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AN ENCHANTING CRUISE ON BACKWATERS
'The Backwaters' may not sound destination but they make up areas of Kerala. They comprise a myriad network of waterways and lagoons, at times only a few yards inland from the sea. These freshwater canals wind their way through tropical jungles of palm and fruit trees, vibrant green paddy fields and small, water based settlements. All along the water's edge are churches, temples, villages, fishermen and the famous Chinese, cantilevered fishing nets, hanging eerily over the water.
Day 01. Chennai to Mahabalipuram:
Arrive Chennai from your home country. Garland welcome, assistance and transfer to Mahabalipuram - an ancient seaport. Check into your pre-booked hotel.
Day 02. Mahabalipuram:
Morning after breakfast we visit the Shore Temple, the great open-air bas-relief called Arjuna's Penance and the Five Rathas. Late afternoon proceed to Chennai, straight transfer to railway station to board express train to Madurai at 21.30 hrs. O/n Train.
Day 03. Madurai:
Arrive Madurai at 06.20hrs, upon arrival transfer to hotel. Morning we visit the vibrant temple of Meenakshi (fish eyed goddess), located in the heart of Madurai, surrounded by colourful and bustling markets. Afternoon free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 04. Madurai to Thekkady:
Morning after breakfast drive to Thekkady (about 160kms/04hrs). Check into the hotel, afternoon free to relax or stroll around the spice market of Kumily. O/n Hotel.
Day 05. Thekkady:
Thekkady is famous for the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the place for watching animals in their natural habitat. Early morning we make a 02 hrs cruise through the lake to watch the rich flora and fauna. Rest of the day free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 07. Thekkady to Cochin:
Morning after breakfast drive to Cochin (about 21Okms/05hrs), enroute visit to nearby cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations to learn about the spices. O/n Hotel.
Day 08. Cochin:
Morning after breakfast sightseeing of Cochin. Here you will find Hindu temples, Christian churches, mosques, and a synagogue (the Jewish settlement dates from at least as far back as AD 400). Cochin is a melting pot of races and cultures, charmingly emphasizing that variety is indeed the spice of life. Visit famous monuments and churches. O/n Hotel
Day 09. Cochin to Vembanad Lake Jetty:
Morning after breakfast, transfer to Vembanad Lake boat jetty (about 55km!0Ihr), here we board our houseboat and start our sail across the Vembanad Lake, before entering the backwaters. Lunch will be served on board. The houseboat will sail along these scenic waterways for 04 hrs stopping for a visit at Chavara Bhavan. Many beautiful sights greet you along the way. The houseboat will anchor for the night just off AIleppey.
Day 10. Alleppey:
After breakfast, we sail through scenic backwaters, passing through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. The houseboat will cruise through the Chambakulam area by mid-morning and anchor to explore the boat yard which displays the traditional long snake boats used in races. Visit St. Mary's Church, established by St. Thomas in 1721. Lunch and afternoon at leisure. In the evening, catch a glimpse of village life along the backwaters and experience away of life unique to this region. In the evening we anchor our houseboat at Thottapally.
Day 11. AIleppeyto Kollam:
Morning after breakfast we start our cruise towards Kollam. The route winds up through the past Trikunna-puzha, across Kayamkulam Lake and Ashtamudi Lake, where we stop for a while to visit the coir yarning centre. The scenery is breathtaking throughout. O/n Houseboat.
Day 12. Kollam to Paravoor:
After breakfast our last lap of cruise through canals and finally drawing into the ancient port of Kollam. Disembark from the houseboat, drive towards Paravoor, a small village located on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. Check into the hotel. O/n Hotel.
Day 13. Paravoor to Varkala:
Morning after breakfast we set off for our cycle ride through villages and will stop at Elephant Camp for a short elephant ride. Explore the day to day life of the villagers and the coir yarning centre. After the village the road winds you through the coastal area where the Arabian Sea meets Ashtamudi Lake. Check into the hotel. Afternoon visit the 2000 years old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple. Rest of the day free to relax at the Papanasam beach. O/n Hotel.
Day 14. Varkala:
The day at leisure, O/n Hotel.
Dayl5. Varkala to Trivandrum:
Morning after breakfast drive to Trivandrum Int'l airport to board flight to your home country.
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