Kerala and Lakshadweep Tour
Cochin – Athirapally – Munnar – Periyar – Alleppey – Kumarakom –
Cochin – Agatti, Lakshadweep – Cochin
10 Nights & 11 Days
Day 01 : Arrival Cochin
Welcome to the memorizing land of India! Meeting and assistance on arrival at the Cochin airport, our representative welcomes and escorts you by a private car and transfers to the hotel, whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would hand over the documents and brief the tour programme to you. After relaxation, take a sightseeing tour of Cochin: Oasis state of Kerala & on to the Malabar Coasts & Kochi (formerly Cochin), one of the India's most colourful cities. This inter-connected series of Islands & shoreline presents a vivacious blend of Cultures & Religions; Visit to Fort Cochin & St. Frances Church to see the town of Vasco da Gama. We also see the Jewish Synagogue & the Mattancherry "Dutch" Palace. This evening a memorable experience in any journey in Kerala is a Boat Trip (of your own) along the Palm Fringed Lakes & Backwaters of the Area; we enjoy this extraordinary excursion today. As we sail along the shady canals we see cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. From our launch, we enjoy use of narrow produced - Laden dugouts & the everyday life of families living on narrow spits of land between the waters. In the evening enjoy the Kathakali, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes & Exotic makeup & Masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight at the hotel.
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is 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. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide. This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate. Cochin is situated in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala. Kochi is the arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala, rated in the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council and featured in National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime'.
Day 02 : Cochin – Athirapally – Cochin (Excursion 55 kms: 1½ hr one way)
Today morning after a leisure breakfast, take an excursion to the beautiful waterfalls of Athirapally. There is a rocky road that moves around the mountain providing you with a magnificent view of the Athirapally waterfalls. As you move nearer through the beautifully landscaped road to Athirapally, you can enjoy the views of Areca nut Palms on one side and the Chalakudy River on the other side. First the river seems winding and then it crashes down suddenly, white with challenge. Only after a short distance, the river is back to its normal self again. There are some vendors here who sell jute hats and plastic flowers; they definitely make the place more tourists friendly. Later drive back to Cochin. In the evening enjoy the Kathakali dance, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes & Exotic makeup & Masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight at Cochin.
Athirapally waterfalls, the sudden rushing sound of the cascading waterfall makes you feel that the water has begun to fall only now. Though the fact is that the waters have maintained this suddenness for a long time and they are still persevering. The Athirapally waterfalls are 80 feet high which start at the high ranges calmly and come crashing down through the gorges. Trekking is a wonderful way to explore the nearby areas, especially if you do it along the banks of the Chalakudy River. The waterfall is located at a height in the Sholayar forest ranges and is very near to the Valparai which is a popular hill station. The presence of the waterfall is unmistakable everywhere in Athirapally as it is present either in the form of a painting or a topic of conversation.
Day 03 : Cochin – Munnar (120 kms: 3½ hrs)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Munnar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Munnar is located at the Idukki district of Kerala State in India. The word "Munnar" means three rivers. 3 mountain streams (Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala) are joining together here. During the British rule in India, Munnar was the summer resort of the Government officials. The natural beauty, calmness and mild cold climate throughout the year make it the favorite tourist places. There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range expose its beauty. The Munnar hills are covered by tea plants, which make Periyar the feeling of seeing a wide green carpet. You can take a short tour of the Munnar hill station exploring tea gardens and panoramic view of the wonderful hill station. Optionally you can visit Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar) the park is 97 sq. km, situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. Considering the ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared as a National park in 1978. The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Later return to the hotel for overnight at Munnar.
Munnar, the erstwhile 'summer capital of the British', has become the most sought after holiday destination in South India. It is the luxuriant gift of nature to the Western Ghats, the eastern border of Kerala, 5000ft above sea level. Dense forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and major cash crop plantations cover most of this region. Munnar abounds in animals like elephants and Nilgiri Thar and rich biodiversity teeming with flora and fauna.
Day 04 : Munnar
After breakfast visit to Pothamedu whichoffers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and Long Mountain walks. Visit the tea factory and the museum here. Later visit at Devikulam (7 km from Munnar). This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. Also take sightseeing towards Mattupetty Side, where you can visit the Photo point, Mattupetty Dam, Echo point (The natural Echo phenomenon is always happening here), Shooting point and the Kundale Lake. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 05 : Munnar – Periyar (160 kms: 3 – 4 hrs)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Periyar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Then visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, discover the park, animals found here include elephant, gaur and wild boars and birds like ibis and grey heron. The visit is done in a boat at Periyar lake to view animals with a bit of extra luck we may be able to see the rare tiger as well. Later in the evening take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices. Overnight at the hotel.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of India's biggest wildlife sanctuaries covering 777 sq. Km (300 Sq.miles) is a Tiger Reserve. Its centerpiece, the man-made Periyar Lake at the height of 2000 ft. covers 26 sq. km, running through the forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala. The lake is an important source of water for the many wild animals. The Best time to visit Periyar is between OCTOBER and MAY. The best chance of watching animals is during the hot months of march, April and May, when water gets low and the grass dries out, animals especially elephants come down to the Periyar lake to bath & frolic in the water with the young ones.
Day 06 : Periyar – Alleppey (155 kms: 3 hrs) Backwaters tours through sailing boat to Kumarakom
After breakfast checkout and drive for Alleppey, on arrival embark at the houseboat. The day for the journey of backwaters in the boat, through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters of Alleppey by regattas (snake boats) for which Kerala is very famous, while sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land, you also enjoy fishing from the houseboats, evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats, moving towards Kumarakom. The Houseboats have generated electricity; sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Srank (Driver). Overnight at the houseboat.
Alleppey situated in south of Cochin, is the center for backwater cruises in Kerala. It has a large network of canals, which passes through the town, provides its lifeline & has a long sandy beach. It is also the center of the famous coir products of Kerala. Nehru Trophy Boat Race - the most colourful snake-boat race in Kerala - is held here on the second Saturday of August every year.
Alleppey A glide in a "Kettuvalam" (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land.
Day 07 : Kumarakom
After breakfast disembark from the houseboat. And drive to Kumarakom - for the nature-lover. Here in this backwater town, you can laze in a canoe amidst sylvan surroundings where the only presence is yours and the egrets. Later visit at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, to see bird viewing where numerous species of birds, including Darters, Bitterns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harries, Teals and several varieties of Herons roost are found. For an inquisitive bird watcher, it is always advisable to carry their binoculars at all times. Return to hotel, make sure you do not miss out on Karimeen and fresh toddy the favourite fresh water food and the local wine. Later return to the hotel. Evening is free for the New Year Celebrations. Overnight stay at hotel.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in flocks is a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.
Day 08 : Kumarakom – Cochin (70 kms: 2 hrs) – Agatti, Lakshadweep (By Air)
After a leisure breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Cochin. On arrival, transfer to the airport to board the scheduled flight for Agatti. Assistance on arrival and transfer to the beach resort. Rest of the evening is free for rest and relaxation. Overnight at the beach resort.
Lakshadweep: Just off the coast of Kerala are a widely scattered group of coral islands – 36 of them – collectively known as Lakshadweep. They form part of the Union of India and are one of the country’s newest tourist destinations. Ten of the islands are inhabited by simple, peace-loving folk whose language is close to that spoken in Kerala. The islanders have lifestyles and occupations that revolve around coconut cultivation, coir matting and fishing. Even today, nothing is actually produced in the islands themselves, and everything comes from the ’mainland’, as India is somewhat quaintly referred to there. Tourism’s major focus is on water sports, as each of the islands are surrounded by a coral reef providing large areas of crystal clear water for everything from snorkelling to wind surfing.
Day 09 : Agatti, Lakshadweep
After breakfast the day free for leisure and beach activities. The resort offers you a variety of outdoor pursuits - Kayaking, Catamaran sailing, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, and scuba diving. A well equipped and professionally manned Scuba Diving facility is available at the resort. Diving courses and lagoon diving are offered for beginners too. Diving is permitted only within safe depths around 30 meters. Overnight at the beach resort.
Agatti: Just off the coast of Kerala are a widely scattered group of coral islands – 36 of them – collectively known as Lakshadweep. They form part of the Union of India and are one of the country’s newest tourist destinations. Ten of the islands are inhabited by simple, peace-loving folk whose language is close to that spoken in Kerala. The islanders have lifestyles and occupations that revolve around coconut cultivation, coir matting and fishing. Even today, nothing is actually produced in the islands themselves, and everything comes from the ’mainland’, as India is somewhat quaintly referred to there. Tourism’s major focus is on water sports, as each of the islands are surrounded by a coral reef providing large areas of crystal clear water for everything from snorkeling to wind surfing. The five islands, which are open to tourists, have simple accommodation in the shape of beach cottages. Permits to visit Lakshadweep can be obtained from the Lakshadweep tourist office in Cochin. Regular flights operate from Cochin to one of the islands, as well as modestly priced ship cruises, which stop at all the islands open to tourism. These cruises begin and end at Cochin. While equipment for water sports is available at the islands themselves, not much in the way of shopping and entertainment is possible as yet. Lakshadweep is the perfect holiday for those who want to get away from the artifices of the world and enjoy a few days in simple yet stunningly beautiful surroundings.
Day 10 : Agatti, Lakshadweep
After breakfast apart from diving, you can try your hand at a host of activities, ranging from the interesting to the exhilarating. Night fishing on the deep sea can be the experience of a lifetime. You can also go kayaking, wind boarding, surfing and more. (Not that there's plenty not to do...try watching the palm trees grow for two hours before lunch, just to work up an appetite...) Overnight at the beach resort.
Day 11 : Agatti – Cochin (By Air) – Hometown ( By Air)
**** Back home with great memories. ****
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