A spicy little visit to Kerala – 7 days
The holiday to Kerala and South India could be a different country compared to North India. Kerala is a port with a wide network of ocean trade links that have touched the area with a sheen of the exotic: the food is an imaginative blend of fresh seafood and local herbs & spices. As Cajun is to Big Mac, so Kerala is to fish ‘n chips!
Day 1: Arrive Cochin – Transfer Fort Cochin
Arrive Cochin; met upon arrival and driven to Fort Cochin in a private car. Overnight in a comfy family-run hotel with just 12 rooms in the heart of Fort Cochin.
Day 2: Sightseeing of Cochin
Cochin has one of the world’s finest harbours and has been a trading port since at least Roman times. Your private guide will show you St Francis Church (where Vasco da Gama was originally buried) the Santa Cruz Cathedral and Mattancherry Palace which has a series of murals painted on wooden walls. By contrast, pop in to the synagogue in the heart of what is known as Jew Town, a mixture of shops, warehouses and spice auction rooms.
Day 3: Cochin – Alleppy Back Waters
Drive to Alleppy and “The Backwaters” to board a houseboat; lunch on board. The boat glides along the backwaters enabling you to watch waterside life; there are frequent stops that allow you to explore life along the banks and hinterland. Overnight on board.
Day 4: Houseboat – Thekkady
Disembark after breakfast and drive to Periyar, the spice capital of India. Continue to Periyar (Thekkady) Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the premier reserves of Southern India and home of wild elephant, bison, antelopes, langurs and sambars. Overnight at Wildernest Lodge.
Day 5: Periyar – Munnar
At an altitude of around 1,600m the climate of Munnar is refreshing but can get a little chilly at night’ good idea to bring a warm top. The vistas over immaculately clipped tea gardens (much of it owned by the huge Tata Corporation) are fabulous. Activities in Munnar town include a visit to the Tea Museum, a weaving and papermaking project and the local fruit and vegetable market. From Munnar you can visit Eravikulam National Park, home to a large number of the rare and endangered Nilgiri Tahr (a kind of goat). You can also visit Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary but you need to be there in the early morning so be prepared for an early start. Eravikulam, on the other hand, is close by and a pleasant place to walk with virtually guaranteed sightings of Tahrs; in fact you are likely see so many that it is hard to believe that they are rare! Overnight at the Olive Brook which is a lovely lodge in the middle of a cardamom plantation!
Day 6: Transfer to Kodikulam – Dewalokam Farm Stay
Dewalokam is a beautiful farm on the banks of the river Kannadipuzha. It has ten acres, which includes an abundance of spices and fruits as well as an Ayurvedic herb garden. The farm also has animals including goats, cows and chickens. The motto of Dewalokam is “Responsible and Sustainable Travel” and they pride themselves on offering personalised care but without intruding upon your privacy. On the opposite side of the river is pristine tropical forest that provides ideal terrain for forest treks and nature walks. Other activities include rafting, river swimming, visiting a local school, Ayurvedic treatments and yoga. Dewalokam also has a swimming pool. You will stay in the guest accommodation adjacent to the family home.