On arrival at Cochin Airport, Meet & greet by our representative. Later assisted transfer to Fort Cochin. Later proceed for a sightseeing tour of Cochin.
Fort Kochi: A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township In India, The town was shaped by the cultural influences of the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo-European architecture that still exist here.
Chinese fishing nets: These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 ad by Traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles.
St. Francis Church: Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars, this is India’s oldest European Church. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch and converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal.
Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace): Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, and some of the Puranic Hindu legends.
Synagogue: Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch.
Evening watch spectacular Kathakali dance show.
You can watch the performers getting ready for the show. Kathakali is usually performed in front of the huge Kalivilakku (kali meaning dance; vilakku meaning lamp) with its thick wick sunk till the neck in coconut oil. Traditionally, this lamp used to provide sole light when the plays used to be performed inside temples, palaces or abodes houses of nobles and aristocrats. Enactment of a play by actors takes place to the accompaniment of music (geetha) and instruments.
Over Night at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed for a Village Visit in Kumbalangi .
Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village project is a unique initiative to transform the tiny island as a model fishing village and tourism spot. Here at the Kumbalangi Tourism Village one can fully savour a variety of natural splendours, and paramount to a model tourist village the outstanding ecological balance of the location.
Kumbalangi is located twelve kilometeres from Kochi. Kochi is an ancient port town along the western coast of the southern peninsula of India. Kochi is well connected to the rest of the world by rail, road and air links. For those of you who wish to travel by train, you can get down at Ernakulam (town part of Kochi). We provide pick up and drop off services to our guests. You can specify your location and we shall pick you from there.
For those who do not like to sleep in nature’s lap Kallanchery gives you the opportunity to work with the community on all it does.
You can row the country canoes, climb up the coconut trees, all this with the farmers and fishermen working in the estate. If these don’t interest you, you can take up any of the activities mentioned under here.
Crab farming or ‘NJandu krishi’ is done in the estate. You can enjoy catching crabs from the natural pools and ponds that exist in the farm for the purpose. The traditional method for catching crabs is a sight to watch and study. You can master the art too.
Spread your Nets
For those of you who like to emulate and celebrate the fishing activities of local Kerala, you can try your luck with the nets. Learn how to prepare your nets for a day out at backwaters and how to spread them. Throwing the net in the circular pattern is an art by itself. You can also devour the delicious meal from your precious catch.
Cage fishing also exists on some Scandinavian islands. In the estate though, a traditional method is used. Branches of trees are immersed in water for weeks. These offer a sweet haven for young fishes and they stay here. After many weeks, the branches are covered with a net and then they are removed. The fishes get trapped in the net. You can learn to set the trap and how to catch the fishes within.
The Chinese Fishing Net
The cheena vala is a fishing technique that originated in China and spread to Kerala. Kerala had countless trading posts all along her costs during pre-history. China was an important trading partner during those days. The cheena vala is the only existing form of stationary net fishing system in the world. At kallanchery you will find a number of them along her vast green grounds facing the backwaters.
Copra is dry coconut. Every part of the coconut tree is put to some use in kerala. Her long leaf cluster is used to thatch roofs, her wood is used for making furniture, the coconut shell is used for burning, her husk is immersed in water and yields the fibers that are spun together to make coir, her scalp is used in cooking and when dried yields a cooking medium called coconut oil or ‘velichenna’.
Coir manufacturing forms an important part of the local economy. Coir is in demand internationally as a geo-fabric that is used to manufacture eco-friendly carpets and mats. Coir weaving is done o specialised ruts. You can watch and try your hand eye coordination here.
Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed for Thekkady. En route have lunch at Vazhiyoram.
The most renowned destination in Kerala, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady is one of India’s major sanctuary areas. The man-made lake formed by the Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. The drive to Thekkady itself is enchanting as the road winds through tranquil countryside, rich plantations and thick jungles. Later go for a spice plantation visit.
A walk through them opens up a vista of pristine greenery shrouded by low hanging clouds, gurgling brooks and a pale shadow of the Western Ghats in the backdrop.. Accompanied by an English-speaking guide you will be taken on tour of the cover, cardamom, pepper, rubber, vanilla, coffee and tea plantations. In addition to this, you will also be shown around tea factories, tribal settlements and the surrounding hilly region.
Stroll amid lush, terraced farms, sprawling tea estates while listening to bird songs and the murmuring of mountain streams. Make stops along the way to take pictures of the verdant surroundings, and breathe in the fresh mountain air, before continuing to some of the most picturesque vantage points in Kerala. Scramble down along a rippling stream, appreciate the wild flowers covering the wilderness in a spray of colors, keep an eye out for exotic birds, sample an array of spices, and inhale the fragrant air. The most abundantly found spice in Thekkady is pepper, but you will also see a variety of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves on the slanting slopes of the spice plantation.
There are specially designed vantage points to give you a grand sweeping view of the Sahyadri Organic Tea factory housed in a beautiful white-washed building in Peermade. Take a trip to this factory, see how tea is processed, and pick up pouches of aromatic tea leaves as a souvenir for your friends back home. Plantation tour is one of the most popular activities in Thekkady, and is a must-do on your holiday in Kerala. Rest of the day is free to explore the surroundings/ Independent activities.
Overnight at Hotel .
After breakfast go for a boat ride inside the sanctuary. The best chance of watching animals during the hot months of March, April and May, when water gets low and the grass dried out, animals especially elephants come down to the Periyar lake to bath and frolic in the water along with their young ones. The varied habitat in the sanctuary supports a number of species of terrestrials, aquatic and arboreal animals.
Elephant behavior can be watched in such absolute comfort and safety. The wildlife population consists of estimated 600 elephants, 450 sambar deer, 550 wild boar, 180 troops of Nilgiri languor monkeys, 26 troops of bonnet and lion-tailed Macaques, 400 porcupine, 100 gaur, 50 mouse deer and a number of Bears, Wild dogs, jackals, Civets, flying squirrels, Mongoose, Pangolin cobra and others. Nilgiri Tahr is also reported to be seen in this area. There are now an estimated number of 45 Tigers and 15 Leopards in Periyar sanctuary. The lucky tourist may even see a tiger.
Later have a soft trek through the spice plantations. Evening you can visit the local market in Kumily in Kerala, India that happens to be quite an attraction for the tourists. Kumily is famous for being an important spice trade center.
Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast proceed for Kumarakom a water Village. Hidden among the palm trees on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, at the mouth of the Kavanar River, On arrival check in at Hotel . The Nature is set on an abandoned coconut plantation in the very heart of these fascinating backwaters and has been designed to give visitors an authentic insight into Kutanad life. Most of the places can only be reached by boat – a ferry leaves from one of several mainland embarkation points at scheduled times throughout the day . Later have an Ayurvedic massage at the resort.
Overnight at Resort.
Breakfast at Resort. Early morning proceed for a Bird sanctuary visit at Kumarakom.
Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the bird sanctuary is spread across 14 acres. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise is a favorite haunt of migratory birds like the siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal..
A visit to the bird sanctuary, set within the lush acres of wooded land nearby, acquaints you to the variety of migratory birds that flock in thousands, some from the Himalayas, some even from as far as Siberia. In addition, you can get thrilled of the native kingfishers ablaze in psychedelic colours, experience a walk under rookeries of egrets and night herons or lone golden-backed woodpeckers and even delight in the acrobatics of the paradise fly-catchers..
Pathiramanal (sands of midnight), an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here. This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water madeway for the land to rise from below. The island can be accessed only by boat. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.
Attractions of Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Afternoon visit Philikutty’s farm. Though accessible by road it is the ‘vallam’ (country boat) that will take you across. Philipkutty’s Farm is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the real Keralan experience in a fascinating location, with a caring family to look after you. It is a special place, as it provides something different, especially for those who prefer small and friendly places, and, could just be, the perfect hideaway for the bespoke traveller.
You are welcomed, looked after, and cared for by the family The first villa designed by Karl Damscen, a Swiss architect, is a traditionally styled, antique filled, open plan affair, with sufficient space. All this is set on a beautiful small farm island which was actually reclaimed from the backwaters (Vembanad Lake) in the early 1950’s. The working farm, which practices sustainable / organic methods of farming, is two meters below the lake level and has coconut, toddy, nutmeg, banana, cocoa and pepper cultivation not to forget the jumbo prawn (scampi) and karimeen (pearl spot) found in some of the farm canals. You can have a cookery demonstration at the Farm with the family.
|Some Sample dishes||Appam (rice based bread) – chicken stew – duck curry and roast – iddi appam (string hoppers) – egg roast – puttu – curd curries – fish molee – Kerala fish curry – Kerala fish fry – vegetable thorans – avial (another veg. dish) – chutneys – traditional desserts – etc.|
|Other Activities :-|
Overnight at resort.
After breakfast proceed for Kovalam. Enroute visit Munroe Island.
The island village is a tourism destination where one can watch coir retting process, coir weaving, fishing, prawns feeding, migratory bird watch, narrow canals and waterways, coconut farms on the lake shore, lagoons, kandal plants and the beautiful tiny islands of Pathupara. Have a canoe ride in the island(optional)
Later drive to Kovalam India’s most spectacular beach. Here the boundless blue of the Arabian Sea and the unwinding miles of fine white sanded beaches are washed by the surf which roars and hisses at the Coconut Palms. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse – sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programme, Catamaran cruising etc.
Afternoon Visit Thiruvananthapuram, earlier known as Trivandrum, is the capital city of Kerala. The name literally splits into “Tiru”,”Anantha””puram” meaning “the town of Lord ANANTHA”. This is really true since the temple is at the heart of the town and for generations, the kings have called themselves “Padmanabha-Dasa” or the “servants of LORD Ananthapadmanabha”, and ruled the state as the representatives of LORD Anantha-Padmanabha., Visit of Museum, Horse palace etc.. Padmanabhaswamy temple can be watched from outside as Non- Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
Evening Relax at Kovalam. Over Night at Resorts.
After Breakfast, drive to Kanyakumari, enroute visit Padmanabapuram palace.
Padmanabapuram Palace: Manor of erstwhile Venad kings, Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16 the century marvel on wood. Intricate carvings, murals and exquisite wall paintings reflect the prolific talent of the sculptors and painters who enjoyed the patronage of Travancore kings
Kanyakumari; has been named after the Goddess Kannyakumari Amman who is the popular deity of the area. Legend has it that the Goddess Parvati in one of her incarnations as Devi Kanniya did penance on one of the rocks of this land’s end to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva. Kannyakumari is the one of the sacred place for Hindu religion. This is the place where three oceans joined together. Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea
Visit: Kumariamman Temple: The legend of this temple is as romantic as the place itself. Dedicated to the virgin goddess Kanniyakumari .
Gandhi Memorial: The Gandhi Mandapam has been constructed at the spot where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were kept for public view in an urn before a portion was immersed into the three seas. Every year on Gandhiji’s birthday 2nd October, the sun’s rays fall at the exact spot where the urn was displayed before immersion.
Vivekananda Memorial: The memorial has been built on the Vivekananda Rock where the great philosopher – guide Swami Vivekananda went into meditation that transformed him into one of the most charismatic spiritual leaders of this century.Later Drive back to Kovalam en route visit Nagaraja temple and Sucheendram Temple.
(Tamil Naga (serpent) + Raja (king)) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Nagaraja situated at the heart of Nagercoil. The name for the town Nagercoil originated from this temple. The temple is full of images of snakes. In addition, the gatekeepers of the sanctums are two snakes. It is difficult o ascertain the exact age of the temple. There is no authentic epigraph to aid the historian with its Chronology. The mountain Mahendragiri in the Kanyakumari district is referred to as the abode of nagas in the Ramayana of Valmiki. From this, it can be presumed that the origin of naga influence in the area goes back to legendary times. From the five headed-serpent deity of the temple, the name of this place (town) Nagercoil is derived; gradually its old name, Kottar, has mostly faded..Pouring tamrarind powder and giving milk to the diety is a ritual here.
Sucheendram temple is unique in the whole of India in that it is dedicated to three different deities represented by one image in the sanctum and is called Sthanumalayan (Sthanu-Shiva; Maal-Vishnu and Ayan-Brahma) kovil. The temple is rich in sculpture and architecture and a visitor to this temple is amply rewarded with the sight of such exquisite art of hundreds of years old The entrance tower to this temple is visible from a distance as it rises majestically for 134 feet. The face of the tower is covered with sculptures and statues from Hindu mythology. There is a covered area in front of the main entrance and the entrance itself is about 24 feet high with a beautifully carved door. There is only one corridor running along the outer wall of the temple with many shrines and mandapams scattered in the inner area. About 30 shrines to various deities within the temple complex, the large Lingam in the sanctum, the idol of Vishnu in the adjacent shrine and a large idol of Hanuman at the Eastern end of the Northern corridor represent almost all the deities of the Hindu pantheon.
Over Night at Kovalam.
After Breakfast, Transfer by surface to Trivandrum Airport to connect the flight back home.
Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace): open 1000 – 1700 hrs; closed on Fridays
Jewish Synagogue: open 1000 – 1200 hrs; 1500 – 1700 hrs; closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Visitors to the Synagogue should be modestly dressed. Admission will be denied to men and women wearing short pants/skirts, sleeveless t-shirts/blouses.
Padmanabha Swamy Temple: only Hindus are allowed inside the temple; dress code applies.
Horse Palace: open 0830 – 1230 hrs & 1530 – 1730 hrs; closed on Mondays.
Napier Museum: open 1000 – 1645 hrs; closed on Mondays & Wednesday forenoons.
Padmanabhapuram Palace: open 1000 – 1630 hrs; closed on Mondays.
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