Cast away amidst the serene environs of a backwater islet; treat your body and soul to ‘Ayurveda’ – the sacred knowledge of life; take a cruise on a houseboat with palm fringed land on either side and experience the many faces of the backwater life of Kerala. Luxe India brings you a unique program to experience the awe-inspiring natural beauty and the cultural mosaic of God’s own country whilst enjoying a more rewarding and responsible holiday experience enabling local communities to enjoy a better quality of life and conserving the natural environment.
Tour Highlights & Inclusives:
Day 01 Arrive COCHIN
Upon arrival at Cochin International Airport, you will be met by a Luxe India representative and be assisted for the check in at the hotel. Evening enjoy a performance of the highly ritualized “Kathakali” dance which tells stories from the ancient Hindu epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata. The dancers narrate the story through intricate facial expressions and gestures, with sudden leaps, spins and freeze balances, each wearing fantastic costumes and elaborate make up. This art form was in danger of becoming extinct, but had a revival about 40 years ago. Tourism keeps the performance alive today. Spend one night at The Malabar House. Accommodation is in deluxe room inclusive of breakfast. The Malabar House, Cochin The Malabar House is one of the finest boutique hotels in Kerala. It is part of Fort Cochin’s historical fabric. Its recorded history dates back to 1755, when Jan Herman Clausing, a Dutch, bought the property from Mathew Henrich Beyls. Subsequently owned by spice traders, tea traders and bankers, it became 1996 Fort Cochin’s first boutique heritage hotel Kerala. It is certified by Green Globe 21, the worldwide environmental certification program for sustainable travel & tourism, for its commitment to preserving nature, protecting the environment, conserving heritage and reviving art forms.
Day 02 In Cochin
After breakfast proceed for a tour of Cochin. Visit the Chinese fishing nets of Fort Kochi and witness an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets; St. Francis Church- the oldest European church in India that has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent; The Mattancherry Palace, also known as Dutch Palace; and the Jew town including the Jewish Synagogue- the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth nations. Also, explore the spice markets and shop for souvenirs from the antique bazaars of the heritage Jew town. The population of the Jews has dropped drastically in Cochin and at present there are only about 13 Jews left. An optional visit to the Kumbalangi village can be arranged. Kumbalangi is a tiny eco-friendly fishing village on the backwaters. The village has no concrete structures and plastic is banned here. A must visit is the Kalagramam-an artists village, the focal point of the village, exhibiting local art, handicraft and tools used by the villagers in earning the livelihood.
Day 03 Cochin- Thekkady
After breakfast proceed for a private road transfer to Thekkady. (approx. 190Kms) Arrive Thekkady; you will be met by a Luxe India representative who will assist with the check-in at the hotel. Thekkady’s fabulous landscape is diffused with exotic spice plantations, green carpets of endless tea gardens and lush tropical forests. Garbed in vibrant hues and bountiful gifts of nature it offers a perfect escape into the soothing laps of nature. Explore the surroundings onboard a bullock cart and enjoy the experience of real India. (The driver being an ex-sandalwood poacher re-invented as the bullock cart driver for tourists) Also visit the cardamom plantations and learn how spices are cultivated. Spend two nights in Spice Village. Accommodation is in standard villa inclusive of breakfast. Spice Village, Thekkady A timeless experience in ecological living, recreated for the modern traveler. At Spice village the conservation of nature is inspired from the lifestyle of the tribal people of the cardamom hills who over time have perfected a gentle codependence, an almost spiritual harmony with the works of nature. The Spice Village uncovers these ancient wisdoms and put them to work e.g. the self sustaining fish pond, organic gardens, natural insect repellants etc.
Day 04 IN Thekkady
Today visit the Periyar Reserve. Declared a protected area way back in 1933 by the Maharaja of Travancore, the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady flaunts to be the largest sanctuary in the state of Kerala. People oriented and park centered community based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through the programmes conducted for visitors. Hence, as a visitor, when you join them in any of these programmes, you are directly contributing towards forest conservation and community welfare. You can also opt for a visit to a tribal village, for a first-hand experience of a way of life that’s fast vanishing from the modern world. Today, these indigenous peoples still carry on their age old practices of herding and bee-keeping in perfect harmony with the environment.
Day 05 Thekkady – Kumarakom
After breakfast proceed for a private road transfer to Kumarakom. (approx.125Kms) Arrive Kumarakom; you will be met by a Luxe India representative who will assist with the check in at the hotel. Kumarakom is popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala. A huddle of tiny islets on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a pictorial, unsoiled village, an incredibly stunning ecstasy of mangrove forests, pea green paddy meadows and coconut coppices intermingled with enthralling waterways and canals. Evening you may enjoy a traditional Ayurvedic massage at the hotel. Spend two nights at Coconut Lagoon. Accommodation is in heritage bungalow inclusive of breakfast. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom Coconut Lagoon is an attempt to capture the essence of the Kerala experience. It is a boutique hotel on the fertile banks of the beautiful Vembanad Lake that has been cleverly crafted from the fragments of ancient village homes and palaces. In some cases whole houses, complete with beautiful wood carvings and original brass work, have been painstakingly transplanted into the property, piece by piece. And while every modern comfort may exist here, Nature remains, the Chief Architect. Nothing has been added here that does not already belong. Coconut Lagoon is a CGH Earth Property that is strongly committed to ecologically-sensitive tourism. Ecological sensitivity and involving the local community are their core values. Through recycling, composting and organic farming, we’ve kept our impact on the environment as minimal as possible.
Day 06 Kumarakom…Backwater cruise to alleppey
Early morning proceed for a visit to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist’s paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork live here in flocks. Return to the hotel for breakfast. At noon, board your ‘Kettuvallam’- traditional houseboat. The natural friendliness of the Kerala is best extracted through a luxurious cruise through the backwaters of Kerala villages. As you sail on the Lake Vembanad to Alleppey witness the natural beauty and tranquility of the backwaters and experience a way of life little changed through the centuries. While on board, savour traditional Kerala cuisine. Spend one night on the houseboat. Accommodation is inclusive of all meals.
Day 07 Alleppey-Kovalam
Morning arrive Alleppey; you will be met by a Luxe India representative who will assist with the transfer to Kovalam and check-in at the hotel. Azure water, pacific and shallow sea, clean sandy beaches, coconut trees- Kovalam provides perfect setting for an ideal holiday. A former fishing village and today the “Paradise of the South”, Kovalam is a sleepy town with three crescent shaped beaches. It is also the destination where the zero waste program has been launched. The Zero Waste Resource Kovalam is one of the prestigious ongoing projects of the city that embarks on the proper utilization of resources and their efficient elimination. The Zero Waste Kovalam Project aims to tackle the waste issue through the globally invigorating process of Zero Waste that is changing the way communities use materials and resources. Spend three nights at Taj Green Cove Resort. Accommodation is in superior garden view room inclusive of breakfast. Taj Green Cove Resort, Kovalam Taj Green Cove is spread across 10 acres of land, offering a breathtaking view of the backwater, lush landscapes, coconut palms, and unspoiled beaches. With its exotic tropical beauty and relaxing hospitality, this getaway is the perfect place to enjoy relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.
Day 08 & 09
In Kovalam, Days free to relax at the beach and enjoy the facilities at the resort.
Day 10 Kovalam-Trivandram-Cochin…Leave Cochin
After breakfast proceed for a private road transfer to Trivandram airport to board your flight back home.