Essence of India Tour programs with Singapore Airlines


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Trip cost includes:

- Round trip air, including fuel surcharges and taxes from New York or Los Angeles

- Accommodation on a twin share basis

- Daily breakfast

- Airport / railway station transfers in India

- Sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned vehicles, with English speaking local guides

- Entrance fees to all monuments listed in the itinerary

- Local taxes & service charges on the above

Not included are visa fees, personal expenses of all kinds, travel insurance, meals other than breakfast.


Private Journeys in India

Encounter India - 9 Days

Prelude to India - 11 Days

Glimpse of India & Nepal - 11 Days

Spices & Sandalwood - 14 Days

The Tiger's Den - 15 Days

Temples, Taj & Turbans - 15 Days

Royal India - 16 Days

Treasures of India - 16 Days

India in Style - 17 Days

Coast to Coast - 18 Days

Walk on the wild side - 18 Days

Rhinos, Tea & Monasteries - 18 Days

Indian Potpourri - 23 Days

Passage to India - 27 Days


Private Journeys in Bhutan

Small Group Tours

Customized Trips

Baggage Allowances & Fees

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Treasures of India: A tour of South India


Explore the rich heritage of culture and tradition that pervades Southern India on this trip: Ancient temples exquisitely carved out of stone, religious traditions that have sprouted a thriving culture of music, dance and art, broad sandy beaches fringed by coconut palms, gentle hills dotted by coffee and tea plantations and so much more. Visit Hindu temples that are more than a thousand years old, Jewish synagogues from the 16th century and Catholic churches that are even older all a part of the wonder that is India! Gently cruise through lush green backwaters of Kerala and take a ride on a 19th century mountain train and explore the amazing diversity of landscapes that India offers.

Mahabalipuram temple, near Chennai, India
Ancient beach temple in South India

Trip Highlights include:

  • UNESCO World Heritage listed Nilgiri Mountain Railway

  • Mahabalipuram, ancient rock sculptures on the beach

  • Pondicherry, once a French colony in India

  • Medieval temples of Tanjore and Madurai

  • Periyar National Park, wildlife reserve in Kerala

  • Cochin, spice trading port since the 15th century

  • Mysore, famous for its silk, sandalwood and palaces

  • Belur & Halebid, spectacular temple architecture

  • Bangalore, India's garden city at the cutting edge of technology

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Depart US Shortly after midnight today, catch your Singapore Airlines flight to Asia. Arrive in Singapore the next day, after crossing the International Dateline.
Day 2: Chennai (Madras) After a few hours layover in Singapore take an evening flight to Madras (Chennai).
Day 3: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry Start exploring South India by visiting Mahabalipuram , famous for its temples with ancient rock sculptures just next to the beach. Although the sculptures have been eroded by the winds and waves for more than a thousand years, they still remain very impressive. Later, arrive in Pondicherry, the former French colony with its distinctive streets, houses and ornamental gardens as well as the Aurobindo Ashram, a center for international living.
Day 4:  Pondicherry - Tanjore The Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram is significant, for its architectural splendor, rich traditions of worship and ceremony and its association with classical Indian music and dance. Continue onwards to the ancient temple at Darasuram, well known for its exquisite stone carving. Later arrive in Tanjore, another major temple city in the South.
Day 5: Tanjore Famous for another spectacular, thousand year old Shiva temple , Tanjore is a witness to the period's brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
Day 6: Tanjore - Madurai Leaving Tanjore head towards Trichy for a visit to the famous Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a rocky outcrop. Continue to Madurai, and its landmark Meenakshi Temple with 985 pillars, each exquisitely carved. Many of these are hewn from a single block of granite, and each produces a different musical tone when tapped! The city is crammed with shops and street markets, famous for its traditional handicrafts in bronze and brass.
Day 7: Madurai - Periyar Leaving the plains and temples behind, travel through the highlands to Kerala. With its expanse of tea and spice plantations, pristine valleys and forests, this was a haven of peace and quiet, then as now. Continue through the verdant countryside to the wildlife reserve of Lake Periyar; here, during an afternoon cruise on the lake you may see herds of wild elephants, exotic birds and other animals.
Day 8: Periyar - Kumarakom After another boat ride through the National Park early this morning, head for the coast. Drive past miles of rubber and coconut plantations before arriving at Lake Vembanad, with its meandering lagoons, mangroves and backwaters - a truly unique landscape. A boat ride takes you to your lakeside hotel.
Day 9: Kumarakom Enjoy a free day at your resort.
Day 10: Kumarakom - Cochin Enjoy another cruise through the tranquil backwaters today, before continuing to the port city of Cochin, one of the oldest European settlements in India. History comes alive as you visit a Jewish Synagogue originally built in 1544, a Catholic church where the explorer Vasco da Gama was buried in 1624 and a Dutch palace built by the Portuguese!
Day 11: Cochin to Mettupalaiyam Enjoy a free day in Cochin. Later this evening take an overnight train to Mettupalaiyam.
Day 12: Mettupalaiyam to Ooty From Mettupalaiyam take a spectacular mountain train journey, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which winds its way through many curves and tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens to Ooty. "Ooty" also known as Udagamandalam, is a picturesque town in the hills of Nilgiris, which means "Blue Mountains".
Day 15: Ooty - Mysore In the afternoon continue to Mysore, a former capital city famous for its silk, sandal-wood and incense trade, besides its traditions of South Indian music and culture.
Day 15: Mysore - Hassan

After visiting the former royal palace in Mysore, travel by road to Hassan. Visit two extraordinary 12th century temple complexes today: Belur, once the capital of the Hoysala Empire, is famous for its exquisite temples with intricate sculptures and friezes that took 103 years to build! The walls of the Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebid are covered with endless sculptures of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls, no two of which are the same. This magnificent temple - guarded by a Nandi bull - was never completed, despite 86 years of labor.

Day 16:  Hassan - Bangalore - Singapore Leave Hassan late this morning and head towards Bangalore, the information technology hub of India. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Bangalore, famous for its pretty gardens, temples and monuments before you have some free time for last minute shopping. Late this evening you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight to Singapore.
Day 16: Singapore - USA Land in Singapore early this morning, and after a brief transit stop, fly back to the US where you arrive on the same day.

Chennai (Madras), Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Madurai, Periyar, Cochin, Ooty, Mysore, Hassan, Belur, Halebid, Bangalore

16 Days from $2,760

South India & Kerala Independent Tour: Cochin, Chennai, Tanjore, Mysore, Periyar, Pondicherry and more
1/1 - 3/31/17 $3,220 $3,525
4/1 - 5/31/17 $2,760 $3,120
6/1 - 8/31/17 $3,240 $3,595
9/1 - 9/30/17 $2,998 $3,360
10/1 - 11/30/17 $3,450 $3,754
12/1 - 12/31/17 $3,955 $4,275
1/1 - 3/31/18 $3,460 $3,788
Single occupancy surcharge on request

Departs Daily

We offer two categories of accommodation: Silver hotels are carefully selected for their excellent value - all  rooms have private facilities. Gold hotels are better located, offer more spacious rooms with better amenities and a higher standard of service.
 The departure date determines the price applicable. All prices are per person and based on twin-share accommodation.

A $100 fee applies for bookings made within 16 days of the departure date.


Ornate tower of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, South India
Ornate temple tower in Madurai


Animal Cart, Kerala, India
Animal Carts are a common sight


South Indian classical dancer
South Indian classical dancer


Backwaters of Kerala
Backwaters of Kerala


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