TRIPS

Kerala Kaleidoscope

$ 995.00

8 Days Cochin ● Thekkady ● Kumarakom ● Marari ● Cochin

Description

DAY 01: ARRIVE COCHIN

Our representative will meet you in the arrival area of the airport after you clear all immigration and custom formalities. Depart for your hotel and check in for your stay.

Kochi (popularly known as Cochin) is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port which became the principal harbour for Malabar coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities.

Hotel in Kochi
Category A Property: Dream Cochin (Deluxe room)
Category B Property: Crown Plaza (Deluxe City View)
Category C Property: Vivanta by Taj Malabar (Superior charm)

DAY 02: COCHIN
Begin your exploration of the city with a walk through the bustling harbor area and quaint backstreets to discover it’s rich and multifaceted past. Kochi is full of echoes of Kerala’s past colonizers, including Hindu and Mughal dynasties, Portuguese and Dutch conquerors, and the British Empire – which came seeking control of the lucrative pepper trade. The city hosts the oldest church in India, 500-year-old Portuguese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, and a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora.

St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal. Once a wooden building, it was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. His grave is still marked with a plaque and a brass rail, though his remains are back home in Portugal. Across, the four-century old Jewish synagogue was built in 1568 AD, it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. We will explore the Jew-town, which abounds with fascinating antique shops and wares. Looming protectively over the synagogue is the Mattancherry palace, erstwhile home to the Verma kings and today a fine museum.

In the evening, visit a local theatre to experience Kathakali performance. Kathakali literally meaning “story dance” is the pantomimic dance drama, the dancing and the acting being blended together into an inseparable form. It is a combination of facial expressions and body movements, which brings out the thought and emotion of the character. Upon arrival, you will witness the artists readying themselves up with the make up and this will be followed by the performance. Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas. Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums in accompaniment of the Chengila (gong)

Cultural connection (Optional):  Walking Tour of Cochin:This walking tour is an eye opener to the minute details of the old town. It definitely pulls you back to 14th century. Fort Cochin is said to have formed in the 1340’s due to cataclysmic floods. Fort Cochin being the natural gateway to the Kochi harbor grew in importance as travelers from far and wide came to Kochi -the Arabs, the Chinese, the Dutch and the Portuguese. The large rain trees, beautiful colonial buildings, streets lined with many shops, dining options, the Chinese fishing nets, the Parade Ground, the Jain temple, the Jewish Synagogue, the beach area, St. Francis Church, the Vasco house, the narrow lanes of Mattanchery and the fruit and vegetable markets all make this an interesting area.

DAY 03: COCHIN – THEKKADY By surface: 180 KM/+/- 05h30
Morning, drive uphill to Periyar through a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations. On arrival, check in for your stay.
Periyar is the ‘Land of the Spices’ Columbus was seeking when he stumbled on the New World; Kerala’s Malabar Coast is famous for its fabulous spice crops.

Afternoon, visit the spice plantation and see traditional plantation techniques while walking amidst the rows of vines creeping upwards on trellises. The correct time to pluck the peppercorns is when they are beginning to redden, just before they are completely ripe. Try your hand at it, but be sure to wash up before touching your eyes or nose! Walk past the rows of mats on which the plucked peppercorns are left to dry. The scent of pepper mingles with the fresh mountain air. This is the starting point of the centuries old spice trade and that delicious flavour which makes such a difference to foods worldwide.

Hotel in Periyar
Category A Property: The Elephant Court (Patio room)
Category B Property: Cardamom County (AC Periyar Cottage)
Category C Property: Annavillasam (Deluxe room)

DAY 04: THEKKADY – KUMARAKOM By surface: 125 KM/+/- 04 hour
This morning you will explore the park by taking a guided trek in the famous Periyar National Park.
With 16 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 national parks nestled along the Western Ghats; Kerala is a hotspot wildlife destination. The Western Ghats – geologically older than the Himalayas – is one of the world’s most significantly bio diverse regions and has been given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. The Forests of Kerala account for more than one-third of its terrain. Drive up to nearby Periyar National Park reserve, along the Cardamom and Pandalam hills of the Western Ghats. From the entrance gate, take a guided nature walk for about an hour on a trail through the park towards Periyar lake. The ecosystem of the park is very interesting – the trees grow up to 40m, and the dense canopy above only allows in limited sunlight. Therefore at ground level, there are abundant ferns, orchids and air plants – plants that need little light to survive. Along with the Malabar giant squirrel, hornbills, woodpeckers, and several other species of birds are easy to spot within the reserve.

At the bank of the lake, take a bamboo raft and cruise through the scenic Periyar Lake for about 2 hours through many delights of the sanctuary. From the elephant and tiger to the nilgiri tahr sambar, wild dog, leopard smooth-coated otters and lion-tailed macaque – around 35 species of animals live here.

Around midday, disembark the raft, return to the gate and head back to the hotel.

Afternoon, drive to Kumarakom.
Kumarakom, or the ‘Venice of the East’ is a veritable paradise in the lush backwaters of Kottayam. It is Kerala’s heartland of lagoons, palm fringed lakes and paddy fields, inter-linked with hundreds of winding canals with the typical low slung country boats that carry everything from people to fish, rice and coconuts to the milkman and newspaper boy, local politicians and priests to wedding parties.
Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the resort facilities.

Hotel in Kumarakom
Category A Property: Abad Whispering Palms (Garden view room)
Category B Property: The Zuri (Deluxe lagoon view)
Category C Property: Kumarakom Lake Resort (Meandering Pool Villa)

DAY 05: KUMARAKOM
Wake up early for a session of yoga under the guidance of an expert yoga master (optional).

Midmorning, take a short drive to Allepey to board Kettuvallam, a traditional houseboat and spend several hours drifting through the backwaters of Kerala enjoying lunch onboard.

The Kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’- was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only – not even a single nail is used during the construction. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a kettuvallom can last for generations. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine.

The backwaters are a network of canals, lakes, lagoons and estuaries stretching over almost 1000 square miles. Here, palm-fringed narrow canals wind through a vast expanse of paddy fields. As we float along, enjoy the picturesque hamlets that line the banks, migratory birds in abundance, water lilies and coconut groves.

Disembark the boat and return back to the hotel.
Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the resort facilities.

DAY 06: KUMARAKOM – MARARI By surface: 30 KM / +/- 01 hour
Post breakfast drive to Marari. On arrival, check in for your stay.

Maraikulam is a sleepy village, locked between the Arabian Sea and Lake Vembanad. The long, soft, sandy beach is ideal for launching traditional Keralan fishing boats which return to the shore with plentiful supplies for the local market. The area is a great place to unwind at the end of your trip – stretched out in a hammock with a book, strolling along the beach, exploring the quiet lanes on a bicycle or following a course of Ayurvedic treatment.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Hotel in Marari
Category A Property: Abad Turtle Beach (Beach Cottage)
Category B Property: Abad Turtle Beach (Beach Cottage)
Category C Property: The Marari Beach (Garden Villa)

DAY 07: MARARI
Days at leisure, with time to relax, spend time at the beach, explore near-city sights or pursue independent activities.

Cultural connection (Optional):
Explore the local beach and village: Begin the day early today with a morning excursion to a local beach, timing your arrival as the local fishing boats pull in with their catch for the day. There is a lovely auction on the beach with retailers and exporters bidding for the best catch of the day. Continue to a Christian host’s farm house to sample home -made breakfast.

Later, armed with a bicycle one can spend a somnolent morning exploring the surrounding village. The generosity of the villagers and the smiles and laughter that fill the village streets exemplify a richness of their spirit. After the adrenaline filled morning, drive further to see the coir yarning and mat weaving units and see the industrious villagers busy making traditional coir (the fibers from the outer husk of the coconut, used to make ropes and mats).

DAY 08: MARARI– COCHIN By surface: 80 KM/+/- 2h30
Morning is at your leisure. Hotel check-out time 12 noon.

Depending on your post-trip plans, you may drive to Kochi and connect flight for onward destination.

Seasonally
Low Season: 16 Apr – 30 Sep
High Season: 01 Oct- 15 Apr 2017

Surcharges applicable for travelling during the Christmas and New Year period (from 21 Dec- 10 January 2017)



Based on Category A
$850
Land only per person based on sharing

For 4 – 6 passengers:
Low: $850 | High: $ 975
For 2 – 3 passengers:
Low: $950 | High: $ 1075
Single supplement:
Low: $365 | High: $ 515

Based on Category B
$995
Land only per person based on sharing

For 4 – 6 passengers:
Low: $995 | High: $ 1150
For 2 – 3 passengers:
Low: $1095 | High: $ 1225
Single supplement:
Low: $515 | High: $ 695

Based on Category C
$1375
Land only per person based on sharing

For 4 – 6 passengers:
Low: $1375 | High: $ 1675
For 2 – 3 passengers:
Low: $1495 | High: $ 1795
Single supplement:
Low: $800 | High: $ 1150

Additional information

OVERVIEW

This journey travels through the classic sights of India's most populist circuit – Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi. This tour has been put together to represent the kaleidoscopic colours that can be witnessed whilst travelling through the princely state. Start by exploring the Mughal and Imperial monuments of Delhi from here travel to Agra, home of the impressive Taj Mahal and end your stay discovering the pink city of Jaipur, Khajuraho and Varanasi.
Become familiar with the urban center –Delhi, rich in history and buzzing with life. Visit timeless, somnolent villages, where little changed by the centuries. Gain deep insight into India’s history, from the Mughal empires through colonialism and into the contemporary age. Visit the archeological splendor of Khajuraho and the oldest living city in the World – Varanasi. Rub shoulders with mystics, priests and vendors of all description on your walks. Savor artful cuisine renowned throughout the world.

DEPARTURE

Guaranteed departure for minimum 2 travelers.

HOTELS

Delhi: The Taj Mahal / Kempinski Ambiance /The Suryaa
Agra: ITC Mughal / Double Tree By Hilton Agra / Four Point by Sheraton
Jaipur: Fairmont Jaipur / Hilton Jaipur / Holiday Inn City Centre
Khajuraho: The Lalit Temple View / Radisson Jass / Ramada Khajuraho
Varanasi: The Gateway Hotel Ganges / Radisson / Ramada Plaza

INCLUSIONS

 Accommodation of 07 nights on TWIN/ DOUBLE share basis at hotels mentioned above or similar
 Buffet breakfast at all hotels except houseboat, this will be on full board (all three meals) basis.
 Transportation by vehicles as per the itinerary
 2 – 3 pax: Air-conditioned Innova
 4-6 pax: Air-conditioned Tempo Traveler
 Services of English speaking local guides during sightseeing
 Entrance fees to the places of visit as per the itinerary
 Kathakali dance performance in Cochin
 Packaged drinking water in the vehicle throughout the tour
 Currently applicable taxes

EXCLUSIONS

◾International Airfare/train ticket, Call 1-888-887-1688 to get a quote from your home city
◾Travel insurance. visa fees, gratuities, drinks, personal spending and optional activities.
◾Camera or Video permits
 Any airfare or Optional activity
 Expenses of personal nature like drinks, personal insurance, tips and telephone calls.
 Any additional expenses due to unforeseen problems like natural disaster, war or strikes, cancellation or misconnection of flight or last minute change of timings etc.
 Any other service, which has not been specified as "included".

QUESTIONS

Should you have any further questions, please call 1888-887-1688 for assistance or chat online with us.

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