awaits and you'll be staying the night at a local boutique property.
Bid farewell to Tanjore this morning as you head deeper into rural Tamil Nadu and you are driven to the small village of Karaikudi in the Chettinad region. This fascinating part of the state is home to a vast array of impressive mansion houses which were built by the wealthy Chettiar merchants and then abandoned, left hauntingly empty. On arrival you'll explore some of these with a local guide as well as taking in the antiques market and arts and crafts of the area.
The following day, enjoy a leisurely morning before rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in an afternoon cookery experience. The Chettiars may have long left the region, but, as merchants of spice, the legacy of their cuisine lives on. Where better to learn the secrets of these fragrant and flavourful dishes than in Chettinad with an esteemed local chef!
Things to do
A new day and a new destination this morning as you travel to the city of Madurai. How better to be welcomed into the city than with a visit to its sprawling flower market on its outskirts where beautiful garlands and vibrant blooms will greet you. From here you'll carry onto your hotel where you can spend a leisurely afternoon by the pool, or strolling the markets of this enticing city.
The next morning, you’ll embark on a cycle rickshaw tour, and discover one of the best ways to explore the city sights. Pick up some fresh local produce at the extensive fruit and vegetable markets before stumbling across the Sri Meenakshi temple - a spiritual Hindu temple with 4 towers reaching high above Madurai's skyline. Take a visit to the Gandhi Museum and City Palace before heading back to the temple in the evening once the sun has set to watch an intriguing ritual where Lord Shiva is ceremoniously put to bed for the night.
Things to do
As your journey across Southern India continues you'll be crossing into the state of Kerala as you drive to the tea plantations of Munnar, high up in the Western Ghats. Here pay a visit to a local tea factory and museum where, of course, you'll get the chance to sample some famous Munnar tea for yourselves! Spot the local tea pickers, as they work their speedy magic collecting the tea leaves by hand. The sight of these hard-working pickers filling their bamboo baskets with tea leaves is quite something!
Things to do
As you head onwards to the sparkling West coast today, you'll be driven to Kerala's famous backwaters where you'll be staying in a local homestay renowned for its hearty home-cooked Keralan delights.
Spend the next couple of days soaking in the sights of local life and dining on extensive, freshly-made meals, taken together as a family. Located right on a quiet stretch of canals this is truly the ultimate backwaters experience and provides the perfect place to chill out in the warm Keralan sun towards the end of your trip.
From a relaxing riverfront stay to the crumbling charm of Fort Cochin your final stop on this exciting tour takes you to Kerala's capital. Steeped in rich, colonial history, you’ll enjoy a walking tour on arrival, uncovering the sights of the resplendent Mattancherry Dutch Palace and the hidden gem that is the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening hop on board an intimate cruise in the harbour, as you watch the sun disappear behind the Chinese Fishing Nets.
On your final day, you're at leisure to do as much or as little as you please. Why not take an enchanting stroll through the ancient streets of Fort Cochin at your own pace? With little traffic and a plethora of restaurants and cafes to enjoy this makes the perfect place to finish this foodie adventure of South India. Be sure to leave some room though as tonight you'll be dining in style with a selection of delicious dishes, expertly prepared for you at a local restaurant.
What a way to say goodbye to a beautiful part of India, before you are transferred to the airport in the morning in time for your return flights to the UK.