Kerala also was known as God’s own Country and voted as one of the top 10 destinations in the world by Conde Nast Traveler is a completely unique experience than anything else in India. It is the home of the backwaters, where you can see elephants in the wild, sit on a hammock and relax in natures embrace, enjoy spice seafood and experience the natural therapies of Ayurveda. This 8 day holiday covers the finest experiences of where you visit Cochin, Kumarakom, Munnar, Periyar, and Alleppey.
Welcome to God’s own Country! On arrival at Cochin airport, meet and greet by our representative and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to get over the jet lag. Evening you will have an introduction to the traditional dance form of Kerala – Kathakali! This dance form tells you the story from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It takes a couple of hours for the artists to do their makeup. You will be witnessing their makeup session and see the mortal men transfer into the character they play.
Today morning you will be met by your guide for a tour of Cochin which despite being the commercial hub is a self-assured combination of both the past and the present. It’s the melting pot of history including, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Jewish influence. Chinese fishing nets of Fort Kochi is an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets; St. Francis Church is the oldest European church in India that has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. Also, visit The Mattancherry Palace also known as Dutch Palace and the Jew Town including the Jewish Synagogue the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth nations. Rest of the day is at leisure to explore the spice & fish market or to take a sunset cruise in the harbor.
After a leisurely breakfast drive to the hill town of Munnar (4 hrs). On the way make many stops to capture the stunning beauty of the Western Ghat hills, waterfalls, and plantations. On arrival in Munnar, check in at your hotel. Rest of the day is to relax by the pool, reading a book or just marveling the scenic beauty.
Today morning you will be visiting some tea plantations and the Tea factory where you will witness the process of the tea leaves being turned into the high-quality tea that lands in your daily cup of brew. Rest of the day free to explore the Munnar town.
After an early breakfast, you will drive to Periyar (2 hrs) on the way visit spice plantations. There are over twelve varieties of spices that are cultivated in this region such as cardamom, pepper, vanilla, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, Ayurvedic herbs etc. The trip also passes through coffee and tea plantations. On arrival in Periyar, with the assistance of our representative, you check in at the hotel. Later leave for an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Periyar to watch wildlife. This 777 sq km national park is home to the Asiatic elephants and Royal Bengal tiger along with other animals, birds, and reptiles. The boat cruise is the best way possible to explore the park and to watch the wildlife from close quarters. Evening explores the Kumily spice market to see and buy spices if you have already not bought some during the spice plantation visit.
We start with an early morning drive to Kumarakom (3 hrs), and on arrival switch over to House Boat and cruise along the backwaters towards Alleppey. The Backwaters of Kerala is a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes, and inlets formed by more than 900 km of waterways. The backwaters have a unique ecosystem – freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. While cruising through these canals in a canoe boat you would come across many interesting aspects of day to day life in the land as well as on water. You can see the flourishing paddy fields, coconut lagoons & isolated islands. Also, enjoy the lifestyles of the villagers while walking through the paddy fields.
Today morning on arrival in Alleppey switches over from Houseboat to a lake facing resort in Alleppey. Rest of the day is to laze around the pool, visit nearby temples or to indulge in an Ayurvedic massage.
Today morning you will bid farewell to God’s own country and be transferred to Cochin airport in time to connect onward flight home.
Little gifts from Travel East: