South India: Adventurous Dravidian land with cultureold - Novoto

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India is so much more than just the tourist belt of the Golden Triangle. Visit majestic cities of Pondicherry and Madurai to offbeat destinations like Hampi and Marari. Witness the pious proceedings of Meenalakshmi temple, create the world-famous Chettinad Pepper Chicken, and roam in Pondicherrys’s french quarters.Make the best of these 15 days, as you embark on an adventure to discover the south of India! Look forward to exploring amazing towns, cities, and villages and embracing south Indian culture in the ‘‘Travel for Good’’ authentic experience which awaits you!

Trip Highlights

Food tour in Madurai and a visit to the famous “Amma’s Mess”

A guided tour to Pondicherry and French quarters

Jungle trek & bamboo rafting in Thekkady

Cultural village experience in Alleppey

Watch Keralite folk dance and mixed martial arts

What’s Included?

Accommodation : 13 nights (1 overnight train)

Attractions & experiences: 21included

Tour leader, 24X7 backup and pre-departure support

Meals: 14 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 4 dinners

All domestic transport and transfer


  • 15 days, 10 stops
  • Is this for you?
  • Max group size: 12
  • Difficulty Level: Light
  • Age Requirement: Designed for 18-35s

Where does your money go?

Read More..

Day 1: Arrive Kochi


Welcome on board for an adventure! Excited? Sure you are! After landing at Cochin International Airport, you will be greeted by the team and your tour leader. It will be followed by a short drive to the hotel. After freshening up, you will take part in the Meet Your Crew Session during which you will meet all your fellow mates and the team will share some important information about the entire trip. Later on, hit the town with your new gang to explore the variety of options this city has to offer such as fisherman’s cove and Jew town. After all, its the Crew Bonding Night Out which calls for drinks and a lot of fun!

NOTE – The trip starts with a full-day program early morning on Day 2. Make sure you arrive anytime on Day 1 latest. If you are arriving a day before, please let us know in advance so that we can arrange your accommodation.

What’s included

  • Transfer from Airport
  • Meet Your Crew Session
  • Kochi Jew Town walk with street food
  • Crew Bonding Night Out
  • Dinner
  • Twin Accommodation: Bastian Homestay 

Impact inclusions:

Get introduced to the culture of South India in an interactive group session hosted by your tour leader!

Day 2: Cheruthuruthy

Meeting local craftsmen and artists

After a good night’s sleep, we are fully charged to start the trip with you. We head to Cheruthuruthy where you will meet different craftsmen and artists who live on the banks of the river Nila, especially the famous potter Gopalan. Also, you will be attending a musical trail show and visting a women’s cooperative to interact with them in order to learn about the cooperative movement in Kerala. The evening is dedicated for independent activities with your crew!

What’s included

  • Visit to mat weaving unit and local potters
  • Musical Trail show
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: River Retreat

Impact inclusions

Visit local potters and women’s cooperative to learn about local trades and social movements in Kerala!

Day 3: Cranganore


After having an early breakfast, we drive towards Cranganore. Today, you will be inspired by Pokkali, a unique community-based initiative by local farmers to preserve and conserve one of its kind, the saline-tolerant strain of rice, threatened by extinction. Later on, you will take part in Cranganore orientation walk which would imply visiting Muziris to check out the Jewish Synagogue and Cheraman mosque. Finally, make your way to the beautiful coastal town of Marari, your home for the next two days!

What’s included

  • Your Responsible Activity: Pokkali
  • Cranganore orientation walk
  • Breakfast and Lunch
  • Twin Accommodation: Sea Scape

Impact inclusions

Attend an insightful activity to learn how farmers are trying to protect their traditional livelihood

Day 4: Marari

Beach day!

Today, you are free for independent activities. Marari unlike other beaches in Kerala is untamed. So, hit the Arabian sea, Explore With Your Crew and wash off all your worries by bonding with them and having a good time!

What’s included

  • Explore With Your Crew
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: Sea Scape

Day 5: Alleppey

Exploring backwaters

Today, we take a short trip up the road to the world-famous Kerala backwaters. You will go on an authentic village tour in Alleppey. Learn about this amazing community, drift through the picturesque paddy fields and form memories. Have Your Rural Experience while canyoning in the mesmerizing Alleppey backwaters. This will be topped off with lunch prepared by a local family which is a great opportunity to interact with locals and engage in a cultural exchange. Return to Marari and spend the night there.

What’s included

  • Your Rural Experience: Alleppey backwaters excursion
  • Overnight in Marari
  • Breakfast & Lunch
  • Twin Accommodation: Sea Scape

Impact inclusions

Explore the backwaters of Alleppey and interact with local families to learn about the village way of life

Day 6: Thekkady

Wow! Bravo! Encore!

Today, you are heading deep inside God’s own country. Yes, we are talking about Kerala. Make your way into the lush town ‘Thekkady’. On your way, you will visit a spice plantation to learn about the exotic spices grown in this region. On arrival, check into your accommodation. The afternoon is free for you to gather your energy for the evening as you will be a spectator to two powerful Keralite performances – Kathakali, an age-old traditional Keralite dance form, and Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial arts form originating in this state.

What’s included

  • Visit to spice plantation
  • Kalaripayattu martial arts show
  • Kathakali cultural dance performance
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: Stay Melody

Impact inclusions

Brace yourself for two power-packed performances that take you back in time to give you an insight into Kerala’s traditions!

Day 7: Thekkady

Safari on foot

Safari time! Today, you will go deep into the Periyar Tiger Reserve for an adventurous trek through the forest. Although it would be gold to spot a tiger, coming across beautiful creatures like elephants, deers, monkeys and a wide variety of birds is very common. This will be followed by an exciting bamboo rafting activity in the Periyar lake. You are bound to be mesmerised by the rich flora and fauna in this tranquil environment.

What’s included

  • Periyar Tiger Reserve safari with Bamboo Rafting
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: Stay Melody

Impact inclusions

The wildlife safari offers a unique proposition to support locals who work in the reserve. Many of them are ex-poachers who have taken a u-turn and now protecting this habitat

Day 8: Madurai

Light up your soul!

Today, we leave Kerala for Tamil Nadu. After having a delicious breakfast, we travel down to Madurai by private vehicle. Unpack after reaching the hotel. Relax for a while. In the evening, we go on a food tour, starting from the very famous South Indian restaurant- Amma’s Mess. Later, if you wish to, you can witness a night procession in Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple which is sure to light up your soul!

What’s included

  • Madurai street food walk
  • Breakfast & Dinner
  • Twin Accommodation: Royal Homestay

Impact Inclusions

Witness the Hindu procession in Meenakshi Temple. It is a first-hand experience for you to understand the traditions!

Day 9: Madurai/Kumbakonam

Temple town

A long day! After breakfast, you will go for a heritage walk through the Temple Town. Explore the innermost areas of this historic city on foot, including the iconic Thirumalai Nayakar Palace and stone sculptures in addition to the bustling tailor’s, banana, flower, and vegetable markets. Later in the afternoon, you will make your way to Kumbakonam and spend the night there.

What’s included

  • Temple town guided tour
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: Shivamurugan

Impact inclusions

Explore the bazaars of Madurai which have been there for centuries and get exposed to the local lifestyle!

Day 10: Kumbakonam/Pondicherry

Ever heard the word 'Vedic'?

This morning, you will visit the legendary vedic school, Raja Veda Kavya Patasala, which has produced renowned scholars and pundits since its establishment in 1542. Get to learn about ancient Vedic studies. You will also visit Ramamohan’s house for Kalamkari workshop, an ancient art form that has been passed on from generation to generation. Later on, you will be transferred to the colonial coastal town of Pondicherry. On the map, it looks like this town is in Tamil Nadu but it is one of the few Union Territories of India. The evening is free for leisure activities.

What’s included

  • Kumbakonam classical trail
  • Breakfast
  • Dorm Accommodation: Gurukulam Hostel

Impact inclusions

Get a cultural exposure to an arts form and an education system which are very unique to South India and its heritage!

Day 11: Pondicherry

Gotta appreciate the French

Time to check out The France of India! Today, we go on a Morning Heritage Walk through the French Quarter seeing the historic areas of the city. Admire the architecture, serenity, and the clear contrast in surroundings; as you feel that you have stepped in a small French city. In the afternoon, we will go on the Tamil Town Trail, both on foot and with Rickshaw rides. The Tamil side of town is busy and colourful, with Hindus, Muslims, and Christians living here. Later on, we will walk through the local bazaar to witness the daily life and take a rickshaw ride to see residential areas.

What’s included

  • French Quarter and Tamil Town trail
  • Breakfast
  • Dorm Accommodation: Gurukulam Hostel

Impact Inclusions

Witness the clear contrast in culture and traditions, between the French quarter and the Tamil town. India is truly diverse!

Day 12: Pondicherry/Hampi

Finally an overnight train!

The morning is free to take at your own pace. Pondicherry has a lot to offer including the world-famous Auroville – a universal city in the making dedicated to human unity. Later on, we check out and leave Pondicherry to reach Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. On the way, you have an option to visit Mahabalipuram which is known for its unique temples. Basically, it’s an Explore With Your Crew kinda day and we are sure you don’t to miss the fun with them! In the evening, you will catch an overnight train to Hampi and packed dinner will be provided to you.

What’s included

  • Explore With Your Crew
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Overnight Train to Hampi

Impact Inclusions

You do not want to miss experiencing the famous sleeper train in India!

Day 13: Hampi

Soaking in mesmerising landscape

You have arrived at your last stop but we saved the best for the last! Voted #2 on Lonely Panel’s best global destination of 2019, Hampi’s mesmerizing landscape, its unique community, and the ever-present hippie vibe is sure to leave a lasting impression in your heart. You will be picked up from the station and then transferred to Your Authentic Stay in Anegundi village. On arrival, enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by your host Meenaxi – best chef in Hampi. Later on, you will be taken for an orientation tour around the village by Murli, Hampi’s famous guide, to give you an insight into the community, which has been there since the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. You will also have the opportunity to do some coracle rafting in the Tungabhadra river. The rest of the day is free for leisure!

What’s included

  • Your Authentic Stay
  • Anegundi Orientation walk
  • Tungabhadra Coracle ride
  • Breakfast
  • Twin Accommodation: Meenaxi Sarovar

Impact inclusions

The village orientation tour is meant for you to learn about this community. Legends say that the residents here are direct descendants of the Vijayanagara Empire

Day 14: Hampi

Don't want this to end!

This is your last day so in the morning, after breakfast, you will take part in Your Impact event which is an interactive closure session at the village library to discuss the trip. At Novoto, we constantly strive to make sure our expeditions have a positive impact on both the host communities and our travelers. Exchange ideas, provide insight, and let us know how we can make an even greater impact. The rest of the day is for you to Explore With Your Crew. Go and have the best time with them. You will have the option to explore Hampi’s group of monuments or just relax in one of the many laid-back shacks. Make the most of this day and End With A Bang Night by chilling the way you want to. The nostalgia will grow stronger and stronger!

What’s included

  • Your Impact Event
  • Explore With Your Crew
  • End With A Bang Night
  • Breakfast & Dinner
  • Twin Accommodation: Meenaxi Sarovar

Day 15: Departure

Goodbye 🙁

The last 15 days have been a roller coaster! You will have experienced Indian culture, relished the food, conversed with locals, made a lasting impact on local businesses, and have a lifetime of memories to take back! However, just like all good things, this too has to come to an end. We assure you this is going to be the toughest part! Bidding goodbye to the new experiences and getting back home. Your friends and family will be waiting for you, undoubtedly jealous of your adventure! 

NOTE: Make sure you book your flights for later this day or next day so that it leaves you time to reach the nearest airport, i.e in Bangalore/Hyderabad. You can also choose to spend a few extra days in this beautiful country! And if that is the case, please let us know in advance so that we can make arrangements accordingly.

What’s included

  • Breakfast

Enabling to make sustainable travel a regular practice


Supporting local businesses dependant on tourism


Promoting cultural exchange, via conversation with locals


Catering to your personal growth as travelling can be your best teacher


Supporting rural communities through your experiences


Be in touch 24x7

Verified and comfortable homestays makeup for your accommodations. Travel India and live like Indians!

Friendly Staff

Our staff is very friendly, and are there to make your experience comfortable

Authentic Service providers

We partner up with local accommodations and activity providers in destinations you visit

Get the right information

From booking your tour to the end of your trip and beyond, we will be here to support you in every step

Efficient Safety and health facilities

Travelling to a new country can be daunting but don’t worry cause your health is our priority

Homestays instead of hotels

Authentic homestays makeup for most of your staying accommodations. Live the local way

Interaction with local individuals

Nobody can provide you with an experience as authentic as the amicable locals. Through them, get to know a destination!


Experienced personnel

Your tour guide and hosts are extremely experienced, having served travellers like you for a long time

Visiting off-beat destinations

Besides the popular destinations, we also run city tours, witnessing cultural performances, and visiting unmissable attractions in South India

Try Local Food

Whether it is Idiyappam with Curry or a Veg Thali in Kerala; make sure that you try the local flavour. You’ve got travel experience, and so does your palate!

Look forward to what the day has to offer. Enjoy the breakfast provided by the host family at 8:30 AM. Freshen up, and get ready. By 9:30, join your fellow travelers for an exciting day. Get greeted by Novoto executives, as they take you sight-seeing as per the daily itinerary.

At noon, we make a stop for lunch and refreshments. After lunch, we continue with the sight-seeing with regards to the schedule. Enjoy your day as you come across well-known and new destinations.After 5 PM, the evening is usually kept free for a range of independent activities with fellow travellers. Occasionally, there shall be organised social events in the evening.

Finally, dinner is provided as per the schedule in the itinerary. Then of course, rest and think about the fond memories created in South India. 

Are flights included in my trip?

International flights booked for arrival/ departure have not been included in our travel fee. It must be purchased separately.
However, in case of any inquiries, you can contact us.

Which flight should I take?

There are multiple flights arriving at the Cochin International Airport.
During departure, you are welcome to take a train to Bangalore or Hyderabad, and then a flight to your destination.

What do I do about the visa?

You will be required to obtain either an Indian E-Visa (you can check your eligibility here – or apply in person at your nearest Indian Embassy prior to your travels.

What are the extra costs that I should keep in mind?

The itinerary has been curated with the most observant prior due diligence. Any additional expenses individuals incurred during the tour are at their own discretion, such as any shopping and souvenirs they might wish to purchase, additional meals and activities not mentioned in the itinerary, and of course, the booze.

What do I carry?

For a trip of 15 days, you would be better off with a light packing. Carry comfortable footwears and light clothes. Make sure you carry the essentials- your passport, VISA, and Indian currency.
Oh also, leave some room in your suitcases. You never know what you might like to buy here.

Is tipping included?

No, tipping has not been included in your travel plan. It’s up to you to decide the amount for the same. We totally respect your discretion.

Who are my travel companions?

We very much believe in privacy. Hence, we are sorry that we cannot reveal their names. However, we have a wide range of travellers from all over the world who you will meet on your first day.

How do I contact, in case of an emergency?

No need to worry! We have our on-ground team for your assistance. Besides that, you can get in touch with us through our social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can call us on our helpline.

Can I join a trip late, or extend my stay?

As much as we would LOVE you to join us, it will be difficult for us to accommodate you in an already on-going trip.
Good news? You are more than welcome to extend your stay, but the expenses for the same have to be taken by you.

Is there any minimum age requirement?

Although our trips are designed for 18-35s, we don’t believe in limiting it to them. So, as long as you’re 18+, feel free to be a part of the tours!

Does Novoto provide me with a travel insurance?

Unfortunately, no. We leave that to your discretion to book travel insurance of your choice.

Will there be any showcase?

Definitely! Your entire experience would be well-documented in the form of videos, and also in other means as approved by the group.

What’s the weather like?

April to September is summer in India where temperatures are generally soaring around 40 C at most destinations in this tour. From October onwards the temperatures start going down averaging around 28 C during the day at most locations.

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