Spirit of South India

Uncover the spirit of Southern India. A place where intriguing cultures, mouth-watering cuisine and rich history wait at every turn. Spark your creativity in dynamic Mumbai.

Journey Overview

Uncover the spirit of Southern India. A place where intriguing cultures, mouth-watering cuisine and rich history wait at every turn. Spark your creativity in dynamic Mumbai. Walk in the footsteps of the Nizam of Hyderabad, once the richest man in the world. Marvel at the distinctly French ambience of Puducherry, where the smell of freshly baked baguettes and kepi-hatted policemen are de rigueur. Learn the secrets behind one of India’s best-loved dishes. And be enchanted by life in one of the world’s great utopian communities, Auroville.

Journey Highlights

  • Discover Mumbai’s vibrant history, art and culture on a walking tour
  • Marvel at intricate rock carvings in the Ajanta and Ellora caves
  • Learn the secrets behind a traditional Biryani in a culinary experience
  • Witness life in one of the world's great utopian communities, Auroville
  • See the sublime rock art in Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai

Welcome to Mumbai, the gateway to India, its financial hub and home to the prolific Bollywood film industry, one of the biggest in the world. Brimming with some of the country’s finest culinary hotspots, architecture and history, the city formerly known as Bombay captivates at every turn. Receive an A&K welcome and transfer privately to one of India’s most iconic the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, set on the waterfront opposite the Gateway of India. Spend time and soak in your luxury accommodation or step out on your own to discover more of this pulsating city.
The Taj Mahal Palace (Luxury Grand Sea View)

Day 2: Mumbai

Embark on a guided walking discovery of this intriguing city and its rich colonial history. Starting from the Gateway of India, overlooking the Arabian Sea and intended to commemorate King George V, unpeel layers of history as you explore the Royal Mumbai Yacht Club, the Police Headquarters, and the City Museum. Navigate Mumbai’s vibrant art area, Kala Ghoda, filled with museums and galleries. Gaze up at the soaring Raja Bhai towers, the Big Ben of Mumbai, and hear chimes of old British tunes. Then take in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, an architectural masterpiece made famous by the movie Slumdog Millionaire and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Soak up the lively vibe of the market over a delicious glass of Falooda (sweet milk-based drink), before lunch in the world-renowned Bombay Canteen specialising in regional local cuisine. Spend your afternoon your way. Relax in the luxury of your hotel, choose a half-day cruise to the 8th century Elephanta Caves in Bombay Harbour, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring various rock -cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva or explore more of Mumbai on a guided tour taking in the Hanging Gardens and the Jain Temple (additional charges).
The Taj Mahal Palace (Luxury Grand Sea view) | Meals: BL

Day 3: Mumbai – Aurangabad

Rise early to greet Mumbai by dawn. Witness the real Mumbai unfolding in the clamorous and chaotic Sassoon docks, see a fish auction of the famous Bombay Duck, and meet the local traders who keep the city running. End your tour on a cricket ground to learn how this game captured the hearts of billions. Return to your hotel for a sumptuous breakfast and morning at leisure. Later, enroute to the airport, stop at the famous Dhobi Ghat to observe the hundreds of laundrymen washing clothes. Fly to Aurangabad, gateway to the intriguing Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Vivanta Aurangabad (Superior Charm Room) | Meals: B

Day 4: Aurangabad

Journey to the enchanting Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This series of 29 caves is carved out of a horseshoe-shaped cliff along the Waghora River. Marvel at the intricate Buddhist sculptures and frescos carved into solid rock as a beautiful depiction of the Buddha’s journey. Discover how these amazing caves, built by Buddhist monks using simple tools between 2nd century BC and 7th century AD, were rediscovered by British Officers on a hunting trip.
Vivanta Aurangabad (Superior Charm Room) | Meals: BL

Day 5: Aurangabad – Hyderabad

Venture into the Ellora Caves. Dating back to the 4th and 9th centuries, the complex comprises 33 different cave temples, which are Hindu, Jain and Buddhist. Head to Cave 16 to see the headline act: Kailasa Temple. Carved into a single rock, this astonishing temple is the world’s largest monolithic sculpture and a true wonder to behold. This evening fly to the former princely city of Hyderabad and arrive at your luxury hotel, Taj Falaknuma Palace. Perched on a hill overlooking the city below, this original residence of the Nizams is one of the most remarkable sights of Hyderabad.
Taj Falaknuma Palace (Palace Room) | Meals: B

Day 6: Hyderabad

Discover Hyderabad at your own pace today. Once home to the richest man in the world, The Nizam of Hyderabad, and now a modern tech hub, the city offers an enthralling fusion of old and new. Take a tour of the graceful clusters and gardens at Qutub Shahi Tombs and the Golconda Fort, built between the 14th and 16th century and once famed for its diamond mines, or visit a weaving centre and learn about a revival of Persian brocades being undertaken by a soft-spoken octogenarian who has worked with Pierre Cardin, Hanne Mori and Fabindia (additional charges). Later this evening, with a glass of champagne in hand, enter the opulent world of the Nizams on a fascinating walk around the palace led by the hotel butlers.
Taj Falaknuma Palace (Palace Room) | Meals: B

Day 7: Hyderabad

Uncover the rich contrasts of this enthralling city on a guided walk. See the splendid palaces of Hyderabad’s Nizams, the bustling bazaars and Muslim monuments, including the stunning Jama Masjid and the famous symbol of the city the Charminar (four minarets).  Spend the afternoon at leisure before and evening treat for your tastebuds with a culinary adventure. Weave through the aromatic stalls of the local spice and vegetable markets, before joining your host in her family kitchen to prepare your feast. Learn the closely-guarded secrets behind a traditional Hyderabadi Biryani, considered to be the world’s best biryanis, then enjoy your creation the South Indian way.
Taj Falaknuma Palace (Palace Room) | Meals: BD

Day 8: Hyderabad – Puducherry

Transfer privately to the airport and fly to Union Territory of Puducherry, formerly Pondicherry and more affectionately Pondy. Arrive at your boutique hotel in the heart of this charming French colonial town, just metres from the seafront promenade with picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal. This afternoon, take in the ambience of the old French Quarter on a walking tour. Wander amongst an enthralling jumble of colonial-era mansions, quirky French style cafes and bohemian-chic boutiques. Step inside Sri Aurobindo Ashram and discover the thriving community established by one of India’s most remarkable figures, Bengali philosopher Aurobindo Ghose and a French woman called ‘The Mother’. At its centre under a tree-shaded courtyard lies the Samadhi, a white-marble shrine where their bodies are laid to rest.
Palais de Mahe (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 9: Puducherry

Witness life in one of the world's great utopian communities, Auroville, also known as the ‘City of Dawn’. An experimental township founded in 1968 just outside Puducherry, the community is home to people of 45 nationalities, who follow the teachings of The Mother, the late Mirra Alfassa. See the impressive Matrimandir, a huge golden globe used as a meditation centre and delve deeper into their philosophy. After lunch, stop off at Mohanam Cultural Centre, designed to preserve the rich cultural heritage of South India.  The work of a group of young men from the villages surrounding Auroville, it was established to bridge the gap between the old and the young, traditional and modern.
Palais de Mahe (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BL

Day 10: Puducherry

Wake up in your delightful hotel and spend a full day exploring at your own pace.  Stroll along the promenade overlooking the sea, relax in one of the many cafes or search out one of the unspoilt beaches that dot the coastline.
Palais de Mahe (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 11: Puducherry – Mahabalipuram – Chennai

Journey towards Chennai with an en route stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram. Explore this petite seaside village, once a major port of the ancient Pallava Dynasty. Be inspired by some of India’s most sublime rock-cut art, including Bhagiratha’s Penance, a bas-relief of animals, gods and saints sculpted over enormous rocks. Pause at the Shore Temple and marvel at the gardens designed according to ancient texts. Continue to Chennai, formerly Madras and home of the East India Company, and check in to your luxury accommodation.
Taj Connemara (Heritage Room) | Meals: BL

Day 12: Chennai

Spend your morning exploring the cultural capital of South India at your own pace and what interests you. Take a peek into colonial Madras and discover the rich legacy of the buildings left by the British or walk into an Indian kitchen and take a journey through the cuisine of the south and learn the secrets of various spice blends (additional charge).  Mid-afternoon head to Georgetown for a walking discovery of the narrow winding streets and by lanes, lively bazaars and remnants of Chennai’s colonial past, including Fort St George, built by the East India Company in 1640. Return to your hotel with a stop at Marina Beach in the evening when the beach comes alive with locals and stalls selling all manner of food and souvenirs.
Taj Connemara (Heritage Room) | Meals: B

Day 13: Depart Chennai

With your Southern Indian adventure at its end, enjoy a private transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Meals: B

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

Spirit of South India
A&K Favourite

The history of Mumbai and The Taj Mahal Palace are dramatically intertwined. The hotel is Mumbai's first harbour landmark (built 21 years... Read more

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Spirit of South India

Taj Falaknuma Palace is also known as the 'mirror of the sky' because it was built in the clouds and reflects the ever-changing moods of ... Read more

Palais de Mahe, Puducherry

Spirit of South India

A freshly crafted gem in the heart of Puducherry’s French Quarter, Palais de Mahe combines the flavours of Southern India with French fla... Read more

Taj Connemara, Chennai

Spirit of South India
A&K Favourite

As Chennai’s only heritage hotel, Taj Connemara is an absolute standout. As the presidency of Madras became the metropolitan of Chennai, ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.


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