The journey echoes the progression of Indian people, like all other cultures that attempt to find ways to attain their traditions and religion within a time of increasing globalization.
Kerala is a multifaceted journey from Dutch and British influences to profound natural experiences. The book reveals that great and small themes are interconnected, and that historical events and seemingly unrelated details have far-reaching consequences throughout a community and country.
The narrative of this journey is on a universal, abstract themes and a wide variety of ideas of Kerala cultures, admiring nature and preserving ecology.
Best season to visit - November to March.
Lost World Adventures itineraries can be tailor-made according to your plans and preferences: budget, hotel selections, travel dates, optional excursions, length of trip, etc.
You will be met at the Cochin Airport and transferred to your hotel.
Your day is free to walk on the beach and view the unique Chinese fishing nets and watch the fisherman throw their mammoth nets into the sea.
Overnight at the Hotel Eighth Bastion, breakfast included - 2 nights.
Resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipbuilding yard, Brunton Boatyard gives the modern traveller a unique opportunity to dwell amidst the shadow-plays of 19th century history.
The recreated period building blends in perfectly with its colonial era surroundings: once-great trading houses from the high era of commerce, when the pepper of Kerala was as precious as gold. Like the cultures they celebrate, the hotel's interiors too, are an eclectic blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences.
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'.
Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin.
Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate.
After breakfast, set off on a guided city tour of Cochin:
Jewish Synagogue - The Paradesi Synagogue, in a corner of Jew Town, is more than a hundred years old and houses many rare antiques. The synagogue, that woos many visitors, adds to the quaint charm of Mattancherry.
Enter the synagogue and the large main hall arrests your attention with display of rare antique objects that add to the grandeur of the place.
The light falling through the large open windows make the sight of chandeliers and lamps more delightful these glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling belong to the 19th century and were imported from Belgium. Note - The synagogue is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
St Francis Church - St. Francis Church is India's earliest European church. Built by the Portuguese in the early 1500's, this wooden church with its simple whitewashed facade became the model for later churches. It was dedicated to St. Anthony. Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was buried here and then moved to Portugal some 14 years after his death. His gravestone still remains as well as gravestones of Portuguese and Dutch.
Chinese fishing nets - When you think about Cochin, the first image that conjures up in the mind is that of the fishing nets. Also known as ‘Cheenavala’ in Malayalam, these nets are over 500 years old and were first introduced by Chinese emperor Zheng He. Located at Fort Cochin, these cantilevered fishing accessories have over the years become a popular tourist attraction and an iconic representation of the city.
Remainder of the day is at leisure on your return to the hotel.
After breakfast we start off on our cycles, heading towards the foothills of the Western Ghats towards the lowland forests of Thattekkad. We pass through scenic countryside with temples, spice gardens, paddy fields and rubber plantations.
After a leisurely lunch we reach the River Periyar, the longest river in Kerala, which has been a part of many ancient epics. Our stay will be at the secluded Hornbill Camp - a birder’s paradise on the riverside. You will be able to enjoy the gentle Periyar and the exquisite sounds of the forest – the perfect ending to a day of cycling.
Overnight at Hornbill Camp with cottage tents with comfortable beds and en-suite bath/ toilet.
All meals included. 55 kms/6 hours (approx.)
After breakfast, we set off cycling along the Periyar riverbank and through dense low altitude forests of Neriyamanagalam where reed is extracted for manufacture of traditional household items like baskets and mats.
As the scenery slowly changes we glimpse rubber estates, pepper estates, cardamom estates and finally tea plantations. We will stop at Adimali for lunch and make the rest of the way in the accompanying vehicle to the hills of Munnar – a hill town famed for its vast swathes of tea plantations.
Munnar, once a favorite summer resort town of the British, is set amidst dramatic mountain scenery, craggy peaks, tall redwood trees, and some of the world’s highest tea plantations.
Overnight Olive Brooke, all meals included - 2 nights.
Today, we can explore the plantations and meet the artisans who work the land.
We can also spend our time walking the tea estates, having picnics at beautiful locations or cycle around the local places.
We will have a short transfer to Lockhart Gap, from where we will start our biking through the tea estates and spice growing areas to Vandanmedu. We will pass through thick forests, cardamom estates and spice gardens that have made these Cardamom Hills world famous.
In the evening, check into the magnificent resort at Vandanmedu, Carmelia Haven, set amidst a cardamom and tea estates.
All meals included today. 65 kms/7 hours (approx.)
Our destination today is the short morning ride to Periyar passing through forests, tea gardens and spice plantations.
We will reach the forests at Periyar by lunchtime where we can either relax or take off into the jungle. Periyar is one of the best wildlife reserves in India and has large herds of Asiatic elephants, Indian Bison as well as Tigers. For the ornithologists it has over 330 species of birds including the majestic Great Hornbill.
Overnight Wildernest. All meals included today. 22 kms/3 hours (approx.)
Our destination today is Dewalokam - an exceptionally beautiful farm on the banks of Kannadipuzha in the lower ranges of the Western Ghats.
Here we can take a walk around the spice garden with nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper vines. We will also go around the herbal gardens, visit the rubber plantations, walk through the forests across the river and visit the local village.
Overnight Dewalokam. All meals included today.
We will do a short ride (cycling approx 2 hours/distance 20 km) around the organic farm in the morning and then we will transfer you on the vehicle to the Boat Jetty where we start our cruise on the world-renowned rice boats – a luxurious way to see the backwaters and the life by the backwater countryside villages.
We will explore the backwater villages, cruise past ancient temples, paddy fields, lagoons and lakes.
Overnight Houseboat. All meals included today.
We will disembark the houseboat at the heritage villa along the backwaters. Upon arrival, it’s time to relax and chill out - reading in the hammock, dangling your toes in the water, getting an Ayurvedic massage and trying out the local tea shop.
You can also visit the fruit and vegetable market, the ancient temple or the local pottery factory. A more adventurous choice would be to go cycling through the necklace of villages of Kuttanadu, go walking through the countryside or learn to cook in the family kitchens.
Overnight Emerald Isle. All meals included today.
We will leave after breakfast and will embark a wooden canoe to make it to the other side of the shore, from where we will commence the cycling for the last day. The route passes through country roads and small villages where we will see coconut husk being processed and made into coir ropes and mats.
On arrival in Cochin, evening is free. Overnight Eighth Bastion, breakfast included.
Transfer to the airport in Cochin.
The guides we had and the places we saw and stayed were superlative.
- Bonnie K, Jun 2012