Glories of South India

A small group tour Led by Joan Pollock

From 28 January 2017 – 11 February 2017

From the architectural richness of Karnataka to the lush green Kerala and the stunning majestic temples of Tamil Nadu, this tour brings the startling contrast that is Southern India.Yet, all the facets, are bound together by a sense of history and timelessness. The stay in Sera Jey Monastry Bylakuppe is a special one arranged by Joan Pollock. Sera Jey Monastery is one of the principal seats of learning Gelugpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Mahabalipuram • Madurai • Munnar • Houseboat • Cochin • Mysore • Bylakuppe • Bangalore

Day 1 – Saturday 28 Jan – To Chennai

Fly from Heathrow to Chennai on direct British Airways flight.

Day 2 – Sunday 29 Jan – Chennai

On arrival drive to the Taj Fisherman’s cove hotel. Two nights. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Chennai, including St Thomas’s Cathedral, Fort St George and St Mary’s Church.

Day 3 – Monday 30 Jan – Mahabalipuram

Drive to the World Heritage town of Mahabalipuram, with its delicate Shore Temples, series of graceful Rathas and charming carved Ajuna’s Penance. Lunch at Shore Beach Restaurant.

Day 4 – Tuesday 31 Jan – To Madurai

Morning flight to Madurai. Sightseeing tour including the bazzar and an evening visit to the Meenakshi Temple to witness the “going to bed ceremony” when the statue of Lord Shiva is carried to the chamber of his wife, Parvati, on a silver chariot. The colourful procession, accompanied by musicians, Temple singers and priests is a cacophony of sound. Two nights at the Taj Gateway Madurai.

Day 5 – Wednesday 01 Feb – To Munnar

Wonderful scenic drive through the southern Ghats to the breathtakingly beautiful hill station of Munnar. We shall visit a tea plantations, and spice garden during our time in Munnar. One night at either the Windermere or Ambady Estates.

Day 6 – Thursday 02 Feb – To Alleppy

Morning drive to Alleppey. Board the Vaikundam to spend the afternoon cruising along the Backwaters in a traditional rice boat, a Kettuvallam, now converted into a relaxing Houseboat. Overnight on an air -conditioned Houseboat.

Day 7 – Friday 03 Feb – To Cochin

Disembark after breakfast and drive to Cochin. Two nights at the Taj Malabar hotel. Evening Kathakali dance performance – arrive early to watch the dancers apply their elaborate makeup.

Day 8 – Saturday 04 Feb – In Cochin

Morning sightseeing of Cochin includes the Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, the Chinese Fishing Nets and Jewish Synagogue. Evening sunset cruise round the harbour bay.

Day 9 – Sunday 05 Feb – To Mysore

Fly to Bangalore, four hour drive to Mysore. En-route visit Srirangapatna, once the home of Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan – The Tiger of Mysore. Three nights at Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel

Day 10 – Monday 06 Feb – In Mysore

Morning sightseeing tour of the lovely city of Mysore. Visits includes the Devraja market, Nandi Bull and the Mysore Royal Palace.

Day 11 – Tuesday 07 Feb – Mysore

Morning visit the superb Temple at Somnathpur built to glorify Hoysala craftsmanship. Afternoon visit to the Ranganthittoo Bird Sanctuary, which covers 209 Sq. miles. Enjoy a boat safari on the.Kaveri River accompanied by a trained naturalist.

Day 12 – Wednesday 08 Feb – To Sera Je Monastery, Bylakuppe

Drive to Bylakuppe. A two hour drive for a two nights stay at the Sera Monastery. We shall be looked after by the monks of House No 2. Experience life in a Tibetan monastery. There is also a thriving Tibetan community with fifteen settlements where Tibetan refugees are self sufficient.. Stay two nights at a Guest House on campus.

Day 13 – Thursday 09 Feb – Sera Je Monastery

Full day at the Sera Je and be shown round the extensive grounds by the monks. Observe a day in the like of a Tibetan Monk.

Day 14 – Friday 10 Feb – To Bangalore

Drive to Bangalore. Overnight in an airport hotel.

Day 15 – Saturday 11 Feb – To Heathrow

Fly to Heathrow on direct British Airways flight.

About the tour leader Joan Pollock

Joan Pollock image

I am a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years my focus has been on teaching rather than research and I have taught interdisciplinary science with the UK’s Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. Teaching at both universities has included running field trips on which students learned about assessing biodiversity, the impact of environmental factors on plant growth and processes such as succession. I am really keen to encourage people to look at how organisms interact with their environment, particularly at a time when we can see that environment changing. I would like to do this in Kasmir and Ladakh by looking at how the vegetation changes with factors such as altitude and rainfall and also at how primary succession allows the colonisation of bare ground. The Himalayas, with their natural beauty and the fact that so many British garden plants have their origins here, make an ideal location for this.


  • Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis £2,845.00
  • Single room supplement £325.00

Cost Includes:

  • International & internal flights in economy class.
  • Accommodation with en-suite facilities.
  • Half Board meals throughout. Full Board arrangements in Munnar and on the Houseboat.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by a Toyota Innova Cars and Coach.
  • Entry fee to monuments and places of interest.
  • Entry fee and services of a local English speaking guide.
  • Services of Joan Pollock as Tour Leader
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding

Cost does not include:

  • Visa Fess for India-British passport holders can now obtain an E-Tourist Visa online.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc
  • Travel Insurance.


It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

Please ensure:

  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
  • It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
  • It covers you for all activities.
  • Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
  • If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.
  • If you have any question about your cover, please check with your insurer.

For a comprehensive travel insurance quote – please click here


If you wish to book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.

Click here to download the booking form.

Read our Booking Terms and Conditions


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