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7 Nights/8 DaysDestinations:
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This serene river cruise takes you through the interior narrow inland serene waterways of rural Kerala, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating Kerala holiday where you get to witness a different side of this incredible place. Enjoy a delightful cruise with lot of sunbathing and lazing around as you sail through paddy fields in canals held together by dykes and along the Arabian Sea.
Day 1: Pallippuram-Vaikom
Transfer to the embarkation jetty enroute visiting a Kalari to enjoy a performance of Kalarippayattu – the authentic martial art of Kerala which has its origin in ancient Indian scriptures. After reaching the embarkation jetty, check in and relish the traditional Sadya meal onboard served on clean banana leaf. Unwind as you cruise through remote villages and arrive at the ancient pilgrim town of Vaikom. Here, you’ll visit the local cultural centre to watch a traditional kathakali dance performance which combines dance, music, action and literature to tell stories from epics. Also, visit the ancient temple of Lord Shiva to offer your regards. Return to the boat to night stay.
Day 2: Vaikom – Chenganda – Kumarakom
After breakfast, sail to the Chenganda village to see a glimpse of the rustic life and spend some time with the coir weavers, the shell harvesters and farmers, watching various indigenous techniques of fishing. Return to boat and cruise to Thanneermukkom built across Vembanad, the largest lake of Kerala. Relax on the boat while enjoying the soothing breeze and later visit the house of a Syrian Christian family to enjoy an authentic lunch. Come back to the boat and cruise till evening.
Day 3: Kumarakom – Kavalam
Early morning, set out to Kumarakom on a country boat for bird watching where you’ll come across different species of birds including Waterfowls, Cuckoos, Owls, Egrets, Herons, Cormorants, Gulls, Terns, Skimmers, Storks, Vultures, Storks, larks, flycatchers and more. Return to boat, refresh and have breakfast. Cruise on the majestic Lake Vembanad enjoying the view of coconut groves and long stretches of paddy fields- truly a treat to the eyes.
Enjoy lunch onboard and after arriving at Kavalam you may take ferry to explore the region and interact with locals, members of ‘Kudumbha shree’ -women’s group for women empowerment and poverty alleviation in rural villages and toddy tappers while they collect sap of coconut palm to make toddy- the local alcoholic beverage. Continue the cruise till dusk making your way through remote interiors of Kavalam. Enjoy dinner onboard.
Day 4: Kavalam – Kainakari – Mankompu
After breakfast, cruise to Kainakari village and explore its narrow canals on a country boat to witness the laid-back yet harmonious life here. Stop by Chavara Bhawan, the ancestral home of Saint Chavara who dedicated his life to the upliftment of the poor. The house is preserved as a museum. Return to the boat for lunch and continue to cruise towards Mankompu village which is also home to the state rice research centre. While cruising, you’ll also meet an Ayurveda doctor to know about this ancient science which is still practiced by locals. Cruise to Mankompu village to watch a cultural performance. The village comes alive with various rituals and performances during harvest festivals such as Onam (Aug/Sept.), Thiruvathira (mid-Dec.) and the annual festival following Vishu (mid-Apr.)
Day 5: Mankompu – Champakkulam – Changankari
After an early breakfast, drive to an ancient village ‘Aranmula’ famous for its metal mirrors whose technical know-how is confined to few households of master craftsmen in Aranmula. These mirrors are unique and have the distinctive feature of 100% reflection unlike the common mirror and haven’t yet been replicated anywhere else in the world.
Later, visit the ancient temple of Lord Krishna “Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple” situated on the banks of Pampa River and upon which the name of the village is based. Have a traditional lunch at a beautiful house of a local family. Afterward, visit the institute of Kerala Architecture and Mural Painting.
Later, drive back to board the boat and sail to Champakkulam village which lies on the old spice trade route on the west coast. The village was settled over 1000 years ago by Syrian traders who later converted to roman Catholicism under the Portuguese rule. Here, you’ll visit one of the oldest churches in Kerala, St. Mary’s Church which is believed to be established by St. Thomas in AD 427.
Later, return back to the boat and continue cruising towards the remote village of Changankari. Dinner on board.
Day 6 Changankari – Thottappalli
Early in the morning, enjoy a leisurely walk in the laidback village of Changankari. After breakfast, continue sailing towards the coastal village of Thottapalli to see the low-lying paddy fields and learn about indigenous practices of paddy cultivation at lower altitude than the Sea. Plant a coconut sapling to honouring your visit. In the evening, take a walk along the Thottapalli beach and enjoy the surroundings. Later, return to the boat for dinner and stay.
Day 7: Thottappalli – Karumadi – Kanjippadom
After breakfast, drive to an ancient sacred grove where serpents are worshipped and the only temple in Kerala with female priests. Later, drive to the ancient village of Mannar famous for bell metal craft to watch casting to various items such as traditional lamps, ornate locks, bells and cauldrons. Fine clay, easily available in river banks and rivulets, is being used casting of these bell metal products. (Workshop remains closed on Sundays & religious holidays)
Afterward, return to the boat for lunch as you sail to the quaint village of Karumadi where you’ll visit a small shrine preserving an ancient sculpture of Buddha which speaks Buddhist legacy in Kerala. Buddhism prevailed in Kerala for around 8 centuries from 3rd AD. Come back to the boat and sail to Kanjippadom. Here, you’ll explore the village on foot and visit the boat building yard to understand the traditional method of constructing wooden boats called Kettuvallom.
Return to houseboat to celebrate your sojourn over farewell dinner.
Day 8: Kanjippadom – Punnamada (Alleppey)
After breakfast, cruise to Punnamada lake which is also the venue of the annual Snake boat race held on 2nd Saturday of August every year. It attracts a number of people who come here to watch a series of over 100 ft. long boats competing against each other to the tune of old songs.
Disembark at the IWAI Jetty, Punnamada in Alleppey where the cruise concludes.