Temples and Tides - (9 Days/ 8 Nights)

Kochi - Mararikulam - Alleppey - Thekkady - Madhurai - Chennai

Namaste! Welcome to your unique experience of India.

You will be greeted by your personal tour director at the Chhatrapati Cochin International Airport. A chauffeured vehicle will escort you to your hotel as soon as you have gathered your belongings. Please make sure to relax, and take this opportunity to soak in your first sights, sounds and smells of India. Your tour director will be happy to answer any questions and points of interest along the way.

Once at the hotel, we encourage you to take a comfortable seat, or to explore the lobby while your tour director checks you in. He will then provide the details of your customized itinerary. This is a good time to agree on your next meeting time, confirm your itinerary for the following day, discuss your preferences, and address any other questions or concerns you may have!

Morning: Begin your adventure in India with a guided tour of Kochi.

Kochi holds a very special place in India’s history. Here, you will be able to see how Kochi’s ports changed the nation’s destiny. The ports in Kerala have been a part of the spice trade from as early as 2000 B.C.E. You will be able to see firsthand how the influx of culture and religion from various parts of the world got woven into the history, culture and everyday life in Kochi.

Kochi rose to prominence in the 14th century, just decades before Vasco Da Gama –the first European explorer to reach India by sea – set off on his first voyage to India. Da Gama’s journey marks the first step in the chain of events that sparked the European colonization of India!

Kochi is also home to India’s earliest Jewish settlement. Aptly, today you will have the opportunity to visit the oldest synagogue in India. As you walk in, the chandeliers will grab your attention, but don’t forget to look at the floor. It is said that each tile laid in the main hall is unique in design. When you leave, venture into the antique shops outside the synagogue, and you may find a souvenir with a story of its own.

The next stop on your city tour is the St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi was the very firs European colony in India. Listen closely to your guide as he explains the history of the church, including how the struggle for dominance among the European powers took place thousands of miles away, in Kochi.

Next, you will witness yet another instance of how international trade influenced life in Kochi. Every morning and every evening, fishermen lower Chinese nets to try and catch fresh fish. This technology was brought to India by a Chinese trader in the 14th century, and it has been used by local fishermen ever since! You will have the opportunity to see these fishing nets in action, which makes for a surprisingly captivating experience. At sunset, it is especially breathtaking. Puzzling, right? But the truth is that it is so picturesque, those very fishing nets have come to represent the city of Kochi. Make sure you have your camera ready!

Evening: This evening, you will watch a stunning Kathakali performance, a traditional Keralan dance. It is unlike any other dance form in existence, and any effort to describe it would simply not do it justice.

Ever wanted to make that delicious curry you sampled at the local Indian restaurant? Well, we’ve planned an experience for you to learn just that! We have arranged a private cooking lesson with a local chef, where you will observe how different spices interact with one another to make the delicious food for which this part of India is famous.

Food and spices are vital to India, its culture and its people, and we hope that this experience will make the perfect conclusion to your time in Kochi.

In the evening, you and your tour director will discuss your tour plans for the following day.

You will be assisted with the checkout from your hotel and will proceed to Mararikulam, a brief 1-hour drive from Kochi.Upon your arrival at the beachfront resort, you will be assisted with your check-in.

You will be at leisure to enjoy the resort amenities for the remainder of the day.

We know that your life is busy and demanding, and we have found the perfect place for you to relax, unwind and recharge before you return home.

You will have the opportunity to indulge in some early morning yoga with a guru, in addition to sumptuous Ayurvedic massages and afternoon naps on a hammock. Take advantage of your picturesque location to enjoy a lazy stroll down the endless seashore, where you can watch local fishermen reel in their fresh catch for your next meal!

Are you a fan of organic food? Do you adore your local farm­-to-­table café back home? Here at the resort, they take it to the next level. Stroll through the organic vegetable garden, pick out your own veggies for supper and then watch the chef prepare them to your liking in an open kitchen! Don’t forget to pay attention while your personal chef reveals the secrets of South Indian cooking, and make sure to savor your finger­licking meal.

You will be assisted with your check out from the hotel after an early breakfast. Next, you will proceed to your drive to Alleppey, approximately 45 minutes away. Upon arrival, you will be assisted with boarding your luxury houseboat.

Picture this: a lake, lush green scenery and palm trees as far as the eye can see. Now, imagine yourself on a hammock, in the water, in your very own, private luxury houseboat!

As you settle in and relax in your private floating villa, your personal chef will cook up delectable meals just for you! And if you love what you’re eating, you can even have a private cooking lesson from your chef.

If you think that luxury is all you’ll get from this experience, you’re in for another sensory surprise! In India, Kerala is known as “God’s own country” and you’ll find that description quite apt.

The abundant greenery around you is home to a very diverse population of birds. Early in the morning, you just have to sit outside to see some spectacular birds. See if you can spot the bright and colorful kingfishers.

Early Morning: You will be assisted with your checkout from your hotel. Next, you will proceed to your drive to Thekkady, approximately 4.5 hours. Upon arrival, you will be assisted with your check-in to the resort.

Evening: In the evening, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of befriending an elephant! You will feed the elephant, and even bathe it if you’d like. Just imagine enjoying a splash fight with an elephant! Having experienced it ourselves, we are telling the truth when we say that you will get soaked from head to toe. Sounds like something right out of The Jungle Book, right? Well, at the Elephant Junction, you can truly experience these things – and more! End your visit with a ride through the surrounding forests atop your new friend.

Take an early morning boat ride amidst the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Apart from the gorgeous views, you will enjoy watching the wildlife on the shores of Lake Periyar. This tiger reserve happens to be one of the only wild elephant refuges in all of India, and it is not to be missed. If you’re lucky, today you will have the chance to observe herds of wild elephants as they go about their daily rituals on the lake. The park has a small tiger population of tiger spread out over many acres of land, which will make any tiger sightings all the more precious. So, if you manage to spot a tiger, today is your lucky day – you might consider buying yourself a lottery ticket!

If you are looking for more adventure, the Periyar Tiger Reserve also offers a bamboo raft excursion. In addition, if you want to take a closer look at the wildlife, the park offers several different hiking options, from a three-hour walk to a two-night – three-day camping trip.

After your early morning boat ride, you will return to your hotel to freshen up and have breakfast.

Late Morning: Next, you will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of a spice plantation.

Ever wonder where the black pepper in your kitchen comes from? On this tour of a local spice plantation, you will have the opportunity to see how peppercorn grows on beautiful vines, and how the cardamom that spices your chai tea latte is grown and harvested.

After your visit to the spice plantation, you will be at leisure for the rest of the evening.

Morning: After an early breakfast, you will be assisted with your checkout from the resort. You will then proceed on your drive to Madhurai, approximately 3.5 hours away.

You will spend the rest of your day exploring one of India’s oldest living cities.

Evening: You will visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple, the epicenter of the city from both a geographic and a cultural standpoint. For centuries, this Hindu temple has served as an important place of worship in South India. As you explore the temple complex, you will notice the structure of the ancient city, which was laid out in concentric squares that radiate out from the temple.

You will then have the chance to see the temple’s ornate and colorful Gopuram, and to visit the shrines, where will you be able to witness the elaborate evening aarti.

Prior to your exiting the temple complex, ask your guide about the story of how Madhurai came to be, and how it was nearly destroyed by the wrath of a devoted wife when her husband was unjustly executed. The city’s history is laden with colorful mythology.

Morning: You can either sleep in or enjoy the facilities at your hotel.

Late Morning/Afternoon: You will be assisted with your checkout from the hotel and driven to the airport in Madhurai where you will be assisted with boarding your domestic flight to Chennai.

Upon your arrival at Chennai, you will be taken on a brief tour of the city.

Late Evening: You will be driven to the international airport in Chennai and assisted in boarding your international flight.

We hope you enjoyed your stay in India, and we wish you a safe flight home!

Included

  • Number of Nights : 8 nights
  • Daily breakfast at all your hotels.
  • All three meals on the Houseboat
  • Dinner with a local Keralan family including cooking lessons
  • Traditional dance performances at Kochi
  • Boat cruise on Lake Periyar into Periyar Tiger Reserve.
  • Bullock cart ride in Thekkady.
  • Spice Plantation visit in Thekkady
  • Wildlife park charges (Vehicle costs, Entrance fees, Naturalists)
  • English speaking local guides for the entire trip.
  • All our Guides are Licensed and approved by the Government of India.
  • Services of fully air conditioned Luxury SUV throughout your itinerary
  • Bottled Mineral Water for all your long drives including the city tours.
  • Round the clock point of contact in India (24 Hours)
  • Personal assistance with check in and check out at all your Hotels and Airports
  • All monument entrance fees (single entry) included as per the itinerary
  • All Applicable taxes

Not Included

  • Cost of Visa Application
  • International Flights. (Can be quote separately on request)
  • Personal expenses during the trip (shopping, laundry, tipping etc.)
  • Camera Fees
Note: The prices mentioned above are per person based on Double Occupancy. Single Occupancy & Group Pricing can be provided on request.
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Room Type - Air conditioned Premium
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Room Type - Deluxe Room
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Room Type - Air conditioned Premium
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
  • Room Type - Luxury room
  • Meals Included - Breakfast
  • Duration of Stay - 2 Nights
Temples and Tides  Map

WHY CHOOSE SAFFRON DREAMS

Complete Customization on Private Tours
What does that mean?
  • Each Private Tour is designed specifically for you. You can add or remove destinations based on your preferences. Are you spiritual? Add Varanasi to your trip. Would like to do tiger safaris instead? Sure! No problem!
  • Choose how you spend your time in India. We would love to learn your likes and dislikes, interests and preferences. We will try to design an itinerary full of activities that Whether you really want to witness an Indian wedding or you want to renew your vows in India at an ancient Hindu temple, whether you're a real foodie and want to try different restaurants and cuisine or you really want to learn how to make that favorite Indian curry. Tell us! We will make it happen for you.

Complete flexibility on Private Tours
What does that mean?
  • Never do what you don't want to do. Don't want to spend that extra hour looking at museum exhibits? Don't!
  • Never miss out on experiences on account of "set-in-stone" itineraries. Want to experience that once-in-a-lifetime sunrise at the Taj Mahal? You got it!
  • You set the pace of your trip. Want to wake up late during your vacation, no problems. You decide when you start your day.

Trust us for High Quality of Service
What does that mean?
  • Accommodations -

We only use hotels that adhere to our standard of service. What does that mean? We only use top rated accommodations. Hotels and resorts have to be rated a minimum of 4 stars. Palace hotels, heritage properties, boutique accommodations and home stays also have to meet our high standards on hygiene, cleanliness and service. We only use accommodations that have been experienced by us first hand.

  • Tour Guides -

We are very selective in choosing our Tour Guides. Not only do they have to have good language skills, and great in-depth knowledge of history and culture but they must be able to adjust to the preferences of each guest and make them feel comfortable. After all, our guests spend days touring India with their accompanying tour guide/director.

To enhance the experience of your trip, all our tours include 1 Accompanying Tour Guide/Director for the entire trip. Why?

  • So, you have the opportunity to build rapport and feel comfortable with the person who will take care of you while you are in India.
  • So that they can understand your interests and mold the tour to you. Knowing your likes and dislikes will allow your tour director to take you on hidden experiences along the way - making the trip uniquely yours.
  • Transportations -

Our vehicles are comfortable, spacious and always top notch. What does that mean? We only use SUVs less than 2 years old. Your comfort comes 1st.

  • Experiences -

We hand-pick the experiences that we offer to our guests. You only get a sampling of the best that India has to offer.


We're NOT a travel agency

The reason why we're able to offer this degree of flexibility to our guests is because we're not handing you off to another company in India. We have our own offices in India and we attend to every detail of your itinerary ourselves.

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