Kerala & Tamil Nadu holiday, hidden gems of India

“Two week tailor made tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu showcasing a range of characterful locally-owned accommodation away from tourist areas.”


Cochin | Chittoor Kottaram | Pollachi, Tamil Nadu | Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu | Madurai | Paradisa Plantation, Kerala | Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary | Windermere River House | Vismaya, backwaters |

Description of Kerala & Tamil Nadu holiday, hidden gems of India

This fabulous tailor made tour takes you around Kerala and Tamil Nadu as part of a suggested 14 day itinerary that does its level best to uncover some of southern India’s natural and cultural hidden gems.

Some of the palatial properties featured throughout this holiday are absolutely stunning and many of the overnight accommodation options have been hand-picked to offer the very best in authenticity, charm and characterful cultural heritage.

The itinerary itself is a mix of old and new with popular highlights combining wonderfully well with lesser-known hidden gems. Even if you’ve had a holiday in Kerala and Tamil Nadu before, this two week tour provides ample excuses for a return visit.

From Cochin and Vismaya to Rajakkad and Pollachi this tour combines the very best of all sides with a range of overnight accommodation options ensuring a unique and personal experience. Book into a boutique hotel, stay with a local family, spend time at a luxury guesthouse; whatever you do, don’t miss out on this all-encompassing holiday in India’s favourite southern states.

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Departure information

This trip can be booked at any time and tailor made to suit your requirements
Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

The tour operator offering this holiday is a British company with an intimate knowledge of the destination. All their holidays are tailor made which means that they can create a unique holiday for your individual requirements. They offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible they use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips. They are licenced to sell flights from the UK and will search for the best airfare for your dates. If you book flights with them, then the whole holiday will be protected by ATOL. This tour operator is also a member of ABTA – this means that all their holidays adhere to the ABTA Code of Conduct, their finances, insurances etc are checked regularly and if you have a complaint that cannot be resolved there is an arbitration scheme available to you.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala & Tamil Nadu holiday, hidden gems of India


This holiday is arranged on an individual basis and a vehicle of appropriate size will be used. All the accommodation owners are committed to operating in an environmentally friendly way.

Vismaya and Chittor Kottaram are exclusive two bedroom properties so can only accommodate four guests at any one time. Small numbers of guests have lower impact on the environment. Vismaya is a 400 year old building of traditional Kerala style complete with antique fittings. Sustainable policies include minimal use of air-conditioning due to the design and location of the property and reverse osmosis water filtration. Paradisa Plantation is a small resort set within an estate. Rajakkad was an old palace falling into disrepair in the backwaters of Kerala. It was dismantled and moved to the current position in Tamil Nadu and with the thoughtful conversion undertaken it is now a delightful place to stay. Guests staying here mostly remain relaxing in the area as it is set in a garden, within an estate with a small village on the edge. There are many birds (said to be 200) in the forests of this area. Shenbaga Vilaasam was built in the early 1900s as the farm estate for a royal family. In recent years it was rarely used by the family so was shut up most of the time. Then in 2007 it was decided to make it into a heritage guesthouse – and the building and the heirlooms it contained have been saved. The land around (running to hundreds of acres) is still farmed.

As all the accommodation in this tour is in a rural location (and in many cases set in a plantation or farm) and away from the main tourist areas we expect guests selecting this holiday to be interested in nature, walking or photography as well as wanting a very personal experience of South India.


Chittoor Kottaram was a royal residence of the ruling family of Cochin and is owned by the environmentally friendly CGH Earth Group. This small 'palace' was converted to create an exclusive hotel. it is located away from the city on a quiet backwater. Paradisa Plantation is a small resort owned by the same people that own Punnamada in the backwaters. Shenbaga is the farm/country estate of a royal family and was converted into a guesthouse in 2007. Vismaya and Rajakkad are both owned/ managed by an Indian/European partnership. The combination of Indian and European owners/management is good as the European input ensures that certain standards are maintained. All the properties employ local people as staff - cooks, housekeepers, managers etc. As all the properties are in rural areas away from the normal tourist destinations this local employment is very important to the individual communities. The experience and training they get often enables them to pursue a career in tourism.

Our local agent is also a family owned business and our lovely team of drivers (most of which have been with us for many years) are dependent on our company for their business. We have an unusual arrangement with our drivers who are paid a monthly wage. This helps them to budget as work in South India is very seasonal and during the low season drivers typically have no work and therefore get no salary and no tips. Our drivers have a contract of employment too which means they know that they still have a job at the beginning of the next season. The drivers and their families were also given a ‘free’ holiday. Many people in India do not take a holiday as such – rather they visit family members. Our agent negotiated with the hotels and houseboat operators we work with and arranged a holiday for 36 people with transfers, accommodation and meals all included. The highlight was to return from Cochin to Trivandrum by air. None of them had stayed in a hotel or flown before so this was a tremendous experience for them. We know of no other local agent who has provided their staff and family with a holiday.

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