Southern India

Birding in Southern India
AT A GLANCE
India. The world in one country. It is home to over 1.3 billion people but also hosts 9% of all mammalian, 13% of all avian, 8% of all reptilian, 6% of all amphibian, and 6% of all flowering plant species of the world. This is a country that conjures up images of colour, sacred architecture, diversity, culture, Hindu mythology, mountains and jungles, spicy cuisine, texture, Bollywood, tigers and excitement!
India will blaze in your memory long after you’ve left its shores. Southern India is home to some of the best national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in all of India. Most of these parks are located on the sides of the Western Ghats Mountains, one of the 35 biodiversity ‘hot spots’ on earth due to their large volume of endemic species and diversity. The term “Western Ghats” evokes curiosity, wonder and fascination amongst nature lovers and particularly for birders. The word “ghat” means “steps leading to water” but is often roughly translated as “mountain” or “hill”, and so the “Western Ghats” refers to the chain of mountains and hills that run in a north-south direction in western India and separate the Deccan Plateau from a narrow coastal strip along the Arabian Sea.

This Southern India Nature Travel Birding tour is specifically designed to see all of the 24 Western Ghats endemics as well as most of the 68 South Indian endemics, along with more than 500 species of birds in the peninsula, as well as the endemic mammals like the Nilgiri Tahr and the Nilgiri Langur.

Our journey will take us through the dry forests of Mysore and Mudumalai, high altitude montane forests and grasslands at Munnar, Ooty, and finally to fabulous Thattekkad and Cochin.

Highlights of this trip include:
• Nilgiri and western Ghats endemic avifauna
• Wildlife experience of Asian Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Spotted Deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Sambar, Muntjac
• Old British hill station of ‘Ooty’
• Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• A glimpse of the fantastic culture and scenery of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala
• Amazing landscapes, including the “blue” mountains, lakes and pristine forests
• Excellent Southern Indian food
Let’s go birding in Incredible India!

Please note: This trip can be combined with our 6-day Andaman Island extension. See some extra information at the bottom of this itinerary. Let us know if you want more detail on this fantastic extra birding trip with its high endemic species count.

NEXT TOUR: To be confirmed
ITINERARY – SOUTHERN INDIA BIRDING TOUR
Day 1:
Arrival in India (Bengaluru) and drive to Mysuru

You will arrive at Kempegowda International Airport just outside Bengaluru in central southern India in the morning, and met by your guide and driver.
You will not see much of the megacity Bengaluru, but it is one of India’s most progressive and developed cities. Sometimes called the IT capital of India, the city is blessed with a benevolent climate, a modern metro system and a burgeoning dining and shopping scene. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and cosmopolitan city of around 10 million people.

Our tour will basically start straight away. Our first bird sightings should include Black Drongo and Indian Roller that often perch along the roadside wires. We will drive to an area good for vultures and then on to Ranginathittu Bird Sanctuary, a drive of approximately 80 km (50 miles). Ranganathittu attained the status of a bird sanctuary in 1940, courtesy of the visions of India’s noted ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. During his survey of the birds of Mysuru, Dr. Ali advocated for the establishment of such a sanctuary.

We will enjoy our first serious birdwatching in this fabulous compact bird sanctuary. We will definitely take a casual boat trip on the Kaveri River. Here you’ll get seriously close-up views of the breeding stork and egret colony, Spot-billed Pelicans and any other fly-by species. Expect to see Plain Flowerpecker, Streak-throated Swallow, White-spotted Fantail, River Tern as well as stunning views of Painted, Open-billed and Woolly-necked Stork. You could also see Black Ibis and Indian Eagle-Owl, but the latter is more difficult.
The drive from here to the “city of palaces”, Mysuru, will take around 2 ½ hours.

The historic city of Mysuru (which changed its name from Mysore in 2014) is one of South India’s most enchanting cities. The city is famous for its glittering royal heritage and magnificent monuments and buildings. Its UNESCO World Heritage-listed royal palace (second only to the Taj Mahal in terms of tourist popularity within the country) is what brings most travellers here. Mysuru is also rich in tradition and culture, with a fantastic bazaar district full of spice stores and incense stalls. The city is often referred to as the cleanest in all of India. It is also famous for its 10-day Dasara festival in September/October each year that attracts visitors from afar. Ashtanga yoga is another drawcard and there are several acclaimed schools that attract fans from across the globe. We will have dinner and our first night’s sleep in India!

Day 2:
Mysuru to Mudumalai

Today’s southward journey of approximately 3 and a half hours to Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is an interesting one. We will travel into the temple-rich state of Tamil Nadu towards the Mudumalai hills, one of the largest areas of protected forests in India.

On the way we will stop at a bridge which crosses a river to break the journey. Here we could see Small Pratincole, Red Avadavat and Black Ibis, plus several others. Arid areas can be checked for Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark.
Stopping along the road in Mudumalai is not permitted. Your guide knows where you can pull off the road to explore some excellent dry scrub habitat that is sure to add some new species to the list. Key species in the scrub could include Jerdon’s Bush Lark, Blue-winged Parakeet, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Yellow-billed Babbler, Small Minivet, Yellow-crowned Pygmy Woodpecker, White-bellied Minivet and Indian Nightjar.

After visiting this first scrub habitat you will drive to your accommodation to check-in, have some lunch and relax for a couple of hours in the heat of the day. Our accommodation is a rustic haven nestled in the foothills of the spectacular Nilgiris mountain range and lies sheltered in the serene natural jungle paradise of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the stuff that inspired Corbett and Kipling!
We will agree a time to visit another scrub habitat later on in the afternoon. Look out for Malabar Lark, Red-headed and Indian Vulture, and many other species. If we are lucky, we could also see the Indian subspecies of the Asian Elephant, along with other mammals and flora species.

After a successful day we will have dinner, do our lists and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Day 3:
Mudumalai

We will enjoy a full day’s birding in Mudumalai today. Mudumalai (meaning “ancient hill range”) covers an area of 321 km2 (124 sq mi) of undulating terrain, at an average elevation of 1,266 m (4,154 ft). It shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. The sanctuary is divided into five ranges – Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota. The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), including all of Mudumalai National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

The protected area is home to several endangered and vulnerable mammal species, including Asian (Indian) Elephant, Tiger, Gaur and Leopard. There is a generally high diversity of animal life in the sanctuary with about 50 species of fish, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals.
Of special interest to us, there are at least 250 species of birds in the sanctuary, including some critically endangered species. We will spend the full day birding the broad-leaved riverine forests and secondary growth of Mudumalai, looking for Grey-headed Bulbul, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Grey Junglefowl, Blue-winged and Plum-headed Parakeet, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Puff-throated Babbler, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Nilgiri, Thick-billed and Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Loten’s Sunbird, White-bellied Minivet, White-cheeked Barbet, Black-rumped and Greater Flameback, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Crested Treeswift, Jerdon’s Bush Lark, White-browed Fantail, Yellow-crowned and Streak-throated Woodpecker, Indian Nuthatch, White-browed and Yellow-browed Bulbul, Hume’s Whitethroat, Indian Golden Oriole, Indian Blue Robin, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Bay-backed Shrike, Orange Minivet, and Golden-fronted Leafbird. For lovers of birds of prey, we could find Brown Wood Owl and Brown Fish Owl, and Jungle and Spotted Owlet.

This area is usually a reliable site for the Indian subspecies of Asian Elephant and we hope to come across these spectacular animals. With a hefty dose of luck, we might spot additional mammals. These beasts include the rarely sighted Dhole (Indian Wild Dog), Sloth Bear, Leopard and maybe even Tiger!
Dinner tonight will be followed by a night birding excursion where we will search for Savanna and Jerdon’s Nightjar.

Day 4:
Mudumalai to Ooty

An early start is recommended as the drive southeast to Ooty will be approximately 2 hours long, but well worth it, as the scenery is superb. Ooty, also known as Udagamandalam, is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Hills). It sits at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats in the west of the state of Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri hills are named for the Kurunji flower which blooms every twelve years giving the slopes a bluish tinge.

Ooty, sometimes called the “Queen of Hill Stations”, is situated within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve at an elevation of 2,240 m (7,350 ft) above sea level. Some of the top tourist attractions of Ooty are the numerous picturesque lakes, with Avalanche Lake and Ooty Lake the top ones.

We will spend the day looking for the key species of the local area, including Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Indian Blue Robin, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Blue-winged Parakeet, Malabar Barbet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Hill Swallow, Kashmir Flycatcher, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Black Eagle, Black Bulbul, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Greenish and Tytler’s Leaf Warbler, plus many others.

What we don’t see on this day, we will search for tomorrow. We will also look out for the locomotives of the 46 kilometre long Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The railway was built by the British in 1908 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of Mountain Railways of India. One of the stations was even used as a location in the famous 1984 film A Passage to India.

We will also go to the grounds of a local hotel (where we might need to buy a coffee!), a favoured haunt of Black-and-orange Flycatcher and Indian Blue Robin. At one of the local viewpoints we will look for Nilgiri Laughingthrush where they are quite partial to popcorn (you might want to purchase a bag!).
The remainder of the day will be spent checking patches of shola forest for other local species. We will do our lists, have dinner and overnight at our idyllic accommodation in Ooty.

Day 5:
Ooty to Topslip

We will do some morning birding in the Ooty area. White-spotted Fantail, Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, White-bellied Treepie, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Little Spiderhunter and Blue-capped Rock Thrush amongst others are on our wishlist.
Later on we will tackle the long drive (at least 4 hours) to Topslip, stopping en-route for birding.

Anaimalai Tiger Reserve, previously known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, is a 1500 sq km2 protected area located in the Anaimalai Hills of Tamil Nadu. The main tourist facilities are located in the northeast corner of the park at “Topslip”, so named because of the local 19th-century practice of sliding timber logs down the hills from here.

Topslip is blessed with a gentle altitude, favourable climate and a fantastic variety of flora and fauna. Its picturesque location and fabulous scenery have made it a popular location for several movie sequences. Topslip is a place where one can do nothing and come away refreshed!

We should arrive at Topslip in the late afternoon or early evening. We will check in to our beautifully located accommodation for the next two nights. The chef is famous for his fantastic authentic southern Indian cuisine.

Day 6:
Topslip

We will enjoy a full day of excellent birding and scenery in the habitat down from Topslip. This is really one of the best natural history locations in southern India.
Birdwatching in the forest can be challenging. A good area is forest edge habitat and our local guide knows the ideal location for some excellent birdwatching next to a canal.

We will return to our accommodation at around midday. We will enjoy lunch and relax for an hour or so before heading out later in the afternoon to explore some more.

Avian species in the reserve are well represented, with over 250 species having been identified, including 15 of the 16 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats. There are cormorants, ducks, parakeets, hornbills, barbets, drongos, warblers, woodpeckers, trogons, kingfishers and many more. Some of the localised and special species that we will look for today include Grey-headed Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Malabar Starling, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Indian Pitta, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Loten’s Sunbird, Black-hooded Oriole, Emerald Dove, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Black-rumped Flameback, Thick-billed Warbler and many others.
There are over 2000 species plants in the reserve, of which about 400 species are of prime medicinal value. Furthermore, 315 species of butterflies belonging to five families have been identified in the Anaimalai Hills, of which 44 are endemic to the Western Ghats.

Anaimalai Tiger Reserve is also home to some special mammals. The threatened Asian Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Lion-tailed Macaque, Dhole, along with the vulnerable Indian Brown Mongoose and Gaur, and the near threatened Indian Giant Squirrel and Indian Pangolin can be found here. Of course, we will keep an eye out for any of these and many others! We will return to our accommodation for another excellent dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Day 7:
Topslip to Munnar

After an early breakfast, we will start our drive to our next destination, Munnar, in the lushly green laid-back state of Kerala. Birds on the journey might include Paddyfield Pipit, Indian Roller, Brahminy Kite, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and Red Spurfowl.

Our first stop of the day will be at the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary after about 2 hours. It is one of twelve wildlife sanctuaries among the protected areas of the state of Kerala, located in the rain shadow region in the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. It is under the jurisdiction of and contiguous with Eravikulam National Park to the south. It forms an integral part of the 1,187 km2 (458 sq mi) block of protected forests straddling the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in the Anaimalai Hills. It is the only rehabilitation centre for Indian Star Tortoise in the country.

In Chinnar, with its 225 species of birds, we will look for Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Yellow-throated Bulbul, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Brown Fish Owl, Western Crowned Warbler, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and many others. The sanctuary also hosts 963 species of flowering plants, 28 mammal species (including the rare Grizzled Giant Squirrel), 52 reptile species, 14 fish species, 156 species of butterflies and 101 species of spiders!

Towards the end of the morning, we will leave Chinnar. On our way to Munnar we will stop at a restaurant for lunch.
Around Munnar, the pockets of the shola forest and Nilgiri mountain grassland eco-system are home to several of the endemic birds and various mammals including the endemic Nilgiri Tahr. The altitude above 1600 metres means an agreeable climate throughout the year, though in December-January the temperatures can fall to the single digits. Rainfall of over 300 cm is recorded mainly from June to September, but it can rain at any time of the year. Here we will look for several of the South Indian and Nilgiri Hills endemic bird species. Key species around Munnar include Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, White-bellied Blue Robin, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Pipit, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Whistling Thrush and Indian Scimitar Babbler.

Towards the end of the afternoon you will visit a tea shack (Karadippara) with an excellent vantage point across an extensive wooded valley. The species here might include Yellow-browed Bulbul, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Barbet, Little Spiderhunter, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Golden-fronted Leafbird and Rusty-tailed Flycatcher.

From here the drive to our stunning accommodation in natural surroundings for the next three nights is only 30 – 40 minutes, where we will check in, have dinner and spend the evening.

Day 8&9:
Munnar

The pristine hill station and the town of Munnar is where we will spend the next two days. It is untouched by commercialisation and rapid urbanisation and still retains its old-world charm. The stiff-upper-lipped gentility of the Raj still holds sway at the famous High Range Club on the south side of town, where we might sip a gin & tonic if there is time.

The first sight that greets a visitor in Munnar is the vast expanse of endless emerald green tea plantations, flower gardens brimming with vibrant hues, grasslands, towering trees, wild brooks and mist-clad rolling hills. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, is also called the “Kashmir of South India” and is a popular honeymoon destination. The name Munnar (which means “three rivers” in Tamil) is derived from its location at the confluence of three mountain streams – Kundala, Mudrapuzha and Nallathanni.

We will decide on a plan of action for each of the two days to maximise our chances of seeing a lot of birds and the top target species of the area, along with enjoying some superb scenery and getting a taste of the local culture and cuisine.

There are several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.
We will definitely visit Eravikulam National Park situated in the high Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. It is a plateau at an average height of 2000 metres (6500 feet) above sea level, about 30 km (18 miles) from Munnar, high up in the mountains. This park was originally established to protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, and currently, the park has the world’s biggest population of this slate-grey mountain goat, at about 3000 individuals. Considering the ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared a National Park in 1978. It covers an area of 97 km2 of rolling grasslands and high-level sholas. Anamudi, at 2,695 meters/8,842 ft, the highest peak in India south of the Himalayas, is inside this park.

We will look for Nilgiri Tahr on our visit and will focus on the endemic bird species along with all the other resident species of the area. We will look for Painted Bush Quail, White-bellied Blue Robin, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Nilgiri Pipit, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Palani Laughingthrush, Hill and Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Dusky Crag Martin, Loten’s Sunbird, and many others.

The park is also home to 26 species of mammals, trout in its streams, 101 species of butterflies and 19 species of amphibians. Amphibians include a recently discovered frog, the Resplendent Shrubfrog that occurs only in a tiny 3km2 patch inside the park.
It is quite a drive through (approx. 1 ½ hrs each way) to Eravikulam. A more relaxing option would be to spend one of the afternoons birding in an area more local to Munnar.

If time allows, a walk along the road close to our accommodation is worthwhile. A steep track (Portha Madu) leads you to an area of grassland where we can look for Broad-tailed Grassbird and other birds.
We will have dinner and overnight at our beautifully located accommodation each night.

Day 10:
Munnar to Thattekkad

For the first couple of hours we will explore on foot along the road from our overnight accommodation, looking for local species we may have missed. We will leave at midmorning for Thattekkad, about 3 hours away in a westerly direction.

We will check in to our accommodation (it will be our home for the next four nights), located 15 minutes away from the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.
Around mid-afternoon, we will head out for some local birdwatching around the signalling station. Here species might include Drongo Cuckoo, Black-throated Munia, Red Spurfowl and Black Baza.

If time permits the last hour or two of daylight around a small drinking puddle sometimes produces some good passerine species, including Indian Blue Robin, Blue-throated and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Puff-throated Babbler, Orange-headed Thrush, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Malabar Trogon and Blue-winged Parakeet.

We will have dinner, do our lists and relax back at our accommodation. Our home for the next four nights is built in an eco-friendly way in the Kerala Heritage style, and the food is made from organic produce farmed on the property itself.

Day 11 & 12:
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary

We will spend the next two full days enjoying everything that the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary has to offer.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is also known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, named after Dr. Salim Ali (India’s “Bird Man”). Dr. Ali, known as one of the best ornithologists of the subcontinent, described this sanctuary as the richest bird habitat on peninsular India. It was declared a sanctuary in 1983 and to date over 300 different species have been identified here.
Covering an area of barely 25 km2, it is a prime birding destination in South India. Thattekkad literally means flat forest, and the region is an evergreen lowland forest located between the branches of the Periyar River, the longest river in the state of Kerala.

The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary has a rich and varied birdlife, with forest and water birds occurring here. Specialties that we will look for over the next two days include White-bellied Treepie, Malabar Trogon, Red Spurfowl, Rufous Babbler, Orange-headed Thrush, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Indian Cuckoo, Black Eagle, Oriental Darter, Square-tailed and Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Great Hornbill, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Blue-faced Malkoha, Brown-breasted, White-bellied, Blue-tailed and Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malayan Night Heron, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-bellied and Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Black-throated Munia and Black-naped Monarch.

The Wynaad Laughingthrush, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Grey-headed Bulbul, Besra, Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl and Sri Lanka Bay Owl are some of the more difficult birds we hope to see.

Thattekkad is ideal for seeing a good number of butterfly and mammal species. Even Asian Elephant and Leopard are occasionally seen by visitors here, along with the odd King Cobra.
We will spend some time in the early evenings looking for Indian Pitta and various owls and nightjars, including Brown Hawk-Owl, Oriental Bay Owl and Jerdon’s Nightjar. We will return to our birder-friendly accommodation each night to do our lists, have dinner, relax and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Day 13:
Thattekkad area

Today we will explore some superb forest areas outside of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary in search of more special species. Among other places, we might visit the Edamalayar forest, located about 15 kilometres from Thattekkad. This is also an evergreen forest, located above the Edamalayar River.

Key species we will look for initially include Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Black-crested Bulbul, Dark-fronted Babbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Malabar Woodshrike, Indian Swiftlet, Brown-backed and White-rumped Needletail, Lesser Yellownape, Crested Goshawk, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Plum-headed Parakeet, White-rumped Needletail and maybe even White-bellied Woodpecker.

A little later, we will visit a shady spot along the Periyar River. We might be lucky enough to see Lesser Fish Eagle and other species like Oriental Dollarbird, Brahminy Kite, Golden and Black-naped Oriole, Malabar Barbet and Golden-fronted Leafbird.

We will then relax for a few hours during the heat of the day and then around 3pm, we will go to a patch of scrub habitat on a hillside strewn with flat boulders. This is an ideal place to look for nightjars, including Great Eared, Jerdon’s, Jungle, Grey and Savanna. Here we can also look for Grey Junglefowl, Jungle Owlet, Plain Flowerpecker, Indian Rufous Babbler, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and many other species.
We will retire to our accommodation for our last night together as a group.

Day 14:
Thattekkad, drive to Kochi (Cochin) and Departure

We will do some early morning birding in the Thattekkad area – you never know what you might find here!
We will then check out from the hotel and do some more birding in the area if your flight timings allow you to stay little longer.

In the late afternoon, we will undertake the drive to Kochi/Cochin (2 hours). You will connect to your onward flight from the Cochin International Airport, the world’s first fully solar energy powered airport.

Kochi is a major port city on the coast of the state of Kerala, bordering the Laccadive Sea. Called the “Queen of the Arabian Sea”, it was an important spice trading centre from the 14th century onward, and today shows signs of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. It is currently a very cosmopolitan place and is the commercial and financial capital of Kerala. Built around a saltwater lagoon of the Arabian sea, Kochi is actually a collection of narrow islands and peninsulas. The city was recently ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Outlook Traveller magazine. Some of the must-see attractions in Kochi are the Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry Palace, the Kathakali dance centre, Hill Palace Museum, St. Francis church, Princess street and many others.

If you decide to stay overnight at a nearby airport hotel and only fly home the following day, this will be for your own account. Please inform us in advance and we can help you with bookings.

This main South India Tour can be combined with our 6-day pre-tour Andaman Island extension. This tour is specifically designed to see the endemic species of the Andaman Islands. One can expect to see Andaman Crake, Andaman Coucal, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Brown Hawk-Owl, Andaman Cuckoo Dove, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Drongo, White-headed Starling, Andaman Bulbul, Andaman Shama and many other mainland species. You might also see some of the islands’ endemic mammals, including Andaman Spiny Shrew, Andaman Horseshoe Bat and Andaman Rat.

In addition to the fantastic endemic fauna, other highlights of this tour are:
• Pristine islands with unspoilt beaches and primeval jungle
• Amazing marine life and corals (excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities)
• Seafood delights
• Sightseeing – Cellular Jail, Anthropological Museum, Bharatang limestone caves.