7 Nights 8 Days – North South Itinerary
River Backwaters, Kerala, India
Cochin (Kochi), the Queen of Arabian Sea by its cosmopolitan culture and the commercial and trade significance by its strategic location, is a cluster of islands and estuaries at the sea mouth of seven rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats, through the midlands, lowlands and draining out into the Arabian Sea. The Kottayam, the land of latex and spices, and Alleppey -Rice Bowl of the Kerala, are connected to Cochin by the 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: Marad-Vaikom
This morning we arrive in Nettoor village in Cochin to watch Kalari Payattu-the traditional martial art performance, at an authentic training centre-Kalari. Drive to the nearby village Marad and embark on RV Vaikundam, by noon. The team on-board welcome you to the boat and help you with smooth check-in. Gather at the lounge for a briefing about the boat and about the cruise a. We set sail. Unwind, as the boat leaves behind the rapidly growing city and gently cruise in to the interconnected rivers, lake and coastal estuaries. We pass by the interspersed islands and islets covered by coconut trees. Enjoy the traditional lunch and relax on-board.
We talk about Cochin, the Queen of Arabian Sea, and its geographical, cultural and social significance.
By evening we arrive in the ancient village, Vaikom. By tuk-tuk or by foot we proceed to the ancient temple of Shiva. 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. Return to boat. After dinner, we retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 2: Vaikom-Chenganda-Kumarakom
After meditation/yoga/taking walk in the village in the early morning, we have our breakfast on the boat. By tuk-tuk or by foot 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.
Cruise 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 for lunch.
Cruise through Thanneermukkom barrage. 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.
We talk about indigenous practices of paddy cultivation in Kuttanad
Cruise to the expanses of lake Vembanad experiencing its wetland eco-system. We visit a farm house by evening.
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 dinner at this house .Return to boat and retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 3: Kumarakom- Kavalam
Having an early and light breakfast, 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 the boat, refresh and while cruising elaborate breakfast will be served.
Having lunch on-board while cruising through the wetland eco-system of the lake and the low-lying paddy fields and coconut groves we arrive in Kavalam. Here we watch a folk dance performance (Kaikotti kali), by the girls of the village. Return to the boat and cruise till dusk, further interior to Veliyanad village. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 4: Kavalam-Kainakari-Pulinkunnu
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.
Return to boat. After having lunch on-board, cruise to Pulinkunnu village. 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 boat. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 5: Pulinkunnu-Nedumudy-Champakkulam-Changankari
After breakfast, cruise to Nedumudy. On arrival at Nedumudy 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, refresh and have lunch and relax on-board.
We cruise 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 the old church, a school, the local artisans (open on week days) who skillfully and passionately craft biblical heroes. Take a look at the Snake boat (Chundan Vallom) of the villagers, gracefully docked on the shore. These types of boats, which are 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 and are one of the icons of Kerala culture. Cruise to Changankari village till dusk, passing through the serene canals. You may relax on board or take a walk. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 6: Cruising & Excursion
After having early breakfast, we drive to the prosperous and picturesque midland to Konni village.(You may have to wait near a railway cross), at the backdrop of forest. Spend time with elephants at a shelter camp. Elephants are integral part of Kerala culture. It is the State animal and is featured on the State’s emblem. Pageant of caparisoned elephants accompanied with percussions is the high-light of all 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. These mirrors have the distinctive feature of 100% reflection unlike the common mirror. Also, it is considered as one of the auspicious item that brings prosperity in house. Visit the mirror makers and inspire them. The ancient temple of Krishna, Snake boat building, the mural art, the school of traditional architecture are the other high lights of this old village of heritage value.
On your return, we will be passing by small plantations of rubber, banana and tropical trees, sawmills beautiful houses of contemporary design and traditional architectural elements, small and prospering townships. Lunch will be arranged at a local house of beautiful architecture, located on the bank of Pampa, the holy river of natives. The host will talk about the art of Snake boat building and the ritualistic annual regatta in Aranmula.
Drive back to Changankari. After refreshment, cruise through Thakazhi enjoying the picturesque and serene villages along, 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 take a leisurely walk to the beach. Return to boat. After dinner retire for the night.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 7: Thottappalli-Karumadi-Kanjippadom
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 walk inside and see the rituals going on. Return to Thottappalli. We have our breakfast on-board.
Honoring your cruise with us, we plant a coconut sapling for the village. Coconut tree is considered as the ‘Kalpavriksha ‘or 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 local alcoholic beverage that boost for the laborers after toiling in the fields.
After breakfast we arrive in a quaint village – Karumadi village.
We take a walk around a small shrine preserving the ruin of a sculpture of Buddha that belongs to the early centuries of current era.
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!
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.
Tonight we celebrate our sojourn over farewell dinner on board RV Vaikundam.
Meal plan: (B, L, D)
Day 8: Kanjippadom-Punnamada & Disembark
After having a sumptuous breakfast we disembark at Punnamada in Alleppey..
We take a guided tour to experience the heritage of this ancient port town and bustling trade centre. Visit the old market, temples, churches and mosques, the beach and the oldest light house of the country.
Meal plan (B)
All Entrance Fees
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
Any activity other than those mentioned in the itinerary.
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.