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The Spice Country and Lake Tour

Day 1: On Arrival at Mumbai International Airport you are met by our representative and transferred to your pre- reserved hotel. After settling down and lunch we take you on a half day tour of this vibrant city which seems to never sleep. Mumbai's imposing skyline is recognizable from the sea by the ancient architecturally delightful frontage of the Taj Mahal Hotel. Visit Malabar Hill, offering a panoramic view of Marine drive & Chowpatty Beach , Prince of Wales Museum , Dhobi Ghat, Gateway of India and drive through the Crawford market, Marine drive & Flora Fountain. Return to your hotel for the night.

Day 2 : Catch the early morning flight to Trivandrum (Thiruvanthanapuram) a port city with some of the most beautiful beaches in the west coast of India. Transfer to your beach side hotel at Kovalam Beach and check in. Spend your day at leisure on the golden beaches just outside your hotel or take a short city tour to the palace of Maharaja Travancore and the palaces of Dowdier and Kanakakunnu. Have lunch at a typical Kerala restaurant offering a variety of curries, stews and vegetables. Wander around the narrow streets of Chalai Market selling fresh vegetables. Here you can also shop for some knick-knacks before returning to your hotel for the night.

Day 3: Today is a leisurely day. Laze around the beach and watch the fisherman bring in their catch of the day. Wander around the numerous handicrafts shops and shacks and later rejuvenate with an oil bath and an Ayurvedic massage. Return to your hotel after a relaxed day.

Day 4: After driving to Kollam we board a 'Kettuvallom' or traditional houseboat for a short backwater cruise where we indulge in a delectable breakfast. These graceful boats plying the backwaters of Kerala were traditionally used for transportation of merchandise primarily rice from the interior villages to the towns. Today these are tastefully furnished houseboats using eco friendly material like bamboo, coir and coconut fiber, gliding across captivating waterways passing occasional tiny villages skirted by paddy fields and swaying palms. All the while enjoy the pleasant sensation of the cool backwater breezes soothing you. We stop at the beautiful Kumarakom bird sanctuary with its numerous migratory birds. Later you are treated to a typical Kerala dinner on board the boat.

Day 5: From here we drive to the hills of Thekkady (130 Kms) one of the India's most important spice regions. Walk around dense fragrant plantations of black pepper and cardamoms before visiting the Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary known for its exotic wild life. We take you on a boat cruise on the Periyar Lake where you get to see herds of elephant frolicking on the rover banks. Visit a tribal village where time seems to have stood still and later check into your pre-reserved jungle lodge ethnically decorated with artefacts and relics.

Day 6: From here we drive north to the ancient cultural capital of Kerala the small town of Trissur. Check into your pre-reserved hotel and visit the architecturally pleasing Vadakkumnathan Temple one of the oldest in the state. Then we head to the Town Hall housing s rich collection of Kerala murals. Later we pay a visit to the Lord Krishna Temple at Guruvayur the richest temple in Kerala where you get see the Large Elephant House where more than forty tuskers used for festivals and other occasions, reside. Return to your hotel for the night.

Day 7 : Drive to the port city of Cochin and check into your hotel in time for lunch. Once a busy sea port doing brisk trade with the Arabs and Europeans today Cochin boasts of a natural Harbour and is one of the busiest ports in the country. It remains a major spice trading centre besides a place where you can shop for fine handicrafts and cottons. The places we visit include the ornate Dutch Palace, the Ancient Jewish Synagogue and the Kerala History Museum. Return to your hotel for the night.

Day 8: Today after a leisurely breakfast we go on to visit two of the oldest and finely built churches in the country - St Francis Church and Santa Cruz Basilica within Fort Cochin with its numerous ancient buildings and bungalows displaying a grand fusion of Dutch, Portuguese and British architecture. Also get to see the large Chinese Fishing Nets brought back in the 15 th century by a traveller to China and which are still in use. After a momentous day we return to your hotel for the night and a typical Kerala fish dinner.

Day 9: Day at leisure to await your Mumbai flight leaving in the evening. On arrival we check you in to your hotel.

Day 10: Day free to shop around for handicrafts and other knickknacks before returning to your hotel. Normally International flights leave late at night or very early in the morning just after midnight. We drive you to the airport for the flight to your next destination.

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