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God's Own Country…Kerala

Cochin–Tellicherry–Sulthan Bathery–Palakkad–Munnar– Thekaddy–Backwaters

Itineraries

DAY 1

ARRIVE COCHIN

Arrive Cochin. On arrival in Cochin, you will be met on arrival and will be escorted to the hotel. Meals included: None Overnight:

DAY 2

COCHIN

Today you will be taken for a tour of Cochin. Formerly a princely state which beckoned travellers from distant shores, Cochin is also called "The Queen of the Arabian Sea". The sightseeing of Cochin will include Mattancherry Dutch Palace, the famous Jew Street and the beautiful Synagogue built in 1568 and St. Francis Church. You will also be taken to see the Chinese fishing nets along the shore. This evening you will be taken to witness the spectacular Kathakali Dance Drama. The most popular and sacred dance-drama of Kerala, Kathakali, evolved across the last 400 years. This classical dance requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures. Themes center around the two great Indian epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. We suggest arriving early in order to witness the artists putting on their make-up. Meals included: Breakfast Overnight:

DAY 3

COCHIN-CALICUT-TELLICHERRY

This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Cochin airport to board your flight for Calicut. (Option of day train/drive also available) On arrival, you will be received and driven to Tellicherry (2 ½ hours). ). On arrival, you will be taken to Ayisha Manzil, a small heritage homestay. Early in the evening, you will be taken to a local temple to see the Theyyam. Theyyam or Theyyaattam is a pattern of hero-worship performed in Kolathunaad, a territory comprising the present Cannanore District and Badagara Taluk of Kerala State. It is a ritual and a folk-dance form supported by a vast literature of folk songs. Theyyam is a corruption for Deyvam's‘ God’. 'Aattam' means dance. Thus 'Theyyaattam' means God’s Dance. One of the salient features of Theyyaattam is its colorful costume, which is made out of splices of bamboos and covered by a red cloth. Sometimes, the waist dress is woven out of coconut leaves, as it requires them to leap into the fire. Meals included: All meals Overnight:

DAY 4

TELLICHERRY

At Ayesha Manzil you will be the guests of Mrs Faiza Moosa who is a well known culinary expert of North Kerala Muslim cuisine and will teach you the secrets of making good, authentic curries – most of the forenoon you will spend learning and cooking the local cuisine, known as Moplah Cuisinde. The Malayalam speaking North Kerala Muslims, known as Moplahs, trace their ancestry to the Arabs who had come to trade with Kerala and later married with local people to a create a sub cultural identity of their own. This interaction of two diverse cultures naturally resulted in a food culture, which is specific to only this region of North Kerala and is known as the Moplah cuisine. By and large, Moplahs are non-vegetarians – fish is a much-relished item on the menu and is prepared in a variety of ways. Stuffed fish and chicken are special varieties served on festive occasions. Not that vegetables are taboo – far from it, they form a staple item at all meals. The drumstick including even the leaves, tapioca and yam are all prized vegetables on the menu. Pumpkin is used in the place of the present-day potato in meat curries. The Moplahs also have their very own versions of biryanis…. The afternoon may be spent in exploring the neighboring countryside – visit the local fish market, drive a short distance to the nearest beach, explore the coastal forts or simply relax at your mansion. Meals included: All Meals Overnight:

DAY 5

TELLICHERRY – SULTHAN BATHERY

This morning you will be taken to Sulthan Bathery (3 hours) where you will arrive around noon. Upon arrival you will check into your resort, Tranquil Plantation, where rest of the day will be at leisure. Meals included: All Meals Overnight:

DAY 6

SULTHAN BATHERY

Full-day at leisure to explore the plantation. Tranquil is a renovated planter's bungalow in a working 400 acre coffee plantation, earlier known as Kuppumudy Estate. It is located deep within the plantation, has fantastic views of the green hills around and the hosts, Victor and Ranjini Dey, are knowledgeable and kind. Since the estate is huge with varying nature of topography, many walks may be undertaken within the plantation. Meals included: All Meals Overnight:

DAY 7

SULTHAN BATHERY -PALAKKAD

This morning you will be driven to your next destination, Palakkad (5 hour drive). A little before entering the city of Palakkad you will arrive at Kandath Tharavad, which is basically a house in a village. While you enjoy this typical Keralan house, your host, Mr Bhagwaldas or Bugs, is always there to show you around the place or offer you the various sight seeing excursion suggestions, including a bullock cart ride around the village. Meals included: All Meals Overnight:

DAY 8

PALAKKAD-MUNNAR

This morning you will be driven another 5 hours to the tea country of Munnar. You will arrive in Munnar around noon and check into Windermere Estate – a delightful ‘chill out’ planter’s Bungalow. A hill station at a height of 1525 metres Munnar offers a breathtaking view of the hills draped in folds of green carpet of tea gardens. Beyond the rolling hills discover the rich tropical forests abounding in exotic flora & fauna. It is here that you will find the Anamudi peak, the highest peak in South India. Munnar’s serene atmosphere, silver streams and pleasant climate welcomes you to have a whiff of the cool mountain breeze. Meals included: Breakfast Overnight:

DAY 9

MUNNAR

Day at leisure or explore the neighbouring tea plantation for which Munnar is well-known Meals included: Breakfast Overnight:

DAY 10

MUNNAR - THEKADDY

This morning you will be driven to Thekaddy (approx 3 hours drive). You will arrive at Thekaddy around noon and would be at leisure for the rest of the day. One of the largest wildlife reserves in India, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 sq. kms of the Cardamom Hills region of the Western Ghats. Noted for its herds of elephants, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to bonnet monkey, nilgai, barking deer, langur, porcupine, sloth bear, tiger and leopard. The bird life here is also strong, including gray jungle fowl, various kingfishers, great Indian hornbill and a number of different types of owls. The sanctuary encompasses Periyar Lake, which was formed in the early 1900s by impounding the Periyar River. At an altitude of 1,600 m, the hilly topography has produced a lakeshore varied by numerous creeks, bays, and promontories. The vegetation cover is tropical evergreen and deciduous, with patches of dense forest including jackfruit, teak, and kokam trees. Most of the grassland is now planted with eucalyptus. Meals included: Breakfast Overnight:

DAY 11

THEKADDY

This morning you will be taken for a short spice plantation walk. After a leisurely day, later in the afternoon, you will be taken for game-viewing by boat. Meals included: Breakfast Overnight:

DAY 12

THEKKADY - ALLEPPEY

This morning you will be driven to Alleppey (approx 3 hour 30 minutes drive) to board your Houseboat. Formed by 40 odd rivers that flow down to the Arabian Sea from the Cardamom Hills, this network of canals, lakes and estuaries comprises one of India’s most enchanting areas - a rural, riverine expanse of verdant coconut groves and rice paddies. The scene is idyllic and the mood romantic as you meander through the tranquil network of water canals, dotted with busy hamlets, lush green paddy fields. Meals included: All meals Overnight:

DAY 13

ALLEPPY – COCHIN- ONWARDS

This morning you will enjoy a cruise back to Alleppey, where you will disembark your houseboat and driven to Cochin where you can do some last minute shopping for crafts of the region and then taken to the airport for your flight back home.

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