(Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom)
The delicate aroma of tea dances on the hill-top breeze as tea plantations compete for space among the thick forests of exotic spices around Munnar.
Here, the highest peak south of the Himalayas towers over a stunning National Park sanctuary that reveals the unexpected natural beauty of southern India. This was an important historic post on the spice route and the heady aroma of spice farms in Kerala make for a fragrant exploration. Elsewhere, tour the Dutch colonial buildings, Jewish synagogues and ancient palaces at Kochi; witness a traditional Kerala dance; meet the endangered Nilgiri Tahr of the Eravikuklam National Park; visit the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve; explore the canals of Vembanad Lake; and experience the laidback lifestyle of the relaxed coastal villages.
India is often portrayed as a land of bustling, over-crowed super cites. This tour, on the other hand, showcases a very different side of the country. From soaring mountain ranges and lush tea plantations to thriving spice farms and stunning wildlife sanctuaries, you’ll experience all the natural beauty of southern India. And you’ll do so while staying in a luxury collection of distinctive hotels including mountain estates, opulent colonial properties and lagoon getaways.
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Airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.
Private guided tour of Kochi (Cochin). The first stop is the Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in Commonwealth of Nations. The synagogue is magnificently decorated with Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. A short boat ride to Bolghatty is the Dutch palace offering a fantastic view of the city. This palace is notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, particularly in the bed chambers. In that room one can see the entire story of Ramayana on the walls. The palace also contains rare examples of traditional Kerala flooring, which looks like polished black marble but is actually a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites.
Enjoy a Kathakali dance performance. Dating back to the 17th century, it originated in the south Indian state of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". It is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes. Usually performed only by men, the actors rely heavily on hand gestures to convey their story.
Meet your driver for a private transfer from Cochin to Munnar. The transfer takes approximately 4.5 hours.
Munnar Tea Museum stands as an effort to acknowledge the hard labor of the futurists who showed great willpower to transform Munnar into a major tea plantation center in Kerala. The tea museum outlines the development of Munnar's tea estates, which is veritably conveyed through the displays that include the elementary tea roller as well as the modern fully automated tea factory. These machineries depict various stages of tea processing. One can also learn about the production of black tea. A sundial placed on a granite block sitting in the tranquilities of the compound welcomes every guest in the museum. The artifact was crafted by Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu, in the year 1913. It symbolizes the growth and prosperity, which the Munnar tea estates experienced.
The sanctuary stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands spread over 97 square kilometers of unblemished natural splendor. Anamudi, the highest peak south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas Moth, largest of its kind in the world, is a unique possession of the park. The sanctuary 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.
A private transfer from Munnar to Thekkady is provided.
Private guided tour of a Kerala spice plantation, where you can see natural pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg. The spice plantations in Kerala are captivating farms to wander in, since different spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantation. While exploring the Kerala spice plantations, you can go for nature walks, bird watching treks, taste the various spices and breathe in the fragrant air.
Different nature trails traversing diverse habitats form the trekking routes, generally 4 to 5 km. in length. This is an interpretive programme offering excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. The programme is offered between 7.00 am to 10.30 am between 2.00 pm. To 3.00 pm. and lasts for about 3 hours. A maximum of 5 persons can go for trekking at a time along each nature trail, accompanied by a trained tribal guide. The Nature walk is the right programme to feel nature, hear her whispers and smell her flowers.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Kumarakom.
Alleppey is spread through canals, lakes & lagoons. Your private guided tour by boat includes sailing down a maze of canals where one sees different scenes from the villages, paddy fields, coconut palms, fishermen and local life.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Cochin (2 hrs).
The Brunton Boatyard possesses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment you turn into the tiled forecourt. The lobby is a vault of sunlight and air, framed by arches and overhung with punkahs - enormous, old-fashioned fans of Indo-Portuguese origin. Most rooms have a balcony. The corner suites are large with a separate sitting / dining and a private pantry for the Butler. All bathrooms too enjoy a great view and there is no better way to enjoy a luxurious bath than to lie in the long tub and keep the window shutters open to watch a fascinating scene below. The hotel has its own private jetty, which doubles up as a ‘café’, overlooking the pool garden and the sea.
One of the best hotels in India, Windermere Estate in Munnar is the perfect accommodation option for business and leisure travelers. Ranking high among the hotels in Munnar in India, this hotel is buttressed with the finest possible amenities for the visitors. Perched atop the mountains 3 km from Munnar, the convenient location of Windermere Estate in Munnar helps the tourists to explore the land of Munnar with ease. The hotel, set on a cardamom plantation 1600 meters above sea level, is 95 km away from Cochin International Airport.
The Land Where Pepper Grows. Spice Village is located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the western ghats of Kerala. For centuries, the area attracted voyagers and adventurers, mercenaries and empire builders, kings and merchant princes. Men and women drawn not only by the lure of spices, but by the romance and wild beauty of the land. The Portuguese and the Jews of Cochin visited as traders, turning the natural bounties of the area into wealth. Pepper and cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise the Periyar hills became nature's taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature's harbour, the port of lading for a spice-hungry world. Today, it's the rainforests, the animals and the vast silences that attract the modern visitor.
Coconut Lagoon is a boutique hotel located in an abandoned coconut plantation on the shores of the Vemabanad Lake. An ideal getaway for romantic holidays and family gatherings, this hotel charms you with its serenity, country side charm and greenery. Kumarakom, where the hotel is situated, is a favourite among holiday makers who are longing for a respite from the bustling city life. Coconut Lagoon captures all the nuances of this quaint little island, and tops it off with supreme facilities. This resort is surrounded by backwaters and is accessible only by boat.
India & Area
Jim & Gayle Stinson ,
April 21, 2014
"Our individualized, private trip to India was just fabulous. Thanks to all for a trip of a lifetime!"
India & Area
Sharleen Dickson ,
April 21, 2014
"The driver and guides were excellent!"
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