Essence of Kerala
Route : Kochi Munnar Periyar Marari KochiValidity: 01 Oct 2016 - 15 Apr 2017
Arrive Kochi, the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Starting from the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, Kochi was the site of the first European colonial settlements in India.
After breakfast, take a guided walk through the historic Fort Kochi area. This morning we will visit the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and see the authentic Chinese fishing nets still in active use by the fishermen in Kerala.
This evening, watch a spectacular Kathakali performance. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in India. One of the most complex and highly stylized Indian art forms, this performance is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Reach early for the unique opportunity to see the performers dressing up in their very elaborate and colorful costumes and painting their faces with make up to create the special persona for the performance. Also visit the onsite cultural museum to see sculptures of Kerala's unique dance forms, a large replica of an authentic Keralan wooden canoe and see how Keralan handicrafts and saris are woven.
Kochi – Munnar [145
kms / 4]
After breakfast embark on a scenic drive to Munnar, one of the most popular hill resorts of south India. Under the British Raj, Munnar was popularly called ‘Switzerland of India' for its natural surroundings and cool climate. The entire area is occupied by thick forests and tea estates. The specialty of Munnar is its jungle honey, tea and a rare flower ‘Neela Kurunji’ which blooms once in 12 years.
Upon arrival check-in at your hotel for 2 nights stay.
After breakfast, visit a local tea plantation and the Tata Tea Museum to learn about the cultivation and processing of a variety of Indian teas. Then we visit a unique welfare initiative in Munnar, which focuses on enhancing the hidden talents of differently abled children, most of whom are from families of local tea pluckers of Munnar. Here we see three projects that aim to equip disabled children to secure a better future: a centre for special education; a natural dye fabric printing project; and a unit that manufactures handmade paper and paper products. The products made by these children are sold at a small outlet near the workshops and are exported to Japan and Europe. A visit to this unique initiative reiterates how enthusiasm is a sign of spiritual health and imperfections are what make you beautiful!
Enjoy the evening at leisure.
After a leisurely breakfast, we embark on a scenic drive to Periyar, the spice plantation hub of Kerala.
Upon arrival in Periyar, check in to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Early this morning, we take a guided walk with a naturalist in Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Observe some rare species of flora and fauna, along with a variety of birds and if you are lucky you may even spot a few elephants and wildlife across the lake.
This afternoon, take a spice plantation tour and learn about the mystery and history of Indian spices. The spice plantations in Periyar are captivating farms growing different spices in different sections of the plantations. You will be intrigued to see the vast variety of spices ranging from cloves, cardamom, ginger, pepper, chilli, turmeric etc.
After breakfast, drive to Marari, a fishermen’s village. Upon arrival in Marari check in to your hotel for 07 nights rejuvenation retreat.
This wellness retreat is designed for rejuvenation and complete relaxation by reconnecting your mind, body and soul. This Ayurvedic wellness retreat offers a complete lifestyle change by introducing you to ancient Indian therapies of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Meditation.
Upon arrival, the Ayurveda doctor will assess your body as per the 5000 year old principles of Ayurveda. According to your Ayurvedic assessment, a schedule of therapeutic massages and Ayurvedic diet will be planned for all 7 days of your stay. Enjoy daily sessions of Yoga and Meditation, followed by Ayurvedic massage, an ancient Indian therapy that aims to re-energize your chakras and balance the flow of energy in the body. The vegetarian menu is especially designed as per your body assessment by the Ayurveda doctor.
This morning, drive to Alleppey, a coastal town in the backwaters of Kerala. Upon arrival in Alleppey, board your houseboat to cruise through the backwaters. Kerala backwaters consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes, & canals and are best experienced while slowly rowing down the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat, known as 'Kettuvallam'. Discover the daily life along the backwaters and watch the circle of life in endless shades of green. Enjoy the comfort of a floating suite, relax and discover the flavors of Kerala served on the sundeck as the fascinating life along the waterfront passes by.
Overnight stay on Houseboat.
This morning, enjoy breakfast on board. Alight your houseboat and embark on your return drive to Kochi.
En-route to Kochi, visit a lush green island model village (agri farm), surrounded by backwaters and paddy fields. Meet the locals to understand essential elements of local village lifestyle of Kerala, which is predominated by coconut. Enjoy a backwaters boat cruise in a traditional country boat. Spend the afternoon seeing coir yarn processing, copra processing, crab farming, clam meat processing, operation of Chinese fishing nets, weaving coconut leaves and fish groping.
Continue your drive to Kochi. This evening, you will be transferred to the airport to connect to your flight back home.