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Best of Kerala Tour

Duration : 11 Days / 10 Nights
Destinations Covered: Cochin - Munnar - Cardamom House - Periyar - Kumarakom - Coir Island - Kovalam - Trivandrum - Departure.

Day 1: Arrival / Cochin

Elephant FestivalMid morning arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival, transfer to hotel Casino, a fascinating 4 star hotel replete with character. You would be assisted by our representative who would furnish the details of the tour. After much rest and relaxation, 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. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting.
We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace. 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.

We would visit 'Jew Town', in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry, is one street long. The area around the Synagogue, known, as Jew Town is one of the main centres of spice trade. 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.

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 Hotel Casino (Standard Room).
Overnight : At Hotel Casino (Standard Room)

Day 2: Cochin / Munnar
After breakfast, we drive to Munnar, through the scenically vibrant valley of the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. It's a journey through extensive tea and spice plantations and for most part of our journey; the air is rendered with the fragrance of tea and spices. Munnar, a hill station on the Western Ghats is beautifully situated at the confluence of three rivers - the Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.

Upon arrival check into the hotel Siena Village. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Anayirangal dam, the resort is a perfect holiday destination for anyone wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

We have two days at leisure to explore the virgin beauty of the place and its several possibilities at your own pace. Anamudi (2694 m), the highest peak in the southern India, is nearby and the views from here are incredible. Munnar offers some great possibility for nature walks and visits to nearby tribal villages where people, though poor are extremely friendly, charming and hospitable. The ethnic life-styles, traditional homes and the traditional occupation with ethnic tools and implements provides an incredible experience. The forest that surround Munnar are still rich in wildlife and inhabited by world's rarest mountain goats (Nilgiri tahr), elephants, tigers, deer and gaur (bison). Munnar is a bird watcher's delight with a variety of birds that are supported by the evergreen vegetation of the region. If one seek a sense of peace, a desire to communicate with nature and most importantly participate in a journey through a living museum, Munnar is the place that seeks to provide all this in a heavenly setting. Overnight at Siena Village (Standard Room)
Overnight : At Siena Village (Standard Room)
          Munnar Tea Palnt
Day 3: Munnar

Day is at leisure. Munnar is surrounded by 30 tea gardens; the atmosphere is fragrant with extensive tea and cardamom plantations. Tea estates are situated mostly on the inner slopes of an elevated basin-like plateau. Estate elevations are among the highest in the world. It would be worthwhile to visit some of these tea gardens to witness the plucking of leaves by women. You may also visit the nearby Lockhart Gap, which provides a panoramic view of the valley and plantation down below. The enchanting high range of lakes and streams, the low-flying clouds and the mist-filled valleys cast a magical spell, which lingers long in the memory. You could also visit the Mattupetty dam and lake, Rajamala, the natural habitat of Nilgiri Tahr, a rare mountain goat and the Eravikulam National Park.
Overnight :At Siena Village (Standard Room).

Day 4: Munnar / Cardamom House
This 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.

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. A quiet stroll through the village will unfold the rural atmosphere encompassing a Hindu Temple situated under a Banyan Tree, Banana Plantations, fields of Chilli and Groundnuts, and of course hundreds upon hundreds of Coconut Trees. The villagers are friendly. 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. Overnight at Cardamom House.
Overnight : At Cardamom House

Day 5: Cardamom House / Periyar
After finishing the breakfast, 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. 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 hotel Michael's inn. Tucked away in the midst of virgin lush green tea gardens of the Western Ghats is Michael's inn. The proximity of Periyar wild life sanctuary with its unsullied green and exciting blue mountains makes it photogenic. Girdled by the Periyar Lake the sanctuary is resplendent with untamed wild animals like tiger leopard elephant gaur sambar, bear, jackal and more in companionship with scores of water birds. Amidst the calmness of Periyar lake rare and rich variety of scenic beauties wait for you in silence to share their secrets. Venture onto the wild on an elephant's back to have very real and close looks at the amazing animal kingdom or take a boat and raft over the Periyar Lake.

Late afternoon, we take a boat ride along the lake into the more inner areas of the reserve. There is probably no sanctuary in the world where elephant behavior can be watched in such absolute comfort and safety. From the lake we can get as close as 20 meters to watch placid groups feeding, bathing and mud slinging. We end this adventurous day at our hotel, turning in for the night matching the tranquil pace of the forest around us. Overnight: Michaels Inn (Standard Room).
Overnight : At Michaels Inn (Standard Room)

Day 6: Periyar / Kumarakom
After breakfast this morning we would take a short trek inside the forest. The bird life comprises of darters, cormorants, kingfishers, great hornbills (the great Malabar hornbill) and racket-tailed drongoes. Monitor lizards, pythons, king cobras, flying lizards, flying squirrels, flying snakes and to top it all, flying frogs are the other inhabitants of this amazing sanctuary. There are a few fascinating tribal villages around the Periyar, primarily the Manan and Oorali tribes. The Manans 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. Later we drive to Kumarakom.

Upon arrival check into Coconut Lagoon, it has rightly secured its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools. Overnight at Coconut Lagoon (Mansion).

Overnight : At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 7: Kumarakom
Day is at leisure for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala. Overnight at Coconut Lagoon (Mansion).
Overnight : At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 8: Coir Island / Kovalam
Following the breakfast, drive to Kovalam. Upon arrival in Kovalam check into - The Travancore Heritage, a seaside resort set in 8 acres of lush green coconut garden has comfortable and well-appointed rooms. The restaurant, which overlooks the pool, offers multi-cuisine fare but specializes in local ethnic cuisine. The Travancore Heritage also has another restaurant, which specializes in seafood. For relaxation there are two pools including one for children and a set of Jacuzzis. There are also a wide range of beach activities. Nature walks on the extensive network of pavements along the edge of the cliff are also possible. Rest of the day is at leisure for Ayurvedic massages and beauty treatments or to enjoy the magnificent beach and your fascinating hotel. Overnight Travancore Heritage (Heritage Premium Room).
Overnight : At Travancore Heritage (Heritage Premium Room)
         
Day 9 - 10: Kovalam
Days are at leisure to enjoy the spectacular resort as well as the incredible countryside. Those guests who would like to have a splash in the sea can venture to do so when allowed by the coast guards of the resort or just loll up on the beach for the perfect suntan, under the beach umbrellas. Games like beach volley ball are organized on request. Barbeque service will be a special fare at the lawn, providing spectacular view of the night sky and the countless lights of a myriad fishing boats of the local fishermen reflecting on the waves of the turquoise blue sea. Overnight Travancore Heritage (Heritage Premium Room).
Overnight : At Travancore Heritage (Heritage Premium Room)

Day 11: Kovalam / Trivandrum / Departure
Drive to Trivandrum airport for your onward flight back home.