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Journey to South India, a region that has seen the rise and fall of a multitude of cultural dynasties,
each leaving an array of architectural treasures. A highlight will be our 2 night cruise along the backwaters of Kerala on a comfortable houseboat. Other highlights include Cochin, one of the regions most cultural cities, and the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Daily departures based on minimum 2 personsTour cost from Chennai: $ 1,370 USDSingle Supplement: $ 240 USD
Trip begins and ends Cochin. Domestic flights to Delhi, Bombay or elsewhere can be added. Trip may be modified to suit individual interests. Extensions can be added.
Day 1 ARRIVE COCHIN (D)Arrive Chennai. On arrival we will be met, assisted by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Traditional welcome. In the evening, enjoy a Kathakali performance with a typical keralan dinner. This is the most developed dance drama art of India. Drums beckon an audience to a performance most magnificent actors depict characters from the Puranas and the Mahabharata, the great Indian epics - demons, superhuman beings and ordinary men and women. The dancers, all male, adorn themselves in huge skirts and elaborate headdress, wearing what must surely be the most intricate make up known to any dance style in the world. Dialogue is combined with dance to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala.
Day 2 SPICE & TEA (B,L)In the morning drive through the Keralan countryside to visit the spice and tea plantations in the area. Overnight Cardamon County Lodge near the Periyar Nature Reserve.
Day 3 PERIYAR (B,D)Day in the wildlife resort. Established in 1934 as the Nelliampatty Sanctuary, the park was enlarged in 1950 and is India's southernmost tiger reserve. The lake covers some 10 sq. miles and most of the sanctuary is undulating. Since boat travel is the only means of transport in the park, large areas can be covered in a short time. Among the game found here are gaur (the largest of the world's wild oxen), elephant, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, the rare and endangered lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, the common langur and the bonnet macaque, porcupine, Malabar squirrel, wild dog and tiger. Among the birds commonly seen are darters, cormorant, osprey, kingfisher and kite, great hornbill, grey hornbill, hill mynas, orioles and racket-tailed drongos. Afternoon wildlife outing.
Day 4 PERIYAR TIGER RESERVE (B,L,D)A full day of game drives. Day 5 PERIYAR - BACKWATERS (HOUSEBOAT)Early morning game drive. Breakfast and drive to the starting point of our boating trip, to board the luxury houseboat (215 kms/ 5 hrs). Traditionally called a Kettuvallom, or rice barge, the shallow and rounded hull of the boat is made without using a single nail. Each Anjali wood plank is joined to the next with strong coil rope and then coated with caustic black resin obtained from boiled cashew kernels and fish oil. These boats were originally built for transportation in the placid lagoon waters, and this technique of boat making has existed for many centuries. 2 nights on board our river boat. Day 6 BACKWATERS (HOUSEBOAT) (B,L,D)On this comfortable floating home we spend this day relaxing, letting all our worries slowly float by. As we slowly cruise along the backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, we may choose to stop and explore some of the many small villages, farmlands, old temples and churches that we come across.Day 7 BACKWATERS (HOUSEBOAT)-COCHIN (B)finish our cruise and drive to Cochin. On Arrival, check-in to the hotel Abad Atrium for 1 night.
Day 8 COCHIN (B) This morning, we take a tour around Fort Cochin. Cochin comprising of a cluster of islands and towns, is a living museum. Fort Cochin is believed to be the oldest European settlement in India, with the Portuguese flag first hoisted here in 1500. It occupies the northernmost point of the Mattancherry / Fort Kochi Peninsula, which is linked by ferries and a road bridge to Willingdon Island. Visit the St Francis Church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama, and is the first European church built in India and is the site where da Gama was buried. On the beach, near the church you will see the Chinese Fishing nets stung out along the tip of the peninsula. A legacy of the earliest visitors to the Malabar Coast, the Chinese fishing nets are unmistakable as one enters the harbor. Records show that they were first erected between 1350 and 1450 AD. Constructed out of teak wood and bamboo poles, they work on the principle of balance. The best place to watch is from Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that parallels the beach with little stalls that serve fresh seafood, tender coconuts and so on. Afternoon transfer to the airport to board the onward flight.
EXTENSIONS AVAILABLE ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS
"I'm just writing to let you know that our crew returned home safely from India and had a fantastic time. They felt they got great footage and in particular thought the festival was highly visual. Thanks so much for the opportunity to deal with you and your fantastic people in India!"F. Gorica, Producer, Off the Map series
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