Duration : 17 Nights / 18 Days
Destinations covered : Delhi – Goa – Bombay – Cochin – Lakshadweep – Kumarakom – Periyar – Munnar – Cochin – Bombay
Transfer to Hotel.
Relax in the morning. Afternoon. The picturesque land full of scenic charm and many attractions such as historic forts, elaborately ornate churches and temples, evergreen hills and mountains, winding rivers, creeks and fields and particularly, the palm-fringed pearly white beaches. Rest of the day relax on the beach.
Morning visit to Old Goa driving by the seashore. Here the ensemble of monasteries, convents and chapels will take you back to the days when the Apostle of the Indies, St. Francis Xavier, preached the Gospel of Christ. Visit the Basilica of Bombay where mortal remains of the Saint lie preserved in a silver ornate casket. Also visit St. Thomas Cathedral and the Church of St. Cajetan.
Explore the activities at Goa’s colorful Christmas festival.
Morning visit the St. Francis Church where Vasco-da-Gama was originally buried. Fouteen years later his mortal remains were taken to Portugal. This Protestant church was built originally by Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the first church built by the Europeans in India. Visit Santa Cruz Cathedral – Roman Catholic church, situated close to St. Francis Church, built by the Portuguese in 16th century.
Morning city tour will take you to all of Bombay’s best known landmarks: impressive Gateway of India built in 1911; the Prince of Wales Museum, famous for its collection of miniature paintings; Marine Drive, Bombay’s sweeping shoreline; the unique Hanging Gardens and Main Bhawan, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
Fly to Cochin. Cochin is a natural harbor created by the famed underwater Malabar mudbanks whose unique quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside, the calmer the waters are within the harbor. Here at dusk, the dim silhouettes of the huge merchant ships can be seen patiently awaiting their turn for a berth in the docks. Centuries ago, tales of this exotic coastal strip crossed the vast ocean & attracted the famed sailor Vasco da Gama of Portugal, who arrived in Cochin & placed it on the World Map. Stroll around the lanes of old Portuguese, Dutch & British merchant houses. Take a peek at Vasco da Gamas church. Glimpse the Chinese fishing nets silhouetted against an amber sunset. Evening Kathakali dance performance.
Early morning boat cruise on the enchanting backwaters through the coconut groves and quiet lagoons. Watching the sunrise in a symphony of colours is an unforgettable experience. A few minutes after you move out of the old fashioned dock, you will find yourself surrounded by lush palmgroves and lovely stretches of paddy fields. The swaying coconut palms almost dip into the waters, and on chunks of land that nudge backwaters are little children playing in the sun. You might see housewives cleaning rice for the day’s meal, or pounding coconut husk for coir fibre or sweeping the Muttom (front yard), completely oblivious of the regular ferry & cargo boat traffic that ply to & fro across these waters from dawn to dusk. Independent day to attend Cochin Festival activities.
Fly to Agatti. On arrival you will embark on a magical two hour journey by boat to Lakshadweep or Laccadive Islands, as they were formerly called, are a string of little known islands lying approx. 200 miles off the south West coast of India. The Islands present a breathtaking spectacle of sparkling coral reefs, turquoise blue lagoons, silvery beaches and lush green coconut palms. Transfer to resort.
Spend the day at the beach or go scuba diving and explore the Marine life; dive to the remains of a 200 years old galleon; go snorkeling; deep-sea sports fishing on a country canoe; boat trips within the lagoon.
Morning depart for Agatti to board flight for Cochin and drive to Kumarakom. Arrive and check in at resort. Located on the banks of the Vemband Lake adjacent to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The resort is built on a 10 acre coconut garden. The rooms are the old wooden houses of Kerala dating back 100 – 150 years which have been transplanted from various locations. The public areas of the resort such as the reception and restaurants are almost 400 years old. The menu is international and ethnic with special emphasis on seafood and tropical fruit and vegetables. The large free form swimming pool with the sunken bar has been designed in traditional Kerala temple style. Evening sunset cruise on a traditional Rice Boat.
This morning depart for Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary – Cradled in mist shrouded mountains, Periyar nestles close to the dense rain forests of the High Ranges. The luxuriant vegetation, sudden gushing waterfalls & an exhilarating view of the velvet valleys below form a scenic background to the journey up the Ghats. This tranquil hill retreat is accessible only by road and the journey up is half the pleasure. Winding mountain roads bordered by undulating tea plantations; flocks of tea-pickers calmly fill their bags in the clear mountain air. The road winds on to Kumily, a tiny village near the Periyar Sanctuary. Arrive and check in at hotel. Afternoon boat safari.
Morning and evening wildlife viewing.
Morning visit the nearby plantations and share a cup of morning tea with the workers, or select your pick from the freshest of spices, straight from the spice gardens. Periyar is the Garden of India. The crisp climate, the gentle slopes of fertile grassland and bright sunlight combine to make Periyar an ideal home for spice gardens, from pepper & cardamon to cinnamon and cloves. Pepper plants grow wild on the hillsides, while the surrounding tea plantations give off fragrances of fresh tea in the calm crystalline air. Afternoon depart for Munnar – a hill station on the western ghats & a nature lovers paradise. The drive takes us through picturesque villages and up winding lanes filled with heady fragrances of fresh tea. 1800 meters above sea level, Munnar has the highest peak in South India – Anaimudi which towers over 2695 meters. An assortment of wildlife such as the Nilgiri, Thar, Nilgiri Langur, Sambar, Gaur and the Lion-tailed Macaque are found in the rich tropical forests. Neelakurinji, the unique plant that blooms only once in 12 years, paints the entire Munnar hillside blue.
Morning visit the serene hill township Devikulam-1500 m above sea level, 16 kms southwest of Munnar. Activities here include trout fishing on the Devikulam lake and hiking in the Eravikulam national park- the best place to see Nilgiri Tahrs (Hemitragus hylocrious), the mountain goat of South India. With a total population of less than 2000 in the world, more than 60% of Nilgiri Tahrs are found here. The Nilgiri Languar, the Lion – tailed Macaque, Leopards and Tigers are other attractions.
Morning depart for Cochin (3hr drive). On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon city tour. Cochin has a delightfully cosmopolitan look: a 400 year-old Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques & hindu temples co-exist amicably in a typical example of Indian secularism.
Fly to Bombay, transfer to hotel for wash/change & dinner. Transfer to the International airport for flight home.