14 Nights and 15 Days Best of Kerala Backwaters with Beach relaxation & Mumbai

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Cochin – Kumarakom – Munnar – Madurai – Thekkady – Mararikulam – Mumbai



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  • Day 1: Arrival at Mumbai, Mumbai – Cochin by air

    Reach Mumbai and take a connecting flight to Cochin.

     

    We will receive you on arrival in Cochin late afternoon and transfer to the hotel.

     

    Cochin is a diverse and colorful port/city, spreading over 4-5 islands and peninsulas. The main town of Ernakulam is on the mainland.All the islands are connected by a ferryboat network and therein lay the charm of an exploratory two days here. Around the headland of Fort Cochin, a phalanx of cantilevered Chinese fishing boats dips into the sea at high tide. In its back streets, there is an aroma of ginger, cardamom and other spices, piled high in every nook and cranny.

     

    Relax. The day is free at leisure. Overnight will be at Cochin.

     

  • Day 2: Cochin

    After breakfast - Proceed for the sightseeing.

     

    Old Cochin area – this is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portuguese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jew town.

     

    Chinese fishing nets – The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance.

     

    The other important places are the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450.

     

    In the evening proceed for the Harbour Cruise.

     

    Overnight will be at Cochin.

     

  • Day 3: Cochin – Kumarakom, Houseboat Cruise

    After breakfast proceed to Kumarakom. Check in to the Houseboat for a day backwater cruise.

     

    Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat. The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch, dinner and breakfast in the Houseboat. A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.

     

    Cruise through the backwaters of Alleppey. Lunch will be served on the boat. The menu is simple and traditional. The cook (chef) of the boat prepares the lunch from fresh materials and even you can have a peek at the recipe.

     

    Tea and snacks would be served in the evening. The boat will be anchored in the backwaters along a paddy field and you can go for a stroll into the village or relax at the deck of the boat.

     

    Dinner and overnight will be at Houseboat.

     

  • Day 4: Kumarakom – Munnar, by Road in 4hrs

    Morning – enjoy breakfast on the houseboat.

     

    Disembark at a jetty and drive to Munnar.

     

    Reach and check in to the hotel.


    Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathani & Kundala. 1600 meter 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 the blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

     

    Reach and relax. Overnight will be at Munnar. 

  • Day 5: Munnar

    After breakfast - enjoy the sightseeing tour of Munnar visiting…

     

    Elephant Lake – Elephant Lake or Elephant Arrival Lake or Anayirangal is a place frequented by tourists visiting Munnar. Elephant Lake or Anayirangal is an idyllic picnic location which has a dam and a reservoir.

     

    The Elephant Lake is a picturesque location surrounded by tea plantations, evergreen forests, rolling grasslands and hillocks. Tourists interested in photography can capture the panoramic view of the calm waters of the reservoir with the backdrop of dense Tata tea estates and clouds.

     

    Tata Tea Musuem: Tata Tea Museum is a popular tourist spot situated in Munnar of Kerala. It is situated at a distance of about 12 km from Munnar town at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea.

     

    The history of Munnar is connected to tea plantations for over a century. Munnar is home to a few of the World’s best tea estates. Most of the people in Munnar are employed at tea plantations.

Tata Group's Kannan Devan Tea Estate own majority of tea plantations at Munnar. Tata Tea holds the place of World’s second manufacturer and distributor of tea.

The Tea Museum opened by Tata Tea at Nallathanni Tea Estate in Munnar, is a tribute to the pioneers, whose toils and commitment transformed Munnar in to a major tea plantation centre of Kerala.  


    Overnight will be at Munnar.

     

  • Day 6: Munnar – Madurai, by Road in 4hrs

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

     

    Drive to Madurai in Tamil Nadu state and check into hotel.

     

    One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is an ancient city that is said to go back to 3rd century BC and finds mention in the writings of Megasthenes.

     

    Madurai is built around the stupendous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple, itself a town in its own right. A triumph of Dravidian architecture, it soars into the sky, every inch of its outer surface intricately carved with multicolored images of deities, saints and mythical beasts.

     

    Watch the evening AARTI at Meenakshi Temple - THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TOUR.

     

    Overnight at Madurai.

  • Day 7: Madurai

    After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing around Madurai.

     

    Sri Meenakshi Amman temple - The foundations of the temple were laid, it is said, over 2000 years ago, subsequent generations adding to it until it grew to the 65000 square meter complex we see today. The compound is square-shaped, its walls breached by 12 spectacular temple towers or Gopurams, that serve as gates. Inside the temple is the astounding Hall of Thousand Pillars. Each pillar has a breathtakingly detailed life-like sculpture of celestial beings, gods and mythic beasts. No matter which angle they are viewed from, the pillar appear arranged in a perfect straight line. An architectural marvel. A passageway outside has the famed musical pillars, each of which, when tapped, produces its own unique musical note.  

     

    Gandhi Museum - The spacious Gandhi Memorial Museum is offers a moving and meticulous account of the history of India’s struggle for independence. On exhibit is the dhoti Gandhi was wearing on the day of his assassination. The museum regularly holds lively discussions, lectures and presentations on Gandhi and the ideals of ahimsa.

     

    Vishnu Temple - Located about 2 kilometers to the west of Madurai, this temple has three altars, one on top of the other. Each shows Vishnu in a different posture. The middle altar contains a seated Vishnu, the Koodal Alagar, the main deity of the temple. The outside walls of the temple are covered from top to bottom by hundreds of brightly painted, beautifully carved celestial figures. The majestic Koodal Alagar is among the most important temples of South India.

     

    Thirumalai Nayak Palace - This 1636 palace was built by King Thirumalai Nayak who had a major contribution in building upon the Meenakshi Amman Temple and  giving it the massive proportions we see today.

     

    With time, the palace fell to ruin until it was restored partially by the British. The parts that are still standing give one a fair indication of its past grandeur. Intricate stucco work covers its arches and pillars, The 1300 square meter Celestial Pavilion or Sorgavilasam stands unsupported by a single pillar or girder, while elsewhere, 20 m high white pillars connected by impossibly ornate arches line a courtyard.

     

    Thirupparankundram is a temple carved out of rocks located to the south of Madurai. Dedicated to Lord Subramanya, the temple has several other shrines dedicated to Shiva, Durga, Vishnu and other deities. This highly ornate temple adorned with woodcarvings is holy not only for Hindus but also the local Muslims.

     

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a giant reservoir connected to the Vaigai River through a maze of underground channels. During the Teppam or Float Festival, pilgrims pile into hundreds of boats and row to the temple in the center of the reservoir.

     

    Overnight will be at Madurai.

  • Day 8: Madurai – Thekkady, by Road in 4hr

    After breakfast - Drive over rolling hills and coffee plantations to the PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, one of the major wildlife reserves in India. Indian elephants, wild boars, lion-tailed monkeys, ibex, tigers, leopards and sloth bears are on the list. The park surrounds a large, many-fingered lake and a dawn or dusk foray on one of the boats will be a thrilling experience. It is from the lake rather than vehicles that the wildlife is viewed. The sanctuary is rich in bird life. Great hornbills, kites, darters, herons, egrets, owls and kingfishers are in abundance. Surrounding the reserve are many small spice plantations and we spend an absorbing afternoon searching for pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and betel.

     

    Overnight will be in Thekkady.

     

  • Day 9: Thekkady

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.


    Morning visit spice plantations like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices.

     

    Visit Kumily Spice Market.

     

    Later: Enjoy visit to the Elephant Farm.

     

    Overnight will be in Thekkady.

     

  • Day 10: Thekkady – Marari, by Road in 4 hr

    After breakfast proceed to Marari.  Reach and check in to a beautiful beach resort.

     

    Built in the style of a local fishing village with its 62 thatched cottages. Set in 36 acres of parkland, Marari Beach is set on the golden shores of the Spice Coast and is the perfect place to relax and unwind following a tour of Kerala.

     

    Located only 60kms from Cochin, the Marari Beach Resort offers an ideal alternative to Kovalam if you are visiting the backwaters around Alleppey. Its eco-friendly outlook and beautiful thatched cottage villas blend subtly into the natural palm-lined surroundings.

     

    Marari Beach Resort offers guests 62 villas set in lush gardens some with private pools which offer a suitable deluxe stay. In-room amenities include air conditioning, minibar, tea/coffee facilities and a wide range of natural bath products.

     

    You can enjoy simple local dishes with fruits and vegetables from their own organic garden and fresh seafood caught by local fisherman. The hotel has a delightful swimming pool, tennis courts, Ayurvedic spa and yoga. Located only about an hour's drive from Cochin, the hotel is a great place to end your holiday relaxing by the coast.

     

    Do nothing on the beach, take long walks or bicycle rides. Marari wasn't designed for doing but just the opposite. But you should definitely take time out to stroll down to the village and explore. There are regular cookery classes most evenings, so you can master the delights of Keralan cuisine in your kitchen at home.

     

    Overnight will be at Marari.

     

  • Day 11: Mararikulam

    The days are free at leisure. Enjoy sun, beach and Ayurveda.

     

    A huge range of Ayurvedic programmes is led by the resident doctor at the traditional clinic-like spa. Medicinal potions are magicked out of roots and leaves grown on site, beautifully displayed in glass jars on polished wooden shelves.

     

    The sunrise hatha yoga lessons are authentic, excellent and free.

     

    Tennis courts and beach volleyball are also offered. On the terrace of the Club House (home to the resort's only TV, free WiFi and a library), I sat out one of the region's not irregular power cuts, watching a fierce electrical storm bend and strobe light the treetops.

     

    The lovely stone swimming pool (which sadly heats up like a curry pot by mid morning, is attended by the cheekiest crows I have ever encountered. Expect to have to defend your sunbed.

     

    Overnight will be at Marari.

     

  • Day 12: Marari – Cochin, by Road in 1 hr

    Cochin – Mumbai:

    By Afternoon Flight

    Jet Airways 9W825

    Departure from Cochin: 1205 hr

    Arrival at Mumbai: 1405 hr

     

    Morning – drive to Cochin airport to take a flight to Mumbai.

     

    Reach and we receive you at the airport. Transfer to the hotel and Check in.

     

    Rest of the day at leisure.

     

    Its young, its lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents have given Mumbai a unique position of the most multi-ethnic city of India. The capital city of Maharashtra State formerly known as Bombay lies in the southwestern part of India and occupies a peninsular site originally composed of seven islets lying off the KONKAN COAST of western India. Oozing with the cocksure self-confidence of a maverick moneymaker and "Bindass" (carefree) attitude, Mumbai is also country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea.


    Yet, there's another face of Mumbai too that is of the most densely populated cities in the world. Mumbai is located on a site of ancient settlement and took its name from the local Goddess "Mumba" - a form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva, one of the principal Gods of Hinduism - whose temple once stood in what is now the southeastern section of the Mumbai city.

     

    Overnight will be at Mumbai. 

     

  • Day 13: Mumbai

    After breakfast – Mumbai sightseeing tour.

     

    Gateway of India: Mumbai’s most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, complete with four turrets and intricate latticework vehicleved into the yellow basalt stone. Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway. Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianised, drawing droves of local tourists and citizens. Behind the arch, there are steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto one of the bobbing little motor launches, for a short cruise through Mumbai's splendid natural harbor.

     

    Marine Drive: Marine Drive is possibly the best way to discover Mumbai. This is a windswept promenade, flanked by the sea and a row of buildings. Looped between the concrete jungle of Nariman Point, Mumbai's Manhattan, and the leafy green slopes of Malabar hill, Marine Drive was once called the queen's Necklace, strung with glittering street lights like an enormous strand of imperious jewels.

     

    Queen Victoria Terminus: No photograph collection of Mumbai is complete without a photo of the Queen Victoria Terminus station in the "Fort Area" of Mumbai. Belovedly referred to as VT station, it was acknowledged as a 'World Heritage Site' by UNESCO in 2004. And “Slumdog Millionaire " famous song was shot here on these platforms.

     

    Dhobi Ghat: A unique feature of Mumbai, the dhobi is a traditional laundryman, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly pressed to your doorstep. The most famous of these Dhobi Ghats is at Saat Rasta near Mahalaxmi Station where almost two hundred dhobis and their families work together in what has always been a hereditary occupation.

     

    The Prince of Wales Museum: This museum stands not too far from the Gateway of India.   It has a priceless collection of art, sculpture, china and other antics. Vehicleefully preserved, this mid-Victorian Gothic style building built in 1904 with beautiful gardens surrounding it, is worth visiting in Mumbai.

     

    Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Museum):- This simple and charming museum was where Mahatma Gandhi lived on his visits to Mumbai between 1917 and 1934. Gandhi's room and belongings including his books are on display. Mani Bhavan is situated on Laburnam Road, near the August Kranti Maidan, where the 'Quit India' movement was launched in 1942.

     

    Evening – enjoy a walk at the Chowpatty beach.

     

    Overnight will be at Mumbai.

     

  • Day 14: Mumbai

    Day is free for shopping. Overnight will be at Mumbai.

     

  • Day 15: Mumbai – Back Home

    Today – take your flight back home with sweet memories of God’s Own Country – Kerala.

     

    TOUR ENDS