A tour of South India offers a fascinating glimpse of a culture, cuisine and history that differs considerably from the northern area of the country. Add to that a Sri Lanka tour, and you get a true immersion into the undeniable beauty and intriguing idiosyncrasies that can be found in this part of the world.
On this tour of South India and Sri Lanka, explore some of the buzzing bazaars, grandiose Islamic monuments and the magnificent Golconda Fort in Hyderabad. Navigate the legendary Kerala backwaters on one of the region’s signature houseboats. Feel the sea breezes as you relax on the sands of Kovalam. In Sri Lanka, discover Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth—holy site of the only remaining relic of the Buddha—and envision what it must’ve been like for ancients to worship in the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. Trek through the forest of Sinharaja Nature Reserve and discover Sigiriya, the “Fortress in the Sky.” And that’s just the beginning—the exotic allure of South India and Sri Lanka awaits you on a tour with Geringer Global Travel.
Day 1: Arrive Mumbai
Welcome to India!
Our representative will meet you in the arrival area of the airport after you clear all immigration and customs formalities. Depart for your hotel to begin your South India tour.
Day 2: Mumbai
After an early breakfast, take an excursion to Elephanta Island, home to the magnificently sculpted cave temples. Later, on a half day city tour, see the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum, iconic Marine Drive, the Dhobi Ghat, a huge open-air laundry, the Jain Temple and the famed Victoria Terminus.
Day 3: Mumbai – Hyderabad
Today, fly to Hyderabad, a city of the future with a fascinating past. After settling in and enjoying lunch, take a trip toPochampally, a small village surrounded by hills and lush green countryside. Pochampally is famous for its exquisitely designed silk and cotton sarees. You will learn about the process of making these sarees.
Day 4: Hyderabad
Enjoy a tour of the city today, including the Charminar, a majestic edifice built in 1591 by Quli Qutub Shah to propitiate the evil forces from destroying his new city with the plague. Continue to the Mecca Masjid, an impressive mosque that can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time. Afterwards, visit the Golconda Fort, the legendary citadel built high on a hill.
Day 5: Hyderabad – Cochin
Today, fly to Cochin (Kochi), a city spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Kerala backwaters. The city was founded in 1341, and was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting Jews and Christians who built places of worship and their own communities here.
Day 6: Cochin
After breakfast, take a full day tour of the city, including the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue and the Chinese fishing nets. See St. Francis Church (where Vasco da Gama was originally buried) and the Santa Cruz Church with its pastel colored interior and carved wooden panels. In the evening visit a local theater to witness a performance ofKathakali, an elaborate South India “story dance.”
Day 7: Cochin – Alleppey – Kumarakom
Enjoy a short drive to Alleppey an easy-going market town surrounded by coconut plantations. Later, you’ll board akettuvallam or “boat with knots’—so called because these sturdy boats were held together with only knots. Your boat will sail towards Kumarakom on the backwater canals and through the Vembanad Lake, offering you glimpses of the otherwise inaccessible rural life in the Kerala backwaters.
Day 8: Kumarakom
Today explore on your own, or simply lay back and relax in this pristine environment. You may opt for Ayurvedic massages and rejuvenation therapies, or set off on an exciting optional excursion.
Day 9: Kumarakom – Kovalam
After breakfast, drive to Kovalam, an internationally renowned beach town since the 1930s. The leisure options at this beach are diverse: sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages and catamaran cruising, to name just a few.
Day 10: Kovalam
Unwind, indulge and experience this beautiful setting on your own as you enjoy a day at leisure.
Day 11: Kovalam – Trivandrum – Colombo
Today, you fly to Colombo (via Trivandrum) and begin your experience in Sri Lanka. You’ll be taken to your hotel where you can relax and enjoy the rest of your day on your own.
Day 12: Colombo – Habarana
Set off to Anuradhapura, the sacred city, founded in the 4th century B.C. and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. This site has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization that flourished in this region. Later, make your way to Habarana, a small village that serves as an excellent launching point for explorations of the area. Check in at your hotel on arrival and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
Day 13: Habarana
After breakfast leave for the ancient city of Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Begin the morning by climbing the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya that was once called the “Fortress in the Sky”. Then continue to one of the best-preserved ruins of ancient Ceylon—the city of Polonnaruwa, which was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century.
Day 14: Habarana – Kandy
After breakfast head for Dambulla and explore the famous Golden Rock cave, a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. Afterward, head on to the bustling hill capital of Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhala Kings. In the evening, visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, and later enjoy a Kandyan Cultural show, which includes an impressive fire walking display.
Day 15: Kandy – Ratnapura
After breakfast, set off for Pinnawala to visit the Elephant orphanage. This orphanage was set up by the government to take care of baby elephants that were lost or abandoned in the wild. Then, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city ofRatnapura, the surrounding soil of which is home to one of the world’s richest collections of precious and semi-precious stones. Rubber and tea plantations give a scenic backdrop to this legendary city of a thousand gems.
Day 16: Ratnapura – Galle
After breakfast, you’ll go to Sinharaja Nature Reserve for a day of bird watching and trekking through the forest. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sinharaja is a treasure trove of wildlife and endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Later, it’s onward to Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. A colonial atmosphere is still very much alive here, and it is a charming place to spend some time.
Day 17: Galle – Mt. Lavinia
After breakfast head for Mt. Lavinia. Famed for its “Golden Mile” of beaches, Mt. Lavinia is a pleasant coastal town just a short distance from Colombo. On arrival check in at your hotel, and if you have spare time your driver will show you the sights and sounds of Colombo.
Day 18: Mt. Lavinia – Colombo Departure
Your tour of South India and Sri Lanka comes to a close. You will be taken to the Colombo International airport in time to board your flight home.
This is a suggested South India and Sri Lanka itinerary—we’d be happy to customize an itinerary to fit your needs. Whether you prefer a shorter or longer journey, would like to include other parts of India or Sri Lanka or simply need something to fit your budget, please contact us at 877-255-7438 or email us at email@example.com to discuss how we can create a personalized India tour and Sri Lanka tour for you.