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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

South Indian Images DS

Visiting: India
Tour Duration 15 Days
  • Mysore Palace
  • Keshava temple
  • Scenery in the Western Ghats
  • Waiting for a fare
  • Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Busy
  • Tour Comfort: Standard
 

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9 reviews for this tour

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the South Indian Images tour available at present.

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10 Peter Lunt, 14/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"Temple ceremonies. The Steam Rack Railway journey to Ooty. The Kerala Backwaters.
The passing scene from our coach was always interesting. The city of Mysore. Visits to local crafts and producers.  A holiday filled with full and varied interest"

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10 Jen, 09/11/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I loved all of it - from the action packed first day where we visited four different sites and enjoyed a train journey, to the half day's relaxation at the end, when most of the group couldn't stop visiting temples and we continued by ourselves when the itinerary ran out...  Meenakshi temple with its two deities and fantastic paintings and decorations, stopping at a flower market to make friends, learning to cook in Thekkady, the train ride to Ooty, (where a kind young man on honeymoon with his new wife, gave me his camera batteries when mine ran out), fantastic palace at Mysore, and Somnathpur Kesava temple (an optional extra which was well worth doing).  And Indian sweets... oh, for some mysore pak...

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10 Clare, 17/07/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Too many memorable moments to pick one. A list of impressive experiences includes Nilgiri Hills railway, the hotel in Ooty, charity school at Mamalapuram, Kochi sunset cruise and some ad hoc interactions at events at side of road.

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10 Steve, 17/07/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

For me it was Nilgiri Hills Railway.

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0 DD, 16/05/11
Perhaps I’d strayed onto an “Explore In Style” holiday?  The hotels on this trip were all really posh, yet here I was in full “Rohan Explorer” mode, bearing mozzie stuff, trekking towel , Immodium – the works.  I also found myself in the company of 17 people considerably older than me (which doesn’t happen much nowadays) – only one of whom was travelling solo.  This presented  quite a different experience from my previous trips, but what a brilliant holiday it turned out to be.  The star was of course India herself – endlessly fascinating and a riot of colour at every turn.  Our experiences were further enhanced by (yet another) brilliant Explore Tour Guide, Lukose Thomas.  We didn’t use any local guides, so Lukose really was on duty 24/7, yet remained  the epitome of professional courtesy – knowledgeable, friendly and understated (and a great source of Gin and Tonic!)  His greatest talent was the “loaves and fishes” miracle he performed with the tips kitty – somehow our original £30 stretched to cover every single eventuality during the fortnight – if only Chancellors possessed his magic touch…  So many highlights – the steam train to Ooty, backwater boating in Kerala, waterside dining at Kochi (the food was fabulous throughout).  The itinerary is well balanced, with opportunities to take off  exploring on your own (or to collapse by the many poolsides).  Try to meet up with Raj “King of the Rickshaws” outside the temple at Madurai.  He’ll doubtless spot you as he is a demon hustler and will take you on a wonderful tour of the city and its fascinating markets and street life.  Indians are tremendously hospitable and friendly and endlessly wanted to take my picture (and I’m  no Kate Moss!)    Ayurvedic massage is a speciality in this region, so I sampled it everywhere.  First prize goes to the hotel to the left of The Seagull Restaurant in Kochi and the cheapest (also very good) was at Mettupalayam.    Needless to say, the shopping opportunities are fabulous –  silks, essential oils, spices, all at knock down prices.  Look out for the essential oils van in the Botanical Gardens at Ooty – divine!  All the temples are visiited at the beginning of the trip and you must dress very conservatively - below the knee trousers/skirts and covered shoulders.  Take several pairs of old socks for walking around as you must remove your shoes and the socks get absolutely filthy.  You also need loo paper and wet tissues (to attempt to clean your feet afterwards and for most loos).      Saving the best until last, we were welcomed at the school at Pudupattinam (a fishing community devastated by  the tsunami) by some very excited little people, with homemade garlands and beautiful pictures.  A rousing chorus of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” was led by a previously reserved member of our party – to great delight all round.  The whole community is being helped to raise their standard of living by educating the children, so please do take some craft items/stationery and a bit of dosh as the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the children and teachers for their Explore visitors is truly humbling.  (You can buy stationery at Thekkady or Ooty, but stuff from the UK has novelty value and you can leave it in the bus for most of the trip).   If you want a gentle introduction to this wonderful land, with plenty of variety (scenery, transport used ..) then this is the trip for you.  The people are welcoming and friendly, the climate and food are fabulous (bit nippy in Ooty – do take a fleece).  The whole itinerary is designed to maximise your fortnight, without killing you in the process - only 2 early starts!  This trip will definitely whet your appetite to discover more of this endlessly fascinating subcontinent. (DS - 5th February 2011)
 
0 MEK, 11/02/11
Excellent tour leader in Lukose Thomas. He was interesting, very well-informed, and unflappable.   A delightful person. The only part of the programme that we would like to have changed in the time in Ooty:  the train jpourney was magnificent, but the hotel (Sullivan Court)) although a good standard, it was so out of place in an old colonial refuge.  We would rather have stayed ina less well-appointed hotel that fittedin with the colonial past of the town. Too much time at the Doddabeta Peak, which was very crowded, and the Tea factory was very run-down. We would like to have seen St Stephen's Chych and other buildings from the Colonial Era. We enjoyed the Botanical gardens, and could have spent more time there if we had free time. Many other highspots:  the Kerala Backwaters; The Minakshi Temple in Madurai; The soapstone temple in Somanphur; the sea and boats at Kochi and Mamallapuram; the variety of travel - train, bus, minibus, boat; delightful company, as always. (DS - 8th January 2011)
 
0 Stuart Forster, 11/02/11
This tour covered a lot of ground and a variety of features in two weeks: Ancient history (Trichy; Mammalapuram) and colonial history (Kochi; Mysore); Hindu culture (Madurai); everyday life (brick making; rubber plantations); Activities (Nilgiri Hills steam train; Kerala canal cruise). Tour leader Lukose Thomas provided good optional activities and information - His local knowledge got us invited to a Pongal (End of Harvest) Celebration in Madurai. For me, this tour was a good introduction to India. (DS - 9th January 2011)
 
0 Anne Marsh, 11/02/11
whether its your 1st visit or like us your 5th this tour ticks all the boxes for a full on India experience.The temples are stunning you can feel the history yet still full of  people and  packs sensory overload, mixing with the locals and visiting their deities. I ended up at  a wedding pulled right to the front by the family and encouraged to take  photos of the bride, groom and priests, imagine  if you tried that one in England!! The tour uses lots of different ways of  getting around. My favourite was the overnight train not exactly the softest bed I've ever slept on but great fun, just remember to pack a sense of humour and maybe earplugs for the snoring. Food is superb, vegetarians will be in heaven, one of the best was an all you can eat veg thali in a tiny local food shop, washed down  by a glass of horlicks (optional) with change from 75p. Don't miss the dancers in Kochi or if you are a photo nut - the Chinese fishing nets at sunset pure travel magazine shots. Would have loved to have seen the view from the peak above Ooty reported to be one of South India's best but the clouds had decided to meet the valley floor and we were lucky if we could see each other - cue for hot roast nuts  and steaming mugs of spiced tea also rather fetching  bobble hats at 20p each. If you like to sit about, take things, easy laze by a pool and spend hours reading a book then go on a different tour. However if you are curious to see the lives that real people live, smell some interesting odours, avoid very large cows and experience an alternative driving style on the roads (if its not your day to die  you can overtake anywhere) then this is the one. Lukos the tour leader is great, pointing us in the right direction and  getting us to the stations on time, as well as knowing where the best food could be had and what you really needed to see (and  a couple of things you maybe didn't think you wanted to see). This tour is tremendous value, the hotel standards are really high, even the waterfront one in Kochi which appeared to be run by staff from Faulty Towers but made up for it with the view. The tour ends with two nights at a lovely beach resort and if visiting the school any primary level teaching stuff or paper/pens etc would be welcome if you have space in your bag, do visit them and see the huge difference the school is making. India is a big place with some wonderful sights this tour gives you a big slice of them, and leaves you wanting more. Here's to the next time I should have bought that Bronze casting and another couple of bracelets from the market. (1st October 2010)
 
0 Sarah King (Explore Staff), 29/12/10
My first Explore tour and my first time to India! And what a great tour to start with! What I liked most about the tour is the varied forms of transport used. From chatting to locals on the trains to whizzing through the traffic in a tuk-tuk, it gave me a real sense that I was experiencing “Real India”. We also made a number of non-itinerary stops to see tea pickers in the fields, workers collecting rubber from the trees and the colourful flower markets.    There are a lot of temples, churches and historical buildings throughout the tour which are archeologically fascinating as well as beautiful. My favourites were The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, a Hindu Temple that has 14 colourful temples, and the Maharajahs Palace in Mysore which still has ornate furnishings and décor. On our way to Kochi we took boat ride through the Backwaters, although overcast it was still a great way to see life along the waters edge. Kochi is great for those last minute buys and it was great to end the tour in Mamallapuram, although I had enjoyed the tour this was a great place to relax for a few days before coming home. (DS - 4th April 2009)
 
 
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