Southern Sojourn

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  • 16 Days and 15 nights
  • 1500 Kms
  • Bengaluru International Airport
  • Chennai International Airport

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Tour Overview

Southern peninsular India identifies itself to a unique race of people, speaking four major languages and over 15 different dialects. This region is also called the “Dravida” or the land to the south. Southern Sojourn is a cross-cultural adventure, traversing through the three southern Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The similarities and dissimilarities in vibrant cultures, art and architecture, natural history, food and way of life are unique to the rest of India. A beautiful blend of cultural interactions, magnificent architecture, spectacular landscapes, local cuisine, nature and exotic wildlife makes for an ideal concoction for a truly unique sojourn of South India.

On this 16-day cultural, drive adventure with Unventured, we have added a good mix of history, culture, wildlife and introduction to unique local traditions. We’ll have ample time for rest and relaxation with leisurely evenings exploring the tranquil lagoons, and time to pamper yourself with ayurvedic massages and time to laze about by the beach, making this an ideal vacation to explore South India.

Who can do this tour?

Low Intensity: This 16-day drive tour is an ideal blend of culturally enriching experiences combined with leisure, apt for people with an interest in exploring the diversity of Southern India at a slower pace yet engaging experientially. This tour will allow travellers to understand South Indian culture, heritage art local cuisine and way of life through experiences and interactions with local communities.

Physically, this is a low intensity tour with short active walks through markets, palace’s and historical sites.


A Journey through 3 Southern Indian states – diverse cultures, traditions, history and more

Our “Southern Sojourn” tour is a 16 days drive journey that starts from Bengaluru city, a modern metropolis with hidden gems of cultural diversity. We then journey into the old palatial town of Mysuru, the cultural capital of Karnataka known for its heritage, artistic prowess and its beautiful palaces. Our journey then takes us south into the wilderness, spotting wildlife in Kabini and amidst tranquil vistas of the mountains in Wayanad of western ghats. . We venture further west to the old port town of Fort Kochi, where we stroll through the old spice markets and appreciate the colonial charm. This is followed by some time for relaxation and rejuvenation by the tranquil backwaters and lagoons in Alleppey and then higher up in the spice plantations. We delve deeper into culture and art as we head east and inland into Tamil Nadu, the land of temples, palaces, art, and cuisines of Madurai, Chettinad and Thanjavur. This is a region of significant hindu influences and rich traditions. We’ll be staying in old colonial bungalows appreciating the local food, indulging in cooking sessions, walk through quaint villages to appreciate temple architecture.. For our final stop on the 16 day tour we visit a former French colony – Pondicherry. Known for its French influences, alternative lifestyle and sustainable commune called Auroville, exploring Puducherry and its countryside is an enriching and unique experience. We finally culminate our journey in Chennai, the largest metropolis of Southern India.

Day 1 : Bengaluru - Arrivals and formalities

Namaskara! Welcome to Bengaluru (aka Bangalore). On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Your journey begins when you meet your Unventured tour leader who is local to this region and will be your storyteller on this cultural and offbeat experience through the heart of Southern India. En-route you will be briefed about the upcoming tour and get an introduction to India. Depending on your arrival time, you may choose to relax at the hotel or spend the day exploring the vibrant local markets to understand more about Bengaluru.
Overnight in Bengaluru.

Drive Distance: 35 Kms (Airport to Bengaluru City)
Accommodation Type: Hotel


● Meet and greet
● Tour briefing and planning
● Bengaluru market tour (based on arrival time)

Day 2: En-route to Mysuru - Silk, Art and Artisans

Post breakfast, we start our journey to Mysuru, a heritage city popular for its artwork. Our first stop is a silk cocoon market uncovering the story of Mysore Silk and sericulture in this part of the region. We will also visit a silk factory to learn the process of weaving and dyeing, a wooden toy factory to learn how the skilled workers turn wood into colourful creations. Try the local food with your lunch spread served on a plantain leaf. Overnight in Mysuru.

Drive Distance: 140 Kms (Bengaluru to Mysuru)
Accommodation Type: Hotel


• Explore story of Mysore silk
• Wooden toy factory tour
• Authentic plantain leaf meal

DAY 3: Exploring Mysuru - Arts and Architecture

Post an early breakfast, we drive (or climb) Chamundi hills to visit the Hindu ‘deity’ who guards the city at Chamundeshwari Temple. Your tour leader will fill you in on hindu as a way of life and it’s traditions. A visit to Mysuru is incomplete without Mysore Palace – walk about the Amba Vilasa palace on a guided tour listening to the stories of Wadiyar dynasty, the kings of Mysuru and gaze at the incredible artwork and architecture of the palace. Next stop is Jaganmohan palace, an art gallery with marvellous collections and artwork. Enjoy a traditional Kannadiga meal for lunch. Early evening, head out for a stroll through the bustling Devaraja Urs market. You will also taste the city’s very own sweet, Mysuru Pak. Overnight in Mysuru.

Drive Distance: Mysuru to Chamundi hills ( 26 Kms)
Accommodation Type: Hotel


● Learn about Hindu as a way of life
● Guided tour of Mysuru Palaces
● Devaraja Urs market walk

DAY 4: Kabini - Wildlife and Safaris

Leaving behind the heritage city, we head out through the forest trails to Kabini to explore the wilderness. Located by the banks of river Kabini, check into this forest resort in the middle of Nagarhole National Park. In the past, it was a hunting lodge of Mysuru kings. Enjoy a relaxed lunch and rest before an early evening wildlife jeep safari to try your luck at catching glimpse of wild animals. The region is popular for sighting herds of elephants, gaur, and deer. Spend the evening at leisure and relish over dinner at the property. Overnight in Kabini.

Drive Distance: 60 KMs
Accommodation Type: Forest Resort


● Tranquility by the banks of the Kabni
● Wildlife Jeep safari in a national park
● Jungle talk by the campfire

DAY 5 : Wayanad - Verdant valleys and tranquility

We start the day early on boat safari to sight many hued birds flitting in and out of the forest’s green canopy; crocodiles sunning themselves and many more wildlife by the banks of the river. Post breakfast, we drive to the hills of Wayanad traversing through beautiful landscapes and enter Kerala. Post lunch, we will visit the Edakkal caves, which dates back to the neolithic age and has ancient inscriptions and engravings. Enjoy your evening tea by the plantations and soak in the serene surroundings. Overnight in Wayanad.

Drive Distance: 110 KMs
Accommodation Type: Plantation Bungalow


● Explore the wilderness of Kabini
● Picturesque drive through landscapes
● Visit natural caves of Edakkal

DAY 6 :Enroute to Fort Kochi - Great Indian Train Journey

Spend a leisurely morning in the midst of nature. Post a late breakfast, go down hill to Kozhikode to catch a train to Ernakulam. Travelling in a train in India is quite an experience. From people to landscapes to dialects to food, you will notice the subtle changes as you take this 4 hour journey. On arrival at Ernakulam railway station, we ride a ferry to Fort Kochi, a port town with colonial charm and a great place to unwind. Spend the evening at leisure and recuperate from a day long journey. Overnight in Fort Kochi

Drive Distance: 90 Kms (Wayanad to Kozhikode)
Accommodation Type: Heritage hotel
Train Journey: 180 Kms (Kozhikode to Ernakulam)


● Enchanting views enroute Kozhikode
● Rail journey to Ernakulam
● Ferry ride to Fort Kochi

DAY 7 : Fort Kochi - Colonial Charm, Spice Markets and Trade

Today, we walk through the colonial history of Fort Kochi listening to stories of the Portuguese and the Dutch who were dominant here in the 16th century. After savouring an authentic Keralan breakfast we start our day with a visit to a Jew Town and Paradesi Synagogue known for its gorgeous interiors and Hebrew inscriptions. Next, we visit the Mattancherry Dutch palace, St. Francis church, Dutch cemetery and Indo Portuguese museum. A stroll through the narrow alleys of Fort Kochi reveals its colourful street art, numerous quirky cafes, antique shops and spice markets. Relish over a scrumptious Sadhya (a meal on a plantain leaf) for lunch. Your evening will be filled with an local folklore art and cultural experience – an enthralling performance of the Indian classical dance form- Kathakali. Overnight in Fort Kochi.

Drive Distance: 20 Kms
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel


● Day tour of Fort Kochi
● Authentic Keralan breakfast and lunch
● Indian classical dance performance – Kathakali

DAY 8 : Alappuzha - Backwaters, Boats and Village life

After an early breakfast, we drive from the colonial charm of Fort Kochi to the gorgeous lagoons of Alappuzha (aka Alleppey). Get on board a Kettuvallam (house boat) and soak in the picturesque lagoons that Kerala is renowned for while you meander through. Enjoy a freshly cooked seafood lunch onboard while sipping on long drinks as we cruise till the sunset amidst the serene backwaters. Spend the evenings visiting traditional toddy shops where you would get to try the local hooch along with a few lip-smacking delicacies that are touted as the best local dishes of the region. Overnight stay in Alleppey.

Drive Distance: 60 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Home


● Luxurious day cruise
● Visit and indulge in the local hooch and cuisines
● Relaxing by the backwaters

DAY 9 : Kumarakom - Wildlife and Spice Plantations

Wake up to a sunrise canoe ride along the backwaters as you explore the quaint and tiny canals that pass by the traditional Kerala homes. Alight at Kumarakom after breakfast and drive towards the world renowned Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Check in at a jungle resort and post lunch, traverse through the forest regions as we keep our sights open for the spotting of famed Indian wildlife. The area is also particularly enriched with exotic birds and flora. Situated amidst the cardamom hills, you can get to spot the tiger or Indian elephants within the perimeters of the sanctuary.
Post our adventurous safari, we head back to the resort for a relaxed evening.

Drive Distance: 120 KMs
Accommodation Type: Jungle Resort

● Canoe ride to see the local life
● An adventurous safari through the sanctuary
● Stay at a jungle resort

DAY 10 : Madurai - Entering Tamil Nadu

Post an early morning safari in the sanctuary we drive out to Madurai, the heart of Tamil Nadu. After checking into a heritage hotel and a typical Tamil lunch later, we head to the Meenakshi Amman temple for a guided tour with stories of the many Gods, Goddesses and their legends. Madurai is known for its cuisine and we go on a culinary trail in the evening exploring the variety of special dishes that this city offers. Overnight in Madurai

Drive Distance: 160 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel


● Early morning wildlife safari
● Visit Meenakshi temple
● Relish the local dishes of Madurai

DAY 11 : Chettinad - Palatial Mansions, Traders and their Stories

After an early breakfast we head to Chettinad region, a cluster of small villages and towns that were homes to the Chettiyar (Chettiar is more common word) community, who were majorly into financing and money laundering. You will be staying at a Chettinad heritage hotel. Post check in, enjoy a scrumptious Chettinad inspired meal. Later in the evening we take a stroll through the bylanes of the old Chttiar villages, lined with huge ostentatious mansions known as Nattukottai, adorned with colorful tiled floor, ornate doors and pillars, well designed ceiling sna and decorative interiors from the world over. Overnight in Chettinad.

Drive Distance: 95 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel


● Visit the palatial Chettinad houses
● Relish the Chettinad cuisine
● Stay at a heritage hotel

DAY 12 : Explore Chettinad - Old mansions, Art and Artisans

Start your day with a delicious breakfast, and then we start exploring Chettinad with a visit to Athangudi, a village in Chettinad known for its opulent palaces with extensive art work. Athangudi is also well known for its floral tiles and we get an insight into this at a tile factory. We later visit one of the weaving units to understand more about this community and their colourful sarees. Stroll through the antique market which has a wide display of sculptures, paintings, woodwork and brassware. When in Chettinad, one must try their hand at learning to prepare authentic Chettinad dishes. You’ll get a hands on experience on how to, from the in-house chef. Dinner and overnight stay in Chettinad.

Drive Distance: 30 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel


● Visit to Athangudi palace and tile factory
● Learn to prepare Chettinad meal
● Visit to a saree weaving unit
● Stroll through the antique market

DAY 13 : Thanjavur - Village life, Countryside and Temple Town

From one culture to another, we drive out of Chettinad early in the morning and head to Thanjavur which is known for its magnificent temples, art and architecture. After checking into a heritage hotel and post lunch, we visit Brihadeeswara temple, a UNESCO world heritage site which is a magnificent display of Dravidian architecture and an engineering marvel from the 11th century. Later in the evening, we delve into the art scene of Thanjavur known for its glass paintings, bronze statues and bobble head dolls. Overnight stay in Thanjavur.

Drive Distance: 90 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel


● Explore the magnificent Brihadeeshwara temple
● Learn about the art works of Thanjavur

DAY 14 : Pondicherry - French Colonial Quarters

Post an early breakfast, we drive to Pondicherry for a taste of the French flavour along the eastern coast of India. We check into our boutique hotel and then venture out to explore this colonial town. The bylanes of Pondicherry are a delight to walk through with numerous cafes and colourful structures. Spend the evening strolling along the promenade, visiting French war memorial and relishing french cuisine.

Drive Distance: 170 KMs
Accommodation Type: Boutique hotel


● Stroll through the colonial town
● Relish French cuisine
● Stay at a boutique hotel

DAY 15 : Explore Pondicherry and Auroville

After a scrumptious French breakfast, we head to Auroville known for Maitrimandir, a meditation centre and an alternative living space propagating self-sustenance and known for building a “utopian community”. Walk through a host of markets selling handicrafts and merchandise that are handmade and organic. Visit a local farm for a unique farm to table lunch. Later in the evening we head out on a guided walk to explore the French influences and the beautiful amalgamation of Tamil and french cultures. We end the day with a delicious dinner at one of the popular french restaurants. Overnight in Pondicherry.

Drive Distance: 10 – 15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Boutique hotel


● Explore Auroville
● Visit Paradise beach
● Visit 18th century Cathedral

DAY 16 : Drive to Chennai

Post breakfast, depending on your flight schedule we check out and we will head toward the Chennai International Airport for your onward flights. Some of you may be planning some further travel adventures in this beautiful land. Speak to us at Unventured about what other travels in South India could await you!

Drive Distance: 150 KMs
Accommodation Type: NA

Tour Inclusions

Our “Southern Sojourn” tour is a blend of cultural and offbeat experiences exploring Southern India’s local culture, art, heritage, wildlife, and its unique biodiversity. This tour has a balanced combination of local interactions, understanding the heritage, exploring the architecture, relishing local cuisine and immersing in cultural experiences.


Our Southern Sojourn tour is a good blend of culture, history, wildlife, food, art, architecture and real-world experiences of Southern India, giving you a unique experience of the local way of life. Information with regard to people, culture, currency and introducing the region’s political, historical and cultural structures will be via detailed emails well before the tour begins. This tour is graded as low intensity in terms of physical activities.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in Heritage Hotels, Plantation Bungalows, Homestays and Eco Hotels with good hygienic attached bathrooms offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: We will have a dedicated AC private vehicle at your service through the entire term of the tour. All transfers from the airport to the hotel will be in comfortable cars or vans.


  • Accommodation on all days except on Day 16
  • Transport: Private AC Vehicle, Train, Ferry, House boat, Canoe, Jeep
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on all days except on Day 1
  • All entry fee to places of interest mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities & experiences mentioned in the itinerary
  • An English speaking Unventured Tour Host


  • Flights to and from home destination
  • Meals those not mentioned in the Inclusion
  • Alcohol and any aerated beverages
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa Charges/Travel Insurance
  • Filming and Camera charges
  • Those not mentioned in the “Inclusions” section