Cochin – Munnar – Thekkady – Kumarakom – Allepey - Kovalam (11 nights and 12 days.)
God’s Own Country, Kerala is known as a tropical paradise of waving palms and wide sandy beaches. It has everything to offer a discerning traveler from its beaches to backwaters to mountains to coconuts to spices and art forms like Kathakali and Mohini Attam. Also a land of diverse religions where you can find Hindu temples, mosques, churches, and even synagogues. Not to forget, Kerala is renowned for its traditional authentic Ayurveda, the science of life.
Day 01 :
Arrive Kochi (colonial name Cochin) a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. On arrival, you will be met and assisted and transferred to hotel. In the evening proceed to a local auditorium for a performance of Kathakali one of the oldest theatre forms in the world that originated in Kerala. The most interesting aspect of Kathakali, is its elaborate make-up code. It is a presentation, in which dancers take various roles in performances traditionally based on themes from Hindu mythology, especially the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Overnight stay in Cochin.
Day 02 :
This morning after breakfast, proceed for a half-day tour of Cochin. Arrive into Fort Cochin and proceed to visit the Dutch Palace (closed on Friday), built by the Portuguese in 1555 A.D., is now a portrait gallery of the Cochin Rajas and notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, which are in the best traditions of Hindu temple art. Later visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Saturday) and St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India. The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were moved to Lisbon. Thereafter visit the Chinese Fishing nets, these are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets. Later, drive to Munnar (140kms / 4hours). Munnar was the summer resort of the British and now is one of the most popular hill stations in Kerala. Enjoy the stunning view of the Cardamom hills & greenery of the tea plantations. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay in Munnar.
Day 03 :
This morning after breakfast, set out to visit the Eravikulam National Park. See the very rare mountain goats locally called the Nilgiri Tahr and then visit the Mattupetty Dam offering panoramic view of the dam surrounded by wooden hills and tea plantations. Also visit the Swiss Dairy Farm, Old Munnar Town and the town market. Day at leisure. Overnight stay in Munnar.
Day 04 :
This day after breakfast, drive to Thekkady/Periyar (125kms / 4hours). Thekkady is enchanting as the road winds through tranquill countryside, rich plantations and thick jungles. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is centered around the large (24 km2) artificial lake formed by a dam across the Periyar river. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay in Thekkady.
Day 05 :
Today early morning, proceed for an exciting boat ride on the Lake Periyar. See a large variety of wild animals like elephants, monkeys, deer, wild boar etc and some exotic birds during the boat cruise. Though it’s a Tiger reserve, a tiger is seldom seen. Evening visit the Kumily market which is famous for the spices – cardamom, nutmeg, pepper. Overnight stay in Thekkady.
Day 06 :
This morning after breakfast, drive to Kumarakom (120kms / 3.5hrs). Popularly known as the “Venice of the East”, this exotic backwater village consists of a cluster of island villages in and around the Vembanad Lake. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.
Day 07 :
This day after breakfast, proceed for a visit to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, where a significant number of bird species are known to make migratory visits. The park area covers around 15 acres and functions under the aegis of the government of Kerala. Birds like the Siberian crane, egret, heron, waterfowl, ducks, moorhens and kingfisher are commonly found. Afternoon, indulge in authentic Kerala ayurveda massages. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.
Day 08 :
Today morning after breakfast, embark the Houseboat, traditionally called as “Kettuvallam” – meaning a wooden country boat tied with coir ropes, having thatched roof. Enjoy the backwaters of Kerala and view lush green paddy fields. Overnight on houseboat in Alleppey.
Day 09 :
This morning after breakfast, disembark from the Houseboat and drive to Kovalam (165kms / 4.5hrs). Kovalam - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility an idyllic tourist destination in God's own country. Backed by precipitously mounting headlands and covered by fertile coconut palms, the beaches, especially the southern most part of lighthouse beach is a magnificent beach destination located only 19kms from the Trivandrum city. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay in Kovalam.
Day 10 :
This day, after breakfast visit the Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, an art and natural history museum is a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style. This Indo-Saracenic structure also boasts a natural air conditioning system. Later proceed to the Padmanabha Swamy Temple (entry restricted for foreigners), famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This is an ancient temple and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the name of the presiding deity enshrined in the temple. Thereafter visit the Science & Technology museum, Trivandrum Zoo which houses an art gallery of the famous king Raja Ravi Verma. Evening at leisure to enjoy the pristine beaches. Overnight stay in Kovalam.
Day 11 :
This early morning, proceed to visit Kanyakumari (89kms / 2hours one way) – the southernmost tip of South India. Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman or Kanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water-bodies - the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, a sacred monument built on a rock in the middle of the sea. This is the place where the great spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda attained enlightenment. Evening return back to Kovalam, enroute visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace (closed on Mondays), built in the Travancore architectural style. Overnight stay in Kovalam.
Day 12 :
This day, transfer to Trivandrum airport for your flight to onward destination. You return back with wonderful memories of “God’s Own Country”