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 flit around in search of crumbs. Breathe in – you’re in Southern India.
This is a fertile, verdant landscape, watered by the monsoon rains; beautiful coastlines, 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 Bangalore before we travel to the beautiful hill country of the Wayanad, nestled among the Western Ghats. Here, our walks lead us through grasslands and valleys, forests and plantations. At Guruvayur, we’ll see Kerala’s most important shrine.
Taking a breather at Kumarakom, on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, we’ll cruise along Kerala’s famous backwaters and enjoy a peaceful sunrise walk. 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, one of the oldest cities in south Asia, has the elaborately sculptured Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which we visit before we fly to Chennai for one night and connect with our flight home.