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Welcome to the tropical south! Arrive at Kochi International Airport in Kerala by 10am, included transfer to hotel. In the afternoon embark on a short sightseeing tour of historic Fort Kochi, highlights include the Chinese Fishing Nets, the ancient Jewish Synagogue which was built in 1567, the Dutch Palace, with its 17th Century murals of the Ramayana and St. Francis’ Church. and in the evening we watch a Kathkali Dance show, the most popular and sacred dance-drama of Kerala, which has evolved over the last 400 years.
We travel to lofty Munnar. At an altitude of 6000 feet, the tea plantations of Munnar are beautifully spread like green carpet over hundreds of kilometers and surrounded by lush green hills. Munnar is essentially a tea town which becomes obvious upon approach, as tea gardens cover the hillsides for miles. This afternoon we visit Raja Malai - the highest peak of Munnar, where you might be lucky to see Neel Thar or mountain goats. Then we explore Munnar’s tea estates and the tea museum.
After breakfast we travel to Club Mahindra for an adventurous jeep safari in the Kolukumalai Hills to visit a tea factory and learn more about the industry. Later we visit the Eravikulam National Park and Mattupetty Dam if time permits.
Today is spent driving north to Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu, arriving late afternoon the remains of the day are spent at leisure.
We travel on to Coonoor. One of the most popular hill stations of Tamil Nadu, Coonoor is beautifully located in the Nilgiri Hills or the Blue Mountains. Surrounded by tea plantations Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiris region, situated at an altitude around 6000 feet it has a cooler, mild climate and is popular as a weekend getaway. In the afternoon visit the picturesque Botanical Gardens and Dodabetta Peak, the highest known peak in the region.
We visit the beautiful tea and coffee plantations of Ooty and the Rose Gardens. The tea gardens are surrounded by lush green hills covered in pine and eucalyptus forests and spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometers. Possibly the highlight of the day is a wonderful joy ride on the charming Toy Train from Ooty to Coonoor. Negotiating the Blue Mountain Railway line the blue and cream steam livery chugs from Mettupalayam to Otty via Coonoor, negotiating 16 tunnels, 31 major bridges and climbing to 2193 metres.
Next stop on our journey is Wayanad, a hill district, which is one the most beautiful regions of Ooty, situated 70km east of Kozhikode, with its tracts of forest covering the western flanks of the Nilgiris. Wayanad is renowned for its plantations of tea, coffee and cocoa, verdant jungle and the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary where large herds of elephants roam. Tours of the tea and coffee plantations can be arranged upon request. Wayanad is also famous for other crops grown in the region from black pepper, ginger and turmeric to rubber and vanilla.
We go in search of animals in Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary on a 3 hour jeep ride and visit the fascinating pre-historic Edakkal Caves. Inside the caves are drawings believed to be from neolithic man and are the only stone carvings in southern India.
After breakfast we drive to Karipur and transfer to Calicut International Airport in Kerala. Please Note: Flights departing Calicut should be booked after 12 noon.
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