“God’s Own Country” Kerala Land Package: 7 Nights / 8 Days
“God’s Own Country” Kerala Land Package: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Kerala (also known as Keralam) is South India’s most beautiful state. A slender coastal strip with nearly 600 kms of Arabian Sea shoreline, a languid network of glistening backwaters and the spice and tea covered hills of the Western Ghats.
Kerala is home to wild elephants, exotic birds, tigers and vibrant traditions such as Kathakali plays and temple festivals which bring even the smallest villages to life. It’s hard to deny Kerala’s liberal use of the slogan “God’s Own Country”.
Day 1 : Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) Arrival
Our representative will meet you at the airport on arrival in Kochi and transfer you to for check-in.
Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, was an important spice trading centre and flaunts one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It was the first of the European colonies in India and first princely state to join the Indian Union in 1947 when India gained independence from the British Colonial rule.
Enjoy our half day sightseeing tour with our first stop at the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, built in 1567 by the Malabar Yehudan people. Close to the synagogue lies the Mattancherry Palace, popularly known as the Dutch Palace, featuring Kerala murals depicting portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. Next we visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India dating back to 1503. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was buried in this church in 1524 before his remains were moved to London fourteen years later.
During a leisurely walk along the Fort Kochi promenade, you will have the opportunity to take a closer look at the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, locally called Cheena vala, believed to be brought by Portuguese Casado settlers from Macau, once a Portuguese colony. Each structure is at least 10 meters high and is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.
Day 2 : Kochi to Munnar Transfer (150 kms/4 hours)
After breakfast, we drive from Kochi to Munnar, a town and hill station situated 1,600 meters above sea level in the Western Ghats mountain range. It is surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the late 19th century, and was a former resort for the British Raj elite.
On our way to Munnar, we visit Valara waterfalls, Cheeyappara Waterfall as well as a tea plantation. After hotel check-in, we proceed to the Tea Museum located on the Nalluthanni Estate, where visitors and tea lovers can see various stages of the tea processing – crush, tear, curl – and learn about the production of Kerala black tea variants.
Day 3 : Munnar
Today we explore the Rajamala (Eravikulam) National Park, where the endangered Nilgiri Thar (the mountain goat of southern India) is protected together with several other species of rare animals, birds and butterflies. The park is also home to southern India’s highest peak, the Anamudi, reaching almost 2700 meters, and offers magnificent views of the surrounding tea plantation. It becomes a hot destination when the slopes are covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering Neelakurinji shrub which blooms only once every twelve years. The next flowering season is in 2018.
We also visit the Mattupetty Dam, where the large amount of perennially available water allows wild animals and birds to flourish and is known to be one of the visiting grounds of elephants in the region. The Top Station which derives its name from being the uppermost station of the Kottagudi Aerial Ropeway, and offering a panoramic view of the majestic Western Ghats and the valley of Theni district Tamil Nadu is our next stop. On the way to the top station, we stop at one of the most beautiful places in Munnar, Echo Point, a natural echo phenomenon that is surrounded with mist covered hills and water falls and offers an ideal location for nature walks.
Note: Visits to Eravikulam National Park are subject to restrictions during the Nilgiri Thar’s breeding season (February/March).
Day 4 : Munnar to Thekkady Transfer (110 kms/ 3.5 Hrs)
On our way to Thekkady, we will drive through some of the most picturesque hills, forests and spice trails. Most of the route consists of forest roads with views of streams and small waterfalls. We will make several stops at viewpoints so take a lot of pictures to carry the memories with you.
Thekkady is located near the Tamil Nadu border and is home to the Periyar National Park, known for its elephant and tiger reserve. The park is named after a lake located at the centre of the park and is often called the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or Thekkady. On arrival, we will check-in to our hotel and relax over lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a Periyar Lake cruise, which is the main way to tour the sanctuary.
On the cruise, you can expect to see deer, bison, wild boar, otters, monkeys and elephants by the water’s edge in their natural habitat. Other activities such as a nature walk, bamboo rafting, elephant and Jeep safaris are also available for you to book.
Day 5: Thekkady to Kumarakom transfer (150 Km- 4 Hrs)
After breakfast we will drive to Kumarakom, set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake, the greatest backwater in Kerala, and check-in to our waterfront hotel. Kumarakom is a beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting wanterways and canals adorned by white lilies.
We will enjoy a lunch cruise aboard the Kettuvallam, a traditional wooden Kerala houseboat and an integral part of the region’s culture and heritage, which was in the past used to carry men and goods, particularly rice and spices to Kochi. Cruising along the backwaters of Kerala is an unforgettable experience. Surrounded by its all-natural décor, the houseboat provides an ideal observation platform, not only for underwater life, flora and fauna, but also for the charming rural life slipping by in slow motion. Together with lovely food served on board and a fine level of hospitality, your cruise will be an unforgettable experience.
In the evening we disembark our Kettuvallam and return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 6 : Kumarakom to Kovalam transfer (180 kms/5 hrs)
Kovalam is a small coastal town and beach resort. Kovalam’s name means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name, the town offers an endless sight of coconut trees. Kovalam was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era which transformed this casual fishing village into one of the most important destinations in India.
With high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise attracts tourists from all around the world. Check-in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 7 : Kovalam
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), Kerala’s capital and largest city. Long before becoming the major IT hub of Asia, Trivandrum was a trading post for spices, sandalwood and ivory and is consistently ranked among the best cities to live in India. The International Film Festival of Kerala, which is held every year in December, is one of the most anticipated for movie buffs in India and is also Asia’s largest film festival in terms of viewer participation.
On our tour, we visit the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple, built in an intricate fusion of indigenous Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture typically associated with the temples built in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is the richest Hindu temple in the world with an estimated $22 billion worth of goldand jewels stored in its underground vaults.
Next we visit the Kanakakunnu Palace, one of the last vestiges of the colonial era. It was built during the reign of Travancore king Sree Moolam Thirunal in the early twentieth century and served as the main venue for royal banquets. These days, the prestigious All India Dance Festival is hosted annually by the Department of Tourism at the open-air auditorium.
We continue for a photo opportunity at the Kowdiar Palace, built in 1934 on the occasion of Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal only sister’s marriage. The palace has 150 rooms and entry is restricted as it is the private residence of the royal family.
Day 8 : Kovalam
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for your onward journey.