Karnataka with 7 Nights Kerala Cruise

Introduction

Far Horizon takes you on a journey through the heart of the Dravidian South. Karnataka  is a tapestry of culture, flavors, landscapes, and timeless beauty. Glide through the backwaters of Kerala – God's own country. The backwaters give you an opportunity to Experience the Living Cultures of Kerala at close quarters.

Visit Kabini where you can see wildlife in its natural habitat. Walk through the Spice Plantations for a glimpse of the exotic spices used in Indian cooking. Kerala is known for its wonderful food, come enjoy the food and learn the secrets of this wonderful cuisine.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the river island town of Srirangapatna
  • Visit of Grand Royal Palace in Mysore
  • Nagarhole National Park
  • Kathakali Dance performance
  • Traditional Martial Art performance
  • Cooking demonstration and home hosted meal
  • Cruising on the Kerala Backwaters
  • Village visits and interaction with the local people
  • Multicultural city “Cochin”

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Bangalore

    Bangalore

    You arrive at the Bangalore International airport. After clearing Indian Immigration and Customs, step into the receiving area where you will be met by our representative.

    Check-in to the hotel near the airport.

    Overnight at the hotel

  2. Day 2 Bangalore - Mysore drive (approx. 4 hours' drive)

    Mysore

    After a relaxed breakfast, check-out and drive to Mysore (also known as Mysuru). Along the way, we visit the river island town of Srirangapatna, with its celebrated 9th-century Hindu Ranganatha Temple. The Indian ruler Tipu Sultan made his capital here and opposed the English East India Company forces in four wars until he fell in a siege in 1799; the temple and the island as a whole has become an important pilgrimage site.

    After our touring here, we arrive in Mysore and check-in to the hotel on arrival.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 Mysore

    Mysore

    This morning, visit the Chamundi Hills, site of the 12th-century Chamundeshwari Temple with its 1,008 ancient steps leading to the summit. The highlight of this lofty temple is the statue of Nandi, the enormous bull used as a mount by Hindu god Shiva, which sits on the 800th step of the temple. The ornately carved granite bull presides over the temple’s visitors; at over 15 feet high and 24 feet long, it dwarfs the iconic Charging Bull statue in New York’s Financial District.

    Our next stop brings more magnificent architecture, as we visit the Palace of Mysore, the Indo-Saracenic blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles that remains the home of the Maharajas of Mysore and counts among India’s most popular attractions. The palace before us, among India’s most grand, and the fourth to stand on this site, replaced the last which was destroyed by fire in 1897. An exquisite opulence greets us within a dazzling array of carvings, chandeliers, mosaics, stained glass, paintings, and frescoes. From these two overwhelming structures, we move to a humbler stop: a visit to a local workshop to learn how the local sandalwood incense is made by hand.

    We have the afternoon free for exploration. Options include exploring the local markets to find Mysore’s renowned silk saris and ties, spices, and sandalwood crafts.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  4. Day 4 Mysore - Kabini (approx. 3 hours’ drive)

    Kabini

    After breakfast, leave for Nagarhole National Park.

    On arrival, check-in to the hotel and have lunch.

    We then set out on a boat safari that takes in some of Nagarhole’s 247 square miles. If we are fortunate, we may spot the critically endangered Oriental white-backed vulture, or some of the other threatened bird species that find shelter in Nagarhole.

    We dine at our lodge tonight.

    Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

  5. Day 5 Kabini

    Kabini

    This morning we take a safari in an open-air 4-wheel-drive vehicle through Nagarhole in search of wildlife. After our excursion, we return to the lodge for breakfast.

    You will have free time to relax before lunch at the lodge.

    Later, enjoy the coracle ride followed by the village walk.

    Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

  6. Day 6 Kabini - Calicut (approx. 5 hours’ drive)

    Kozhikode (Calicut)

    Today after breakfast, we take the five-hours drive to Calicut, dubbed as the “City of Spices” in antiquity for its role in the thriving eastern spice trade.

    Stop at the plantation for the lunch, we will take a walk with the plantation owner to learn about the spice crops grown in this area.

    Continue on your drive to Calicut and check-in to the hotel on arrival.

    Rest of the day is at leisure.

    Overnight at the hotel (B, L)

  7. Day 7 Calicut - Cochin By Train

    Kochi

    Early this morning we transfer to the railway station, where we board a train and head south along the coast to Kochi (formerly called Cochin), the first of Europe’s colonies in India.

    On arrival, check-in to the hotel and rest of the day is at leisure.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  8. Day 8 Cochin

    Kochi

    We take a tour of Mattancherry, the bustling part of Old Fort Cochin and the epicentre of the spice trade for centuries. It remains a densely populated place housing people from different ethnic groups and faiths in very close quarters. Mattancherry is home to a small Jewish community whose origin dates back nearly 2000 years, during the period of King Solomon, when large scale trade took place between the Middle East and the Malabar Coast. Our touring today reveals Kochi’s multi-layered past, a rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch influences.

    We begin with the Dutch Palace, actually built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi in 1555. The Dutch renovated and expanded it a century later, earning it its name. The palace also contains some of India’s finest mythological murals; the walls depict scenes from the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (Dutch Palace remains closed on Fridays and Saturdays). 

    Then we see St. Francis, India’s first European church (ca. 1510), famed as the original burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524 while on his third visit to India. Not immune to the turbulence of the colonial era, the originally Catholic St. Francis church changed hands – and denominations – with each new power that took control of Kochi, becoming a Protestant Dutch Reformed church under the Dutch in 1663 then Anglican under the English in 1804.

    Next we pay a visit to the picturesque Chinese fishing nets unique to Kochi. These iconic land-based nets combine elegance and ingenuity with their massive frames balanced by counterweights manipulated by teams of up to six men. Long believed to have been introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He in the 14th century or possibly travellers from Kublai Khan’s court, these nets actually trace their origin to Portuguese settlers from Macau.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  9. Day 9 Cochin - Alleppey & board RV Vaikundam

    Alappuzha

    After breakfast, check-out and drive for approx. two and half hours to reach Punnamada in Alleppey to board the Kerala cruise.

    The team on-board welcomes you to the boat and helps you with smooth check-in. Gather at the lounge for a safety briefing about the boat and about the cruise through Alleppey – the Granary/Rice Bowl of Kerala till Kochi. We set sail. Unwind, as the boat leaves behind the bustling township and cruises gently to the villages interspersed along the tranquil emerald green water world of rivers, lakes, lagoons, canals 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 Green 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 cruise and cruise till dusk.

    Post dinner we retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  10. Day 10 Kanjippadom – Karumadi – Thottappalli

    Alappuzha

    Today after breakfast we sail to a quaint village Karumadi. 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.

    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 into the occupation of collecting the sap of coconut palm to make the local alcoholic beverage –Toddy.

    Honouring your cruising with us, we plant a 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 is suitable for making furniture and all the dried parts of coconut make good firewood. Last but not the least, the toddy – a boost for the laborers toiling in the fields.

    We take a short walk to the beach to enjoy the sunset. Return to the cruise and relax.

    Post dinner, retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  11. Day 11 Excursion from Thottappalli

    Alappuzha

    Today we will have an  early breakfast and take a short drive to visit an ancient sacred 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.

    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. Local people consider it as auspicious to keep it at home to attract prosperity and luck.

    We visit the mirror makers and watch the different stages of the work. We will have lunch at a beautiful house of the village, located on the banks of the Holy River Pampa. We listen to the story of the annual ritualistic regatta of Snake boats of the village.

    Return to Changankari, relaxing in the serenity around.

    Post dinner retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  12. Day 12 Changankari - Champakkulam - Nedumudy – Pulinkunnu

    Alappuzha

    Enjoy a leisurely walk. After breakfast, we proceed to Champakulam 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. Over a hundred oarsmen race the very narrow and long boats at high speeds to the beat of drums from the aft.

    Return to the boat and we cruise to Nedumudi. Lunch will be served while cruising. After lunch, we drive for over an hour through the quaint and scenic villages to Mannar which is famous for bell metal and brassware crafts. Interact with the artisans; inspire them, watching the indigenous method of casting of traditional lamps, utensils and ornate locks.

    Return to Nedumudi and cruise to Pulinkunnu village for over-night halt.

    Get closer looks to the life along the way, paddling along narrow canal by country boat, interacting with the villagers.

    Return to the cruise. Post dinner retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  13. Day 13 Pulinkunnu - Kainakari - Kavalam

    Kavalam

    This day after breakfast we cruise to Kainakari.

    Here we visit 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.

    While cruising, lunch will be served on-board.

    We arrive at Kavalam where river Pampa reverses its course and drain into Lake Vembanad. You may take the ferry to explore the region, walk along the dykes surrounding the expanses of paddy fields and interact with the farmers and women.

    We continue to cruise till dusk. Dinner on–board and retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  14. Day 14 Kavalam – Kumarakom

    Kumarakom

    After having breakfast, cruise to the expanses of Lake Vembanad experiencing its wetland ecosystem. 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 the boat and relax.

    We set out by a 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 cruise and cruise to Thanneermukkom for overnight 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 rivers.

    Relax on the cruise, enjoying the gentle breeze and the beauty of the vastness and serenity of the majestic lake. Post dinner retire for the night.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B, L, D)

  15. Day 15 Kumarakom – Chenganda – Vaikom

    Kochi

    After breakfast we sail to Chenganda village. The people of this rustic village enjoy 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 the boat and have lunch on-board.

    By evening we arrive at the ancient village Vaikom, By tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) 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, 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.

    Overnight on-board RV Vaikundam (B)

  16. Day 16 Vaikom - Cochin/Departure

    Kochi

    After breakfast, we set sail, gently cruising by the islands 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 the cruise.

    Drive to the nearby village Nettoor, to watch Kalaripayattu - traditional martial art of Kerala which is said to have given birth to all martial arts including Karate.

    Thereafter, transfer to the hotel near Cochin airport for a few hours rest before leaving to board your flight back home.

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