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7-Day Sundarbans Safari, Bangladesh (pre-tour extension available)

6-Day Ancient Capitals of Sri Lanka (post-tour extension available)

Experience the color, chaos, and a whole lot of living that is South India!  Echoes of the storied past reverberate through ancient architecture and culturally significant festivals that have been preserved for centuries.

The shore temples of Mahabalipuram are reminiscent of the Mayan ruins in Central America.  Marvel at the intricate stonework throughout this temple complex along the sea with shrines dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.  Explore bustling Kanchipuram, ‘The City of Thousand Temples’, and its thriving silk weaving industry from the time of the Phallavi kings.  Admire the dazzling colors of pure mulberry silk embellished with fine gold thread.

Delve into the intoxicating mix of French and Tamil cultural and architectural styles on a heritage walk through the French Quarter in Pondicherry.  Amble through the neat streets of blue doors, ochre buildings, and flower-laden filigreed balconies.  Be tempted by the finest cotton with French styling.

Stay in a lovely Kadavu home and meander through Mysore, the former capital, with regal palaces and magnificent views from the Chamundi Hills.  Refresh in the upland country with spice plantations and coffee estates.  Embrace the pastoral lifestyle in a traditional family estate home.  Visit an elephant conservation camp.  Relish this intimate time with elephants and their mahouts.  Stay in a luxury jungle resort and go on wildlife safaris, boat rides, and nature walks with the resident naturalist.

Settle into the pace of Kerala, a world away in a landscape of rice fields and coconut groves.  Explore an ancient temple town with its own elephants that are beautifully decorated during the festivals.  Relax on a private rice barge cruise along the backwaters with your personal cook who will prepare fresh seafood and local delicacies onboard.  Spend time in the active Jewish quarter and the aromatic spice market in  Cochin.  View the quintessential Chinese fishing nets at sunset over the Arabian Sea.  If you wish, photograph a behind the scenes elaborate stage make-up of the artists before they perform the Kathakali dance theater.  Enjoy a private home visit and a home-cooked lunch while learning about Kerala's matrilineal society.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  We have selected an eclectic range of upscale boutique hotels, lovely homestays, deluxe eco-lodge, and rice barge cruise boat to well-appointed modern superior hotels offering a variety of delectable cuisine with modern amenities.

FESTIVALS IN INDIA:  Celebrations in India, both religious and cultural, represent the main threads or framework of the society and often take place on traditional sites.  These festivals celebrate the faith, legends, myths, and history of this ancient civilization and are attended by folks who travel miles in every transport imaginable to attend these major social events.

Festivals have been our signature offering since the early 80's when we pioneered Ethnic Minority Study and Festival trips to China for UCLA Extension.  Celebrate a variety of local festivals including the Harvest Festival where locals dress up as gods and goddesses and dance and paint rangolis (creative designs made with powdered colors).  Be mesmerized at a Temple Dance Festival where artists from all over India perform the stunning classical dances. Photograph  Hindu devotees pull a towering chariot in an ancient village festival with a grand procession of over 30 beautifully decorated elephants, life-size paper mache horses, dancers, musicians with their orchestras, and ritualistic puppeteers.


Chennai * Mahabalipuram * Pondicherry * Bangalore * Mysore * Coffee Plantation Homestay * Wildlife Parks * Temple Towns * Kerala Backwater Cruise * Cochin

Trip Details

20 Days

Tour Dates

January 9 - 28, 2021 (Harvest Festival & Temple Dance Festival)

October 31 - November 19, 2021 (Chariot Festival)

Tour Price

2021 Land & Internal Air: $7280 per person (6+ members)

2021 Single Supplement: $2790

Trip Grading

Moderate / strenuous. Special local festival

Photo credit

Top & Middle: Katie Flannery

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