Kochi – waterbus tour, visiting Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Palace and St Francis Church. Alleppey – stay with local families and on a traditional houseboat. Periyar – game viewing and visit to spice plantation. Nature Trek in Periyar National Park. Cooking sessions with our travelling chef.
Sketch Itinerary :
Kochi | Alleppey | Kumarakom | Periyar | Vagamon| Kochi
All tours are Tailor -made, take help of our tour specialist to plan. We will carefully design your trip into a detailed itinerary complete with country facts, maps, a price and accommodation and time in your hand and share your budget as per your choice. We'll keep perfecting your itinerary until you're completely happy and ready to book, at which point you pay your initial deposit.
This tour concentrates on Kerala, one of the most fascinating states of India, whose very name, it is said, comes either from the local word ‘kera’, the coconut palm, or from ‘cheralam’, meaning land of the chera kings or ‘marshy land’.
We explore the enchanting coastal strip of land between the high Sahya ranges in the east and the vast Arabian Sea in the west. Along the way we will see exotic spice gardens whilst our overnights include time on a traditional style Kerala house boat and several nights with local families.
But above all our journey offers a perfect introduction to the cuisine of southern India, as we spend time with local families learning about the preparation of the food of south India. We can join in and help with the cooking or just sit back and watch and see how it’s done.
And travelling with us throughout the tour, showing us the way around local food markets and assisting our local hosts at each cookery session, is our travelling chef, who will travel with us on the entire tour, learning about our individual preferences and abilities in the kitchen as he brings the cuisine of south India to life for us.
Highlights: Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Vypeen Island and Bolghatty Island
Description: After checking in at your hotel this morning you meet your Tour Leader and Travelling Chef and discuss the week ahead. After that your day is left free for you to acclimatise after perhaps a long flight, and to wander at your own pace, visiting the bazaars or taking a waterbus. Kochi lies around a vast bay, and is made up of several different areas. Ernakulam is today the main commercial area, and it is here that the vast majority of homes, workplaces and shopping districts are located; it is the area that perhaps most people mean when they refer to Kochi. But elsewhere in or around the bay lie Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Vypeen Island and Bolghatty Island. Willingdon Island is home to the main port of the city. Fort Cochin, where Koder House is located is famous for its Chinese fishing nets and its meld of Dutch, Portuguese and English influences. Mattanchery is famous for its 'Jew Town' and its Jewish Synagogue. This is the historic part of Kochi, made famous by centuries of spice trade. Whilst today is free for you to relax, it is possible to take one of a number of optional excursions, which your Driver/Escort will arrange for you. Tripunithura Hill Palace was the home of the Maharajahs of Kochi and is worth a visit, or you may prefer the bustle of the markets. This evening you have the option of seeing Kathakali dancing; an art form originating around Kochi. After hours applying very heavy and stylised makeup, the dancers usually take as their subject stories from the Ramayana and other Indian epics.
Highlights: The Bay has been a trading centre for centuries and over time the Dutch, the Portugese and the English have all left their mark on the architecture and culture
Description: This morning you have a guided tour of Kochi. Waterbuses dot the waters of the bay of Kochi and you use one of these vessels for part of your tour today. You visit Fort Kochi; dating from the 16th century and considered to be the oldest European settlement in India. The Bay has been a trading centre for centuries and over time the Dutch, the Portugese and the English have all left their mark on the architecture and culture of the settlements around the bay. The Portugese built the Mattancherry Palace but the Dutch renovated it; the murals here are some of the most impressive in India. You'll visit the Jewish synagogue and pass the iconic Chinese fishing nets that line part of the shore. After your tour you will have lunch in the local market, after which you will visit the market with our chef. The rest of the day is at leisure, before in the early evening you transfer to the house of your local host, where you will have your first introduction to South Indian food preparation by your host and your chef, assisted by your host's family. After this, there is the chance, if you so wish , to help prepare the meal. After enjoying your own cooking you return to the hotel for the night.
Highlights: Here you settle in at the home of a local family for an evening and overnight which offers an insight into local life in Kerala
Description: After breakfast you drive to the bustling backwaters town of Alleppey. This small town is something of a waterborne equivalent of a railway junction, with boats passing through on the canals that run through the town, inevitably drawing comparisons between Alleppey and Venice. Here you settle in at the home of a local family for an evening and overnight which offers an insight into local life in Kerala. The homes that you stay in vary to some extent, with some rooms having private facilities and some not, and as these are family homes there are no single rooms available. After having lunch you take a walking trip around paddy fields and if you wish you can take a canoe ride. In the evening, at the dinner table there will be a discussion session, with some family members and your accompanying chef, about the preparation of south Indian meals.
Highlights: Stay on a traditional backwaters houseboat
Description: After breakfast we will start the preparation of our own lunch. This time there will ideally be no local assistance and we will be cooking our lunch ourselves. However there will be local assistance available in the kitchen if needed. After having our own cooked lunch we embark in our houseboats. A Kerala houseboat is a traditional style of vessel that was used in earlier times for the transport of goods from the isolated villages of the interior to the coastal towns. In the Malayalam language "kettu" means "to tie" and "vallam" means "boat" - the two words together make up the local name for a houseboat: a "kettuvallam". Each houseboat is constructed using long established principles and techniques of boat building by the local carpenters using 'Anjili' wood. Coir ropes are used for fastening the wooden planks together. With the advent of roads, bridges and ferry services, the era of the kettuvallom as a means of freight transport came to an end. But now tourism has led to a resurgence in the use of kettuvalloms as a tourist attraction allowing the visitor to experience life on the backwaters of Kerala. The house boats have most of the creature comforts of a standard hotel with well-furnished bedrooms, modern hygienic toilets, a well-appointed living room and a beautiful kitchen. There are usually two or three bedrooms on each boat, and looking after us are a cook, two or three assistants, and the boat captain. After boarding, we sail for a while along the colourful waterways, just watching life along the banks, where families manage to keep livestock and tend vegetable gardens amidst the tropical palm trees. Meanwhile on the water a variety of boats form part of the scene: motor launches and sailing vessels carry produce, people, mail and animals. Some of the boats have a bow carved in the shape of a dragon, a reminder of the boats used in the water pageants that are a part of the Kerala calendar. We sail today for around five hours, and after a leisurely voyage we tie up for the night on the banks of one of the waterways. Dinner on board a houseboat is a special experience, with quiet but efficient service in the dining room.
Highlights: Short walking trip of the area and stay with local families
Description: After breakfast, we disembark at Kumarakom and transfer to the home of a local family where we will spend the night. After settling in we leave for a short walking trip of the area. In the early evening we have the option of helping with the preparation of dinner which will be prepared by our own travelling chef.
Highlights: Spice Plantation Tour
Description: After breakfast we drive to Periyar, a journey which will take most of the morning. Periyar is famous in two respects: the Periyar game Sanctuary and the spice plantations in the area. We will look first today at the spice fields. Perhaps nearly 50% of spices used in India are from this area, and we will have an introduction to all the spices and their use on a guided tour. We will have a local expert, together with our travelling chef, to explain the import of each spice in local cuisine. After the tour we return to our hotel for dinner.
Highlights: Nature Trek in Periyar National Park; overnight stay with local family
Description: An early start today as before breakfast we take a morning nature trek in Periyar Sanctuary. It was in 1899, that the cardamom jungle around the lake was declared as Periyar Lake Reserve. And in 1934, the sanctuary came to be known as Nellikampetti Sanctuary. It was also included in Project Tiger in 1979. A trek into the depths of the Periyar forest opens up tranquil views of the mirror-still lake disturbed only by an occasional ripple from a rising fish, the verdant wilderness curving on either side, and a clear sapphire sky reflected in the waters. Periyar is one of India's tiger reserves, with around 40 tigers here, although in the nearly 800 acres of the park the chances of seeing one are slim. Our game viewing here is done on foot, as we walk through the grasslands, forest and tropical jungle of the sanctuary looking for giant malabar, boar, flying squirrel, porcupine and elephant. After our game viewing we drive to Vagamon where we will be staying the night with a family who own one of the Vagamon spice plantations. After a tour of their property we will have dinner at their home, prepared by our own travelling chef .
Highlights: Cochin Fort
Description: After Breakfast we drive back to Kochi, arriving around lunchtime. After checking in at our hotel in the Fort Cochin area the rest of the day is left at leisure.
Highlights: After breakfast today your tour ends.
Description: Return to onward destinations