This tour has been designed to give you the chance to have a glimpse of all the best of Kerala’s attractions within 12 days. Kerala attracts tourists for various reasons: culture, pristine forests and beaches, backwaters and canals. This tour provides you the ambience of highlands, rivers, backwaters and beaches, and the cultural tradition of some of the most important cities of South India such as Mysore, Thrissur and Cochin. Discovering cultural traditions, nature and wildlife, and community interactions will be the most important aspects on which this itinerary has been built on. All throughout the itinerary, the trip focuses on its people, culture and wilderness. The cultural heritage of Kerala will be disclosed to you especially through the experience of traditional performing arts such as Tholpavakoothu, Kathakali Mohiniyattom, Bharathanatayam, Kalaripayattu, Kathakali and Theyyam. You will have the chance to discover these traditional and disappearing arts in Trissur and Cochin, while in Mysore you will visit incredible examples of Dravidian architecture. The tour starts from the city of Mysore, one of the major tourist city of Karnataka. The city was the erstwhile capital of the state and hence has played an important role in the history of the state and of South India. Today it has developed into a modern city without losing its rich historical and cultural legacy with a number of Royal buildings, gardens, waterfalls, temples, museums and modern amusement parks. Mysore, being a modern Indian city, unfortunately has many children living on the streets. So, during this trip you will visit a very interesting rehabilitation programme for these children run by a local NGO. From here you will enter the state of Kerala, where, apart from visiting prime tourist attractions like Kochi, Thrissur, Kumarakom, you will have the chance to discover the beauty of nature and the unique cultural traditions of this state. You will spend the first 3 days in Kerala in the scenic and uncontaminated hilly region of Wayanad, where you will be host in a local village, having authentic and direct experiences with local communities, farmers, artists and artisans who will make a real immersion into Kerala culture and traditions. This tour will give you the touch and feel of Kerala in all its richness, allowing you to unwind an relax during the last 2 days on one of the most beautiful and famous beach of the state, hosted in an authentic Ayurvedic resort, located on the cliffs of the holy village of Varkala.
Registration can be requested for group travel or for self-travel. For group travel, registration is not binding. Upon reaching the minimum number of members necessary for the formation of the group, usually 4 or 6 people, you will be asked for confirmation of booking and payment of a deposit.
1° Day: arrival Bangalore-Mysore
Bangalore – Mysore
Arrival at Bangalore airport, meet our representative outside the airport terminal and transfer to Mysore by road (1,30 hours). Check in the hotel and rest for some time. Later guided visit of Mysore city. The city of Mysore is known as the ‘City Of Palaces’. There are number of buildings built by the Royal family and are exquisite examples of Dravidian architecture and display grandeur and lavish life lead by the Emperors while they ruled the state. Apart from the Palaces there are number of other tourists attractions that one can visit in Mysore. One of the popular spots is the Chamundi hills and the temple on top of the hills. This prominent landmark of Mysore is a favourite destination for the locales as well.
Overnight in Mysore.
2° Day: visit Mysore
Mysore – Wayanad
In the morning you will visit the projects of RLHP (Rural Literacy and Health Programme), an NGO working an children rights in the slums. Mysore city has more than 700 children living on the streets, therefore, RLHP started a rehabilitation programme for these children, running two residential rehabilitation homes: Asha Kirana for boys and Asha Bhavana for girls. During the visit you will have the chance to interact with the children and to learn about the projects implemented. After lunch transfer by road to Wayanad. On the way you will stop at Devarshola village, where you can interact with Kattunayakan children supported by this tour. Here you will visit the children during their tuition center in May field estate. Proceed to Thirekapetta village in Wayanad. Check in a family guest house and get to know the family who will host you. Wayanad is considered a green paradise, nestled among the mountains of the Western Ghats, forming the border world of the greener part of Kerala. Clean and pristine, enchanting and hypnotizing, this land is filled with history, culture and nature.
Overnight in Wayanad. (B/L/D)
3° Day village stay Thrikepetta
Early morning enjoy a small trek to Manikunnu Hill for the morning view! Walk the spice and vegetable gardens- a guided tour. “Meet our elders”: experience their ways of sustainable living, we take you to where our modernity began. A special lunch is organized for the guests with only products made of bamboo, from bamboo rice, to bamboo shoots to pickles. Unique experience. After lunch you will visit bamboo village at Thrikepetta, a responsible tourism initiative. You will have the chance to interact with local farmers and visit Uravu, a local NGO which produce bamboo handicrafts. The visit also includes interaction with the promoters, visit to the bamboo nursery and plant a bamboo sapling as part of a Traveler’s Forest initiative. You can visit the Bamboo workshop, interact with the artisans and designers and see how they create marvels out of different varieties of bamboo grown locally. In the evening you will participate with your host family to prepare dinner as to have a cooking demonstration and learn Indian cooking.
Overnight in Wayanad. (B/L/D)
4° Day: wildlife Wayanad
After breakfast start for a tour to the most important places of Wayanad hills such as the Edakkal caves, Jain temple, Muthunga Wildlife Sanctuary, etc. You will start with a small trekking (1 Km trail from Edakkal) to discover the famous prehistoric cave. The excellent rock engravings found on the cave walls have drawn attention of worldwide historians and archaeologists. Edakkal caves comprise of three distinct sets of petroglyphs. Archaeologists suggest that these cave etchings date back to at least 5000 years. Edakkal caves have been inhabited at various historic stages. Later you will visit a Jain temple, which is considered an excellent piece of Jain architecture dedicated to the great Jain saint by name Ananthanatha swami. Ananthanatha swami temple is located near Kalpetta at a distance of six Km from Kalpetta. Lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch experience a wildlife safari in Muthanga National Park. Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary Muthanga is the abode for a wide variety of wildlife and beautiful birds. During the safari the Wildlife species that could be spotted include Elephants, Gaur, Cheetal, Dholes, Jackals, Tigers and Otters. In the evening you will participate to a cultural exchange programme with villagers (home stay providers and other will sing songs and al, guests can also sing their songs etc.)
Overnight at the homestay. (B/L/D)
5° Day: elephant camp Guruvayoor
After early breakfast transfer to Trichur via Guruvayoor (4 hrs drive). En route visit the Elephant camp at Punnathurkotta: The Elephant Camp is located in Punnathur Kotta, at a distance of 3 km from the Guruvayur Temple. This Elephant Camp is one of its kinds in the world and is considered to be one of the largest elephant sanctuaries housing around 60 elephants. The fascinating feature is that all the elephants are offerings that are made by the devotees at the temple. The camp also acts as a training school for the elephants. Most of the elephants are trained to participate in major processions and daily temple rituals. Visit the famous Guruvayoor (Krishna) temple from outside…(non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple!). This temple is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus of Kerala and is often referred to as “Bhuloka Vaikunta”, which translates to the “Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth”. The Krishna temple of Guruvayoor is one of the five famous KrishnaVishnu temples in India. The presiding deity in the Sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple is Lord Vishnu, worshipped in the form of Lord Krishna, his avatar. After the visit transfer to Thrissur. In the evening show of Tholpavakoothu.
Overnight in Thrissur. (B)
6° Day: visit Trissur
After breakfast guided tour of Trissur. Thrissur is also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala because of its cultural, spiritual and religious leanings throughout history. It is considered one of the oldest cities of Kerala. The legend says, the city was the town created by Lord Parasurama (6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) soon after formation of Kerala, by creating a large Shiva temple. The entire city is formed around the grand Shiva temple known as Vadakumnathan Temple It houses the Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and Kerala Sahitya Academy. The city hosts the Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colorful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala. Free lunch in a restaurant. After transfer to Fort Cochin (2 hours). Arrive and check into Hotel in Fort Cochin. Fort Cochin is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer – its natural harbor and historical sites. Free for walks around…
Overnight in Cochin. (B)
7° Day: visit Cochin
After breakfast join our guide for a half day guided tour of Fort Cochin exploring the Jew town, Synagogue, Spice Markets, Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, Chinese Fishing nets (Jewish Synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays; Dutch Palace is closed on Fridays).Return to the hotel by afternoon. Rest of the time free for shopping, cycling or just shopping. In the evening attend cultural and dance performance at Greenix village. The Village, Kerala’s only cultural art village is a pioneer establishment in the promotion of art & culture since 2006. The village covers an area of 45,000 sq. ft. and is dedicated to present various facets of Kerala’s rich culture. The evening cultural programme (starts at 5 pm and ends at 7,30 pm.) comprises of 7 different art forms: traditional Welcome dance of Kerala, Mohiniyattom, the classical dance of Kerala, Bharathanatayam, the south Indian classical dance; Martial arts of Kerala, Kalaripayattu; Demo as well as the episode of Kathakali; Theyyam, a temple ritual; final programme with a fusion of all the dance forms.
Overnight in Fort Cochin. (B)
8° Day: community interaction Kumarakom
After breakfast transfer to Kumarakom (1hr drive). Kumarakom is close to the Vembanad lake and offers exotic sightseeing, boating and fishing experiences. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most important attractions of the place. Cruising along the Vembanad Lake one can get glimpses of the numerous migratory birds like the egret, darter, heron and teal. Proceed to the hotel close to a river channel in an old Kerala style Heritage house for check in. Today you will experience a daily responsible tourism initiative, called “Village life experience”. It is a half-day tour package, to give you an authentic experience of village life. This is a good example of an itinerary linking the community-based tourism products and services, as envisaged by the Responsible Tourism programme (Government of Kerala). View the village life while on boat cruise.
Overnight in Kumarakom. (B)
9° Day: houseboat Alleppey
Kumarakom – Alleppey
Morning relaxation in Kumarakom. Check out and proceed to Jetty to board the houseboat. Backwater Cruise. All meals on board. View the village life while on boat cruise. Day and sunset cruise on the houseboat exploring the paddy fields and villages life along the backwaters. Small stop over to explore the coconut plantations, toddy tapping etc will be provided on request. The boat will anchor after sunset cruise.
Overnight on the Houseboat. (B/L/D)
10° Day: transfer Varkala
Alleppey –Varkala beach
Disembark the houseboat at Alleppey after a short morning cruise and transfer to beach resort in Varkala (3 hours’ drive). Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach. Unwind on the beach, walk on the cliff Full or go for Ayurveda.
Overnight at the beach resort. (B)
11° Day: unwind Varkala
Visit Varkala village with the temple and the beach. In the afternoon go for swimming to Papanasam beach. Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’.
Overnight at the beach resort. (B)
12° Day: depart from Trivandrum
Varkala – Trivandrum Airport-Roma
Checkout and transfer to Trivandrum airport airport for your international flight.
All the itinerary has been designed in order to promote direct or indirect benefits for local communities, environment and cultural heritages. When possible we have selected traditional accommodations sensible to social and environmental issues, following general principles and practices of responsible tourism. In Mysore you will visit the projects of RLHP (Rural Literacy and Health Programme), an NGO working an children rights in the slums. Mysore city has more than 700 children living on the streets, therefore, RLHP started a rehabilitation programme for these children, running two residential rehabilitation homes: Asha Kirana for boys and Asha Bhavana for girls. In Wayanad spice tours were initiated to support small time farmers and spice planters in and around Wayanad areas to find alternative, supplementary source of income.
This provides a glimpse of the issues surrounding the struggles of spice farmers in terms of price crash and issues of globalization. Here, you will visit the Bamboo Village, a community-based tourism initiative started by two local organizations – Uravu and Kabani – with the aim of providing alternate sources of income to the residents of Thrikkaipetta, through tourism. In particular, Kabani promotes a homestay program, including hospitality training for the local residents. Homestays are chronologically rotated among the host families to provide an equal opportunity to host guests. Uravu promotes social enterprises based on value addition of local, natural resources, especially bamboo, the “green gold”. Uravu implements integrated, end-to-end programs in the bamboo sector, which include providing skill training in bamboo processing, establishing micro enterprises, marketing of bamboo handicraft, cultivation of bamboo and promotion of eco-tourism. In Trissur you will assist to a performance of a disappearing traditional art called Tolpavakoothu. Tolpavakoothu Sangam is an Institute for research, training and performance of this ancient art of Kerala.
The Institute conducts shadow puppet plays all over the world. It has the facilities to research all aspects of shadow puppetry. A theatre comparable to the traditional theatre in which Tolpavakoothu is performed is available. Many international students come here for research. In Cochin, you will attend anart performance at the theatre of Greenix village. The Village, Kerala’s only cultural art village is a pioneer establishment in the promotion of art & culture since 2006. The village covers an area of 45,000 sq. ft. and is dedicated to present various facets of Kerala’s rich culture. In Kumarakom, you will experience a responsible tourism initiative called “Village life experience” organized by the Nodal Agency for Responsible Tourism Kerala of the Government. Among the four destinations where RT (Responsible Tourism) is initiated in the State, Kumarakom is considered to be the most successful example of an itinerary linking the community-based tourism products and services. Moreover, your contribution of 70 euros will support development projects in favour of one of the most marginalised tribal communities of India. Tribal communities are still at the margin of Indian society and for this reason two are the main projects financed: 1) to conserve biological and cultural diversity 2) to promote the formal education of children belonging to Kattunayakan community of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Kerala, despite being a famous tourist destination, is a very orthodox and conservative state, therefore it is advised that you following carefully a code conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid to show affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people. Smoking also is considered an offence (punishable under law!). Even though this may come as a surprise to many, Kerala has a strict ban on smoking in public places. If you smoke remember to do it only in your room if it is allowed by the rules of your own hotel.
You are also advised to follow a certain dress code. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended to be careful about what clothes you wear while traveling to India. The first reason is to prevent you from hurting the sentiments of the local people and second, to protect you from the varied weather conditions prevailing in seasons. One more thing to keep in mind is mosquitoes…it is advised to keep your arms and legs covered because it provides protection (however, don’t forget to bring with you mosquito nets and repellents, especially for backwaters cruises).
It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
A conscious approach to travel requires a considerable capacity and willingness to adapt and adjust to the local environment and culture. If you wish to travel with us we request you to be open enough to experience local culture, religious and traditions without bias and pre-conceived ideas you might have before the departure and which belong to our Western cultural way of thinking. Exploring with fresh eyes, with patience and openness, you will be able to access the real essence of South Indian cultural heritages through the places and people you are going to meet; if you are ready to do this effort you will really enjoy the beauty of a completely different cultural tradition, the extraordinary of the nature, the solemnity of temples, the holiness of the waters of countless rivers and oceans that flow through this magic land
We selected beautiful and traditional heritages resorts with all the facilities throughout the tour. All the structures have been selected carefully according to criteria of social and environmental impacts. Whilst in Wayanad we have selected traditional homestays in Tarikapetta village. In Trissur and Kumarakom you will be hosted in traditional and charming heritage resorts as to experience the essence of Kerala hospitality.
Private vehicles o mini-buses with AC according to the number of participants for all the itinerary from Bangalore to Cochin; boat ride in cruise in Kumarakom, Houseboat overnight cruise from Kumarakom to Allepey.
The climate in Kerala is essentially tropical. Even though Kerala experiences pleasant weather throughout the year, October to March is considered to be the best time to visit Kerala. These months are usually the peak season. The monsoons (rainy season) arrive in June and continue till the end of September. Usually people used to avoid these months due to heavy rains, but visiting Kerala during monsoons is considered as an experience in itself. Monsoons are also an ideal time to go for Ayurvedic treatments. April and May are the hot months with a very high humidity, preceding monsoons; however May is a great occasion to visit Kerala because of its famous elephant festival of the Trissur Pooram!
“Our tour was a wonderful family experience that we will remember fondly and talk about for many years to come. We were very impressed with Conscious Journeys’ planning and professionalism. Our amazing guide made our Indian experience culturally rich, relaxing and interesting for all ages in our group”.
Giuseppe Livi, 2014
“Trip was extremely well planned and executed. Lots of variety in what we saw and great for getting us off the general tourist track and close to the people”.
Davide Brambilla, 2014