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Heritage Splendors of South India: Forts, Temples & Backwaters Expedition


15 Nights / 16 Days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

10 people




Embark on a captivating journey through the “Heritage Splendors of South India: Forts, Temples & Backwaters Expedition.” This immersive 16-day tour delves into the rich cultural tapestry of Southern India, beginning in Hyderabad with its ancient forts and tombs. Explore the architectural marvels of Bijapur and Badami, where intricate cave temples and ancient Chalukyan architecture await. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hampi’s majestic ruins before delving into Chennai’s vibrant history and Mahabalipuram’s ancient rock-cut temples. Traverse the tranquil backwaters of Kerala from Alleppey to Kochi, soaking in the serene landscapes and cultural heritage. This journey promises a blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty, offering a deep insight into South India’s captivating heritage.


  • This is a private tour/activity only for your group.
  • Enhanced cleaning/ traveler safety.
  • In-depth cultural experience.
  • Flexible sightseeing & stopover.
  • Most travelers can participate.

Bulk discount (by Percent)

Bulk discount adult
# Discount group From adult To adult Value
1 Discount on 2-person group 2 2 %
2 Discount on 3-person group 3 3 %
3 Discount on 4-person group 4 4 %
4 Discount on 5-person group 5 5 %
5 Discount on 6-person group 6 6 %
6 Discount on 7-person group 7 7 %
7 Discount on 8-person group 8 8 %


Day 1: Arrive Hyderabad

Arrive in Hyderabad and transfer to your hotel. Relax and refresh after your journey.

Day 2: Hyderabad

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Visit Golconda Fort, an imposing citadel known for its impressive architecture, strategic location, and unique acoustic effects that allow sounds to be heard from the top to the bottom of the fort. Explore Qutb Shahi Tombs, a complex of tombs and mosques showcasing a blend of Persian and Indian architectural styles, reflecting the grandeur of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Take a break for lunch at a local restaurant. Visit Charminar, Hyderabad's iconic monument and mosque situated in the heart of the old city, offering panoramic views of the bustling streets below. Wander through Laad Bazaar, a vibrant market famous for its traditional Hyderabadi bangles, pearls, and colorful attire. Optional visit to Hussain Sagar Lake and the Buddha Statue for a serene evening by the lake.

Day 3: Hyderabad - Gulbarga (260km)

After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a scenic drive to Gulbarga. Explore Gulbarga Fort, an ancient fortification with massive walls, bastions, and intricate carvings that once served as a stronghold for various dynasties including the Bahmani Sultanate. Visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in India, renowned for its Indo-Saracenic architecture, towering minarets, and exquisite Persian inscriptions. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Discover Sharana Basaveshwara Temple, a revered pilgrimage site dedicated to a 12th-century Hindu saint and philosopher known for his teachings of universal tolerance and social equality.

Day 4: Gulbarga - Bijapur (170 km)

Start the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel before departing for Bijapur. Explore Ibrahim Rouza, an architectural marvel and mausoleum that serves as a poignant example of symmetry and grace in Islamic architecture, surrounded by lush gardens and reflecting pools. Visit Jod Gumbaz, a grand mausoleum known for its whispering gallery where even the softest whisper can be heard across the dome due to its remarkable acoustics. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of Karnataka cuisine. Discover Malik-e-Maidan, an enormous medieval cannon weighing several tons and known for its intricate artwork and historical significance in Bijapur's military history. Visit Bara Kaman, an unfinished mausoleum complex that was intended to be the final resting place of Ali Adil Shah II, featuring impressive arches and a serene ambience amidst landscaped gardens.

Day 5: Bijapur - Badami (120 km)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before driving to Badami. Begin with a visit to Aihole, often referred to as the "cradle of Indian architecture," showcasing over a hundred intricately carved temples that date back to the Chalukya dynasty, offering a glimpse into early Hindu and Jain architectural styles. Explore Pattadakkal, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its harmonious blend of northern and southern Indian architectural styles, featuring majestic temples adorned with elaborate sculptures and friezes depicting mythological scenes. Visit the Badami Cave Temples, a series of ancient rock-cut temples carved into the rugged cliffs of Badami, dedicated to Hindu deities such as Shiva and Vishnu, and admired for their detailed carvings and serene surroundings. Take a peaceful stroll around Agastya Lake, surrounded by picturesque hills and ancient temples, providing a serene backdrop for relaxation and reflection. Enjoy a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, sampling traditional Karnataka delicacies. Explore Banashankari Temple, a significant pilgrimage site known for its unique Chalukyan architecture and revered for its spiritual sanctity among devotees of Goddess Banashankari.

Day 6: Badami - Hampi (180 km)

After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Hampi, a journey that takes you through scenic landscapes and historical landmarks. Visit Aihole, once again exploring its vast collection of ancient temples that reflect the evolution of architectural styles from the Chalukyan period. Explore Pattadakal, immersing yourself in its UNESCO-listed temples adorned with intricate sculptures and detailed craftsmanship. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, enjoying local flavors and specialties. Visit Vijaya Vittala Temple, an architectural gem renowned for its iconic stone chariot and musical pillars that emit melodious notes when struck gently. Explore the Lotus Mahal, an elegant pavilion within the royal enclosure known for its unique blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural elements, showcasing the opulence and artistic finesse of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Day 7: Hampi

Begin the day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Visit Virupaksha Temple, the oldest functioning temple in Hampi dedicated to Lord Shiva, known for its towering gopuram (gateway tower) and intricate carvings that depict mythological tales. Explore Hampi Bazaar, a bustling street market where you can soak in the vibrant atmosphere and shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs. Discover the Sasivekalu Ganesha, a monolithic statue of Lord Ganesha known for its colossal size and architectural significance. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant, savoring traditional South Indian dishes. Visit Queen's Bath, an ancient royal bathhouse known for its Indo-Islamic architecture, ornate interiors, and sophisticated water management system that reflects the engineering prowess of the Vijayanagara dynasty. Explore the Elephant Stables, a series of domed chambers that once housed the royal elephants of Vijayanagara, showcasing the grandeur and splendor of the empire's royal court.

Day 8: Hampi - Hubli (170 km) / Chennai

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel before proceeding to Hubli or catching a flight to Chennai, continuing your exploration of South India's rich cultural and historical heritage. Visit the Jain Temple, renowned for its intricate stone carvings and serene ambiance, providing a spiritual retreat amidst the bustling cityscape. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, indulging in regional specialties. Explore Chitradurga Fort, a massive hill fort dating back to the Chalukyan era, known for its formidable defenses, ancient temples, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Day 9: Chennai

Start your day with a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel. Visit Marina Beach, one of the longest urban beaches in the world, offering stunning views of the Bay of Bengal and a relaxing atmosphere ideal for morning walks. Explore Fort St. George, a historic fortification and the oldest surviving British architectural monument in India, housing museums and artifacts that narrate Chennai's colonial past. Visit Kapaleeshwarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and renowned for its Dravidian architecture, towering gopurams, and vibrant religious ceremonies. Enjoy a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, tasting the flavors of Tamil Nadu cuisine. Optional visit to San Thome Basilica, an impressive Roman Catholic basilica built over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle, showcasing a blend of neo-Gothic and colonial architectural styles.

Day 10: Chennai - Mahabalipuram (60 km)

After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a scenic drive to Mahabalipuram. Visit the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its structural design and intricate carvings, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, offering panoramic views of the Bay of Bengal. Explore Arjuna's Penance, an enormous rock-cut relief carved on two massive boulders, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and ancient life in South India. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, savoring coastal delicacies. Visit Five Rathas, a group of monolithic rock-cut temples resembling chariots, showcasing architectural styles from the Pallava dynasty.

Day 11: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (100 km)

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel before driving to Pondicherry. Explore Auroville, an experimental township and international community dedicated to human unity, sustainable living, and spiritual harmony, featuring the Matrimandir meditation center known for its unique architecture and tranquil ambiance. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, indulging in French and South Indian fusion cuisine. Wander through the French Quarter (Ville Blanche) of Pondicherry, characterized by its colonial architecture, tree-lined streets, vibrant cafes, and boutique shops offering a glimpse into the town's French legacy.

Day 12: Pondicherry - Thanjavur (180 km)

Begin the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel before driving to Thanjavur.
Visit Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a masterpiece of Chola architecture, dedicated to Lord Shiva and renowned for its towering vimana (temple tower) and intricate stone carvings.
Explore Thanjavur Palace, a sprawling complex that once served as the seat of the Chola dynasty, housing royal artifacts, ancient manuscripts, and a rich collection of South Indian art.
Break for lunch at a local restaurant, savoring traditional Tamil Nadu cuisine.
Visit Swami Malai Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan and known for its architectural grandeur and religious significance among devotees.

Day 13: Thanjavur - Chettinad (140 km)

After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a scenic drive to Chettinad.
Explore the Athangudi Tiles Factory, renowned for its handmade traditional tiles crafted using local techniques and vibrant colors, which adorn many Chettinad homes and palaces.
Visit Chettinad Mansions, showcasing the region's distinctive architecture characterized by spacious courtyards, intricate woodwork, and ornate interiors that reflect the opulence of Chettiar merchants.
Break for lunch at a local restaurant, indulging in Chettinad cuisine known for its aromatic spices and unique flavors.
Visit the Chettinad Cuisine Museum, offering insights into the culinary traditions of the region, showcasing traditional utensils, cooking methods, and ingredients used in Chettinad cooking.

Day 14: Chettinad - Madurai (90 km)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before driving to Madurai. Visit Meenakshi Amman Temple, a historic Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, renowned for its towering gopurams adorned with thousands of colorful sculptures depicting mythological tales and daily life scenes. Explore Thirumalai Nayak Palace, an architectural masterpiece showcasing a fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles, known for its grandeur, ornate domes, and elaborate stucco work. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, savoring Madurai's traditional dishes and local delicacies. Visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum, housing a fascinating collection of photographs, personal belongings, and artifacts related to Mahatma Gandhi's life, teachings, and his association with Madurai.

Day 15: Madurai - Hyderabad (Flight)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Optional visit to Alagar Kovil and Pazhamudhir Solai, two important temples near Madurai known for their architectural significance and religious importance. Transfer to Madurai Airport for your flight back to Hyderabad. Evening at leisure in Hyderabad to relax or explore the city on your own.

Day 16: Departure from Hyderabad

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Hyderabad Airport for your departure flight, concluding your enriching journey through South India's cultural and historical heritage.


  • Assistance on arrival at airport.
  • 15 Night's accommodation in 4-star hotels.
  • Daily breakfast and meal as per day plan.
  • Private air-conditioned deluxe car for airport transfer, sightseeing and excursion as per program.
  • English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide in each city), as per program.
  • Monuments entrances and activities charges mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Bottled drinking water in car.
  • Government taxes.
  • Hubli - Chennai & Madurai - Hyderabad flight fare approx INR 9,500 per person in economy class.
  • Camera charges at monuments.
  • Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
  • Gratuities & optional activities.
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions.

Tour's Location


What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

Hotels used or similar for 15 nights accommodation

3 Star Hotels
Hyderabad x 2 nights: Hotel Abode/ Aditya Park
Gulbarga x 1 night: Kyriad Hotel Gulbarga by OTHPL/ Mastiff Select
Bijapur x 1 night: The Fern Residency/ Kyriad Hotel Vijayapura by OTHPL
Badami x 2 nights: Badami Court/ Clarks Inn
Hampi x 2 nights: Malligi Hotel/ Clarks Inn
Chennai x 1 night: ZONE By The Park/ Raj Park
Mahabalipuram x 1 night: INDeco Hotels/ Ideal Beach Resort
Pondicherry x 1 night: Shenbaga Hotel/ Anandha Inn Convention Centre
Thanjore x 1 night: Sangam Hotels
Chettinad x 1 night: Chidambara Vilas/ Chettinadu Mansion
Madurai x 1 night: JC Residency/ Hotel Royal Court
Hyderabad x 1 night: Hotel Abode/ Aditya Park

Can travelers upgrade the accommodation to 5-star hotels?


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