Spice Trail

10 Days - 09 Nights
Cochin |Alleppey |Thekkady |Rajakkad| Karaikudi | Madurai | Bombay | Chennai
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Day 01: Arrive Cochin

On arrival at Cochin airport, meet our representative and transfer to hotel.

Cochin - the Queen of Arabian Sea, where ancient civilization gracefully mingles with the modern life and had also experienced pulsating episodes of European Colonial rivalry.

Late afternoon explore the historic town of Fort Kochi on foot, steeped in history. It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets. Also visit Spice market. End your walk with a refreshing tea at Tea Pot and enjoy large variety of flavoured teas starting with plain tea and Nilgiri tea, the menu extends to chamomile, jasmine tea and cranberry tea among many others.

Day 02 Excursion to Thomas Chettans farm

An hour's drive from the City is Thomas Chettans Farm, a tropical evergreen village set amongst orchards, hard wood trees and wetland rice fields in multi tiers will greet you. The village practices an ancient farming system rooted in the cosmic rhythms based on the traditional five part calendar, the Panchangam.

For over two decades the farm has been practising organic ideals and more recently has been following a more bio-dynamic direction. The farm takes great pride in their product growing a variety of fruit, spices, such as pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, turmeric, wild hot-pepper, medicinal herbs, rice and seasonal vegetables.

Today you get the opportunity to meet with your host who will talk you through their history and farming ideologies. After spending time discovering the farm sit down for lunch with your hosts who will answer your questions over a delicious meal straight from their 'garden'. After lunch you will return to Cochin for tour of the Jew Town.

Dinner at the fort Kochi – Seafood Restaurant. Described by Good Housekeeping as 'one of the most renowned seafood restaurants in India". Here, you sample the fruits of the sea; practically straight off Cochin's famous fishing nets. Choose from an array of king prawns, lobster, squid, mussels, salmon, mackerel, shark and more. Then decide on the style, whether steamed, grilled, baked or poached or any way you like. Don't forget to try it in the local styles too, seasoned with a mouth watering array of spices and pickles. This is freshness in a delectable incarnation.

Overnight in Cochin.

Day 3 Cochin to Houseboat

This journey is considered to be one of the best attractions. The houseboat is fully furnished with single/double bedrooms, sun deck, and a kitchen. It also comprises a chef, Oarsmen & cabin assistant. Enjoy the panoramic views of paddy fields, narrow canal, cruise through Vembanad Lake, Visiting Rani Chithira Marthanda R Block, Pallikayal, Irumbanam Narrow cannal, Pallathuruhty River. Cooking lesson with the cook on board while he prepares the dinner.

Day 04 Cochin to Alleppey

Check out after breakfast and drive to Alleppey town to join the Preserve Alleppey tour. The Preserve Alleppey Project was started by the Lion Ladies Club of Alleppey in 2000. The realization that there was an urgent need to preserve the character of the town was the motivating factor. It starts s with a presentation of the history and unique features of the town and ends at the Society's gallery where light refreshments are served. It is partly driving and walking through the Gujarati quarter, the canal banks and an old wholesale market with a guide. Lunch: By special request, the Preserve Alleppey Society can organise lunch in members' homes. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy an authentic Kerala meal, featuring local tropical produce. Lunches also provide visitors an opportunity to visit a home, meet with Alleppey residents and to learn about each others lives. Later drive to Purity.

Overnight at Purity.

Day 05 Alleppey to Thekkady

Drive to Thekkady en-route lunch at Plantation Bungalow. Trek through acres of rubber, coffee, pineapple and spices, watch rubber being tapped, coffee beans being picked - in fact, a plantation at work. Learn from the experts at work the various stages of processing sap into commercial grade rubber, brewing aromatic coffee and cultivating spices and tropical fruits. Walk deep into the plantation, and you'll chance upon a tree-house. It will give you a bird's eye view of the surrounding areas! Sample the best of authentic Kerala cooking, as made in traditional Syrian Christian homes. Lunch will be served on the large front lawn. Savour the flavours of estate life clustered around tables in little groups of 4 or 5, under a large mango tree, surrounded by birdsong, gentle breeze and friendly conversation.

Day 06 In Thekkady.

After breakfast set out to visit -The Spice Park at Puttady, meant for Cardamom (Small) and Pepper. All the Spices Park will have processing facilities at par with international standards in which the produces could undergo cleaning, grading, sorting, grinding, packing, warehousing etc. Spices Park will also render educative services to the farming/trading community. It provides training programmes on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), post harvest operations, advanced processing practices and global food safety and quality standards and issues etc. Return to Hotel for lunch. Late afternoon visit Connemara tea Factory. Late evening a lesson in Tribal cooking.

Day 07 Thekkady to Rajakkad Estate

Drive to Rajakkad estate from Thekkady en-route stop at Harvest farms. Set in the heart of the serene Cumbum Valley, Harvest Fresh Farms is flanked by mountains that kiss the clouds with streams gushing down its slopes and lush farmlands. A charming bullock cart ride takes the visitor to the organic farm that grows pomegranates as it chief harvest along with papaya, grapes and an apiary that produces the finest honey. The farm is also home to cows, geese, turkey, flying ducks and a flock of hens. A well laid out vegetable garden and an herbal garden ensures that there is fresh produce at all times in the kitchens.

Later Check in at Rajakkad.

Rajakkad is a wonderful place in which to while away the hours reading, listening to bird songs and doing as little as possible lying in a hammock. However thanks to the pleasant climate all year round [the air at this elevation is refreshingly and reasonably cool], we do have a number of excursions to offer you accompanied by our estate guide: walks up the river through rocky gorges, beneath the spreading canopy of the trees and over escarpments with views in all directions; visits the nearby coffee plantations and the surrounding hills with waterfalls and quiet pools where one can swim and enjoy total peace. Picnics can be arranged to any number of the many different places that makes this world so enchanting.

Day 08 Rajakkad estate to Chettinadu

From Rajakkad Estate to Chettinadu -The Bangala Karaikudi. Davour the sensory delights of the rich and ancient culture ofTamilnadu- where the hospitality is as warm as the weather and the cuisine just as spicy. Experience every nuance of the Chettiar's lavish life style in a heritage stay t hat is true to the tradition. Welcome to the Bangala. Every meal here is an elaborate affair running into several courses resembling a typical chettinad wedding feast. There is no standard menu- everyday a fresh menu is drawn out and you can simply lean back and let the culinary expedition take over. One is lucky to eat like a Chettiar, they say in South India. Chettiar food is a feast for the gourmet. With a generous dose of pepper and not chilli, making it spicy but not hot. The spicing is subtle and its secret is the "instinctive hand" of the "Achi", dumping a handful of this and a pinch of that in the masala leading the taste buds on a journey of intrigue and delight. Late afternoon bullock ride through the streets to Kanadukatan. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Day 09 Karaikudi to Madurai

Morning Drive to Madurai, the temple town known for Meenakshi temple. You also witness the evening Pooja ceremony at the temple and also visit famous tailors market and local bazaar.

Day 10 Madurai to Mumbai OR Chennai.

Leisurely morning and then you can fly off to Chennai OR Mumbai for onward journey.