Places Covered: Cochin – Munnar – Periyar – Madurai – Kanyakumari – Kovalam – Backwater (Houseboat) – Cochin Dep
The small state of Kerala in the extreme southwest of India awaits us with unique beauty and varied landscapes. Lush green rice fields, endless tea and coffee plantations, an almost indescribable variety of tropical fruits and spices and especially the tree of life Kerala, the coconut tree, shape the landscape. More than 40 rivers rise on the slopes of the up to 2,000 m high Western Ghats, pour into the extensive lagoon system of the idyllic backwaters and form the livelihood of many millions of people and a unique, species-rich flora and fauna, as in India barely a second time can be found. We explore the cultural highlights of the region by car, walk through the Periyar National Park and cruise comfortably with a houseboat through the backwaters. At the end of an exciting tour of South India, the beautiful beach of Mararikulam Beach beckons.
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Upon arrival at the Cochin airport we will be picked up and taken to our hotel. Time permitting, we visit Fort Cochin with St. Francis Church, the former Mattancherry Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening, at sunset, visit the Chinese fishing nets, which offer a unique sight in the evening light. Overnight stay at Fort House Hotel.
On the way to the western ghats we enjoy the variety of landscapes and the various vegetation zones from the coast up to 1,000 m altitude to our resort in Munnar district. The place lies in the middle of the impressive mountain landscape surrounded by seemingly endless tea plantations. We explore the region on a first walk through the tea gardens as well as a visit to the Tea Museum. Overnight stay at Mistletoe Munnar.
During the day, a walk through the tea plantation we enjoy the beautiful landscape. In the evening we visit the local market and can watch the local buyers and sellers at the trade and maybe acquire a little own experience in this art!
Its location in the rainforest Cardamom Mountains in the southern part of the Western Ghats, and the excellent wildlife viewing opportunities make the nearby Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary one of the most worthwhile destinations for nature and wildlife fans in southern India. At the same time, it is one of the largest reserves in India at about 800 square kilometers and stretches around an artificial 26-hectare lake. Under the expert guidance of a ranger, we take a walk in the reserve. During a short walk, we can get to know the jungle from a different perspective. On a spice plantation, we then familiarize ourselves with the variety of spices and fruits that cultivate here. Overnight stay at The Coffee Routes.
Today we walk around three hours with a park ranger through the species of plantation. Depend on the luk, we can observe wild elephants, leopards or even one of the Bengal tigers living here. But countless species of birds, various species of monkeys and reptiles can be found here and form one of the most species-rich fauna in India. Later it goes back to the hotel and the afternoon is for own discoveries at leisure.
We are leaving the state of Kerala for a short while and are heading to Madurai, Tamil Nadu State. Madurai is often referred to as the “secret capital of the South”. The area around the main temple of the city of Sri Meenakshi is filled with busy vitality from early morning to late at night. Every day, more than 10,000 pilgrims and other visitors from all over the world visit the mighty temple city, and so we join the endless stream of pilgrims. Along with other side temples and shrines, the temple where Shiva and Meenakshi are worshiped lies within a walled rectangle measuring 254 x 237 meters. But also the old town of Madurai is on the program and we let ourselves drift through the streets. In the evening we return to the Meenakshi Temple for the solemn closing ceremony. Overnight stay at Heritage Madurai.
Let’s go south! A rather long but varied journey takes us today in the extreme south of India to Kanyakumari Cape Cormorin. At the southernmost point of our trip to India, we let the wind of the Indian Ocean blow over our nose and, if we look to the left, may already be able to imagine Sri Lanka in the distance. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay at Sparsa Resort.
Our way leads us back to the southwest coast of Kerala in the “holy city of Anantha” – Trivandrum. The capital of Kerala, with its wide streets, numerous parks and pretty colonial buildings, is in pleasant contrast to the bustle of other major Indian cities. We visit the Kuthiramalika Palace Museum and the Napier Museum, a wonderful testimony of Keralan architecture, which originally served as the palace of Lord Napier (19th century), but today functions as a museum. Not to be missed of course is the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. It is located in the old fort and for non-Hinduists can only be visited from the outside, because of the wonderful architecture but still a worthwhile destination! After another short drive we reach Kovalam and move into our beach resort. Overnight stay at Uday Samudra.
In the morning we reach the backwaters today. It is a vast network of picturesque lagoons, lakes and shallow alluvial lands stretching from Kollam in the south to Cochin in the north and Kottayam in the east. The various lakes are networked through artificial channels, which have been used by the locals as important traffic arteries for many centuries. A journey through this fairy-tale world is like a journey through time in Kerala’s centuries of tropical affluence. We glide peacefully past the lush green of the rice terraces, on densely overgrown banks and coconut palms. There is always the opportunity to visit a small village, to admire the colorful houses of fishermen and peasants, the colorful Hindu temples or the almost bizarre colorful churches of Indian Christians.
After breakfast we unfortunately have to leave our floating domicile again, but the view always fixed on the beautiful beach of Mararikulam (short Marari) Beach, the farewell is not that difficult. We enjoy the wonderful idyll and tranquility of the palm-lined endless sandy beach in the hotel by the sea. Overnight stay at La Plage Marari.
All day we have time to relax on the beautiful beach or to explore the area on your own.
Transfer to the airport to Cochin and return flight to home.