Day 01: Arrival / Cochin
Mid morning arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival,
transfer to hotel Casino, a fascinating 4* hotel replete with
character. The sea food restaurant here is a tremendous place
in case you are fond of eating fish. The restaurant is open
sided and the manager walks up to you with a cart of fish
(dead, mercifully!). You make the pick and he cooks. The food
here would be WOW stuff! Cooked in typical Kerala style and
marinated with coconut and mild herbs, the food leaves a refreshing
tingle on your taste buds!
Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative
would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents
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!
Following 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. 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. The 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 undoubtedly 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. 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.
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
Overnight Hotel Casino (Standard Room)
Day 02: Cochin / Munnar
After leisurely breakfast, we drive to Munnar, through the
scenically vibrant valley of the Cardamom Hills of the Western.
We would stop a few times to interact with locals as well
as walk through the countryside to explore traditional and
ethnic lifestyles. 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 and with its
lakes, reservoirs, forests and tea estates is the Nature-Lovers's
Paradise. It is beautifully situated at the confluence of
three rivers - the Muthirappuzh, Nallathanni and Kundala.
Munnar is a major center of Kerala's tea industry.
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. It is as close
as one can get to paradise in God's own country.
We have two days at leisure to explore the virgin beauty
of the place and its several possibilities at your own pace.
Anaimudi (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 lifestyles, 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. The hills surrounding
Munnar are home for one of the world's rarest mountain goats,
Nilgiri tahr. The tropical forests are inhabited by elephants,
tigers, deer and gaur (bison) Munnar is a birdwatcher 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)
Day 03: 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
vary from about 1220 m to over 1830 m. some of the tea plantations,
at an elevation of over 2135-m, 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 who carry conical
bamboo baskets on their back and strapped to their forehead
by a cloth band. The work on the field is all done by hand
and is a fascinating sight. 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 04: 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. 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.
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 upon 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
Overnight at Cardamom House
Day 05: Cardamom House / Periyar
Following a leisurely 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.
About a century ago, a British engineer, Col. J. Pennycuick,
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 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 a treasure of photogenic frames. 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. Witness
the pageantry of natural forces at work from a stage set in
at a magnificent place by the name Michael's Inn. Cradled
in an exquisite altitude of the sahyadris Michael's sure to
extend a different facet of nature. 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. The total population is about
800. 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)
Day 06: Periyar / Kumarakom
After 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. 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
Later we drive to Kumarakom.
Upon arrival check into Coconut Lagoon, it has rightly carved
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)
Day 08: Coir Island / Kovalam
Following a leisurely breakfast, drive to Kovalam.
Upon arrival in Kovalam check into - The Travancore Heritage
is a seaside resort set in 8 acres of lush green coconut garden
and landscaped environs south of Kovalam, The rooms are comfortable
and well-appointed. 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
Overnight Travancore Heritage (Heritage
Day 09 - 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. Nature
walks on the extensive network of pavements and along the
edge of the cliff can also be engaged in to exercise the body
and the mind. 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