12-day journey offering the best of ‘God’s own country’
Cultural highlights, experiences of nature, temples, backwaters, mountains, tea plantations, wildlife, culture & beach
This varied journey through ‘God’s own country’ starts with relaxing days at one of the longest sandy beaches on the Malabar Coast. Here you can enjoy swimming in the Arabian Sea and experience the ritual world of Hinduism in the temple of the Serpent Gods. On a romantic house boat, which provides all meals and comfortable accommodation for the night, you enjoy the picturesque world of the backwaters. It then goes upward into a magnificent mountainous world which awaits you with lush green tea plantations. In Kochi (Cochin), the pearl of Kerala, you enjoy a diverse cultural heritage and make leisurely evening strolls among Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront. The climax is a stay at a remote national park, where you go hiking in the magic of unspoilt wilderness, visit spice gardens or take a jeep safari. Finally, you will visit a training center of the traditional Kathakali dance theater, a famous attraction of Kerala. A balanced journey that shows you the best of Kerala in a mix of activities and relaxation!
The proposed itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to your needs in terms of content and schedule. If you’d prefer an extended trip, we can recommend a well-maintained resort in Kerala that offers a stylish natural framework for relaxed days at the beach or rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment.
Cochin – Marari Beach – Haripad – Backwaters – Munnar – Cochin – Wayanad – Cheruthuruthy – Calicut
Day 1: Arrival in Kochi (Cochin) and transfer to Marari Beach
Upon arrival in Kochi (Cochin), you will be picked up at the airport or railway station and taken to a stylish resort on Marari Beach, where you can arrive in your host country in peace and quiet, in a well maintained environment.
Day 2: Relaxing on the long sandy beach of Marari
The long sandy beach of Marari, fringed by coconut trees, is one of the best in Kerala. Enjoy a swim in the Arabian Sea in a heavenly setting, or try the exquisite Ayurvedic offering at your hotel.
Day 3: Excursion to Haripad – Temple of the Serpent Gods
On a trip to the Mannarasala Temple in Haripad, you will get familiarized with the ritualized world of Hinduism. The remarkable temple, one of the oldest in Kerala, is dedicated to the worship of the fertility gods, represented by serpent beings. Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come here to pray for offspring or to honor the gods with a ceremony of thanks after the birth of a child. The strong yellow of the turmeric root reigns everywhere. Symbolizing the energies of the earth, it is attributed with special healing powers. Another attraction is the Subramanya Swamy Temple, a prestigious religious center which is famous for its exquisite Kerala architecture. The temple serves the worship of Lord Subramanya, a son of the Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati.
Day 4: Transfer to Alappuzha (Alleppey) & House boat trip on the backwaters
Kerala is famous around the world for its numerous waterways; lined by palms, mango trees and rice paddies, they crisscross the region and are known as the ‘backwaters’. They form a vast network of waterways that extends from Kochi in the north to Kollam in the south, crossing an area of about 2000 square kilometers, consisting of 29 lakes and lagoons, 44 rivers and about 1500 canals. The largest lake, with a length of 83 km, is Vembanad Lake, which is connected to the Arabian Sea. The peaceful backwaters, serving as trade and transport routes for the locals for many centuries, are a spectacular destination for tourists. Discovering the picturesque water world on a house boat trip is an unforgettable highlight of a trip to Kerala. The romantic boats, providing all meals and comfortable accommodation for the night, are converted former rice barges. Your backwater trip starts and ends at the Alappuzha (Alleppey) boat jetty.
Day 5 and 6: Transfer to Munnar – Tea museum & hiking in the tea fields
A varied drive through the picturesque countryside of southern India leads to a true paradise for nature lovers. Munnar, the “Queen of Hill Stations”, is surrounded by lush green tea plants at an altitude of 1,524 meters in the Kannan Devan hills of the Western Ghats. In the immediate vicinity is the Anamudi, the highest peak in South India at 2,965 m. The area around Munnar offers breathtaking views of the manicured tea fields that, depending on the weather, will glitter in the mild mountain sunlight or be enveloped in the mystical white of the clouds. A tea of a very special quality matures here, and the air is often permeated by the scent of freshly picked tea leaves. The area captivates, with its white-water streams, vast tea gardens, breathtaking views and rich animal life. A trip to Echo Point and Top Station will go past the scenic highlights of the region. A hike through the tea plantations with a local guide is highly recommended. A visit to the local tea museum reveals the secrets of tea production.
Day 7 and 8: Transfer to Kochi (Cochin) – Cultural diversity on the Malabar coast
The port city of Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is uniquely located between the Arabian Sea and the backwaters. With its rich ethnic and cultural heritage, Kochi’s atmosphere is an unforgettable experience. A variety of attractions offer insights into the rich history of the city, characterized by strong Portuguese and Dutch influences. Particularly interesting is a visit to Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, the historical city with its bustling life. Among the attractions for which sufficient time should be reserved are the winding streets with old Dutch houses, Chinese fishing nets at the waterfront, traditional spice markets, the antiquities quarter, the Jewish synagogue, the Mattancherry palace with its exquisite mythological murals and the St. Francis Church, built in 1503, where Vasco da Gama was buried until his remains were transferred to Lisbon in 1539. A special cultural attraction is the spectacular Kathakali dance theater. There are performances every evening.
Day 9 and 10: Transfer to Wayanad – Wildlife in unspoilt nature
The picturesque Wayanad District is located in the northern part of Kerala at an altitude between 700 and 2100 m in the mountains of the Western Ghats. In the temperate climate here, coffee, tea, cardamom, rubber and pineapples are cultivated. Its stunning natural scenery makes Wayanad a paradise-like destination for nature lovers. Explore the green expanse and the misty hills of a mystical and unspoilt landscape. Explore traditional spice gardens and take part in hikes and jeep safaris in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, home to numerous elephants, tigers, leopards, wild buffalo, deer and other wildlife species. Also known as the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary, it is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. If you extend your stay by a few days, you may find an interesting range of adventure activities, such as bamboo rafting, extensive bicycle tours and longer treks. From a cultural perspective, Wayanad provides inspiring insights into the local arts and crafts and the Hindu, Christian and Jewish traditions in the region.
Day 11: Transfer to Cheruthuruthy – Visit to traditional Nalukettu houses
Before you reach your hotel in Cheruthuruthy, the surrounding area offers the opportunity of visiting traditional Nalukettu houses, constructed in the style of the old extended family houses in Kerala in which the lifestyle was primarily based on matriarchal principles as part of a complex family system. The remarkable property used to be inhabited by the extended family network of the Namboothiri, the aristocratic Brahmin family of Kerala. With their sweeping tiled roofs, the houses represent a unique Kerala architecture. A Nalukettu house is a rectangular property, consisting of four hall-like buildings, arranged around a central courtyard. Its facilities include wells, devotional areas, kitchens, pantries, utility rooms and separate living areas for married and unmarried family members. The more elaborate forms of such properties are called Ettukettu and Pathinarukettu.
Day 12: Visit to Kalamandalam – Transfer to Kozhikode (Calicut) – Return home or travel onwards
A stay in Cheruthuruthy gives a fascinating insight into the traditional performing arts of Kerala. Situated in this village, located 33 km north of Thrissur, is the internationally renowned Kerala Kalamandalam, a center for nurturing Indian culture. The classes in the various disciplines such as Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, singing and music, are still conducted according to the traditional rules of the Gurukula system. In its simplicity and austerity, the Kalamandalam represents the pure atmosphere in which these art forms have managed to survive until today.
A subsequent transfer will take you to the airport or the train station at Kozhikode (Calicut) or Kochi (Cochin), for your return home or your onward journey.