Laidback Trails of Kerala (9 Days and 8 Nights)

Thiruvananthapuram - Kovalam - Kumarakom - Marari Beach - Kochi
You will be greeted at Thiruvananthapuram Airport by our tour leader. Proceed to Kovalam (16 km, 30 minutes) for check-in at a seaside hotel. The ancient city of Thiruvananthapuram is named after the Hindu God, Shri Vishnu. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea in the west and the state of Tamil Nadu in the east. The city boasts an extensive shoreline, bestowing it with exotic beaches. Kovalam, a small locality of Thiruvananthapuram, is renowned for its beach. Initially a fishing village, it gained popularity among hippies in the early 1970s, becoming a part of their trail that extended across India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Enjoy a tranquil morning at the beach. In the afternoon, embark on a visit to the Arts and Craft Village of Kovalam. Spanning over 8.5 acres, this unique village is meticulously designed to showcase the traditional arts and crafts of Kerala. The complex encompasses museums, an amphitheatre, an art gallery, and studios for craftspeople. Inside these studios, visitors have the opportunity to observe artists engaged in their craft, providing insight into the creative process and fostering an appreciation for the effort behind each piece of arts & crafts. The final products are then available for sale, making for a perfect souvenir to carry home. Return to the hotel, where you can leisurely spend the evening at the beach. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Today's exploration includes Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Kuthiramalika Palace, Napier Museum, and The Keralam.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, an ancient monument mentioned in Hindu scriptures, has a history dating back thousands of years. While documenting a structure older than the modern calendar is challenging, consistent historical evidence traces the temple's story from 1050 AD. The present-day structure took shape under the rule of Marthanda Verma, the king of Travancore, in 1730 AD. The city was dedicated to Lord Padmanabh (Lord Vishnu), giving rise to the name Thiruvananthapuram. The temple's majestic architecture is a fusion of Dravidian and Kerala styles. While foreign nationals (non-Hindus) are not allowed inside, you can appreciate the temple's beauty from the outside.

The Kuthiramalika Palace, a two-storey modest structure near Sri Padmanabhswamy Palace, was built in 1840 AD by Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, the king of Travancore. Featuring traditional Travancore architectural style with exquisite wood carvings, the palace museum displays paintings and artefacts associated with the royal family.

The Napier Museum, a captivating cultural treasure built in the 19th century, showcases a blend of Indo-Saracenic and Gothic styles. Named after the former Madras Governor General, Lord Napier, it houses an impressive collection of historical artefacts, ancient ornaments, and traditional Kerala art.

The Keralam Museum offers a fascinating journey through the state's history, art, and traditions. Thematic displays celebrate the state's rituals, festivals, and everyday life, creating an immersive experience for visitors eager to delve into Kerala's rich tapestry of customs and traditions. Return to the hotel in Kovalam for dinner and an overnight stay.
After breakfast, you will embark on a road journey to Kumarakom (180 km, 4 hours), where you will check in at a lakeside hotel. Situated on the scenic banks of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a serene town celebrated for its captivating backwaters and verdant landscapes. Enveloped by a web of canals, lagoons, and coconut groves, Kumarakom provides a peaceful retreat amidst nature's abundance. No excursions are planned for the latter part of the day. Enjoy an overnight stay at the hotel.
You will explore the backwaters on a traditional houseboat which will gently cruise the scenic waterways. This will be combined with on foot exploration of the villages. The village tour offers glimpses of traditional homes, vibrant paddy fields, and artisans at work, providing an authentic insight into the daily routines of the villagers. Witnessing age-old crafts such as coir-making and toddy tapping adds cultural richness to the experience. Post lunch, proceed to Mararikulam (27 km, 45 minutes) and check into at a beachside resort in Marai. There won’t be any excursions over the next two days.

Nestled along the pristine shores of the Arabian Sea, Marari Beach beckons with its unspoiled beauty and tranquillity. Renowned for its golden sands, palm-fringed coastline, and crystal-clear waters, Marari offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The beach takes its name from the quaint fishing village of Mararikulam, where time seems to slow down. You can relish the simplicity of life, engaging in leisurely strolls, basking in the gentle sea breeze, and witnessing the vibrant hues of sunset over the horizon.

Leisure time at the beach. Feel free to plan your own activities.
Leisure time at the beach. Feel free to plan your own activities.
Drive to Kochi (45 km, 1.15 hours) where you will check-in at a hotel. Later in the day, you will explore the Pardesi Synagogue and Saint Francis Church. The Pardesi Synagogue, built in 1568 AD, is one of the oldest active synagogues in the Commonwealth of Nations. Adorned with exquisite hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, the synagogue showcases a unique blend of Jewish and local architecture styles. Its interior is rich with religious artefacts, including ancient scrolls and copper plates. The Pardesi Synagogue stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of diverse communities in India’s history.

Saint Francis Church in Kochi is one of the oldest European churches in India. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1503 AD, it underwent modifications by the Dutch and later the British. The church holds historical significance as the final resting place of the renowned explorer Vasco da Gama, who was initially buried here in 1524 AD. The architecture reflects a simple and charming European style, with whitewashed walls and wooden detailing.

In the evening, you will witness a magnificent dance performance of Kathakali at Kerala Kathakali Centre. The traditional Indian dance form of Kathakali is renowned for its vibrant and elaborate storytelling through dance, music, and elaborate costumes. The performances often depict mythological tales and ancient epics, with skilled artists adorned in colourful costumes and striking makeup. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Post breakfast, proceed with the check-out from the hotel. You have the option to explore Lulu Shopping Mall for any shopping preferences. Subsequently, you will be transported to Kochi International Airport, enabling you to either head home or continue your journey to the next destination. The tour concludes.
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