Kerala Beaches and Backwaters Tour
Cochin – Munnar – Periyar – Alleppey – Kumarakom –
Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Trivandrum
08 Nights & 09 Days
Day 01 : Arrival Cochin
Meeting and assistance on arrival at Cochin Airport and escort you by a private car and transfer to the South pre booked hotel, whilst the room keys and check-in is organized. In the evening if time permits enjoy the Kathakali Dance, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes & Exotic makeup & Masks intensify the beauty of the dancer’s 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
Today morning after a leisure breakfast, take a city tour of the Cochin city; Fort Cochin is famous for Chinese fishing nets, scenic beaches and architectural style of ancient buildings. At St. Frances Church see the town of Vasco da Gama. The Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 in the old part of Mattancherry Town, is one of the oldest lively synagogues. Mattancherry "Dutch" Palace has an incomparable collection of huge Kerala Temple murals, exhibits & portraits. You may also visit the famous Hill Palace Museum, the largest archaeological and heritage museum in Kerala. Bolgatty Palace is the oldest living Dutch palaces outside Holland, now converted into a heritage hotel. Willingdon Island: is a man-made island created in 1933 with wonderful walkways and jetty’s. Evening is free for leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
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.
Day 07 : Kumarakom – Kovalam (140 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast disembark from the houseboat and optionally you may visit the 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. Later drive to Kovalam through green coastal belt and cashew plantations. On arrival, transfer to the beach resort. Later the day is free to explore the beaches with the option of herbal oil massage. Overnight at the resort.
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 favorite 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.
Kovalam: On the Malabar Coast along the Kerala shoreline is a small village; called Kovalam is 16 kms away from Trivandrum, a sheltered bay endowed with unusual beauty. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool free from high waves and surge. The beach resort here is of international standard. Today Kovalam has become one of the most popular beach hangouts in India. Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and truly the coconut trees along the beaches gives it a paradise of nature.
Day 08 : Kovalam
After breakfast, day is free to enjoy activities at the beach. Enjoy Ayurveda massage and treatment, for which Kovalam is most popular beach in Kerala. Enjoy the sunbathing under the tropical sun. Overnight at the resort.
Day 09 : Kovalam – Cape Camorin – (80 kms: 3 hrs one way) Trivandrum – Kovalam
Early morning check out from the hotel and drive to Cape Camorin also known as Kanya Kumari 85 kms, this place is at the tail tip end of India, one can see the 3 seas meet over here (Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean & Bay of Bengal) on arrival visit Kumari Amman Devi Temple, Vivekananda Rock & Ashram. After visit drive to Trivandrum. If time permits, take a sightseeing tour of Trivandrum city, (16 kms) the capital of the state of Kerala is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. The visit the famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy Swami Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is a landmark in the city. If time permits, also visit Horse Palace, Sree Chitra Art Gallery, and Padmatheertha Kulam (Temple Pond). Later return back to Kovalam for overnight stay.
Trivandrum: Thiruvananthapuram shot into prominence in the 18th century when the capital was shifted here form Padmanabhapuram, a little down south. The erstwhile kings of the then Travancore State, taking on the title of Padmanabhadas (servant of Lord), had dedicated themselves completely to the service of the Lord residing in the temple here. By the terms of this dedication, the deity owns the kingdom while the king is the mere executor of the trust. The temples in the city are believed to be several thousand years old. After independence, the city was designated as the capital of Kerala.
Kanyakumari - Referred to by the British as Cape Commorin, Kanyakumari in the state of Tamil Nadu is located at the southernmost tip of the peninsular Indian. The small temple dedicated to Kanyakumari, or the youthful form of the primeval energy Shakti (Mother Goddess) is located on the seashore, in the town known by the same name. Kanyakumari is the point of confluence of three oceans - the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This well-known Hindu pilgrimage center is famous for its beautiful sights of sunrise and sunset over the waters.
Day 10 : Kovalam – Trivandrum (16 kms: ½ hr) – Hometown
**** Back home with great memories. ****
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