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Kerala Holiday - Wildlife And Culture Experience

A Ten days Kerala tour covering the best, that the Southern Indian state of Kerala has to offer. This Kerala tour package, includes, the Port city of Cochin, the pristine Tea gardens and beautiful Eravikulam National Park in Munnar, the bird sanctuary at Kumarakom, and a relaxing overnight cruise on a Houseboat in the Kerala backwaters.

Cochin - Munnar - Periyar - Kumarakom - Houseboat - Cochin

Day 01: - Arrive Cochin

Arrive at Cochin International Airport.

Cochin : Cochin means harbour and even before the building of Ancient Rome, spices, silks, ivory and sandalwood were traded here. Cochin proudly boasts a rich cultural heritage, but is also one of the most fast-paced and modern cities in India. It is also one of the finest natural harbours of the world and a major Indian port. It is its charm and a relatively good infrastructure that make it the ideal gateway to the state. This has been the case since 1341, the year nature carved out Cochin's harbor with a massive flood. As a result, Cochin became the first port of call for Arabs and came to be known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea."


This city offers visitors Forts, palaces, museums, old churches, cool backwaters, palm fringed lagoons, beaches and the practicality of a contemporary metro. Cochin serves as an excellent starting point for any holiday in Kerala.

Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, you are met by our representative who will present you with a welcome pack including all necessary documentation and arrange your transfer to the Hotel Brunton Boatyard for check-in.

Hotel Brunton Boatyard : The Hotel, built to resemble a 19th century Boat yard, is considered a great tribute to the city of Cochin. Designed and built in the style and principle of the early Dutch and Portuguese architecture of Fort Cochin, it blends very well into the Cochin sky line. It's hard to believe that the Brunton is a new building since it resembles the old colonial buildings of Cochin. The simple lime washed walls, sloping tile roof and terra-cotta floors and a Giant "Rain Tree" completing the picture. It is located right at the point where the waters of the Indian ocean and the famed backwaters of Kerala meet.


It's a hotel unlike the normal, yet boasts of everything one could expect in the finest hotels of the world, with a swimming pool, restaurant and above all, every room has magnificent views of the Harbour mouth.


Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Cochin - Munnar

This morning you are collected from your hotel for half day sightseeing tour of Cochin. This tour includes a visit to Fort Cochin - a home to a unique community of Eurasians, commonly known as "Anglo-Indians". The architecture of the quiet streets in this enclave is very definitely, European with fine houses built by wealthy British traders, and Dutch cottages with split farmhouse doors.

Mattancherry Palace -locally known as the Dutch Palace, the two storey building was actually erected by the Portuguese, as a gift to the Cochin Raja. St. Francis Church - this Protestant church was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 A.D. It is considered to be India's oldest European church. Today it is governed by the Church of South India (CSI). Vasco Da Gama was buried here before his remains were taken back to Portugal 14 years later. Jewish synagogue - dates from 1568 and is adorned with fine glass lamps and floor tiles. Bolghatty Island - This is a beautiful island lying close to Ernakulam. Built by the Dutch in 1774, Bolghatty Palace, the home of the former British Resident of Kochi is situated here.


At the end of your tour visit the harbor near Vasco da Gama Square, where you can watch fishermen hoisting their catch from the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that line the shore.

Later drive to Munnar (150 kms/05 hrs), the next stop on your Kerala tour package

Munnar : Unending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wildlife sanctuaries and forests - aroma of spice scented cool air - yes! Munnar has all these and more. Breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination, Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala at an altitude of 6000 ft . Munnar was the favoured summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Munnar is essentially a tea town. The tea plantations have now been taken over by the Tata Tea Company. It's the place you would love to visit - it's the place you would wish never to leave.


Upon arrival check in to the Windermere Estate.

Windermere Estate: Set in 60 acres of cardamom plantation, the Windermere Estate has rooms and cottage style accommodation, designed to give a farmhouse-cum-chalet feel rather than that of a hotel. Set an altitude of 1,600mtrs overlooking the valley and tea plantations, Windermere Estate is a nature retreat with a Scottish Highlands feel.



Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: In Munnar

This morning you are collected from your hotel for sightseeing tour of Munnar.

Your sightseeing tour includes visit to the Tea Museum and the Eravikulam National Park, which was established in 1978 to protect the Nilgiri Tahr, the only mountain goat south of the Himalaya. The Park extends over 97 square kilometres of rolling grassland and forested valleys in which the sure-footed herds of Tahr keep a respectable distance from human intruders but with care we should be able to obtain good views as they browse the hillside vegetation. The reserve also supports a variety of mammals including Nilgiri Langur, Lion-tailed Macaque and several endemic bird species such as the streaky brown Nilgiri Pipit and even the humble Blackbird, which in these exotic surroundings looks very different to the familiar songster of Europe and is regarded by some taxonomists as a putative separate species.


Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Munnar - Periyar

This morning you drive to Periyar (160 kms/3.5 hrs.)

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary : Periyar in the Southern most state of Kerala , is one of the sixteen Project Tiger reserves in India, and one of the most picturesque and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in the world. With its waterways, forests and grasslands, it provides a magnificent venue for both mammal and bird watching. Despite the destruction of much of the lowland forest within the Reserve as a result of the construction of a dam across the Periyar River in 1895, its 777 square kilometres provide a haven for a wide range of mammals, including Tiger, Elephant, Gaur, Sloth bear, Leopard, Dhole, and Nilgiri Langur.


The Reserve also has a rich and varied bird fauna and we will be hoping to see several of the species found only in southern India and Sri Lanka, such as Grey Junglefowl, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, White-cheeked Barbet, Crimson fronted Barbet, Black-headed Cuckoo-Shrike, Heart-Spotted Woodpecker, Rufous Babbler, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Bulbul and White-bellied Tree pie.

Game viewing in Periyar is done on Boats .The boat journeys provide unrivalled opportunities for observing mammals, particularly Elephant, at close range.Other mammals in abundance in Periyar include Sambar, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Three-striped Palm Squirrel and Bonnet Macaque. Tiger sightings are relatively rare in Periyar, since game viewing is by boat and the big cats have sufficient cover to hide themselves. Another interesting activity in Periyar is guided Jungle treks that are possible late night.

Upon arrival check-in to the Spice Village.

Spice Village Resort : The resort built on the periphery of a 777 sq. km. Wildlife Sanctuary called Periyar ,home to nomadic tribes of wild elephant, boar, deer, bear, the great Indian tiger and more. Set in the heart of the Cardamom Hills of Kerala, Spice Village is an unprecedented tourist destination, offering a rare opportunity to view and experience South India's wildlife and beauty. Spice Village is in Kumily, a small settlement three kilometers from Thekkady, the main entrance to the Periyar Tiger Reserve and a 10 minute drive from the gigantic man-made Periyar Lake.


The design of each cottage was inspired by the native tribesmen of Periyar, the Oorali and Mannan, who lived in similar dwellings. (In fact, one of the cottages currently being used as an office is an original tribal hut, which has been modified.) A number of creature comforts have been added, however, to make your stay a luxurious one. Cottages with thatched roofs blend well with the surrounding greenery of the pepper vines. At the center of the village is a swimming pool, surrounded by tropical trees and lawns. The community hut houses a well-stocked bar and a unique restaurant that overlooks the pool. Spice Village has an exclusive Ayurvedic clinic, well equipped for treatments like Pizhichil, Njavarakizhy, Dhara and other natural therapies. At the Spice Village there's no lack of options on how you can get the best out of your holiday. Boat safaris, Jungle treks, Plantation visits… the possibilities are endless.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: In Periyar

This morning you are collected from your hotel for Boat ride on Periyar Lake

All tourist activity is concentrated around the splendid artificial Periyar lake, an incredible way to experience the sanctuary. There are an estimated 700 elephants roaming these forests. Most of the population is generally concentrated on the banks of the Periyar Lake and come to the lake to frolic in the water.

Late in the afternoon visit a nearby Spice Plantation. The area is famous for Cardomom, Coffee and Tea plantations. Evening at leisure.

Overnight at the resort.

Day 06 : In Periyar

This morning you are collected from your hotel for a guided Nature walk -- Different nature trails traversing diverse habitats form the trekking routes, generally 4 to 5 km. in length. This is an interpretive programme offering excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands.. The Nature walk is the right programme to feel nature, hear her whispers and smell her flowers.


Rest of the day at leisue.

Overnight at the resort.

Day 07 : Periyar - Kumarakom

This morning you drive to Kumarakom (200 kms/4 hrs.)

Kumarakom : The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake 14 km from Kottayam in the south Indian state of Kerala. The bird sanctuary is spread across 14 acres of land area. It is a haven for the bird watchers. The avifauna of Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary includes the local birds like the Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Owl, Egret, Heron and the Duck. The migratory birds include the Siberian Cranes, Parrots, Teal, Larks, Flycatchers and Wood Beetle. Also seen are colorful Kingfishers, Herons and woodpeckers.


The best time to visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is from June to August. Migratory birds flock from November to February. A Houseboat / motorboat cruise along the Vemband lake is the most popular way to experience the sanctuary. Another option to spot the bird species of the park is to set out on foot on the 1½ km long walking track.

Upon arrival check in to Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom.

Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom : Azure backwaters, swaying palms, and floating houseboats. These are a few of the things that inspired English Missionary Henry Baker, in the late 19th century, to acquire land on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Today, it is known as the Taj Garden Retreat, Kumarakom.Often referred to as the little jewel of Kumarakom, it still maintains the beauty of its rustic surroundings. The 123-year-old colonial bungalow houses newly built Luxury Villas, heritage rooms and charming cottages.


At this idyllic retreat, guests can look forward to practicing the art of doing nothing or keeping themselves busy with a variety of experiences, from nature to adventure, from culture to cuisine, and from rejuvenation to religion.

Sprawling acres of lush greenery and the placid water body in front of the Baker's Bungalow at Taj garden Retreat, Kumarakom, attracts many species of birds, and is a treat for bird lovers.

Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the Nature's beauty on your own.

Overnight at the resort.

Day 08 : In Kumarakom

Full day at leisure to enjoy the Nature's beauty on your own. You could spend this day, just gazing out at the Kerala backwaters and the Vembanad lake, or choose to visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.


Overnight at hotel.

Day 09 : Kumarakom - Houseboat

This morning board Houseboat.

A private boat trip along the Kerala backwaters is a highlight of any Kerala holiday. These converted rice barges or "Kettuvallams" sail along shallow, palm-fringed lakes and narrow canals where coconut and cashew is loaded onto dugouts. You pass villages built on narrow spits of land, stopping to visit local markets by bullock-cart, or to marvel at craftsmen engaged in centuries-old boat-making tradition.


The boats cruising the Kerala Backwaters, offer one or two cabins with a small sitting room and a crew of 2 staff and a chef. The food is authentic Kerala cuisine, purchased fresh along the way. For most of the journey, the boat is poled, sailing only between dawn and dusk. Although the accommodation on board is basic, this is an unforgettable experience. Most tourists taking this trip recall it as a fascinating experience and a unique way to see authentic Kerala life.

Overnight on the houseboat.

Day 10 : Houseboat - Cochin

Your tour in Kerala comes to an end, when you disembark the houseboat in Kumarakom, and drive to Cochin airport (75 kms/02 hrs) to board your flight home.

COST USD 1492 per person
   
* A supplement may apply for travel between 20th Dec and 05th Jan

CITIES HOTELS INCLUSIONS
Cochin Brunton Boatyard
  • Accommodation on twin sharing bed and breakfast basis (except onboard Houseboat where all meals are included).
  • All arrival-departure transfers and land transportation using an aircon car exactly as per the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing tours / game rides along with a local English Speaking Guide / naturalist and including entrance fee to monuments / game parks exactly as mentioned above in the Itinerary.
Munnar Windermere Estate
Periyar Spice Village
Kumarakom Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom
Houseboat 01 Bedroom aircon houseboat