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Down the Malabar Coast

» Down the Malabar Coast
Duration : 9 Nights & 10 Days
Destination Covered : Cochin – Kovalam – Madurai – Thekkady – Alleppey – Cochin

Day 01 - Arr. Cochin
Upon arrival in Cochin, our Executive will meet you at the Airport followed by transfer from Airport to Hotel.

Day 02 - Cochin
Cochin is situated on a number of small islands and peninsulas that in some parts still look like the old engravings that were scattered in Europe during colonial times. The trade in spices is still important, just as shipbuilding. In 1653 the Dutch settle in Cochin. They were there especially for the trade in pepper. There is a ‘Dutch palace’ with beautiful murals, which depict different episodes in Hindu myths and a 16th century Jewish synagogue and the only Jewish neighbourhood in India. The Jewish community originally consisted of black and white Jews. In the Dutch cemetery and in two churches you can see many Dutch gravestones. The ten metre high Chinese fishnets that Marco Polo mentioned are wonderful to see. In Kerala this method of fishing using the nets, which originates from the 11th century, can still be seen. The Bolgatty palace on the island of the same name is the stately official residence of the former Dutch governor of Cochin and is a great place for lunch under the tropical trees of the lagoon. Cochin is the centre of the famous dance drama of Kerala, the Kathakali. This dance can be characterized by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the Mahabharaata and Ramaayana.

Day 03 – Cochin – Trivandrum – Kovalam
Transfer to Cochin airport to catch flight for Trivandrum.Here you will be transferred directly to the nearby beach resort of Kovalam, which is rich with palm trees. The train journey through the tropical landscape of Kerala gives a good idea of how the people live there between the palm trees. Kovalam Beach is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in India.

Day 04 – Kovalam (Beach Resort)
Free days. You can unwind, eat some good food in one of the fish restaurants, swim and sunbathe. Whoever wants to see more of this country can go on a day excursion to Kanyakumari, the most southerly point of India. On the way you can stop at a splendid 17th century wooden palace of a former local king.

Day 05 - Kovalam – Madurai (240 Kms – 5hrs)
After a couple of days with lots of sun and surf you drive to reach the city of Madurai. Madurai is said to be the oldest city of Tamilnadu and is dominated by the Famous Meenakshy Sundareshwar temple.

Day 06 - Madurai
The name Madurai reminds the city of the legend that a drop of sweet nectar from the hair of the god Shiva fell to earth here. ‘Madhurai’ means ‘sweet’ in Sanskrit. It is possible that Madurai is the oldest city in India. There is proof that three thousand years ago there was already a considerable settlement here and the Roman emperors had an ambassador here. The city completely revolves around the Meenakshi Temple, where thousands of priests and worshippers come daily, temple elephant people are blessed and astrologists read the stars and hands. You can also get your fortune read by parrots that pick tarot cards out of a pile. All the believers bathe themselves in the temple baths. The temple also has a museum with beautiful bronze statues. In the evening sermons are held within the walls of the temple and concerts are often given in honour of the gods. The one thing that you must not miss is the evening ceremony with a fanfare, where the god Shiva is lead to the bedroom of his wife, Meenakshi. Madurai is also a great place to look for bronze statues, carpets or other souvenirs.

Day 07 - Madurai – Periyar/Thekkady (170 Km / 04 Hrs)
Checking out from the hotel a little early you descend along an amazing winding road and travel to a lower lying part of the mountain range where tropical rainforest still holds its own in the Periyar National Park. Just before the end of the four-hour journey you pass a real border with barriers: the border with the federal state of Kerala. Stay at the Hotel.

Day 08 – Periyar / Thekkady
The best place to observe the game in Periyar is by boat. There are many animals to see, including herds of elephants, bison’s and packs of wild boars that roam through the woods and parade along the shores of the lake just before sunrise and sunset. You can also see also different species of apes that often come close to the hotel. The golden langur monkey that lives here is rarely seen in the rest of India. Other animals in Periyar are otters and porcupines. Water turtles can often be seen sunning themselves on the pieces of wood that stick out of the water. Osprey and Cormorants belong to the most important species of birds in this area. It is also possible to take a walking tour of the jungle, with a guide.

Day 09 – Periyar – Alleppey (Backwaters) (145kms – 4 hrs)
Depart from hotel after breakfast we drive through magnificent mountain country with jungle, palm forests and all sorts of plantations for tea and coffee. We slowly descend to a green area where cocoa, rubber and spices grown. After lunch you get onto a private boat that is waiting to take you on a tour through the backwaters, a splendid area full of canals, lakes and coves. You can sunbathe on the roof or observe the landscape from the protection of the cabin. The population’s whole life takes place here on the water. The people sail, fish, swim and bathe here. They do their washing and their washing up. They are so adapted to the water that you can see people talking for an hour, while they are up to their necks in water. Peddlers take care of the supplies and the public transport goes on the water. Countless water birds wait for their chance to catch a fish. The trip goes through a wonderful area full of palm trees, rice fields and floating water plants that surround the boat like emerald Green Island. We go back to the land about sunset and go to a luxury hotel with a swimming pool and where musicians play classical Indian music in the evenings. The hotel is two kilometres from Alleppey.

Day 10 – Alleppey – Cochin (65kms – 2 hrs)
A one-hour drive takes you to the old city Cochin on the Arabic Sea. On reaching Cochin on time departure transfer to catch flight for onward destination. Tours ends with sweet memories to take home