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Kerala Nature & Pilgrimage Tour

Trivandrum – Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Rameshwaram – Madurai – Periyar – Munnar – Kumarakom – Alleppey – Cochin
11 Nights & 12 Days

Details of Kerala Nature & Pilgrimage Tour

Day 01 : Arrival Trivandrum (By Air) – Kovalam (16 kms: ½ hr)
Welcome to the memorizing land of India! Meeting and assistance on arrival at the Trivandrum airport, our representative welcomes and escorts you by a private car and drive to Kovalam. On arrival, transfer 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. Rest of the day is free. Overnight at the hotel.

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 02 : 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 03 : Kovalam – Kanyakumari (85 kms: 2 hrs)
After breakfast check out of the hotel and drive to Kanyakumari. Enroute 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 famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy Swami Temple is dedicated to 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 drive to Cape Camorin also known as Kanya Kumari, 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, transfer to the hotel. Visit Kumari Amman Devi Temple, Vivekananda Rock & Ashram, enjoy sunset over here. Overnight at the hotel.

Kanyakumari - Referred to by the British as Cape Commorin, Kanyakumari in the state of Tamil Nadu is located at the southern most 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 04 : Kanyakumari – Rameshwaram (250 kms: 6 hrs)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Rameshwaram. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Later visit the city, often referred to as the ‘Island of Prayer’, and also considered to Varanasi of the South this major pilgrimage center is on an island in the Gulf of Mannar. Most of the town’s places to stay and eat are clustered around the Ramanathaswamy Temple. Built in the 12th century AD, the temple with its awe-inspiring corridors, and the longest in India. Overnight at the hotel.

Rameshwaram is an island separated from the mainland by a small strait of water. Rameshwaram is famous for the Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Rama who, it is believed, had descended on its shores and built a bridge across the Palk Strait to reach Lanka in his quest to rescue Sita from Ravana. Additionally, the temple is famous for being one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Siva. Lord Rama had constructed a Siva linga in order to offer thanks to the Lord after killing Ravana. Hence, the temple is a sacred site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The grandest part of the temple is the 1219 m pillared corridor consisting of 3.6m high granite pillars, richly carved and well proportioned. The perspective presented by these pillars run uninterruptedly to a length of nearly 230m.

Day 05 : Rameshwaram – Madurai (172 kms: 3 hrs)
After early breakfast visit to Adam's Bridge the name given to the chain of reefs, sandbanks and islets that almost connects Sri Lanka with India. According to legend, this is the series of stepping stones used by the monkey army, lead by Hanuman to cross the ocean in a bid to rescue Sita from the clutch of Ravana. Later check out of the hotel and drive to Madurai. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Then visit to Meenakshi Sundareshwar, one of the largest temple complex in India built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, the temple is absolutely absorbing with the endless rounds of ceremonies, prostration of countless devotees and glittering market stalls, later visit Tiruparankundram Murugan Temple, Palamuthirsolai Murugan Temple. Also visit the Tirumal Nayak’s Palace, which is in a highly decorative monument. Its enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 – foot high stone pillar, still stands. In the evening visit the Meenakshi temple for the special evening Aarti. Overnight at the hotel.

Madurai, the cultural capital and second largest city of Tamil Nadu is one of the oldest cities of southern India. Madurai has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage, for centuries. It is believed that, the divine nectar falling from Lord Shiva's locks, gave the city its name - Madhurapuri, now known as Madurai. Known as the temple city, Madurai is situated on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is also an important pilgrimage center. The 985 beautiful pillared Meenakshi Amman Temple is the major attraction of Madurai. The city is also renowned for its textile mills, engineering industries and large university areas.

Day 06 : Madurai – Periyar (140 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Periyar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Later 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 07 : Periyar – Munnar (110 kms: 3 hrs)
After an early breakfast 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. Later visit at Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar,) The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. This park is established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiri Ibex). The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Enjoy the tea plantation and Munnar Lake site. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

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 08 : 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 09 : Munnar – Kumarakom (200 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel 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 favorite fresh water food and the local wine. Overnight at the 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 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.

Day 10 : Kumarakom – Alleppey (Backwaters tours through sailing boat to Alleppey)
After breakfast, embarks at the houseboat. The day for the journey of backwaters in the boat, through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters of Kumarakom 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 Alleppey. The Houseboats have generated electricity; sitting cum dinning area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Srank (Driver). Overnight at the houseboat.

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 11 : Alleppey – Cochin (64 kms: 1 ½ hrs)
After breakfast, disembark from the houseboat and drive to Cochin. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. After refreshment, 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 12 : Cochin – Hometown (By Air)
**** Back home with great memories. ****


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