India Trip Details 2020

Experience the colors, the complexity and the divine in Tamil Nadu, South India

Have you always wanted to go to India but are just waiting for the right opportunity? Or maybe you have traveled to another part of this vast and stunning country, and are excited to discover South India? This is your chance.

I will lead 8 guests on a journey to Tamil Nadu, the spiritual and historical ground zero of India. The trip lasts 14 days, from January 28 to February 11, 2020.

We'll stay in five places, all 5-star hotels, never for less than 2 nights in each. I want guests to have time to soak it up. To take it in. The itinerary leaves room for quiet time alone. It is also filled with rich cultural and culinary experiences, showing off the depth and range of South India.

custom trip to tamil nadu, south india

The state of Tamil Nadu goes right to the tip of India, along the Southeastern coast, facing the Bay of Bengal

Our journey stops at the special places I scouted over the past two years. From the modern and prosperous former capital of the British Raj, Chennai, to one of the oldest cities in South Asia, Madurai, guests will enjoy a parade of culture, exquisite lodgings and memorable events along the way.


Some of the experiences on this trip:

  • Visit local vegetable markets with a food expert

  • Take a guided Faith Tour to understand the role and variety of religions in South India

  • Learn about the evolution of curry at the grand Madras Club, a former British Officer's retreat, now an exclusive, members-only club for Chennai's elite

  • See a performance by classical Indian dancers at a leading dance school

  • Meet textile craftspeople and learn about their work

  • Participate in a Hindu ritual at the greatest temple of South India

  • Cook with villagers and share a meal in their home

  • Walk the jasmine fields, then visit the bustling flower market where they're sold to adorn the hair of devotees

  • Stroll a famous street food area and taste unusual dishes with a culinary expert

  • Tour the opulent mansions of Chettinad and have lunch with an architect couple who've lovingly restored an exemplary building

  • Make your own terracotta tiles with artisans devoted to preserving the craft

  • Relax with an Ayurvedic massage or a sound bath

  • Browse for collectibles in antique shops filled to the brim with framed pictures, bronze pieces, colorful enamel dishes and much more

  • Enjoy a private concert of sacred Carnatic music

  • Take an architectural tour of charming, French-influenced Pondicherry

  • Shop for block-print cottons, jewelry and crafts in small, curated boutiques

  • Get a behind-the-scenes tour of Auroville, an experimental community devoted to sustainable living and the transformation of consciousness


Details and Registration


Double room $8,450 USD
Single room   $9,850 USD

Please note: If we are not able to match you with another participant for a double room, single room prices will apply. Double room occupancy is on a first-come, first-served basis. Maximum number of guests is 10. Double rooms will always have 2 beds.

Register Now – Download the Registration Form, Terms & Conditions


We will be staying in the finest hotels of Tamil Nadu. It's very important to me that guests be comfortable. I've selected these for their high standards of hospitality, their unique personalities and their beauty. Have a look at these wonderful properties:

In Chennai, at the modern, chic Taj Coromandel

In Madurai, at the verdant, luxurious Gateway Hotel Pasumalai

In Chettinad, at the charming, restful Bangala

In Tanjore, at the soulful, serene Svatma

And in Pondicherry, at the tranquil, elegant Palais de Mahe



ARRIVALS January 28, 2020 in Chennai, India

We strongly recommend arriving 1-3 days early, if possible. You’ll want to adjust to the extreme time difference (10.5 hours), sleep away any flight discomfort, rest. Additional hotel nights are at the individual’s expense. But we can help you book the room.

Flights arrive in Chennai's international airport at odd hours, often after midnight or before dawn. A car and driver will await you and take you straight to the hotel.

Plan your flights accordingly, knowing your room will be ready from 3 pm onward on January 28. From New York, for example, I recommend an overnight flight to London, Paris or Frankfurt, departing January 26. You'll change to the second leg of the trip in Europe, arriving in Chennai in the wee hours of January 28.

The 10.5 hour time difference between NYC and India can be confusing; please pay close attention to your travel dates before booking tickets!

The trip officially begins on January 28, for an early evening welcome meal in a beautiful private home.


Arrive in Chennai January 28
Chennai - 4 nights
Quick morning flight to Madurai on February 1
Madurai - 2 nights
Chettinad - 3 nights
Thanjavur - 2 nights
Pondicherry - 3 nights

DEPARTURES February 11 from Chennai, after 8 pm


  • transfer from the airport to the hotel on arrival in Chennai

  • all guides, performances, entry fees and local experts during the 14-day itinerary

  • Air fare from Chennai to Madurai on day 5 of the trip

  • comfortable, private vehicle and driver for the group (mini-coach)

  • a full-time local resource, fluent in English, Tamil and Hindi

  • 14 nights at hotels in 5 locations

  • breakfast every day

  • most meals included

  • cooking classes

  • all applicable taxes

  • tips to guides and driver

  • maximum number of guests set to 10


  • international flights

  • some meals

  • drinks and personal expenses, such as laundry, mini-bar, massage and spa treatments

  • tips to porters

  • permits for photography/video, required at some sites (a modest fee)

  • Indian visa

  • travel insurance


Register Now – Download the Registration Form, Terms & Conditions

Nan Doyle