7 Nights /8 Days: Kochi to Allepey
Day 1: Cruise starts from Cochin Backwaters.
Arrival at Maradu jetty in Ernakulam (the urban area of Kochi) to embark on your abode for the week. We have a traditional lunch awaiting your arrival on board. After a lip-smacking meal we cruise along small and secluded islands and arrive in Vaikom village by evening.
Here we visit the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple revered both by Shaivites and Vaishnavites and is one of the oldest temples where the Pooja or prayer ceremony has not been broken since inception.
Meal Plan on Board the vessel (L, D)
Day 2: Cochin-Alleppey Backawaters
After breakfast on-board we visit the cultural centre in Vaikom to watch traditional cultural performances.
We return to our rice barge or kettuvallam and cruise through Thanneermukkom barrage. The barrage divides the lake into two – one half with perennial salty water and the other with fresh water enriched by the rivers. We visit a rustic village Chenganda, an interior tranquil region of Backwaters of Alleppey.
Here we meet the the coir weavers, coconut harvesters and fishermen, canoe makers, traditional canopy makers, paddy farmers, mussel farmers and women cooking mussels and discuss their riparian life over a drink of tender coconut water. We return to our boat for lunch.
Gently cruise around the network of peaceful waterways, fringed by coconut palms and secluded villages and arrive near a quaint village by the name of Vechoor for overnight halt by dusk.
Meal Plan on-board: (B, L, D)
Day 3: Cruise to Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a village on Vembanad Lake where cuckoos and Siberian storks can be spotted.
Here we visit the farmhouse of two empowered women- a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, living cordially with mutual respect and affection. The farmhouse is located on an island made by the men of the house by reclaiming land from Backwaters. Here the hostess demonstrates the preparation of traditional Syrian Christian cuisine and we delve in the history of three generations of pioneering spirit engaged in sustainable farming in rhythm with the environment. Later we explore the lagoons of Kumarakom for the habitats of migratory and endemic birds by country boats. We also interact with the local women to know about ‘Kudumbashree’, a remarkably successful program introduced by the State Government to empower women as part of the endeavors to alleviate poverty through socio-economic development and civic-centric governance.
Overnight stay on Houseboat (Meal plan: B,D)
Day 4: Excursion to the hills
After breakfast we drive to Mundakayam, the land of coffee, pepper, cocoa and natural rubber. J J Murphy introduced rubber to India through this landscape of Mundakayam in 1910. This region is the gateway to the undulating hills and peaceful valleys.
This day we spend the afternoon with a planter’s family and enjoy the local cuisine at the plantation. We arrive on our boat in Kavallam and relax on board.
Meal Plan on-board: (B, D)
Day 5: Cruise to Kainakari village
We visit a museum which was the ancestral home of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara born in 1805 in Kainakar, the first canonized Catholic male saint of Indian origin. Saint Chavara was an Indian Catholic priest and social reformer. The ancestral home of the saint has been preserved as a museum. The chapel here conducts mass and Novena prayers.
We cruise through the interiors of Kuttanad where vast expanses of paddy cultivation and habitation are made possible by reclaiming land from the Backwaters. We enjoy a walk on the dykes separating the paddy fields from the Backwaters.
By tuk-tuk we explore Take a visit of the old part of the town and the market. We visit the memorial of communist leaders who had dedicated their life for the society and interact with local communists of 3 different generations to know why communist governance is popular in Kerala, the extent of rural development achieved by the state through communism.
We stroll along the beautiful stretch of beach (public) until sunset.
Meals onboard (B,L,D)
Day 6: Kerala & holistic living.
This morning we visit an authentic Ayurveda centre on the bank of Punnamada lake to know about the holistic way of life prevailing in Kerala from ancient times. The tropical climate, fertile land of rich minerals, easily available rich resources of nutritious vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants and harmonious nature enable this ancient health care system to take forward its popularity through generations.
You may attend a session of Yoga, Meditation and wellness massage with the guidance of specialists in the centre.
Afterwards we cruise to Pulinkunnu village to visit an old dock yard and to meet the carpenters who are into boat building for generations.
You may also opt for a drive (2hrs) to the elephant welfare centre in Konni village. Konni village Elephant shelter can accommodate 3-4 elephants at a time The primary focus of the trainers here is to deal with the development of baby elephants that have been separated from their herd or found hurt . The trainers have traditional methods that have been passed down through generations to deal with these situations. The elephants are taught to obey specific commands and are taken for special exercise walks in the morning, are given baths and specific diets.
Day 7: Cruise to Champakkulam
Our sundeck is ideal for some Yoga and meditation. After breakfast we cruise to the interiors of an ancient coastal village of Champakkulam where we visit an old church, meet children of a school and watch artisans sculpting biblical heroes.
Here we see Snake boats or Champakulam Chundans that were supposed to be Navy boats of Chempakasserry rulers; their structure and design reflect the prowess of ancient Kerala architecture. Traditionally each boat belongs to a village, and the villagers worship that boat like a deity. These are now used for racing during festivals. Only men are allowed to touch the boat, and to show respect they should be bare feet. Here we interact with the caretaker to know the nitty-gritties of construction of these boats and interesting tales.
We buy some fresh catch from the local fishermen and the chef on-board indulges us in delicacies flavoured with local spices served on banana leaf.
Cruising through the interiors of lower Kuttanad we arrive in Kanjippadam village.
We visit the dockyard and interact with the Houseboat builders.
We opt for canoe ride or enjoy kayaking through narrow canals or for bicycle ride exploring interiors of villages. We dock for the night stay at Pulinkunnu village.
Overnight onboard Houseboat (Meal Plan:B, L, D)
Day 8:Departure: Backwaters/Kovalam (150kms/4hrs.)
We cruise through the magical water-world interspersed with vast stretches of paddy fields, coconut groves and tiny hamlets as we relax onboard immersing into the serenity of gentle breeze, lush foliage, simple and laid-back culture.
We reach Thottapalli; lush and serene village by the spillway that helps to drain the excess waters of the rivers from the Western Ghats into the low lying Kuttanad area partly to the east and the rest to the saline river mouth to the west. having a sumptuous breakfast we will plant a coconut palm for the village. We check-out after Breakfast and proceed to Kovalam beach, Trivandrum.
Sri Padmanabha Temple , Thiruvananda Puram