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The Malabar Holiday is designed to offer travelers a perfect balance between relaxation in scenic, secluded landscapes and ample opportunity to interact and witness the vibrant culture of Kerala. Experience the magic of Fort Kochin, the backwaters of Alleppey, the dynamic heritage of the River Nila basin and meet the traditional spice-planters of Wayanad on this custom-made holiday!
Land at Cochin and check into a boutique hotel in the heritage quarter of the city. Check out Fort Cochin Jew town, synagogue, spice markets, the Dutch palace, St Francis Church and Chinese fishing nets.
Drive down to relax in the idyllic backwaters at Alleppey. Go onboard a houseboat for an overnight cruise. The houseboats cruise through the backwaters of Kuttanad – the rice bowl of Kerala. The banks of the waters will be lined with lush paddy fields, fishing nets, coconut grooves, and local villages. Soak in a sunset and sunrise on the water while enjoying a relaxed dining experience.
Disembark from the houseboat for a short transfer to Karimbavalavu – a secluded island on the backwaters. There are six cottages overlooking the backwaters with nothing but breathtaking views for company. Known for its bird life, the island is a great stopover for relaxation. Cycling, village visits, and small trips in canoes are included.
Drive up direction north to the historic and scenic River Nila. Get your hands dirty learning pottery with local artisans, and watch them weave magic on clay. At the bell metal workshop witness the creation of intricate designs such as tea-pots and door locks, a craft confined to a few families in the region.
The visit to the potter & bell metal community is an appreciation of the efforts to rehabilitate the traditional handicrafts in the area. Our visits expand the knowledge about the program and provide them financial support. During a magical evening, young folk artists will showcase the folk heritage of River Nila and you might easily find yourself singing & dancing along.
Evening with the folk artists is part of a movement to revive the dying forms of folk art and music in the River Nila basin.
Visit the beautiful 400-year-old heritage house Kooderi Mana, unique representative of sustainable life style. Stay with the family and experience a traditional rural Kerala ambience. In the midst of an organic farm, this heritage house is part of the responsible tourism initiative that is making positive changes to the destination. Spend time with a family of musicians in the village of Mulayankavu. The musical trail is a journey to showcase the percussion culture of River Nila. A clinic on various kinds of musical instruments concludes with a performance extraordinaire by the talented group.
We will take you on a leisurely cruise down the Nila on a Thoni (traditional boat). The cruise passes through stunning landscape comprising small canals, rivers and backwaters of a relatively unknown area called Tirur. This trip goes through several small islands where various communities of toddy (coconot palm liquor) tappers, coir rope workers and fishing communities live.
The boats used for the Thoni Cruise as well as the oarsmen are from the local communities. The cruise is an alternative, supplementary source of income for people who were otherwise engaged in disruptive activities such as illegal sand mining from the river-bed.
From Nila you will drive up to Nilambur (one hour) to check into Maranat Mana, a heritage property reflecting the age-old traditions of a Kerala Brahmin family. Focusing on sustainable living, this place strikes an excellent balance between traditional life style and modern living. The two-acre sacred grove inside the farm is a representation of a bio-diversity that is still sustained.
Spend the day in the village or the majestic home stay. Activities (at no extra cost) include visits to farms and traditional bathing ghats.
Home to several spices, Wayanad now has a viable and vibrant spice cultivation program. From cardamom to cinnamon, pepper to ginger and even vanilla, you can see for yourself the abundance of spice all along the hills of Wayanad. The idea of a spice tour was conceived as an alternative source of income for small scale farmers and planters in Wayanad. Spice tours are also arranged in such a way that it gives travelers a taste of living a planter’s life.
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of a morning wildlife safari in Muthanga wildlife sanctuary, a biodiversity hotspot. The 24-kilometre safari is a chance to spot the Asian elephants, bears, wild gaurs (bison), spotted and sambar deers or even a leopard. Post-lunch we visit, Uravu, where you can interact with the artisans and designers who create beautiful products out of different varieties of bamboo which are grown locally. The visit also includes interactions with the promoters and a visit to the bamboo nursery.
The visit to the rainforest garden involves interaction with the community who initiated the rainforest regeneration and the latter half of the visit benefits the community living in the alternative school campus. Trek guides are from the local communities and they operate all programs. These are people who live on the fringes of the wildlife areas. All parts of our trek routes and campsites follow zero waste management. During and after every trek, we collect and dispose plastic waste that might have been left behind by other tourists and local people.
The costal town & area around Kannur is home to the most idyllic beaches in the Malabar region. If desired, travelers can embark upon a boat voyage to nearby towns, far from the crowds. Many traditional folk art forms can be witnessed in villages surrounding Kannur. Here you might want to relax on the beach near Kannur, or visit St Angelo Fort, Arakkal museum and the Cannanore Lighthouse. We can also take you to temples nearby for Theyyam performances.
Copyright 2014 The Blue Yonder