22 Jan Kerala with Chennai & Mumbai Tour – India – 10 Nights
Day 1: Arrive Cochin
Arrive at Cochin airport. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. More popular as the Queen of the Arabian sea, Cochin is a cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake. The Lake opens out into the Arabian sea here to form one of the finest natural harbours in the world. It is this natural advantage that has made Cochin a fascinating blend of the cultures and influences of explorers and traders. The Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and the British have all left their mark here. The Jewish synagogue, the Dutch Palace, the Chinese fishing nets, and other remnants of European and Asian architecture merge smoothly into the traditional fabric of the seaport city.
Rest of the day at your leisure & overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Cochin
After breakfast proceed for a sightseeing tour of Cochin. Visit the Dutch Palace (Closed on Fridays and Jewish Holidays), also known as Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555 AD. It acquired the present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out extensions and repairs in the palace. At no time did the Portuguese or Dutch stay here. Its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins. Continue to visit Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish Holidays) which was built in 1568 AD. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest.
Chinese Fishing Nets – The Chinese Fishing net that line the sea-front and exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. Said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubalai Khan’s Court, they are used at high tide. Also visit ST. Francis Church, the Protestant church which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India. It is here the remains of the inveterate traveller, Vasco da Gamma was initially buried and 14 years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Cochin / Kumarakom [By surface – 60km /01hr]
After breakfast transfer to Kumarakom. Arrive in Kumarakom & check in at your hotel. Kumarakom, located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a well-balanced tropical climate. In the lush backwaters of Kottayam in Kerala, lies a veritable paradise, which is called Kumarakom, or the ‘Venice of the East’. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields, and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. Kumarakom is Kerala’s heartland of lagoons, palm fringed lakes, and paddy fields, inter-linked with hundreds of winding canals, with the typical low slung country boats that carry everything from people to fish, rice and coconuts to the milkman and newspaper boy, local politicians and priests to wedding parties.
Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Kumarakom
After breakfast enjoy a full day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Kumarakom / Alleppey
After breakfast board the houseboat (for Kumarakom to Alleppey round).
The kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’- was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only – not even a single nail is used during the construction. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a kettuvallom can last for generations.
A portion of the kettuvallom was covered with bamboo and coir to serve as a restroom and kitchen for the crew. Meals would be cooked on board and supplemented with fresh fish from the backwaters. Today, the tradition is still continued and the food from the local cuisine is served by the Kuttanad localities, on board.
While converting kettuvallams into houseboats, care is taken to use only natural products. Bamboo mats, sticks and wood of the aracanut tree are used for roofing, coir mats and wooden planks for the flooring and wood of coconut trees and coir for beds. For lighting though, solar panels are used. Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Boat trains – formed by joining two or more houseboats together – also used by large groups of sightseers.
Lunch, dinner and overnight on houseboat.
Day 6: Alleppey / Cochin [By surface– 60km / 1hr]
Cochin / Chennai [By flight]
After breakfast on the houseboat, disembark from the houseboat and leave for Cochin and transfer to the airport to board your flight for Chennai. Arrive in Chennai, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel.
Chennai is India’s fourth largest city, also called the Gateway to the South. From a tiny hamlet in 1639, it grew around the Fort St. George built by the British. A lush green city famed for its temples & silk, Chennai gives a sense of serenity and spaciousness, enhanced by one of the world’s largest and most beautiful beaches, the Marina beach.
Rest of the day at leisure & overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Chennai
After breakfast proceed for a half day city tour of Chennai. Visit Kapaleeswaarar Temple to understand ancient India with all its political & cultural principles. Proceed to St. Mary’s Church, the oldest anglican church in Asia. The first English church in Chennai and oldest surviving British church in India. Than move onto the National Art Gallery and Government Museum. The buildings originally belonged to a group of eminent British citizens, known as the Pantheon Committee. The main building has an excellent archaeological section also houses a good ethnology collection and Chola Bronze. Proceed to the Marina Beach which is supposed to be the second longest beach in the world.
Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Chennai
After breakfast enjoy a full day at leisure for independent activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Chennai/ Mumbai [By flight]
After breakfast transfer to the Chennai airport to board your flight for Mumbai.
Arrive in Mumbai, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel.
Bombay, or Mumbai, is the capital of Maharashtra and the economic powerhouse of India. It’s the fastest moving, most affluent and the most industrialized city in India. Yet, once upon a time, Bombay was nothing more than a group of low-lying, swampy and malarial mud flats presented to the British by its Portuguese occupiers as a wedding gift in 1661. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10: Mumbai
After breakfast proceed for a half day city tour of Mumbai visiting Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi used to stay during his visits to Bombay which is now a Museum displaying photographs, letters, and personal items used by him. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and the Jain Temple. Drive past the “Towers of Silence”, Kamla Nehru Park and Hanging Gardens situated on the slope of Malabar Hill offering a panoramic view of Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach. Drive through Crawford market, Marine Drive and commemorate the visit of King George V.
Afternoon is at leisure in Mumbai. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11: Depart Mumbai
After breakfast transfer to Mumbai International airport to board your flight home.