|Naga Goddess, Belur|
week South India travel itinerary. While outside of Southeast Asia, we thought we'd answer it with an article since of our editor lived in Southern India most of the last half decade.
A:I suggest you begin in Southern Kerala, in Kochi (Cochin), and work your way up the Malabar Coast all the way to Mangalore. From there, you can drive or take a bus on a good, mostly new highway connecting it to Bangalore. From Bangalore you can easily traverse across another good road or take the Shatabdi Express Train to Chennai.
It would be leisurely time. Cochin is right in the Backwaters. From there, you can easily organize your trip to the backwaters while you explore a place that was an ancient confluence of cultures. The Kochin Jewish community here dates back to the Babylon Exile and Nestorian Christians already long established here when the first Catholic missionaries came to India.
After the backwaters and seeing a beautiful peak at India's human and natural landscape, you could hop over to an Arabian Gulf beach. Whether you want one that is one of the new "hot spots" for backpackers or try to find one less touched, it is easy from here. You could even plan on visiting both as you work your way north!
|Carving from Halebid Temple|
Halebid and Belur lie halfway between Mangalore and Bangalore. They are popular with Indian tourists, but over the weekends there will be very few. They are very significant examples of Southern India art and architecture. It is best to hire a driver or rent a car, but tour operators can help you arrange things if you need help.
|Between Bangalore and Chennai|
If you liked, you could travel to Chennia from here. Take the Shatabdi Express train to Chennai. If you don't do a lot of train travel it can be a fun and comfortable trip. I used to commute back and forth from Chennai and Bangalore and take the midnight express and be in Chennai fairly early in the morning.
|Kanchipuram Temple Carving|
If you go as far as Chennai, then you will have crossed Southern India to the Bay of Bengal. If you can, go to Mahabalipuram. If is again very popular with Indian tourists. There are several excellent resorts like Marina Beach that although expensive are well worth it. They would be a very relaxing place for a few days more on the seaside before probably facing the horror that is flying out of India. I am not sure about now, but when I flew out of Chennai in February I stood in the security line for two and a half hours because they are remodeling one wing!
This would be a very great trip over three weeks and let you see a large swath of Southern India culture, nature and people.