Hillsides lush with the emerald green of tea plantations stretch out before you, touching the blue horizon. Women, brilliant in jewel coloured saris, chat happily as they nimbly pluck the leaves, and flash you shy smiles as you wander past. The delicious scent of spices wafts past as they take their lunch, and colourful birds and butterflies flit around in search of crumbs. Breathe in – you’re in Southern India.
This is a fertile, verdant landscape, watered by the monsoon rains; lakes, inland waterways, green plains and undulating hills are there for you to discover. Nature’s colours seem more vivid in the south; the pace of life is mellow, and the cuisine rich in exotic fruits, vegetables and spices.
Our journey begins in India’s garden city of Mysore before we travel into Kerala to the beautiful hill country of the Wayanad, nestled among the Western Ghats. Here, our walks lead us through paddy fields, forests and plantations. We will walk to panoramic viewpoints with views across verdant countryside. At Guruvayur, we’ll see Kerala’s most important shrine. We also have time to explore the old town of Cochin.
Taking a breather at Kumarakom, on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, we’ll cruise along Kerala’s famous backwaters and Lake Vembanad itself and explore village life, two timeless experiences. From both Munnar, at the centre of Kerala’s tea growing region, and the Raj-era hill station of Kodaikanal, perched on top of the Palani range, our walks in the surrounding hill country offer us unparalleled vistas as we explore tea plantations, shola forests, tranquil villages and waterfalls.
Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, one of the oldest cities in south Asia. A highlight here is elaborately sculptured Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. We have time to explore before we fly to Chennai for one night and connect with our flight home.