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Kerala’s, breathtakingly green land, dotted with coconut palms, lagoons, kettu vallams (boats), sunny beaches and waterfalls, offers a soothing and festive mood. Lush plantations rise from the sea and sweep the entire state in verdant glory and swathing the countryside; the only interruptions to this expanse of green are the azure backwaters, along which coconut palms soar to the skies; the culmination to this nature’s magical spell is in the upward fling of the hills, where tea and coffee plantations nurture the greens to a dense monsoon – washed vegetation. Disarming hospitality of the locals and intriguing ethnic lifestyles unchanged for centuries; herds of elephants, leading giant processions; exotic handicrafts and seafood preparations, fresh from the Arabian Sea; cosmopolitan cities where the past is always within reach, and small towns where time has stood still; all this and more, makes this journey through Kerala an ideal holiday that provides an ample opportunity to experience an ancient, but, progressive civilization.
Explore Kerala Tour Package begins with an arrival in Kochi. Late morning arrival. Traditional welcome with garlands and transfer to hotel Trident, a property of the prestigious Oberoi Group of Hotels. Check in time 12 Noon.
Set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city of Cochin (Kochi) reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region from the very early days. Chinese fishing nets along Cochin harbour Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all linked by ferry.
This evening we witness a typical classical dance performance unique to Kerala called the Katha Kali dance style. This highly stylized dance form elaborates folk and mythological stories.
Following breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1000 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting. They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest. We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century. The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, are the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.
The area around the Synagogue, known, as ‘Jew Town’ is one of the main centers of spice trade. Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry, is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street.
Overnight will be in Cochin.
Following breakfast, ride 45 kms to the heart of Kerala’s balmy, coconut-fringed backwaters to Alleppey and experience Kerala’s famous backwaters that comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala’s transportation. Alleppey is the ideal place to experience the fascinating lifestyles of the backwaters. Amidst this scenic setting lies your hotel, The Kayaloram (meaning lake side), the exclusive heritage lake resort. Kayaloram is a harmonious blend of the ambience of rustic Alleppey and the amenities of a modern resort. Situated on an exclusive stretch of prime water front, fringed by coconut palms and caressed by a gentle breeze. Kayaloram is like a page out of a history book.
Kayaloram has been classified as Heritage Resort by the Government of India. Accommodation at Kayaloram is ethnic Kerala. Independent Tharavads (ancient Kerala houses) offer all modern facilities. The Tharavads have been painstakingly re-assembled from the original, using only wood, bricks and tiles. Even most door hinges are wood. A unique feature of these Tharavads is the bathrooms with open to sky roofs, offering you a communion with nature.
Overnight will be in Alleppey.
Morning at leisure to enjoy your incredible nature Resort. You may walk through the gardens and enjoy the natural scenery. Alternatively, you could visit the neighboring villages, or the famous bird sanctuary that adjoins the Resort. You would love the period furniture, ethnic dcor and especially the open attached bathroom with a banana tree and a few ripe bananas! A truly amazing place.
Overnight will be in Alleppey.
A leisurely breakfast and we board the Houseboat for a unique experience through the narrow canals and channels of the backwaters of Kerala.
The material that go into the making of houseboat are all local and Eco-friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats carpets etc. The main wood used is “Anjali”. The Houseboat provides all comforts – Beds, a kitchen, western toilets and an upper deck. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. The cuisine is of traditional Kerala flavor along with the local Specialties – delicious fish and prawns.
We spend the day Cruising on our boat through remote tribal villages along the tranquil backwaters of Kerala is a superb experience. Sensational in its own silent way, the cruise takes you along snake boat docks, friendly cheering villagers, choir (Jute) making communities, toddy (local spirit) shops, fishing nets pitched for the day’s catch, bundled paddy fields and manual canoes of different sizes criss-crossing each other. The experience enables you to reach beautiful untouched areas.
Overnight And Meals In A Deluxe Houseboat.
Following breakfast we disembark houseboat at Alleppey and drive 4 hrs to Munnar through the scenically vibrant valley of the Cardamom Hills of the Western . We would stop a few times to interact with locals as well as walk through the countryside to explore traditional and ethnic lifestyles. It’s a journey through extensive tea and spice plantations and for most part of our journey, the air is rendered with the fragrance of tea and spices.
Munnar, a hill station on the Western Ghats and with its lakes, reservoirs, forests and tea estates is the Nature-Lovers’s Paradise. It is beautifully situated at the confluence of three rivers – the Muthirappuzh, Nallathanni and Kundala. Munnar is a major center of Kerala’s tea industry.
Upon arrival check into the hotel.
We have two days to explore the virgin beauty of the place and its several possibilities. Anaimudi (2694 m), the highest peak in the southern India, is nearby and the views from here are incredible. Munnar offers some great possibility for nature walks and visits to nearby tribal villages where people, though poor are extremely friendly, charming and hospitable. The ethnic lifestyles, traditional homes and the traditional occupation with ethnic tools and implements provides an incredible experience. The forests that surround Munnar are still rich in wildlife. The hills surrounding Munnar are home for one of the world’s rarest mountain goats, Nilgiri tahr. The tropical forests are inhabited by elephants, tigers, deer and gaur (bison) Munnar is a birdwatcher delight with a variety of birds that are supported by the evergreen vegetation of the region. If one seek a sense of peace, a desire to communicate with nature and most importantly participate in a journey through a living museum, Munnar is the place that seeks to provide all this in a heavenly setting.
Overnight will be in Munnar.
Day planned to explore Munnar, which is surrounded by 30 tea gardens, the atmosphere is fragrant with extensive tea and cardamom plantations. Tea estates are situated mostly on the inner slopes of an elevated basin-like plateau. Estate elevations vary from about 1220 m to over 1830 m. some of the tea plantations, at an elevation of over 2135-m, are among the highest in the world. It would be worthwhile to visit some of these tea gardens to witness the plucking of leaves by women who carry conical bamboo baskets on their back and strapped to their forehead by a cloth band. The work on the field is all done by hand and is a fascinating sight. You may also visit the nearby Lockhart Gap, which provides a panoramic view of the valley and plantation down below. The enchanting high range of lakes and streams, the low-flying clouds and the mist-filled valleys cast a magical spell, which lingers long in the memory.
We would also be visiting the Mattupetty dam and lake, Rajamala, the natural habitat of Nilgiri Tahr, a rare mountain goat and the Eravikulam National Park.
Overnight will be in Munnar.
Following breakfast drive to Periyar through the scenically vibrant valley of the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady in Kerala, is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India. About a century ago, a British engineer, Col. J. Pennycuick, chalked out a plan to dam the Periyar River, subsequently, a dam was constructed in 1895. This resulted in the adjoining forests being granted protection, by the Maharaja of Travancore. The 55 sq km reservoir and the surrounding forests, provide protection to the animals within. Today, Periyar is undeniably, one of the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries in the world.
Upon arrival check into the hotel.
Late afternoon, we take a boat ride along the lake into the more inner areas of the reserve. There is probably no sanctuary in the world where elephant behavior can be watched in such absolute comfort and safety. The total popula-tion is about 800. From the lake we can get as close as 20 meters to watch placid groups feeding, bathing and mud slinging. We end this adventurous day at our hotel, turning in for the night matching the tranquil pace of the forest around us.
Overnight will be in Periyar.
Following breakfast, we ride 3 hrs to Cardamom House, situated in stunningly beautiful surroundings on a hillside of the Western Ghats over-looking a monsoon dependent 400-acre lake. Cardamom House is owned and managed by Dr. Chris Lucas, a retired English physician, ably assisted by 6 Indian staff. All rooms have either twin or separate double bedded accommodation, face south, and have modern western style bathroom facilities en-suite With solar heated hot water. The water comes from deep bore wells and is potale. With just two guests to each staff member we can assure that you will, be personally looked after and “spoiled rotten” during your stay. The meals are prepared using only the freshest produce purchased daily from the local markets and the house takes great pride in the variety of food that they serve.
Overnight will be in Athoor.
Besides experiencing a great, traditional accommodation in stunning natural settings, we also want you to experience a typical back of beyond unhurried Athoor village that has remained frozen in time. We suggest that you simply stroll through the village at your own pace, absorbing the atmosphere and watching as the rural life unfolds. On the track you will pass a Hindu Temple situated under a Banyan Tree, Continuing your stroll you will pass Banana Plantations, fields of Chilli and Groundnuts, and of course hundreds upon hundreds of Coconut Trees. The villagers whose Way of life is dependent on agriculture, are Very friendly and will welcome you. Some of the Cardamom House staff either hail from, or are living in Athoor and will ensure that they are there to help you, introduce you to people and help with the devilishly difficult Tamil language, Athoor is truly an unspoiled Indian Village waiting to be discovered.
Overnight will be in Athoor.
Following breakfast, a short drive brings us to the incredible Temple Town of Madurai. Upon arrival , check in to the hotel.
Afternoon, embark upon the sightseeing trip of the city.
Madurai is one of the oldest cities of southern India. It has been a centre of pilgrimage, for centuries. The Meenakshi temple, the main architectural attraction here, is an excellent example of Dravidian architecture, with gopurams or multi pillared halls, covered from top to bottom, in a profusion of multicolored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures.
However, besides the temple, our tour includes a walk along the main street leading to the temple. The well-organized confusion caused by pilgrims in traditional clothes, pavement shops of all shades, holy men in robes of different colours etc add an unmistakable colour and atmosphere to this fascinating Temple City.
Overnight will be in Madurai.
A leisurely breakfast at hotel and transfer to the airport for flight to Chennai.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Hotel.
Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Perhaps you could visit the popular wholesale bazaar.
Overnight will be in Chennai.
Early morning, transfer to the International airport for your onward flight.