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). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide. This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate. Cochin is situated in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala. Kochi is the arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala, rated in the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel and Tourism Council and featured in National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime
Day 02: Cochin Athirapally Cochin (Excursion 55 kms: 1 hr one way)
Today morning after a leisure breakfast, take an excursion to the beautiful waterfalls of Athirapally. There is a rocky road that moves around the mountain providing you with a magnificent view of the Athirapally waterfalls. As you move nearer through the beautifully landscaped road to Athirapally, you can enjoy the views of Areca nut Palms on one side and the Chalakudy River on the other side. First the river seems winding and then it crashes down suddenly, white with challenge. Only after a short distance, the river is back to its normal self again. There are some vendors here who sell jute hats and plastic flowers; they definitely make the place more tourists friendly. Later drive back to Cochin. In the evening enjoy the Kathakali dance, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes and Exotic makeup and Masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight at Cochin.
Athirapally waterfalls, the sudden rushing sound of the cascading waterfall makes you feel that the water has begun to fall only now. Though the fact is that the waters have maintained this suddenness for a long time and they are still persevering. The Athirapally waterfalls are 80 feet high which start at the high ranges calmly and come crashing down through the gorges. Trekking is a wonderful way to explore the nearby areas, especially if you do it along the banks of the Chalakudy River. The waterfall is located at a height in the Sholayar forest ranges and is very near to the Valparai which is a popular hill station. The presence of the waterfall is unmistakable everywhere in Athirapally as it is present either in the form of a painting or a topic of conversation.
Day 03: Cochin Munnar (120 kms: 3 hrs)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Munnar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Munnar is located at the Idukki district of Kerala State in India. The word "Munnar" means three rivers. 3 mountain streams (Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala) are joining together here. During the British rule in India, Munnar was the summer resort of the Government officials. The natural beauty, calmness and mild cold climate throughout the year make it the favorite tourist places. There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range expose its beauty. The Munnar hills are covered by tea plants, which make Periyar the feeling of seeing a wide green carpet.
You can take a short tour of the Munnar hill station exploring tea gardens and panoramic view of the wonderful hill station. Optionally you can visit Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar) the park is 97 sq. km, situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. Considering the ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared as a National park in 1978. The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Later return to the hotel for overnight at Munnar.
Day 04: Munnar
After breakfast visit to Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and Long Mountain walks. Visit the tea factory and the museum here. Later visit at Devikulam (7 km from Munnar). This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. Also take sightseeing towards Mattupetty Side, where you can visit the Photo point, Mattupetty Dam, Echo point (The natural Echo phenomenon is always happening here), Shooting point and the Kundale Lake. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 05: Munnar Periyar (160 kms: 3 4 hrs)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Periyar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Then visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, discover the park, animals found here include elephant, gaur and wild boars and birds like ibis and grey heron. The visit is done in a boat at Periyar lake to view animals with a bit of extra luck we may be able to see the rare tiger as well. Later in the evening take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 06: Periyar Alleppey (155 kms: 3 hrs) Backwaters tours through sailing boat to Kumarakom
After breakfast checkout and drive for Alleppey, on arrival embark at the houseboat. The day for the journey of backwaters in the boat, through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters of Alleppey by regattas (snake boats) for which Kerala is very famous, while sailing enjoy 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. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land, you also enjoy fishing from the houseboats, evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats, moving towards Kumarakom. The Houseboats have generated electricity; sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Srank (Driver). Overnight at the houseboat.
Day 07: Kumarakom
After breakfast disembark from the houseboat. And drive to Kumarakom - for the nature-lover. Here in this backwater town, you can laze in a canoe amidst sylvan surroundings where the only presence is yours and the egrets. Later visit at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, to see bird viewing where numerous species of birds, including Darters, Bitterns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harries, Teals and several varieties of Herons roost are found. For an inquisitive bird watcher, it is always advisable to carry their binoculars at all times. Return to hotel, make sure you do not miss out on Karimeen and fresh toddy the favourite fresh water food and the local wine. Later return to the hotel. Evening is free for the New Year Celebrations. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day08: Kumarakom Cochin (70 kms: 2 hrs) Agatti, Lakshadweep (By Air)
After a leisure breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Cochin. On arrival, transfer to the airport to board the scheduled flight for Agatti. Assistance on arrival and transfer to the beach resort. Rest of the evening is free for rest and relaxation. Overnight at the beach resort.
Day 09: Agatti, Lakshadweep
After breakfast the day free for leisure and beach activities. The resort offers you a variety of outdoor pursuits - Kayaking, Catamaran sailing, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, and scuba diving. A well equipped and professionally manned Scuba Diving facility is available at the resort. Diving courses and lagoon diving are offered for beginners too. Diving is permitted only within safe depths around 30 meters. Overnight at the beach resort.
Day 10: Agatti, Lakshadweep
After breakfast apart from diving, you can try your hand at a host of activities, ranging from the interesting to the exhilarating. Night fishing on the deep sea can be the experience of a lifetime. You can also go kayaking, wind boarding, surfing and more. (Not that there's plenty not to do...try watching the palm trees grow for two hours before lunch, just to work up an appetite...) Overnight at the beach resort.
Day 11: Agatti Cochin (By Air) Hometown ( By Air)
After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to the airport to board the scheduled flight for Cochin. On arrival board the connecting flight for hometown. Tour concludes here with happy memories.