For us Kerala and the South comprises an area that includes the southern half of the state of Karnataka, all of Tamil Nadu and of course the neighbouring state of Kerala. And although to some this region might not be quite as interesting as the north -- a place where so many rulers have left their mark -- if you are looking for a holiday in the true sense of the word, you can look no further than Kerala and the South.
Look where I am now, standing on an endless beach with the warm waters of the Arabian Sea in front, a beautiful boutique hideaway behind, all the elements many would want for a perfect getaway.
But don't be fooled -- there is a lot more to South India than beaches. (VO) First of all there are the hundreds of miles of canals, known as the backwaters on which you can take old rice barges converted into luxury private cruises. This is a great way to get away from everything and everyone and just drift peacefully through the countryside stopping of at many an interesting site
There are the old British hill stations and tea plantations around Ooti and Munar, there are wildlife parks at Nagahole and Piryiar and some great rural accommodation such as the Spice Village and Rajakkad.
There are also some fascinating towns. On the east coast in Tamil Nadu you have the wonderful sounding, French influenced Malalibalipuram and Pondicherry. You have the temple towns of Trichy and Madurai. In Karnataka you have the Mysore, former home to Tippu Sultan, one of the great thorns in Imperial Britain's side. And of course you have Cochin.
If Udaipur is my favourite town in the north, so Cochin is my favourite town in the south. This is where my mother spent much of the first four years of her life, when my grandparents were stationed here before the war. And in many way the town has not changed much since then. The Chinese fishing nets are still in use, the old mansions are still being used -- only now by tourists as some have been converted into lovely boutique hotels -- and the food is still exceptional.
A great routing for this region, which we have available for both small group tours and tailor-made holidays, is to fly in to Bangalore, drive down through Mysore to the beautiful Neeleshwar Hermitage -- where I am now -- before continuing down the coast to Cochin and enjoy a short stay here, before either flying home or turning the holiday into more of a travelling experience by heading up to the hill stations of Ooti and Munnar and on into Tamil Nadu.
Kerala and the South is the ideal location for the inquisitive traveller coming to India and those of you looking for a holiday! With the great temples, the exquisite cuisine, the tranquil backwaters and of course the lovely beaches, south India offers an experience like no other.