Ancient cave with animal column in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu
Ancient cave with animal column in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

Southern India: Sanctuaries and Spices

Spanning 2,000 miles from top to bottom, Asia’s second-largest nation does nothing by halves, whether it be the colorful contrasts of its landscapes and lifestyles or the countless treasures of its historical, cultural and architectural heritage. To travel through the south of the country is to find yourself caught in the embrace of India at its most dazzlingly exotic: a tropical India of fertile green coastlands, the craggy Deccan plateau and its rolling hills, serene coconut groves and spice plantations, lush forests and cool backwaters – and game reserves that are a haven for elephant and (occasionally!) tiger.

Our journey explores an India enriched by the unique cultural fusion of the different dynasties, faiths and civilisations that have made their home here over two millennia. Today’s inhabitants are largely descended from indigenous Dravidians driven south by Aryan invaders of old. To them especially, beguiling South India now owes much of its flamboyant flavor – and a spectacular array of centuries-old Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Jain temple complexes, rock sculptures, monuments and haunting ruins.

To all these our tour will add opportunities to savor South India’s speciality regional cuisines, enjoy classical dance performances and discover something of the exuberant mood of modern India in the cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Mysore.

What's included?

  •  Expert scholar & tour manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Local transport & private transfer to/from airport and group hotel
  •  Entries & tips
  •  Flights (excluding airfare from the US)
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Four lectures from your expert scholar
  •  A name badge, luggage strap and bag tag
  •  A study guide, reading list, and other useful tour documentation compiled by your expert scholar and your Archaeological Tours team

Tour highlights:

  • Explore the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ellora, where over 30 ancient cave temples (some dating back to the 5th century CE) are carved out of solid rock
  • Spend a relaxing afternoon at peaceful Periyar National Park – a superb spot for viewing elephants up close
  • Go behind the scenes at a private Kathakali dance performance, one of the major forms of Indian classical dance
  • Enjoy a day admiring the world-famous rock-cut shrines and shore temples of Mamallapuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Stand before the world’s largest monolithic statue at the ancient Jain pilgrimage site of Sravanabelagola

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