Onam Festival - 09N/10D

Cochin – Periyar – Madurai – Kovalam – Trivandrum – Backwaters – Cochin

Overview

Onam Festival starts with flower decoration (flower carpet) in front of Hindu houses, Thiruvonam, is the most auspecious day and the flower decoration takes place in a large scale. The festival commemorates the return of Lord Mahabli, the methological King who once ruled Kerala. This imaginary annual visit of Mahabali to mee his people is celebrated by Keralites. Children go to the neighborhood to collect flowers to make floral carpet to adorn their courtyard. On Thiruvonam day, a very delicious feast is prepared (Ona Sadya), besides wearing new clothes. The last day (Thiruvonam), is celebrated in all temples all over Kerala.

In Trivandrum, the celebrations start from two days prior to Thiruvonam and continue for one week. These celebrations include cultural programmed like Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kaikottikali, folk dances, flower carpet etc from late afternoon till late night.

Arrival Cochin International Airport, Cochin
Languages English, Spanish, German, Italian, French
Highlights
  • Visit the Chinese Fishing Nets and many more as per itinerary.
  • Visit to Spice plantation garden, Periyar National Park and Boat ride on Periyar Lake.
  • Guided tour of Madurai including temples, Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Meenakshi Temple and Evening ceremony at Meenakshi Temple.
  • Enjoy the Onam festival in Trivandrum
  • Enjoy day cruising or houseboat on the Backwaters in Kovalam.
  • Visit the Chinese Fishing Nets, St. Francis Church, the Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch Palace and Kathakali Dance in Cochin.

Tour Map

Tour Itinerary

  • Day 01: Cochin Arrival

    On arrival in Cochin, you will be greeted and escorted by India Holiday Mall's executive to your Hotel.

    On arrival at hotel check in. (Room will be available from 1400 Noon)

    Cochin, Cochin has long been eulogized in tourist literature as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Its location between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and Kerala’s emerald backwaters, its rich medley of Indian and foreign architecture, it’s truly unusual sights like the Chinese fishing nets and its quaint quiet localities like the Jewish Quarters demand the attention of all who travel to Kerala. Set on a cluster of islands and a peninsula, Cochin (now, Kochi) is a blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village. Cochin remained incomplete in terms of success till the arrival of the Portuguese. It is believed that the Cochin district came into existence in the year 1102 AD after the breakup of the Khulasekhara Empire.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 02: Cochin– Periyar

    After breakfast drive to Periyar

    PERIYAR - Periyar National Park is situated in the hills of the Western Ghats. The centrepiece of Periyar National park is the 5,500-hectare Periyar lake formed by the construction of a dam on the Periyar river in 1895. The dam submerged low-lying forest whose dead tree trunks still jut out of the waters. Along the fringes of the lake are marshy areas with tall grasslands. This is one of the richest habitats of large mammals, as it provides both excellent cover and nourishment in the form of succulent shoots and grasses. Periyar is a veritable paradise of elephants. Herds of playful wild elephants can be seen near the Periyar lake, their favorite haunt for frolicking in the water.

    On arrival check-in to hotel, afternoon visit Spice plantation garden and boat ride:

    Spice Plantation Tour
    Enjoy a fascinating and informative visit to several neighboring spice plantations as well as smaller-scale spice gardens whose owners are proud on their adaptation of organic farming methods, including the use of methane gas produced from cow dung to provide energy for their household needs. This visit enables you to get understanding of how the spice used in everyday cooking throughout the world are grown, harvested, and processed before they find their way to your local supermarket. The visit also provides you with a firsthand idea on the wonderful world of spices and its history, cultivation, medicinal values, economics, etc.

    Boat ride on Periyar Lake:
    Boat ride in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady. It is an example of nature's bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 777 Sq .km., Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India.Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamb.Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary.Today the Periyar lake presents an excellent boating spot for tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water's edge. The upper deck is best for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise, but better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 03: Periyar - Madurai

    After breakfast drive to Madurai

    MADURAI – Legend says that once Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of King Kulasekhara Pandya. The King was amazed to see drops of nectar or madhu falling down on the Earth from Lord Shiva's matted hair. The "madhu" was so sweet that the place where it fell came to be known as Madhurapuri, which in course of time became "Madurai." Madurai is also called the Athens of the East. It is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu and lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. The city is widely known as the Temple City, and is often also referred to as The City of Four Junctions (Koodal Maanagar), The Cultural Capital of Tamil Nadu (Kalaachaara Thalainagar), The City of Jasmine (Malligai Maanagar), The City That Never Sleeps (Thoonga Nagaram), and The City of Festivals.

    On arrival check-in to hotel, rest of the day at leisure

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 04: Madurai

    After breakfast enjoy city tour of Madurai including following monuments:

    Tirumalai Nayak Mahal
    The palace (or Mahal) was built by Thirumalai Naicker, the greatest of Nayakkar kings of Madurai. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from 1545 till 1740, after the Pandya kings. The palace is the place where Thirumalai Naicker lived and held his court. The palace complex area was originally four times bigger than it is now, consisting of two portions – Swarga vilasa and Ranga vilasa. There were also other portions like the palace shrine, harem, theater, royal band stand, armory and other structures which were used to accommodate palanquins, royal chariots, relatives, servants, guests and other regal paraphernalia.

    Meenakshi Temple
    This temple is nearly 2000 years old placed in the heart of the old town-a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak. There are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 meters. The Potrama Raikulam or the Golden Lotus Tank is the place where the Tamil literacy society, called Sangam used to meet to decide the merits of the work presented to them. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty. (It remains closed from 1200 hrs till 1530 hrs).

    Evening ceremony at Meenakshi Temple
    Evening again visit the Meenakshi Temple to attend the evening ceremony known as 'Bedtime of the God'. A colourful procession, in which the image of Shiva is carried accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests from his shrine. Enroute Shiva visits the other deities before entering Parvati's (Meenakshi) temple to sleep with her for the night. This ceremony is worth witnessing.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 05: Madurai – Kovalam

    After breakfast drive to Kovalam, on arrival check-in to hotel

    In the evening walk to the nearby flower decorated temple to witness Onam festival

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 06: Kovalam

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Full day at leisure on the beach. (No transport foreseen)

    Overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 07: Kovalam – Trivandrum – Kovalam

    After breakfast day excursion to Trivandrum to witness the Onam Festival

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 08: Kovalam – Backwaters

    After breakfast, drive to Alleppey to board the houseboat for overnight on the backwaters.

    BACKWATERS - Kerala is undoubtedly blessed with a unique feature called the backwaters. Backwaters are formed by the accumulation of sea water at the beach. As the waves moved to and fro, they made their way tearing the ground and forming backwaters. The backwaters are essentially inland lakes connected by a network of canals. The best way to enjoy the Kerala backwaters is to take a cruise on a Kettuvallam.

    Lunch on House Boat, rest day at leisure on house boat
    Dinner & Overnight on board.

  • Day 09: Backwaters - Cochin

    After breakfast, disembark from houseboat and drive to Cochin

    On arrival in Cochin, enjoy full day visit of Cochin including following:

    Chinese Fishing Nets
    The Chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.

    Dutch Palace
    The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.

    IMP: It remains closed on Fridays. Timings for the visit: 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs.

    Jewish Synagogue
    The synagogue, built in 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

    IMP: It remains closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Timings for the visit: 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs and from 1500 hrs to 1700 hrs.

    St. Francis Church
    It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the church has been clearly marked out.

    Kathakali Dance
    Kathakali Dance Performance. Kathakali is a traditional danceform of Kerala and the impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves will leave one spellbound.

    Overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 10: Cochin - Trivandrum

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    In time transfer to Trivandrum airport to connect flight for onward destination

    IMP: Room will be available until 1200 Hrs

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