VAIKUNDAM - 9 Cabin Houseboat
Cochin, Vaikom, Chenganda, Kumarakom, Kavalam, Kainakari, Pulinkunnu, Nedumudy, Champakkulam, Changankari, Thottappalli, Karumadi, Kanjippadom, Punnamada, Alleppey
Day 1: Alleppey - Punnamada - Kanjippadom
In the morning we will arrive at Punnamada in Alleppey to get onto the boat. Punnamada Lake is the place famous for the snake boat race that takes place every year on the 2nd Saturday of August month in which the different villages of Alleppey and its neighboring villages take part. The team on board will welcome you and assist you with a smooth check-in. Then we will gather at the room for the prior safety instructions about the boat cruise. Then after we will depart from Alleppey - the Rice bowl of Kerala till Kochi. Leaving behind the busy towns, cruises and villages and paddy fields, swaying tall coconut trees, banana plantations, we will move forward to our destination. We will have our lunch and rest in the boat. Then visit the Kanjippadom village for a walk and meet the local carpenter at the boat building yard to have words with them on the traditional boat building method. Spending our day in the Kajjipadom we will return to the boat and sail till evening. After having dinner for the night we will rest for the time.
Day 2: Kanjippadom - Karumadi - Thottappalli
After having breakfast we will sail to the old village of Karumadi. We will walk to the holy shrine of Buddha where the damaged statue of Buddha is preserved. Then we will sail to the coastal village of Thottappalli passing by the channel of the southern area of Kuttanad. We can witness the local cultivation practices of paddy while sailing to the interiors. On the way, we talk with the local toddy tappers who collect the coconut palm to make the local alcoholic drink - toddy. We plant a coconut sapling to honor our cruise trip with you. The coconut tree is said to be the Kalpvriksha or Divine tree of Kerala as all of its parts are useful in one way or the other. The coconut water is a healthy drink, the kernel is used to extract coconut oil, fiber form the coconut husk is used to make mats, choirs, and geotextiles, palm fronds are used for thatching roof and also for making toddy.
Day 3: Excursion from Thottappalli
In the morning after breakfast, we will leave for a short drive to see the old sacred grove where serpents are worshipped. This temple is the only one in Kerala that has female priests. Go around and take a look at the ongoing rituals inside the temple. From here we will continue our journey passing across the midland to Konni to see the elephants. Then we will proceed to Aranmula village to meet a family of craftsmen who are experts in making mirrors through a special combination of certain metals that have a unique feature of 100% reflection compared to a common mirror. This family business has been carried out through generations. Local people keep it in their homes thinking of it as auspicious and lucky. After meeting the family and finding their works, we will set our lunch at a beautiful house of the village at the bank of River Pampa listening to the story of the snake boat race. Then we will move forward to Changankari to explore the serenity around. At the end of the day, we will go take rest after having dinner.
Day 4: Changankari-Champakkulam-Nedumudy -Pulinkunnu
Enjoy a refreshing morning walk. After having breakfast we will start our journey to Champakulam village. The old spice trade of Kerala to Cochin and other ports on the West Coast used to pass through this town. One can see the thousand years old cultural heritage of Syrian Christians who later converted to Roman Catholic under the Portuguese influence. A piece of this is the St. Mary's Church, built-in 1550 whose foundations are as old as 5th century. The architectural outlook of this Church showcases various European styles including Levantine altar and structure to the Dutch arches support the tower. We will visit the amazing St. Mary Church and a school and will meet the local craftsmen. Also, we will see the snake boats that are being used these days for race. Earlier these boats were used for wartime. Return to the boat and sail to Nedumudi. The lunch will be on the cruise. After lunch, we will sail for over one hour and reach Manna, famous for bell metal and brassware crafts. We will interact with the artisan and craftsmen and watch pieces of art depicting indigenous culture. We will sail back to Nedumudi and from here to Pulinkunnu village for a night stay. Spend some comfortable time with the villagers and return to the boat. Dine and rest
Day 5: Pulinkunnu-Kainakari-Kavalam
After having our breakfast we will sail to Kainakari to visit Chavara Bhavan, the home of Saint Kuriakose Chavara which is renovated as a museum. Saint Chavara, the first canonized Catholic saint of Indian origin and the co-founder of the first congregation for men - Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and the same for women Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. Return to the boat for lunch. Sailing for a more while we will reach Kavalam where we can witness the view of River Pampa draining to Lake Vembanad. To take a closer view you can book a ferry, walk around the paddy fields and have a talk with the local farmers. We will cruise till evening. The dinner will be arranged in the boat and then take rest.
Day 6: Kavalam - Kumarakom
After taking breakfast, the boat will cruise to the expanses of Lake Vembanad to explore its wetland ecosystem. We will go to see a farmhouse located on the island. This house was built reclaiming land from backwater. We can take a walk in the field and enjoy the preparation of a traditional Syrian Christian cuisine demonstrated by the hostess of the house. We will enjoy our lunch here and then return to the boat to relax. Then we will set out to watch the migratory and endemic birds of Kumarakom, a group of inlets of Lake Vembanad and the view complimenting with the backdrop of mangroves, coconut trees and paddy fields. The endemic and migratory bird species that can be seen include parrots, waterfowl, cuckoo, flycatchers, wood beetle, owl, egret, heron, water duck, teal, larks and other birds visible on seasonally. From here we will get back to our boat and cruise to Thanneermukkom for overnight stay. The barrage of Thanneermukkom built across Lake Vembanad splits up the lake into perennial saltwater and freshwater. Take rest and relax along the cruise breathing the fresh air and gentle breeze enjoying the beauty of the lake. Have dinner on-board and retire.
Day 7: Kumarakom - Chenganda - Vaikom
After a plateful of breakfast and get to sail to Chenganda village, the place full of peace and calm. Here we will go spend time with the coir weavers, shell harvesters and farmers engaging in their professions. Take around to the indigenous techniques of performing work activities and then get back to the boat for lunch. In the evening we will reach Vaikom. Catching local transport we will go to the cultural center in the area to watch the traditional dance -Kathakali performed on depicting epic stories. This distinctive dance is a combination of dance, music, action, literature, and make-up. We will then go visit around the temple to know about the history behind it. The temple architecture in Kerala is a piece of art based on ancient science and refined stylistic construction. The temple architecture depicts a human body and is a place for spiritual enlightenment along with social networking. We will spend our night on board, enjoying our last dinner for night by bidding a happy farewell to the cruise mates.
Day 8: Vaikom - Cochin & Disembark
After having our morning meal, we will sail along the islands, lakes and coastal estuaries. We will speak on Cochin's (the queen of Arabian Sea), its geographical, cultural and social importance. We will arrive at Marad and get off from the boat and drive and drive to the nearby settlement Nettoor, to enjoy Kalaripattu- a traditional martial art practice of Kerala which is said to be the mother of all martial arts techniques. This is how our cruise ends. From here, you can choose your way to hotel or airport.
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