7 Night 8 Days – South North Itinerary Package
River Backwaters, Kerala, India
Alleppey (Alappuzha), the Venice of the East for the British, was an ancient Port and trade centre, connecting the Sea to the Western Ghats by the interconnected rivers flowing through it. Today Alleppey is the Granary of Kerala, having the vast expanses of paddy fields at lower altitude than the Sea, spread across its southern, eastern and northern regions, producing the major portion of rice for the population. Kottayam –the land of spices and natural rubber and Cochin – the commercial and trade capital of Kerala are connected to Alleppey by scenic and serene waterways. The large wet-land ecosystem Vembanad, sharing the borders of these regions, supports a rich variety of aqua and avia fauna.
Fare Starting INR 171,500 per cabin
Day 1: Punnamada – Kanjippadom
Arrive at Punnamada in Alleppey to embark on the river cruise boat RV Vaikundam.
The team on-board welcomes you to the boat and helps you with smooth check-in. Gather at the lounge for a briefing about the boat and about the cruise through Alleppey –the Granary/Rice Bowl of Kerala. We set sail. Unwind, as the boat leaves behind the bustling township and cruise gently to the villages interspersed along the tranquil emerald green water world of rivers, lakes, lagoons and coastal estuaries, expanses of paddy fields, swaying tall coconut trees, banana plantations and variety of tropical fruit bearing trees. Enjoy the traditional lunch and relax on-board.
We talk about Alleppey – the Venice of the East, its geographical, cultural and social significance.
We visit the village Kanjippadom for a leisurely walk. We meet the carpenters at the boat building yard and talk about the traditional method of building wooden boats (Kettuvallom), joining wooden planks using coir, cotton and natural resin. Return to boat and cruise till dusk. After dinner we retire for the night.
Meal Plan: (L, D)
Day 2 : Kanjippadom-Karumadi-Thottappalli
After meditation or yoga or taking a walk absorbing in the harmony around, have breakfast. Today we sail to a quaint village Karumadi.
We cruise to the coastal village, Thottappalli, passing by the spillway at the southern area of Kuttanad preventing the saline water from flooding the low-lying paddy fields.
We talk about indigenous practices of paddy cultivation in Kuttanad
We cruise to the interiors watching the indigenous practice cultivation of paddy on land below Sea level. Along the way we interact with toddy tappers, who are in to the occupation of collecting the sap of coconut palm to make the local alcoholic beverage –Toddy. We learn from him the process of making toddy and may take a sip from his pot!
Honoring your cruise with us, we plant sapling of coconut. Coconut tree is considered as the ‘Kalpavriksha ‘or the Divine tree of Kerala. All parts of coconut tree are useful in one way or the other: the water inside is a healthy drink; the fresh kernel and the oil extract from dried kernel are inevitable components of every cuisine; fiber from the coconut husk is used to make coir, mats and geotextile; the palm fronds are used for thatching roof; the wood suitable for making furniture and all the dried parts of coconut make good firewood. Last but not the least, the toddy – the boost for the laborers toiling in the fields.
Take a short walk to the beach to enjoy the sunset. Return to boat and relax. After dinner, retire for the night.
Meal Plan: (B, L, D)
Day 3: Thottappalli-Thakazhi-Changankari
Today we will have early breakfast and take a short drive to visit an ancient scared grove where serpents are worshipped. This is the only temple in Kerala having female priests. You can take a walk inside and see the rituals going on.
We continue the journey through the midland to Konni to spend time with elephants at a shelter at the backdrop of forest. Elephants have great significance in Hindu mythology and culture. The trip leader will share interesting facts about role of elephants in temple festivals in Kerala.
Proceed to Aranmula village which is home to a family of craftsmen who are skilled at making mirror out of a special combination of certain metals. The secret of the trade has been passed down through generations. Visit the mirror makers. We will have lunch at a beautiful house of the village, located on the bank of the Holy River Pampa. We listen to the story of the annual ritualistic regatta of Snake boats of the village.
Return to Thottappalli village to board. Cruise to Changankari passing by Thakazhi village, relaxing in the serenity around. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day4: Changankari-Champakkulam-Nedumudy –Pulinkunnu
Arrive in Changankari village to take a leisurely walk. After breakfast, we proceed to Champakkulam village. Kerala’s old spice trade used to pass through this town en route to Cochin and other ports on the west coast. Settled more than 1000 years ago by Syrian Christian traders, who later converted to Roman Catholicism under the Portuguese, the people chose to keep their syncretic cultural heritage. This can be seen in the monumental St Mary’s Church on the riverside. Built in 1550, the foundations are said to be as old as 5th century AD. Architecturally, it is a mélange of several European styles, from the Levantine altar and structure to the Dutch arches that tower overhead.
We visit St. Mary’s church and a school and meet the local artisans (open on weekdays) who make biblical heroes.
We can also see the Snake boat (Chundan Vallom) , the pride of the villagers, gracefully docked. These types of boats being used for races today in modern days were, once maritime war boats and their structure and design reflect the prowess of ancient Kerala architecture.
Return to the boat and we cruise to Nedumudy. Lunch will be served while cruising. After lunch, we drive through the quaint and scenic villages to Mannar which is famous for bell metal craft. Interact with the artisans; inspire them, watching the indigenous method of casting of traditional lamps, utensils and ornate locks. Return to Nedumudy and cruise to Pulinkunnu village for over-night halt.
Get closer to the laid-back, yet harmonious, life along the way, paddling along narrow canal by country boat, interacting with the villagers. Return to the boat. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal Plan: (B, L, D)
Day 5: Pulinkunnu-Kainakari-Kavalam
After meditation/yoga/leisurely walk in the village, we have our breakfast on-board .This day as we cruise through the interior villages we visit a traditional Ayurveda centre. Interact with Ayurveda doctor and get to know about this ancient knowledge on holistic way of life. You may try any of the wellness massages based on the recommendation of the doctor.
A short cruise ahead we arrive at Chavara Bhavan, the ancestral home of Saint Kuriakose Chavara which is now preserved as a museum. Saint Chavara, the first canonized Catholic male saint of Indian origin, was the co-founder of the first congregation for men, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate – C.M.I, and of a similar one for women, Congregation of the Mother of Carmel C.M.C. After having lunch on-board, we cruise through the expanses of paddy fields and coconut groves and arrive in Kavalam. Here we watch local folk dance (Kaikotti kali) performance by school children. We continue the cruise till dusk. Dinner on–board and retire for the night.
Meal Plan: (B, L, D)
Day 6: Kavalam – Kumarakom
After having breakfast, cruise to the expanses of lake Vembanad experiencing its wetland eco-system. We visit a farmhouse.
This house is located on an island which was made by the men of the house, by reclaiming land from Backwaters. A walk in the farm will be educative. The hostess will demonstrate the preparation of traditional Syrian Christian cuisine. You may also try your hand at cooking and listen to the story of her family, of three generations of hard working men, and equally strong women who supported their pioneering spirit. We will have lunch at this house. Return to our boat and relax.
We set out by country boat to watch the migratory and endemic birds of Kumarakom, which is a cluster of lagoons of lake Vembanad, at the backdrop of mangroves, paddy fields and coconut groves. Waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck are some of the endemic species seen here. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Return to our boat and cruise to Thanneermukkom for over-night halt. The barrage at Thanneermukkom built across Vembanad, the largest lake of Kerala, divides the lake into two– one half with perennial salty water and the other with fresh water enriched by 5 rivers from hills.
Relax on the boat, enjoying the gentle breeze and the beauty of the vastness and serenity of the majestic lake. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal Plan: (B, L, D)
Day 7: Thanneermukkom – Chenganda – Vaikom
Breakfast will be served while cruising to Chenganda village. The people of this rustic village are having a laid-back and peaceful life. Spend time with the coir weavers, the shell harvesters and farmers, engaging in conversation about the riparian life and watching various indigenous techniques of fishing. Return to boat and have lunch on-board.
By evening we arrive in the ancient village, Vaikom, By tuk-tuk we proceed to the cultural centre in the locality to watch the traditional dance performance – Kathakali, the traditional dramatic and mimetic dance form, which plays stories from epics. It is a unique blend of dance, music, action, literature and make-up.
We take a tour around the temple to get to know about its history and architecture. The architecture of temples in Kerala is based on ancient science of construction and geographical features of the land. As per the traditional architecture, the each element of temple represents an element of human body, and, a temple is not only the space for spiritual enlightenment but also the venue for harmonious social networking. .
Tonight we celebrate our sojourn over farewell dinner on board RV Vaikundam.
Meal Plan: (B, L, D)
Day 8: Vaikom – Cochin & Disembark
Having sumptuous breakfast on-board, we set sail, gently cruising to the t islands and isles surrounded by coconut palms, interspersed along rivers, lake and coastal estuaries.
We talk about Cochin, the Queen of Arabian Sea, its geographical, cultural and social significance.
Arrive at Marad and disembark from boat. Drive to the nearby village Nettoor village to watch Kalari Payattu-the traditional martial art performance, at an authentic training centre-Kalari
The Cruise programs ends. Thank you for cruising with us.
Meal Plan: (B)
By Air-conditioned Vehicles and Local Ttuk-tuk
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
Available with Wifi Dongle
Medical or Travel
International or Domestic
Laundry, Wines & Spirits, Camera/video Fee at Monuments/National Park, Salon/massages, Airport Departure Tax etc
5% Government Tax. Or any other tax levied in the future.
In case of medical emergencies.
Package Price For RV Vaikundam
- All bookings are subject to availability and terms and condition.
- Cruise Check-In 1400 hours, Check-out time 1200 NOON
- Prices are subject to change with an increase in the cost.
- In a case on any currency fluctuations or amendment in local Government taxes, or any fuel hike, we intimate you of the supplement price
- .As the first operation on this itinerary will be undertaken in end Sep 2019. The itinerary might need to be amended with minor modification post the first launch, exploratory cruise departure.
WEATHER AND SEASONAL INFORMATION:
- There are four distinct seasons in Kerala – summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. The best time to visit Kerala is in the autumn and winter seasons, i.e. from October to April.
- Our cabins are air-conditioned for your comfort, but you should include hats, sunscreen and jackets in your packing when visiting during the winter months.
RIVER CONDITIONS AND DISCLAIMER:
- Our voyage is an expedition-style cruise with all creature comforts onboard. Our shore-side staff will make every effort to attend to your comfort during onshore expeditions. However, vehicles and roads may not be of the same standard that you have experienced elsewhere, although we use the best of what is available locally.
- Please note, this itinerary is subject to weather and river conditions. The Destination Manager/Naturalist reserves the right to adjust the itinerary for passenger safety and comfort.
- The backwater river cruise is subject to seasonal fluctuations, our program is subject to weather and River conditions.
- Also, we reserve the right to convert the direction of the cruise from upstream to downstream or vice versa without any compensation.