Destinations Covered: Mumbai – Goa – Cochin – Alleppey – Kumarakom – Mararikulam – Kovalam
Tour Duration: 12 Nights / 13 Days
Day 1 : Arrive Mumbai
Arrive Mumbai by international flight. Meeting and assistance on arrival & transfer to the domestic airport to board flight to Goa Leave Mumbai for Goa by flight Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel Rest of the day free for independent activities. Overnight in Goa.
Goa was a former Portuguese colony, currently a state in India’s West region. It is 3700 square kilometers in size and has a human population of approximately 1.4 million. Its east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture is what attracts an officially-estimated two-and-half million visitors each year. Portuguese culture and architecture can still be found.
Goa is world famous for its beaches, its ancient temples and churches, and its Goan carnival. It’s a charming place with a different history. A place that acts as an entry point into India for a growing number of Euro tourists. And a place that writers, creative persons and others find increasingly attractive to make their home. From the 1960s, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors — first the hippies and returning expat Goans, then the charter tourists visiting (starting with the Germans in 1987), pilgrims visiting both Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to settle in Goa as their home, visitors coming here for medical treatment, and a growing number of those who attend seminars and conferences in Goa.
Day 2 : In Goa
Breakfast at the hotel Morning | Sightseeing tour of Old Goa Afternoon | Free for independent activities. Overnight in Goa
Breakfast at the hotel Day free for independent activities. Overnight in Goa.
Day 3 : Goa/Cochin (By Flight)
Breakfast at the hotel Transfer to the airport to board flight to Cochin Leave Goa for Cochin by flight Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel Evening : Free for independent activities. Overnight in Cochin
Kochi (Cochin) is known as the queen of the Arabian Sea. Situated in the district of Ernakulam, Kochi or Cochin has a natural harbor and hence has been a prominent port since days unknown. One of the rare ports of the world having all the three modes of transport, rail, sea and air in full-developed form.
The Queen of the Arabian Sea; despite India having a vast coastline sharing with the waters of the Arabian sea with beautiful shores, it is only Kochi / Cochin which has the honour of carrying this sobriquet. Cochin has always been in prominence due to its proximity to the sea and the natural harbor that it has. The history of Cochin dates back to the days of Roman Empire when the trade between India and Cochin with Rome was on a full spree. The spices along with pearls and tortoise shells were the basic trading objects. Very soon silk, cotton, honey and oil also found the path through this trade to Rome and other countries.
Cochin is a cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake. Some of these picturesque islands are Bolgatty, Vypeen, Gundu and Vallarpadam. The lake opens out into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the finest natural harbors in the world. The actual trading ground was Muziris and Cochin came into existence much later. This natural harbor was actually formed due to nature. In the mid 14th century, a great flood in the Periyar River led to an in the sea. The floods had meanwhile silted up the mouth of the Muziris harbor and this rich ancient port was lost in history almost immediately. The merchants of Muziris shifted to Kochi and thus Kochi came into prominence.
It became such an important place that when the Europeans such as the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English, landed in India, each had to face many a battles to establish themselves on this priceless trading port. Vasco – Da – Gama, the first known European to have landed in India and the Fort Manuel is the first known fort built by the Europeans in India.
As the trade developed in Cochin, so did the importance of the port and today, Kochi or Cochin is the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Many religious and historical monuments have made this place one of the most important tourist spots of Kerala. Along with the Jewish Synagogue and the Chinese fishing nets, the proximity of sea and the famed backwaters of Kerala has added to its beauty and the potential as a forth coming tourist destinations of India.
Day 4 : In Cochin
Breakfast at the hotel Morning | Sightseeing tour of Cochin Evening | Visit to a Katahakali School and witness a cultural dance program. Overnight in Cochin.
The Jewish Synagogue in Mattancherry, Cochin, is the oldest Synagogue of India. Built in the mid of the 16th century it was renovated again by the Dutch in the 17th century. Intricately decorated by the Belgian chandeliers and the Chinese tiles, none of which are similar to the other, the Synagogue also houses the giant scrolls of the Old Testament. One can also see the several finely wrought gold crowns donated by the patrons here.
One of the oldest buildings in Cochin, the Dutch palace or the Mattancherry palace is a beautiful structure built in oriental style of architecture. It was the Portuguese who built it and later gifted it to the rulers of Kochi in mid 16th century. Later the Dutch renovated it in the 17th century and since then it was known as the Dutch palace. Neither the Portuguese nor the Dutch ever resided in the building and it was always the bastion of the rulers of Kochi.
Most of the rulers were coroneted in this very palace and the palace has a portrait gallery of the kings of Kochi. A temple in the middle of the courtyard dedicated to the royal deity, Palayannur Bhagawati, and the side temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna, along with beautiful murals depicting the scenes from the epic Ramayana, are some of the prime attractions of this palace. A museum displaying the objects used by the kings and the queens is a must visit inside the palace.
From far in the sea one can spot these fishing nets on the coast of Cochin. The Chinese Fishing Nets are the only one of its kinds in India. It is said they were brought here from the courts of Kublai Khan in China. Watching the sunset through these huge cantilevered fishing nets is a splendid sight, when the nets adhere to the crimson shadow of the sky. These nets are not only a marvel to watch but also a proof of the ancient trade relations between India, especially Kerala and China.
Kathakali is said to have originated in Kerala during the 16th century. The word katha in Malayalam means story and kali means play. Kathakali combines dance, enactment, songs and instrumental accompaniment. In the olden days Kathakali performances lasted the whole night, but with time, concise versions of stories started being presented and the duration of shows was reduced to two hours. The most popular stories enacted are Nalacharitham, Kalyanasougndhikam, Keechakavadham, Kiratham and Karnashapadham (all stories from Hindu mythology). To popularize this art form, stories from other sources (the Bible and Shakespearean drama) were introduced. Here are some of the best places to view Kathakali performances.
Day 5 : Cochin/Alleppey/Kumarakom
Breakfast at the hotel Leave Cochin for Alleppey by road Transfer to a boat Jetty to board house boat Lunch on board houseboat Cruise through the back water lanes to Kumarakom Dinner on board houseboat.
Overnight on board Houseboat.
Alleppey – a virtual Venice of the East is strewn with various water streams. Lakes and rivers, lagoons and tributaries of the rivers, and much more, Alleppey has a vast network of waterways giving the impression of Venice.
Kumarakom, situated at around 12 kms from the city of Kottyam is famous for its Bird Sanctuary situated on the Lake of Vembanand. This bird sanctuary covers an area of around 101 acres of land full of woods and the lake, which attracts various kinds of birds here. The common finds here are the waterfowls, cuckoos and owls. However people come to see the migratory Siberian Crane, which is here during the months o f November to February. The other migratory birds are the Snakebirds, the Night Herons and the Egrets.
Day 6 : Kumarakom/Mararikulam
Breakfast on board houseboat Disembark houseboat at Kumarakom Visit to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary Later, leave Kumarakom for Mararikulam (45 Mins drive) Check in on arrival Rest of the day free for independent activities.
Overnight in Mararikulam.
With hardly any distance from the capital of Thiruvananthapuram is the small fishing village on the backwaters of Kerala, Mararikulam. This small village has a beautiful beach which has only sea, sand and the coconuts swinging to the rhythm of the sea winds. There is hardly any person other than the local fisher folk that one can find on this beautiful beach. The only possible thing that one gets here is proximity to nature without any middlemen!! The sea and the sand are most virgin and one can actually enjoy being with nature here. The beach here is privately owned; it is cleaner better and gives one the actual feeling of the village life of Kerala.
Day 7 : In Mararikulam
Breakfast at the hotel Day free for independent activities. Overnight in Mararikulam.
Day 8 : In Mararikulam
Breakfast at the hotel Day free for independent activities. Overnight in Mararikulam.
Day 9 : Mararikulam/Trivandrum/Kovalam
Breakfast at the hotel Leave Kumarakom for Kovalam by road En-route visit Trivandrum Check in on arrival. Overnight in Kovalam.
Thiruvananthapuram, the city of the snake god, is the capital of Kerala State and is situated at south India. The city is a blend of modern and traditional architecture. Named after the fabled Serpent God ‘Anantha’ on whom Sri Anantha Padmanabhan (Lord Vishnu) reclines, the city is built on seven hills.
Caressed by the Arabian Sea at the west, Thiruvananthapuram is a popular transit destination for Indians and foreigners alike who like to visit south India.
Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city that had riding links with the other parts of the world. Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, a landmark of Thiruvananthapuram, is 2000 years old. King Marthandavarma, the erstwhile founder of Travancore made Thiruvananthapuram his capital. After Marthandavarma, it remained the capital of Travancore and after independence, became the capital of State of Travancore-Cochin. In 1956, when Kerala state was formed, Thiruvananthapuram was again chosen as the capital of Kerala.
Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The temple is located inside the East Fort. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, & a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its Mural Paintings and Stone Carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu Temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on anantha the serpent.
Day 10 : In Kovalam
Breakfast at the hotel Day free for independent activities.
Overnight in Kovalam Around 15 kms from the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram is the one of the most famous beaches of India, for local as well as international tourists, the Kovalam Beach. The small village of Kovalam came into limelight due to its beautiful beaches; those were thronged by tourists from all over the world. The uniqueness of the beaches was what attracted the tourists to this tiny village.
Kovalam in the local language means, place fringed with coconut palms, and indeed it is. Kovalam is full of coconut trees and soothing seashore, one of the best in India for swimming and other water sports.
The beaches of Kovalam are in a crescent like shape and can be divided in three parts. To the south is the most popular beach known as the lighthouse beach. One can have a spectacular view of the Vizhinzam Mosque from here. The northern most beach is known as the Samudra Beach and in between lies the beach called Hawah. While the other two beaches are mostly used for fishing purposes, it is only the Lighthouse beach that is full of tourists day in and out. The soothing sand, the cool breeze and the beautiful sea, is the best place to relax. Kovalam beach offers many other options for relaxation such as the Ayurvedic massage parlors and Yoga classes. To top all the wonderful sea cuisine to cheer one’s palate is always there.
The nights on the beaches are enlivened with the traditional Kathakali dance performances and various other folk forms of art performed by the local artists.
Day 11 : In Kovalam
Breakfast at the hotel Day free for independent activities. Overnight in Kovalam.
Day 12 : Kovalam/Trivandrum/Mumbai
Breakfast at the hotel Transfer to Trivandrum airport to board flight to Mumbai Leave Trivandum for Mumbai by flight Meeting on arrival and transfer to the international airport to board onward flight.