Mythical Hampi & Serenity of Backwater Cruise

15 NIGHTS | 16 DAYS

Region, State: Hyderabad, Hampi, Bangalore, Cochin, Backwater Cruise

Itinerary at a Glance:

Day Activities
Day 1 Arrival-Hyderabad
Day 2 Hyderabad
Day 3 Hyderabad – Vidyanagar - Hampi
Day 4 Hampi
Day 5 Hampi – Vidyanagar - Bangalore
Day 6 Bangalore - Cochin
Day 7 Cochin
Day 8 Cochin – Backwater Cruise
Day 9 Backwater Cruise
Day 10 Backwater Cruise
Day 11 Backwater Cruise
Day 12 Backwater Cruise
Day 13 Backwater Cruise
Day 14 Backwater Cruise
Day 15 Backwater Cruise – Cochin - Departure

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival - Hyderabad

On arrival in Hyderabad, our representative will meet you at the Airport and you will be taken to the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (No meals)

Day 2: Hyderabad

After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of Hyderabad.

We will visit an amazing blend of Indo-Islamic architecture; Charminar represents the glorious history of the city. Built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, Charminar is a square-shaped structure which is 56 meters high and 30 meters wide. Popularly known as ‘Arc de Triomphe of the East’, Charminar was constructed in the honour of Bhagmati, wife of Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah; immediately after he had shifted his capital to Hyderabad, which was earlier in Golconda.

After Charminar visit one of the oldest and most popular shopping areas of Hyderabad, Laad Bazaar is located adjacent to Charminar. It is said that this market was equally lively even during the times of the Qutub Shahis and the Nizams. Presenting an ages old heritage, the “Laad Bazaar” has got its name from the word “Laad” meaning Lacquer. This market boasts of an incomparable varieties of bangles, which have Lacquer has one of its key material.

Located atop 280-foot-high hillock of Kalapahad, the beautiful Birla Mandir has derived its name from the industrialist Birlas who have constructed Birla temples in various parts of the country. Constructed in 1976, it is said it took close to 2000 tonnes of white marbles to build this stunning temple which was brought from Rajasthan.

Later we will visit Chowmahalla Palace, with literal meaning of ‘four palaces’ in Urdu language was built in the 18th century. It was during the reign of fifth Nizam, Afzar-ud-Daulah, Asaf Jav V, from 1857 to 1869, that the palace was completed. Initially spread across an area of 45 acres, the palace now covers 12 acres of land.

Evening is free at leisure.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 3: Hyderabad to Vidyanagar by flight: 2T 183 at 1145 / 1255 Hrs.
           Vidyanagar to Hampi by road: Approx. 29 Kms. / 18 Mi. / 40 Mins.

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to airport to board your flight to Vidyanagar.

A village in northern Karnataka in India, Hampi is a haven to travellers from all over the world. Stunningly beautiful, this idyllic place sprawls on the sides of River Tungabhadra and is one of the sites to house ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire. UNESCO has credited Hampi ruins as a World Heritage Site and rightly so, for visiting these ruins is more like a lesson in history and lost kingdoms.

Arrive Vidyanagar and drive to Hampi. On arrival in Hampi, check into your hotel.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 4: Hampi

After breakfast ready for sightseeing tour of Hampi, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Someone rightly said “If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi”          

The foundation of the Vijayanagara Empire was laid in Hampi in 1336 A.D, making it the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India. It later became famous for its support towards renovation/reconstruction of temples re-establishment of Indian culture, its support for music, art and literature throughout India. Today the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur and fabulous wealth, palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men of infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.


Vithala Temple Complex - The most splendid monument of Hampi is undoubtedly the Vithala Temple Complex with its 56 musical pillars. Here see the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that revolve. In front of the shrine stands the great mantapa. Resting on a richly sculpted basement, its roof is supported by huge pillars of granite, each consisting of a central pillar surrounded by detached shafts, all cut from one single block of stone.

The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically at the western end of the famous Hampi Bazaar. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. The temple contains the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari.Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself. The work of this style dates back to the 11th or 12th century.

Hazara Ramaswami temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the royal family. The chief attraction of the temple is the series of scenes from the Ramayana carved on two of the inside walls of the mantapa. The genesis of the place known today as Hampi dates back to the age of the Hindu epic Ramayana when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom.

Later visit the Achyutaraya Temple and walk through the bazaars of Sule and Hampi.

Return to hotel by evening.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 5: Hampi to Vidyanagar by road: Approx. 29 Kms. / 18 Mi. / 40 Mins.
           Vidyanagar to Bangalore by flight: 2T 418 at 1355 / 1455 Hrs.

After breakfast, check out from hotel and drive to Vidyanagar airport to board your flight to Bangalore. On arrival in Bangalore, check into your hotel.

Rest of the day is free at leisure.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 6: Bangalore to Cochin by flight: 6E 425 at 1110 / 1215 Hrs.

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to Bangalore airport to board your flight to Cochin.

Cochin is perfect blend of ancient and modern, a lively city at just an hour's drive away from renowned backwater of Kerala. Posh cafes sit right by the side of Chinese fishing nets that were installed here in 1350 AD; India's largest man-made island is a major attraction and so is the Paradesi Synagogue that was built in the year 1560. St Francis CSI Church once housed the remains of Vasco da Gama and is also the oldest European church in India.

On arrival in Cochin, transfer to your hotel.

In the evening watch a Kathakali dance performance, the most developed dance-drama art of India where facial expressions and hand gestures combine with movement to create this highly expressive traditional Kerala art form which depicts great Indian epics.  Distinct among the six classical Indian dances, Kathakali is a highly dramatic and mimetic dance depicting various stories from Indian epics.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 7: Cochin

Morning have breakfast at hotel.

Later visit Fort Kochi, your first stop, where the Portuguese flag was first hoisted is also believed to be the oldest settlement in India. Thereafter, visit the St. Francis church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama. The gorgeous view of the ocean from the beach enhanced by the Chinese fishing nets, first erected between 1350 and 1450 AD makes extremely picturesque sight.  Proceed the old commercial area Mattancherry  an take a walk along the Jew Street. Visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed to non-Jews Fridays and Saturdays) and the Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays) which contains mythological murals and traditional Keralite flooring.

Rest of the day is free at leisure.

Overnight at hotel (B)

Day 8: Cochin - Backwater Cruise

This morning we arrive in Nettoor village in Cochin to watch Kalari Payattu-the traditional martial art performance, at an authentic training centre-Kalari. Drive to the nearby village Marad and embark on RV Vaikundam, by noon. The team  on-board   welcome you to the boat and help you with smooth check-in.  Gather at the lounge for a briefing about the boat and about the cruise a. We set sail. Unwind, as the boat leaves behind the rapidly growing city and   gently cruise in to the   interconnected   rivers, lake and coastal estuaries. We pass by the   interspersed islands and islets covered by coconut trees.    Enjoy the traditional lunch and relax on-board. 

We talk about   Cochin, the Queen of Arabian Sea, and its geographical, cultural and social significance.

By evening we arrive in the ancient village, Vaikom. By tuk-tuk or by foot   we proceed to the ancient temple of Shiva. 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, the 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.      Return to boat. After dinner, we retire for the night.

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

Day 9: Backwater Cruise – cruise to Vaikom

After meditation/yoga/taking walk in the village in the early morning, we have our breakfast on the boat. By tuk-tuk or by foot 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.

Cruise to Chenganda village. The people of this rustic village are having 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 boat for lunch.

Cruise through Thanneermukkom barrage. 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 5 rivers from hills.

We talk about indigenous practices of paddy cultivation in Kuttanad

Cruise to the expanses of lake Vembanad experiencing its wetland eco-system. We visit a farm house by evening.
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 dinner at this house . Return to boat and retire for the night.

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

Day 10: Backwater Cruise - Birding

Having an early and light breakfast, we set out by   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 boat, refresh and while cruising   elaborate breakfast will be served.

Having lunch on-board   while cruising   through the wetland eco-system of the lake and the low-lying paddy fields and coconut groves we arrive in Kavalam. Here we watch a folk dance performance (Kaikotti kali), by the girls of the village. Return to the boat and cruise till dusk, further interior to Veliyanad village. After dinner retire for the night.

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

Day 11: Backwater Cruise – cruise to Kainakari

After meditation/yoga/leisurely walk in the village, we have our breakfast on-board. This day as we cruise through the interior villages we visit a traditional Ayurveda centre. Interact with Ayurveda doctor and get to know about this ancient knowledge on holistic way of life. You may try any of the wellness massages based on the recommendation of the doctor.

A short cruise ahead we arrive at 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.

Return to boat. After having lunch on-board, cruise to Pulinkunnu village. Get closer to the laid-back, yet harmonious, life along the way, paddling   along   narrow canal by country boat, interacting with the villagers.      Return to boat. After dinner retire for the night.         

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

Day 12: Backwater Cruise – Excursion to artisan villages in Kuttanad

After breakfast, cruise to Nedumudy. On arrival at Nedumudy we drive through the quaint and scenic villages to Mannar which is famous for bell metal craft. Interact with the artisans; inspire them, watching the indigenous method of casting of traditional lamps, utensils and ornate locks. Return, refresh and   have lunch and relax on-board.

We cruise to Champakkulam 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 the old church, a school, the local artisans (open on week days) who skillfully and passionately craft biblical heroes. Take a look at   the   Snake boat (Chundan Vallom) of the villagers, gracefully docked on the shore. These types of boats, which are 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 and are one of the icons of Kerala culture. Cruise to Changankari village till dusk, passing through the serene canals. You may relax on board or take a walk. After dinner retire for the night.                  

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

Day 13: Backwater Cruise – Excursion to the midland

After having early breakfast, we drive to the prosperous and picturesque midland to Konni village (You may have to wait near a railway cross), at the backdrop of forest. Spend time with elephants at a shelter   camp.  Elephants are integral part of Kerala culture. It is the State animal and is featured on the State’s emblem. Pageant of caparisoned elephants accompanied with percussions   is the high-light of all temple festivals in Kerala.

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. Also, it is considered as one of the auspicious item that brings prosperity in house. Visit the mirror makers and inspire them. The ancient temple of Krishna, Snake boat building, the mural art, the school of traditional architecture are the other high lights of this old village of heritage value.

On your return, we will be passing by small plantations of rubber, banana and tropical trees, sawmills beautiful houses of contemporary design and traditional architectural elements, small and prospering townships.  Lunch will be arranged at a local house of beautiful architecture, located on the bank of Pampa, the holy river of natives. The host will talk about the art of Snake boat building and the ritualistic annual regatta in Aranmula.

Drive back to Changankari. After refreshment,   cruise through Thakazhi enjoying the picturesque and serene villages along, 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 take a leisurely walk to the beach. Return to boat. After dinner retire for the night.

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

Day 14: Backwater Cruise – Excursion to Karumadi Village

Today we will have early breakfast and take a short drive to visit an ancient scared grove where serpents are worshipped. This is the only temple in Kerala having   female priests. You can take walk inside and see the rituals going on. Return to Thottappalli. We have our breakfast on-board.

Honoring your cruise with us, we plant a coconut sapling for the village. Coconut tree is considered as the ‘Kalpavriksha ‘or 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 suitable for making furniture and all the dried parts of coconut make good firewood. Last but not the least, the toddy – the local alcoholic beverage that boost for the laborers after toiling in the fields.

After breakfast we arrive in a quaint village - Karumadi village.

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.

Along the way we interact with toddy tappers, who are in to the occupation of collecting the sap of coconut palm to make the local alcoholic beverage –Toddy. We learn from him the process of making toddy and   may take a sip   from his pot!

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.

Tonight we celebrate our sojourn over farewell dinner on board RV Vaikundam.

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

Day 15: Backwater Cruise – Cochin – Departure

After having a sumptuous breakfast we disembark at Punnamada in Alleppey.

We take a guided tour to experience the heritage of this ancient port town and bustling trade centre. Visit the old market, temples, churches and mosques, the beach and the oldest light house of the country.

(B)


Happy Journey