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“Kerala Vintage Memories”
With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields.
The timeless beauty of the palm fringed beaches of Kovalam, the serenity of the pristine backwaters of Kumarakom and the enchanting woods and forests of Thekkady and Silent Valley will have you bowled over. That such a small terrain can hold diverse geographical features and cultures is a wonder in itself.
Bestowed with a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year, Kerala is a tropical land with the coast running down its entire length and the Western Ghats forming a protective barrier against the dry winds from up north.
Kerala’s history is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travellers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other – architecture, cuisine, literature.
Day 01: Cochin Arrival
Arrive at Cochin Airport and meet our representative who will assist you in transfer to CHTTOR KOTTARAM. On arrival you will receive traditional welcome. Settle in your room to rest and overcome the flight tiredness / overnight stay.
Chittoor Kottaram is a single key hotel, which means there are no guests but you and your companions. Together, you will be transported back to the time when Kerala was still the Kingdom of Travancore, a fuedal land of nobles and princes. Arrive by boat just like they did in days gone by. Live and sleep as if to the manner born. Enjoy the same performances as the royals did and even eat the same food in the same manner. You would bask in the services of a personal retinue. And even take a pleasure cruise on the backwaters, just to watch the sun rise over your kingdom.
Chittoor can accommodate a mere six people. You need to enter barefoot (and stay that way). And the menu features a choice of precisely one. Yet if you’re open-minded enough to consider luxury as a feeling rather than a shiny object, you may be in for an experience. Of a kind you’re unlikely to encounter anywhere else.
Day 02: Cochin (City Tour)
Today you will come across Fort Cochin which has collective imprints of all invaders that came and settled here. During a wander through their narrow lanes, you will stumble upon spice markets, Chinese fishing nets, a synagogue, a Portuguese palace, India’s first European church, Dutch homes, and a village green that could have been transported from England’s Home Counties.
Moving northwest from Mattancherry Palace along Bazaar Road, you pass wholesale emporia where owners, sitting behind scales surrounded by sacks of spices, may well be prepared to talk about their wares. Keep walking in a northerly direction, over the canal and then westwards into Fort Cochin. 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 farm house doors. At the water’s edge there’s a bus stand, boat jetty and food and drinks stalls. Conclude your day with KATHAKALI DANCE show.
Overnight stay at Cochin.
Day 03: Cochin – Munnar (by surface – 04 hrs drive)
After all your morning activities along with breakfast you will head towards Western Ghats with sprawling tea estates, cliffs, waterfalls and lots of natural beauty.
Munnar – situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1,600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years, will bloom next in 2018. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
On arrival at Munnar you will get accommodated at BRIAR – Tea Bungalow.
Briar Tea Bungalow
Briar Munnar feels like home. Sprawling bungalows with manicured gardens and picket fences welcome you. When you step inside the bungalow, it’s unlike any other – quaint, rich and steeped in an age-old tradition.
A perfect tuck away in the verdant hills of Munnar, the Talayar Valley bungalow is an outstanding piece of sheer beauty and romanticism! An ideal getaway for the newly weds, Talayar gives you all the love and romance you so deserve. This place is any poet’s dwelling place!
A magnificient tea bungalow with manicured gardens set at an altitude above the mean sea level in Idukki district, Munnar. Briar Bungalows in Munnar is located far away from the myriad holiday spots in the region and that is what makes it all the more inviting. There are always the special treats that you could do only in a Briar Bungalow: heritage walks, wilderness treks, bird watching with the experts and so on.
Specialty of Briar – Tea Bungalow: Infuse your senses, rejuvenate your soul by manufacturing your own tea at our factory in Talayar and take home your produce for your loved ones.
Day 04: at Munnar
Apart from Tea Estates and natural beauty, one of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. This park is famous for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years.
Overnight stay at Munnar
Day 05: Munnar – Periyar (by surface – 02 hrs drives)
Start your journey (0800 am) to Periyar after breakfast. During your journey from Munnar to Periyar you will cross the valley road with plantations and villages – showcasing the tradition of Kerala. As you move ahead you will feel fell the fragrance and aroma of spices.
On arrival at Periyar you will check into SHALIMAR SPICE GARDEN.
Afternoon (at 01 pm) meet our guide who will be assist you during Tribal Heritage Tour. During this 02 hours program you will visit tribal hamlets and Tribal Heritage Museum. Evening is set free to relax or explore the gardens of the resort. Overnight stay at Periyar.
Tribal hamlets – The program involves a walk through a nature trail to enter a tribal settlement inside the dense forest. The walk through the thick forest with its criss-crossing brooks and the chirping of the birds in the background is a fantastic experience. The tribal folk live in grey – thatched houses like the ones they have lived in for centuries. Though their lives are full of challenges, they are a peaceful people who live in harmony with Nature. The programme provides the unique opportunity of a close interaction with a tribal community.
Tribal Heritage Museum –The Tribal Heritage Museum, set up by the government tourism authorities inside the Mannan settlement, is well worth a visit. The museum provides a glimpse into the history of the tribal community here that includes artifacts from earlier times. It provides a peep into the community’s original culture and lifestyle.
Traditional fishing gear and hunting equipment which were used by the tribal community for generations, specimens of indigenous plants as well as various artefacts related to traditional agricultural practices, marriage and death ceremonies, cultural events and rituals are also on display. Apart from these, there are costumes, household articles, vessels, bamboo furniture and musical instruments.
Shalimar Spice Garden
Shalimar Spice Garden Resort is located at a height of 800 meters at the edge of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The air here is relatively cool and life is simple. The straw covered cottages stand in the midst of bright green spice plantations that are surrounded with trees laden with mangoes, nutmeg and cardamom.
Originally conceived by Maria Angela, a passionate Italian designer, Shalimar rates among the finest special places to stay in this quiet and peaceful destination. Built on lush green land unscathed by modernization, the Shalimar Spice Garden is a perfect blend of European and Indian living. The resort merges with the spice gardens and gets encompassed in the verdant landscape bordering the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. A gurgling mountain stream meanders through the property and a wooden bridge built over the stream connects the resort to the outside world.
The architecture of the cottages is a fusion of Indian concepts and Western comfort. The rich foliage of the coffee, cardamom and other spice plants surrounding the cottages provides a curtain of privacy. The en-suite bathrooms are indulgent and top-class. The in-house restaurant lends itself to a warm and cozy atmosphere for a laid back, unhurried meal. The lounge with a fireplace is a perfect place to relax. The Ayurveda center with two comfortable (and) spacious therapy rooms provides the complete care that you deserve. There is a Leisure lounge comprising a television and a library. The library stores a wide selection of books in different languages, with which one can curl up during the chilly evenings. With its natural environment and ambience, Shalimar is the perfect place to be, for you to get closer to nature. The pace of life here is so easy and peaceful that even birds and butterflies seem to move at a slower pace.
Day 06: at Periyar
We leave the day free for you to decide and plan the day on your own with our listed optional tours (at extra cost).
Full day tour (08 am to 05 pm) – With the break of dawn prepare yourself for a full day expedition of Thekkady where in you will get involved a whole lot activities
– Visit to Cardamom Processing Unit. – Jeep Safari to Hilly Areas.
– Boating & Hiking.
– Visit to elephant training camp, giving shower to elephants and learning some tips from mahout.
– Photo sessions
Village Tour with Bullock-cart Ride – Get into communication with local villages learning the traditions and culture. You will also experience how spice is processed and stored using old methods. During the tour you will also enjoy decorated bullock-cart ride.
Kaklaripayattu performance – (06 – 07 PM)
Kalaripayattu – The Orient’s treasure trove, a gift to the modern world and the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama- the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India. Kung- fu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma – an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master.
Day 07: Periyar – Kumarakom Jetty (by surface – 04 hrs drive)
After exploring the heritage of Cochin, Nature beauty and Tea Estates at Munnar and Flora and Fauna at Periyar – today you will proceed to Kumarakom to board your legendary House Boat cruising in backwaters overnight. During your journey you will sight a whole lot of activities at the bay, along with exploring the beauty of Vembanad Lake.
Your journey from Periyar to Kumarakom will start early morning after breakfast at 0700 am.
(House boat is a private boat with fully furnished spacious bath attached bed rooms, hygiene kitchen, dining area and private front deck to capture the beauty of the back waters)
Day 08: at Alleppey
After cruising overnight on backwaters your boat will anchor at Alleppey Jetty. De-board the house boat and proceed ahead to spend a day at your exclusive VEENA BEACH VILLA (only for you / your family & friends).
The day is left free for you to explore the town on own or rest in resort having the magnificent view of Arabian Sea.
You can also plan to visit some cottage industries such and Cashew Processing units and Coi Factory renowned for export quality products.
Veena Beach Villa
Your own private villa bang on the beach whether you’r 2, 4 or 6 ! Never share your privacy with someone or it will be your beloved ones. This beautiful 250 year old Heritage wooden villa renovated to the 21st century comfort level. One master bedroom with ensuite bathroom with big rain shower, 2 bedrooms that share a bathroom, large veranda with lounge area and lots of multifunctional cushions, a beach platform where you can enjoy your meals, 6 luxurious sun loungers, outside shower… This all in a charming beach garden.
Day 09: Alleppey – Cochin Airport
Post breakfast back your bags full of golden memories that you have collected since last eight days and head towards Cochin International Airport (03 hrs drive) to board your flight to onward destination.
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