Southern India tour, temples & nature

“Explore some of Southern India’s top cultural and natural highlights on this tailor made tour, including a jeep safari, a rainforest walk and time spent in a local home.”

Highlights

Coimbatore | Nilgiri Mountains | mountain trekking | Mysore | Amba Vilas Palace | farmers market visit | Hassan | Belur temple site | Halebid temple complex | Bangalore

Description of Southern India tour, temples & nature

Experience six days of nature, historic temples and monuments on our Southern India tour. We assure you that just like us, you will return home awed and humbled.

Highlights include:
- Evening walk in a sub-tropical rain forest
- Homestay accommodation
- Jeep Safari through a National Park
- Amba Vilas Palace visit
- Halebid temple complex

Price includes: Accommodation (5 star/eco where possible), transportation, entry fees, guide charges, camera fees, road/toll taxes & soft drinks (water, tea coffee, juices).

Please note: I would be delighted to telephone you to discuss your individual travel arrangements, so please leave your telephone number when you complete the online enquiry form.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1: We make our way up from Coimbatore to the hills of the Nilgiris and to a Homestay nestled in plantations and rolling hills. We take a walk in the evening in a sub-tropical rain forest.
Day 2: We spend the morning trekking down the mountain with the destination being a jeep safari through a National Park in the evening. This National Park is now designated a Project Tiger and Project Elephant sanctuary.
Day 3: We drive to the historic city of Mysore where will we use a historic Palace Hotel as a base in this city. On arrival, we will visit a wildlife sanctuary, a nesting site to sixteen species of migratory birds and home to the Indian Marsh Crocodile. We spend the afternoon experiencing this city’s famous silk and the production of the South Indian Silk Saree.
Day 4: Mysore would be incomplete without a visit to the opulent Amba Vilas Palace that showcases the life, rule and the power of the Wodeyar Kings. We complete the day visiting the very colourful and vibrant farmers market of Mysore.
Day 5: We proceed north to the town of Hassan, which we use to visit the ancient Capitals of the Hoysala Kings. We spend the rest of the day at the 12th century temple site of Belur where we soak in the history and breathtakingly unique architecture.
Day 6: We spend the morning at the 13th century Halebid temple complex from where post-lunch we drive to the Garden city of Bangalore.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailormade at a time to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Travelling with a local operator

This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
This operator was created with the vision to run and manage a business that would offer our guests traveling to India an extremely personal form of travel, shared with members of the family.

We are based in the Nilgiri Hills of TamilNadu situated in the forested Western Ghats. These forested hills used to be home to the Toda tribes of the Nilgiris whose art consists of traditional garments spun from fibers and natural fruit and berry dyes sourced from the surrounding forests. With development, the tribes were forced out of their forest dwellings and were ‘rehabilitated’ in villages outside. However this drastic change in their life, threatened the very art that defined their identity and the means to the only livelihood they knew. Being a part of the local community here in the Nilgiris, we took it up to make sure this art form doesn’t die out like the ancient Toda lifestyle sadly has. We further their art today by sourcing all their products from their Community Center and encourage all our guests visiting us here in the Nilgiris to buy some artifact as a gesture of support towards the Toda lifestyle.

We support of the local village ‘tea shops’ along our routes and the use of only local gasoline sourced from Indian Oil Wells and distributed by Indian Gas Stations. We use the local tribal guides on our teks. Their dedication and knowledge with regards to the forests is commendable and we make sure we give back with some monetary help after every trek and also in kind by supplying them with trekking shoes or clothes that we know they could use.

As long serving members of the Nilgiri Wildlife & Environmental Association (a local affiliate of the World Wildlife Fund), we had actively campaigned to halt the process of timber logging or for that matter clearing of natural forests for any reason whatsoever. As an organisation we represented our case in the Supreme Court, India's Highest Judicial Body, and received a decree that placed a blanket ban on any form of logging in natural forests in the Nilgiri Hills.

We have procured land on which, as a family we currently have planted 350-saplings with a 99% success rate. In addition, we sponsor the trees on lands owned by the forest department where over these years they have afforested with over 100,000 saplings, in this case with a 97% success rate. Today we have seen a rise in the bird species that thrived in these rain-forested areas. Within our property itself we have seen an addition of close to twenty-five bird species. we actively encourage our guests to plant and own a tree or tree saplings of their choice.

As of date, our guests have planted over 125 tree saplings of which all have survived. We keep our guests involved in this experience by emailing them progress photos of their sapling/saplings.

By contributing regularly to a Blind Orphan Childrens Home in a nearby town, we attempt to give these children back a life affected by blindness. At this orphanage, these children are taught skills like basket weaving, tailoring, etc. in the hope that they may become self-sufficient in the future.

Community
Climate

7 Reviews of Southern India tour, temples & nature

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Everything! The homestay with Renu, Ravi & Rajat Kumar was exceptionally warm and comfortable with great food & cultural knowledge shared! Temples/Palaces amazing! Guides, Sachin & Veena very approachable & told us interesting facts/stories of the temple history. We were quite privileged to attend a private classic Indian concert with Manasa Nayana & His amazing Mridanga drummer! Inlaid wood work visit nice as well, we bought several pieces. Driver, Afsal was professional, experienced on the chaotic roads, helped us feel safe & accommodated our requests for stops, waiting and helping us as needed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book some down time to adjust to jet lag fatigue, changes in water, food and culture. Bring some melatonin or other meds/treatments for jet lag, stomach issues. Do not drink the water or use it to brush your teeth unless you know it is RO & UV treated. only buy sealed bottled water. Bring toilet paper. Bring some cash, ATM's don't always work. Relax & enjoy the differences, things are not the same as in the West! Recognize the beauty & resilience of the people and animals & land!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, the guides & drivers were local, we purchased mainly local items, stayed in more local places as possible, used recycled materials & only used plastic water bottles when absolutely necessary. We brought a Steripen to sterilize the water & used RO & UV water when possible. We supported conservation at the safaris & other places but did drive often, perhaps electric or alternative fuel cars?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent! In spite of a few glitches as mentioned above, (fatigue, stomach issues, not always sleeping well d/t jet lag, ATM issues) we were treated like royalty everywhere we went (mostly) & we had wonderful interesting experiences & fantastic food!

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The boat safari in Nagarhoke national park and watching a tiger for 30 minutes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book a holiday with our tour operator as exceeded expectations and was stress free. It's hot so forget taking jeans just cotton trousers, dresses and shorts. Stay in home stays as so much better than hotels.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All of these

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, it was a fantastic holiday. We were well taken care of and the welcome from home stays was brilliant.

Reviewed on 18 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Orange county - feeling like a queen and wonderful safari.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to have a lot of hours in the car.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We made sure to give tips and to advertise India to all our friend to come visit.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


5 star.... the only thing i would not recommend is going to Hassan.

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


All was pretty memorable- perhaps Nagarhole and the Toda tribal village

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Expect the unexpected!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hopefully the first, less sure in what ways 2 and 3.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 04 Feb 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was all pretty unforgettable - Rajat did great job of combining all of our interests into a varied holiday that was fast-paced but never rushed. We especially enjoyed our time at Nagarhole national park - the safaris were fantastic! - and our hike through the Western Ghats during our stay in Wayanad. It struck a great balance between nature and culture. We say tons of birds, incredible views, learned about many proud traditions and met some amazing people as well.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This holiday was customized to our budget and interests, so no two holidays through ExplorIndya would be the same. Be up front about your budget and wishes, and you will be very happy with the results. We could easily have spent more than a week traveling, so give yourself plenty of time. And be open to surprises!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We were clearly able to see how our holiday benefited local people, at all three places we stayed. The fanciest of the places we stayed - Orange County, Kabini - partners with local tribes to provide employment and conserve the local traditions and heritage. Our homestay was a delightful bed-and-breakfast style place where we got to get to know local farmers. Our hike through Muddy Boots, involved the expertise of several local guides. Eve our trip through Mysore clearly gave our business to a small company, Royal Mysore Walks. Everyone was so knowledgeable and we were delighted to see our money flowing back to the people of India.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Five stars! We had an incredible adventure for our honeymoon, and hope to go back. Southern India is breathtaking, and we had nothing but good experiences with all of the people and companies we traveled with.

Reviewed on 06 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were two very memorable parts of the holiday. First the wonderful home stay in the Nilgiri mountains with Rajat and his family. An unforgettable experience that gave me a deeper understanding of the culture of South India. The second was the overnight trip to Hampi, a truly magical place that I would love to visit again. But everything that Rajat Kumar organized for me was wonderful and he selected the best places to stay and visit.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I would suggest being very clear about what kinds of experiences you like. Rajat picked lovely western style, modern hotels that were also focused on sustainability. I appreciated the focus on hotels and travel that benefited the local community.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes absolutely!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, I can't say enough good things about the trip and the experience.

Reviewed on 04 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I loved the Story Trails tours in Chennai. The short thematic excursions with our own guide made it feel like we were visiting friends iwho were showing us around the sights.
The Nilgiris are beautiful and the Kumar family was exceptionally welcoming with good conversation and an ease that makes you feel at home.
The food was terrific terrific terrific.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you want to see the lost wax bronze process, make sure it is going to be open when you are in Swamimalai. Our day there was organised for a Sunday and it wasn't open. The boss came to show us around but it wasn't operating. It was something we had really wanted to see and were supposed to be able to be hands-on.

We expected it to be hot. But July was VERY hot... except in the Nilgiri hills where it was beautifully cool. No wonder the British spent the summer in the hills. It was manageable with the help of an air con car and accommodation but I have to admit, if you can, go in the cooler season.

The Nilgiri hills are also great for an easy introduction to India. Small, uncrowded towns and villages. Quite easy really.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It benefitted a number of small businesses that badge themselves as green.
We also appreciated the time and care of our driver who took us across southern India. Whilst he didn't speak enough English to have a conversation, we understood each other and he was courteous, reliable and always made sure we were ok. we were very happy to provide a good tip at the end of the week and we hope that helped his family.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I had a wonderful holiday. I have recommended it to many friends already. I think Akriti and explore India do a great job of making a trip across India easy. Great for people who want to go but feel overwhelmed or nervous.

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