Arrival in Cochin
This morning you will arrive at Cochin International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, a SITA representative will meet you as you exit the arrival terminal building (please keep a look out for a SITA placard with your name on it) and transfer you to your hotel, where you will proceed for check-in. The standard check in time at the hotel is 1400hrs. Kochi, or more familiarly, Cochin is a city of many parts. Around for a long, long time, Kochi played a pivotal role in the development of shipping and trade in the region. Kochi's prime location on the west coast, its fine bay and protected harbour made it popular with seafarers and merchant ships who made frequent stops to stock up on spices, coffee and wood en-route to the rich markets of Europe and West Asia. And so down the ages, Kochi prospered as a busy port city and commercial centre. Its seafront is still extremely relevant to Cochin and to India: it houses a Naval Base and one of India's busiest ports. In the afternoon proceed for a walking tour of Matancherry followed by a tuk tuk ride. During the tour the guide will take you to spice warehouses, artists, painters, photographers, hidden shrines, boutiques doing intricate hand embroidery work, cafes and restaurants. You will spend 2 nights in Cochin at Casino Hotel on Bed and Breakfast Basis
Today you will start your day with a half day city tour of the city. You will first proceed to visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. From Jewish Synagogue you will visit Chinese fishing nets (Where you will have the chance to visit the local fish shops). . The cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th century although, today parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names. You will then visit St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition.. You will also be visiting The Dutch Palace (Closed on Friday) at Mattancherry, which was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features. In the evening witness a classical Indian dance show - Kathakali. Kathakali (Katha means story and Kali means play) is the classical dance drama of Kerala, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. It has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. Kathakali is a traditional ritualistic art forms used for centuries to preserve the stories of Vedas. Elaborate costumes and gesture makes the Kathakali dancers something special to be hold.
Cochin to Periyar
This morning you will drive to Periyar. On the way you will do a Tea Trail programme (closed on Public holidays & Sundays). This program includes a guided trip through the garden, an interpretive slide show, a guided factory visit, an opportunity to experience the different flavours of Connemara tea. Periyar forest of Thekkady is well known for wild life sanctuary, situated on the banks of Periyar Lake and also known for diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, which attracts visitors from all over the world. It is situated on the high ranges of the Western Ghats which is covered by dense evergreen forests and savannah grass land. The Periyar wild life sanctuary offers a fairy good chance to seeing the herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques & Nilgiri langurs in its natural habitat. Spread across an area of 777 sq. km of which 360 sq. km is thick ever green forest. In 1978 Periyar wildlife sanctuary was declared a Tiger reserve. Interestingly Periyar is often referred to Thekkady and as Kumily. These names are used interchangeably for the same area, however this can be a little confusing. To put it clearly The Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve lie in Thekkady which is an area in the town of Kumily. In the evening proceed to The Kerala Kalari Centre which is a great place to witness the ancient Kalaripayattu martial dance performed and practised by dedicated local swordsmen. Traditional masters of the art form perform skits from mythology to entertain the public and show off their swordsmanship. You will spend 2 nights in Periyar at The Wildernest on Bed and Breakfast Basis Travelling distance approx. 186 Kms, driving time approx. 6 hours
In the morning proceed for a guided walk through spice plantation to see the cultivation of cardamom, pepper, vanilla and coffee. In the afternoon proceed for common boat ride at the Lake Periyar. The Periyar Tiger Reserve and National Park - Established in 1934 as the Nelliampatty Sanctuary, the park was enlarged in 1950 and is India's southernmost tiger reserve. The lake covers some 10 sq. miles and most of the sanctuary is undulating. Since boat travel is the only means of transport in the park, large areas can be covered in a short time. Among the game found here are gaur (the largest of the world's wild oxen), elephant, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, the rare and endangered lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, the common langur and the bonnet macaque, porcupine, Malabar squirrel, wild dog and tiger.
Thekkady to Alleppey
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Alleppey Jetty point to board houseboat. Climb aboard the traditional kettuvallams (riceboats) converted into houseboats with bedrooms and attached toilets. Originally these boats were used as ferries to carry rice. Cruise through the backwaters of Kerala. Houseboat is one of the 50 "must do" things as described by the National Geographic Traveller magazine. The backwater cruise through the narrow canals that criss-cross a typical Kerala Village, rich with green paddy fields and verdant coconut trees and is a thrilling experience. The boat cruise takes you to small islets tucked away amidst those waters where you get glimpses of village at the best of its serenity and innocence. Lunch and dinner will be served on board. You will spend 1 night in AC Houseboat on Full Board Basis Travelling distance approx. 150 Kms, driving time approx. 4 Â½ hours
Alleppey to Kumarakim
In the morning you will drive through the countryside to Kumarakom. Upon arrival at Kumarakom, proceed to check in your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Kumarakom: Located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a well-balanced tropical climate. Nature has composed its magic to perfection here. A million verdant coconut palms lining the rivers lean to examine its reflections on the glassy rivers. Everywhere, nature is at its best. Blooming forth in perfumes of flowers. In the riot of colours of multi-hued birds. In the fresh, succulent and bountiful freshwater fishes. You will spend 2 nights in Punnamada Resort on Bed and Breakfast Basis Travelling distance approx. 50 Kms, driving time approx. 1 ½ hours
Morning after breakfast you will be taken to the local village of Kumarakom to experience the paddy filed and the local life around the backwaters. A small walking tour of the village will be organised by the local specialist guide. Optional Experience (not included) 0830 Hrs: Departure from Kumarakom hotel by car 0900 Hrs: Board the shikkara (it is a covered, mechanized country boat) proceed for canal ride (small backwater canal) 0945 Hrs: Visit small scale coir making, toddy tapping, coconut climbing (get down from the boat and spent one hour) 1045 Hrs: Board shikkara and proceed to canals and return back to your hotel Mineral water / life jacket will be provided
Kumarakom to Cochin
In time you will be transferred to Cochin airport where you will be assisted by a SITA representative to board your onward flight to back home.( It is advisable to leave the hotel 4 Â½ hrs prior to the flight departure time in order to cater to travel time till the airport and time required for immigration and boarding formalities.) Travelling distance approx. 80 Kms, driving time approx. 1.5 Hrs
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