11 February -Day 01 ARRIVE COCHIN
Assistance on arrival at the airport, meet and greet by our representative and later, assistance and transfer to hotel.
Kochi (Cochin) Being a major harbor from the times of the British and Portuguese, Cochin has a rich heritage of forts, churches and temples.
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide. Overnight at the hotel in Cochin
After a small settle down at your hotel proceed to visit the ancient marvel which gives you an overview of the political, religious and commercial developments of the city. Some of the major attractions of the city are the Dutch Palace, was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in 1555 AD. 17th century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana, can be seen here
Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 AD contains Grand Scrolls of the Old Testament and the copper plates containing the privileges granted to the Jews by the Cochin rulers. The floor of the synagogue is paved with exquisite Chinese hand painted tiles.
Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church, St Francis Church, built originally by the Portuguese in 1510 AD is believed to be the first church built by Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama was originally buried here.
Chinese fishing nets can be seen at the entrance of the harbour. This technique of catching fish was taught by the Chinese through trade contact. These nets along the back-waters are a fascinating sight. Also visit Santa Cruz Basilica, Dutch Cemetery & Wilingdon Island,
In the evening transfer to theater for Kathakali dance show, which is must to see in Cochin
Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. It originated in the country's present day state of Kerala during the 17th century and has developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming. Overnight at the hotel in Cochin
12 February -Day 02 COCHIN – MUNNAR
Morning: Drive to Munnar (135 kms/04½ hrs). On arrival in Munnar, check in at hotel.
Munnar (1,524 M) is the highest town of Kerala, with a cool, bracing climate exuding an old-world charm. The atmosphere is fragrant with extensive tea and cardamom plantations. There are enchanting high ranges, lakes and streams and beautiful view of low-lying clouds and the mist-filled valleys.
Afternoon we will leave the plains and head for the hills. Munnar is Kerala’s premier hill station, built around the tea industry. The tea estates here have meant that a ‘tea culture’ spawned by the British still is in place, with most of the land under the control of the tea companies. The Sholas or high altitude montane evergreen forests are typical to the Western Ghats and considered biologically extremely fragile. Our treks will pass through countless Sholas & rolling grasslands
Later we also visit tea plantation and factory. See how tea is grown, hand-picked and processed and taste some of the best tea. Overnight at the hotel in Munnar
13 February -Day 03 MUNNAR – PERIYAR
Morning: Drive to Periyar (100 kms/03 hrs) and on arrival, check in at hotel.
Periyar Tiger Reserve, 777 sq km in area is set in a rich, mixed deciduous forest, interspersed with open areas of tall grass. Periyar has a splendid artificial lake dotted with snags of dead wood, which provide a perch for water birds; darter, grey heron, egret and kingfisher. It is one of the finest habitats for the Asiatic elephant. These enormous mammals swim in the waters and streams and usually they can be observed during the boat ride. Periyar also holds, apart from Tiger leopard, sambar, wild dog, barking deer, the lion tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur. The forest harbours a variety of woodland birds. Boat travel is the only means of transport in the Sanctuary.
Afternoon: Boat ride in Lake Periyar to watch wildlife. Overnight at the hotel in Periyar
14 February -Day 04 PERIYAR
Morning depart for a spice plantation tour. Wear closed shoes - it feels like a jungle walk. Spices growing here include vanilla, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and mace, surrounded by coconut palms, bananas and jackfruit. Back to the resort for overnight stay. Rest of the day at leisure – overnight at the hotel in Periyar
15 February -Day 05 PERIYAR – ALLEPPEY – HOUSEBOAT
Morning check-out and drive to Alleppey and switch over to House Boat and cruise along the backwater towards Kumarakom. The cruise would take you through villages, paddy fields, markets etc.
Kumarakom is popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala. A huddle of tiny islets on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a pictorial, unsoiled village. An incredibly stunning ecstasy of mangrove forests, pea green paddy meadows and coconut coppices intermingled with enthralling waterways and canals. Kumarakom, located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a proportionate tropical weather. Overnight on board House Boat
16 February -Day 06 HOUSEBOAT – KUMARAKOM
After breakfast – disembark from houseboat and check-in to the backwater resort in Kumarakom – overnight in Kumarakom
17 February -Day 07 ALLEPPEY – VARKALA
After breakfast disembark from houseboat and drive to Varkala.
Varkala is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is located 50 kilometres (approx. 32 miles) north-west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and 37 km south-west of Kollam city. Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.
Arrive Varkala and check-in to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure or indulge in Ayurveda. Overnight in Varkala
18 February-Day 08 VARKALA – TRIVANDRUM – VARKALA
After breakfast take a sightseeing tour to Trivandrum (capital of Kerala)
Trivandrum, the capital of the state of Kerala, is a beautiful seaside city. Visit the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple (Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the Temple, only from outside), dedicated to god Vishnu, a sacred place of the Hindus from antiquity - with its magnificent tower rising in seven storyes against the reflecting pool in from, is a fine specimen of South Indian architecture.
Visit the Art Museum known as the Napier museum - a colourful and attractive turreted structure standing on the crest of the public gardens - is a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style with gothic roof and minarets, painted walls and ceilings.
Later visit the Art Gallery known as Sri Chitra Art Gallery which has a good collection of painting by Raja Ravi Varma and Roerich; Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore paintings; and that of the Ajanta and Bagh caves.
Later back to Varkala for overnight stay.
19 February- VARKALA – TRIVANDRUM DEPT
Early morning check out from the hotel and proceed to Trivandrum airport and to connect your flight for onward destination.
Cost of above tour including all of below but NOT FLIGHTS is only £599.00! If you wish to reserve a place on this trip, please pay a non refundable deposit of £100.00.
• Meeting and assistance on arrival by our representative.• Accommodation on Twin Sharing basis on Bed & Breakfast basis at all places for a total of 08 nights.• Premium Houseboat stay with all meals included at Kumarakom.• Candle light dinner with Indian made wine at the houseboat at Kumarakom.• Kathakali show at A/C Theatre at Cochin. • English speaking guide for sightseeing at Cochin. • Boat Ride at Thekkady.• Sightseeing of Trivandrum.• Visit to Spice Plantations at Thekkady.• Visit to Bird Sanctuary at Kumarakom.• Arrival/departure transfers, sightseeing/excursions & surface travel as per programme using A/C FORCE TRAVELLER inclusive of fuel charges, parking, taxes, drivers allowance etc.• Vehicle at disposal through out the tour.• All Currently applicable taxes.
• ***VISA REQUIRED FOR INDIA, NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE, ALSO TRAVEL INSURANCE AND INNOCULATIONS***
• Suggested flights are with Emirates, timings as follows:
• EK 8 10FEB LHRDXB 0910 2000
• EK 532 10 FEB DXBCOK 2155 #0320
• EK 523 19 FEB TRVDXB 0430 0705
• EK 29 19FEB DXBLHR 0940 1335