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Kerala Explorer

Total Days : 12 Days

Tour Destination : Cochin, Munnar, Cardamom House, Periyar, Houseboat, Kumarakom

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Namaste! - We welcome you with folded hands

Value Added Optional Tours Available (Request for prices and detailed information): -

  • Biking tour through the outback regions of Cochin (Kochi).
  • Time with the elephants in Periyar - feeding and ridding.
  • Trek through the tea estates of Munnar.

Day 01: Arrival / Cochin

Late night arrival, Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight at The Trident – a 5* Oberoi Group Hotel (Superior Room)

Day 02: Cochin

After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1000 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast.  image not foundThe fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting. They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest. We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century.

The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, is the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are u ndoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.The area around the Synagogue, known, as ‘Jew Town’ is one of the main centres of spice trade. image not found

Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street.

Kathakali Dance:
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreates an incomparable sense of pageantry.

Overnight at The Trident – a 5* Oberoi Group Hotel (Superior Room)

Day 03: Cochin / Periyar (180 Kms) (03 Hrs Drive)

Morning, we will drive to Periyar through the scenically vibrant valley of the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady in Kerala is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India. About a century ago, a British engineer, Col. J. Penn ycuick, chalked out a plan to dam the Periyar River, subsequently, a dam was constructed in 1895. This resulted in the adjoining forests being granted protection, by the Maharaja of Travancore. The 55 sq km reservoir and the surrounding forests, provide protection to the animals within. Today, Periyar is undeniably, one of the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries in the world.

Upon arrival check into the Cardamom County

The spice plantation in Periyar is one of the major spice plantations in Kerala. The spice plantations in Kerala are captivating farms to wander in, since different spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantation.

The spice plantation in Periyar is a prime attraction of this beautiful land. Though sprawling tea estates cover much of the landscape of Periyar, plantations of cardamom, rubber, vanilla and coffee are also aplenty.

We have the option for nature walks, bird watching, taste the various spices and breathe in the fragrant air while exploring the spice plantation in Periyar. Pick up a few packets of the tea and spices grown here that make for a good buy.

There are various kinds of spices cultivated in Periyar. The most abundantly found spice in Periyar is pepper. However, there is a variety of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves on the slanting slopes of the spice plantation in Periyar. We will also visit the Sahyadri Organic tea factory in Peermade, a recent venture of the PDS. There are specially designed vantage points for you to view this factory housed in a white-washed building.

Overnight at Cardamom County (Periyar AC Cottage)

Day 04: Periyar

Following breakfast this morning we would take a short trek inside the forest. The birdlife comprises of darters, cormorants, kingfishers, great hornbills (the great Malabar hornbill) and racket-tailed drongoes. The reptilian population boasts of monitor lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore, especially in the cooler months. Pythons, king cobras, flying lizards, flying squirrels, flying snakes and to top it all, flying frogs are the other inhabitants of this amazing sanctuary.

image not foundThere are a few fascinating tribal villages around the Periyar, primarily the Manan and Oorali tribes. The Mana ns are ace fishermen, and a few of them still indulge in the traditional, if dangerous, practice of collecting the honey of large and deadly hill bees. The Ooralis build tree dwellings, though not as residences, but watchtowers to keep wild pigs, and elephants from ruining their crops.

After the trek, we board rafts made of bamboos for a rafting experience through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve. The rafting is for about three hours and one gets a panoramic view of forest-clad hills reflected on the lake. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake.

The team hitchhikes back to the boat landing by about 5 pm. An armed guard and guides will accompany us. Tea, snacks and packed lunch will be served Enroute

Overnight at Cardamom County (Periyar AC Cottage)

Day 05: Periyar/ Cardamom House (200 Kms) (04 Hrs Drive)

Morning, we ride to Cardamom House, situated in stunningly beautiful surroundings on a hillside of the Western Ghats over-looking a monsoon dependent 400-acre lake. Cardamom House is owned and managed by Dr. Chris Lucas, a retired English physician, ably assisted by 6 Indian staff. All rooms have either twin or separate double-bedded accommodation, face south, and have modern western style bathroom facilities en-suite with solar heated hot water. The water comes from deep bore wells and is potale. With just two guests to each staff member we can assure that you will, be personally looked after and "spoiled rotten" during your stay. The meals are prepared using only the freshest produce purchased daily from the local markets and the house takes great pride in the variety of food that they serve.

Overnight at Cardamom House (Twin Bedded A/C)

Day 06: Cardamom House

Besides experiencing a great, traditional accommodation in stunning natural settings, we also want you to experience a typical back of beyond unhurried Athoor village that has remained frozen in time. We suggest that you simply stroll through the village at your own pace, absorbing the atmosphere and watching as the rural life unfolds. On the track you will pass a Hindu Temple situated under a Banyan Tree, Continuing your stroll you will pass Banana Plantations, fields of Chilli and Groundnuts, and of course hundreds image not foundupon hundreds of Coconut Trees. The villagers whose Way of life is dependent on agriculture, are Very friendly and will welcome you. Some of the Cardamom House staff either hail from, or are living in Athoor and will ensure that they are there to help you, introduce you to people and help with the devilishly difficult Tamil language, Athoor is truly an unspoiled Indian Village waiting to be discovered.

Overnight at Cardamom House (Twin Bedded A/C)