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The Classic Kerala Tour is a classic for a reason – it covers most of Kerala’s limitless magic, without rushing through its many wonders. Begin at the wonderful coastal city of Calicut before visiting the spice planters of Wayanad. Spend time interacting with the many communities along River Nila, followed by an outdoorsy few days in the Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary. Explore the wonder of Fort Kochin and call on the Royal Bengal Tiger in the Periyar Reserve! Finally, conclude your visit to God’s Own Country in the scintillating backwaters of Kumarakom!
In the North you will visit the beautiful coastal city of Calicut and travel to Wayanad by road (3 hours) with one of our storytellers. On the way you might want to visit Edakkal caves and its pictorial remnants of civilisation dating back to 5,000 BC.
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of a wildlife safari in Muthanga wildlife sanctuary, a biodiversity hotspot in Wayanad. The 24-kilometre safari is a chance to spot the Asian elephants, bears, wild gaurs (bison), spotted and sambar deers or even a leopard. After a lunch in a local home, we take you on a Spice Tour, tea trail and finally cool off at a waterfall in the middle of a rainforest.
Traditionally, Kerala is a major exporter of spice. Several communities have been engaged in the cultivation & plantation of spices since centuries. The Spice tours were started with the objective to support small farmers and spice planters in and around Wayanad as an alternative, supplementary source of income. The tour provides a glimpse into the lives with special focus on the struggles of spice farmers against fluctuating prices and globalisation.
Take a leisurely cruise down the historic and scenic river Nila on a Thoni (traditional boat), and end the day with a visit to Thunjan Parambu Literature Park and Vakkad beach on the banks of the river.
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.
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.
Spend half of the day in interactive sessions with the masters of classical arts at Performing Arts School
Our naturalist will lead you on a light trek through the wilderness of this beautiful sanctuary, which is comprised of tropical evergreen and deciduous forests. You might even want to choose to end this day camping under the starlit sky by the rainforest and rise for and early session of bird-watching.
Fort Cochin is a fabled melting pot of culture, and you find this reflected in every corner of the city. Accompanied by a local storyteller, you will visit Jew town, the synagogue, the spice market, Dutch palace, St Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets & lively promenade - a heritage walk that gives you a peek into the still-very-present past, as well as the vibrant local texture of today.
Attend a rendition of the world-renowned Kathakali dance performance in the evening at a theatre in Fort Cochin.
This wildlife reserve is the home of the regal Royal Bengal Tiger. The visit begins with a light three-hour night trek to explore the wonders of life in the jungle after dusk.
You can also choose to spend an entire day trekking and rafting on bamboo rafts along the scenic Periyar Lake. A day like this offers a good chance of spotting wildlife in close quarters.
In Periyar and Chimmony, the nature driven experiences are operated by members of the local community belonging to the Eco Development Committees (EDCs). The benefits are transferred directly to the community members. Trekking assistants and guides were mostly poachers and the entire program in Periyar was designed to rehabilitate them. 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 idyllic backwaters of Kumarakom are about 10kms from Kottayam and are considered the most beautiful backwater stretch in Kerala. Here you can wind down and relax at a backwater resort in Kumarakom.
Visit the harbor city of Alleppey and check into a luxurious houseboat for a leisurely overnight backwater cruise. Enjoy the dining experience on board and watch as time slows down to a crawl against the idyllic backdrop of the backwaters.
The houseboat drops you at Alleppey and then you transfer to a beach resort in Marari (45-minutes) for relaxing moments of leisure.
Copyright 2014 The Blue Yonder