Culture & Food of Kerala
Embrace the unique diversity
Embrace the unique diversity
Day 1: Mangaluru Arrival; To Udupi
Arrival in Mangalore airport. Meet and greet with Santos King representative and transfer to resort in Udupi, an ancient temple city in the Karnataka state notable for its age-old Krishna Mutt and serene beaches. Day at leisure. Overnight stay at Udupi.
Udupi cuisine forms an important part of the cuisine of Karnataka which adheres strictly to the Satvik tradition of Indian vegetarian cuisine, using no onions or garlic. The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi. Saaru, a spicy pepper water, is another essential part of the menu, and so are jackfruit, colocasia leaves, raw green bananas, mango pickle, red chillies, and salt.
Day 2: To Bekal
Morning transfer to beach resort at Bekal, part of the Kasargod district, renowned as the land of Gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. Evening visit to the historical Bekal fort, the largest fort in Kerala. Overnight stay at Bekal.
Day 3: To Kannur
Today we will drive down to Kannur, formerly known as Cannanore and popularly known as the land of Loom and Lore, because of the loom industries functioning in the district and ritualistic folk arts held in temples. Check-in to resort. In the evening we will watch 'Theyyam'. Overnight stay at Kannur.
Theyyam also known as Kaliyattam, is a ritual dance popular in North Kerala. Theyyam incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors. Theyyam is performed in front of shrines, sans stage or curtains, by persons belonging to the Vannan, Malayan and other related castes. The headgear and other ornamental decorations are spectacular in sheer size and appearance.
Day 4: To Kozhikode
Morning drive to resort in Kozhikode (Calicut), earlier known as the "City of Spices". Vasco da Gama landed on its shores in 1498, catapulting the region to global fame. Later we will go for a sightseeing tour of Kozhikode covering the beaches and the popular snacks of the Mappila cuisine. Overnight stay at Kozhikode.
Malabar cuisine or Mappila cuisine is a reminder of the Mughal-Arab cultural influence in North Kerala and is an ample insignia of the Islamic cultural influence in the region. The popular dish "Thalassery Biriyani", a rice-based dish blended with spices and chicken, "Kozhikode Halwa", a famous Kerala style wheat halwa and the traditional evening snacks are all part of the Mappila cuisine. The snacks include Chatti Pathiri, Irachi Pathiri, Unnakkaya, Kallummakkay, Samosa, Poricha pathiri, Cutlet, Mutta mala and Pinjanathappam, Mutta surka and Pazham nirachathu.
Day 5: To Thrissur
Morning drive to Cheruthuruthy to visit the Kerala Kalamandalam, a major centre for Kathakali training and other performing art forms like Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, Ottamthullal and Nangiarkoothu. Then we will proceed to the the temple town of Guruvayur and visit the Elephant Camps at Anakotta or Punathurkotta. Later you will be transferred to resort at Thrissur, the 'Cultural capital of Kerala'. Overnight stay at Thrissur.
Day 6: To Cherai
Today we will drive down to the resort in Cherai, a picturesque beach located on the north end of Vypeen island. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Cherai.
Day 7: To Fort Kochi
Half day sightseeing tour of the island of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry covering the historic sites and the exquisite cuisines. In the evening we will watch Kathakali performance in the theatre. Overnight stay at Cherai.
Kathakali, the classical art form of Kerala is a spectacular blend of dance, drama, mime and song and is over 300 year old. One of the most exotic of the India's performing arts, Kathakali demands years of rigorous training and lays great emphasis on complex body movements and facial expressions. Therefore oil massages and a separate folio of exercises for the eyes, lips, cheeks, neck and the body form an integral part of the training, aiming at making the body supple.
In addition to postures, movements and facial expressions the Kathakali artiste narrates his story through hand gestures or mudras. There are twenty four basic mudras in Kathakali, some of them having upto thirty or forty interpretations. The Kerala Kalamandalam is the most renowned centre for Kathakali training besides others like Margi.
Day 8: To Athirappilly
Today we will go for a drive to Athirappilly, the largest waterfall in Kerala and nicknamed "the Niagara of India". The scenic beauty of the Athirappilly falls has been used as a location for several films. Transfer to resort. Day at leisure. Evening visit to Athirappilly and Vazhachal falls. Overnight stay at Athirappilly.
Day 9: To Valparai
Drive to Valparai in the Annamalai hills of the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu where you can enjoy the presence of many streams, tea gardens, valleys, waterfalls, high mountains, grass lands, flora and fauna. There is a high chance of spotting wild animals crossing the road in this scenic route. Transfer to resort. Overnight stay at Valparai.
Day 10: To Munnar
Today, we will re-enter Kerala crossing the wildlife sanctuary of Chinnar and the sandalwood forests of Marayoor which is also known for its vast sugarcane farms. We will arrive at our resort in Munnar, a popular hill station of Kerala filled with manicured tea plantations. Overnight stay at Munnar.
Day 11: In Munnar
Full day sightseeing tour of Munnar covering the Tea Museum, Mattupetty Lake and Dam, Echo Point, Kundala Lake, Blossom Garden and Rajamalai known for the endangered species Nilgiri Tahr. Overnight stay at Munnar.
Day 12: To Thekkady
Morning drive to the wildlife reserve of Thekkady through the scenic spice trails in the Western Ghats. Enroute we will visit Spice Garden where you can see various spices and herbs growing. Day at leisure. Overnight stay at Thekkady.
Day 13: In Thekkady
Early morning boating at the Periyar Lake to see the wild animals. Rest of the day at leisure. In the evening we will watch Kalaripayattu in the theatre. Overnight stay at Thekkady.
Kalaripayattu, the martial art form of Kerala is regarded as the oldest and most scientific of its kind in the world. The word kalari first appears in Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena. The word kalari tatt denoted a martial feat, while kalari kozhai meant a coward in war. Training in combat is given at the Kalari (training school) which aims at the ultimate co-ordination of the mind and body.
Day 14: To Kumarakom
Morning drive to the picturesque Kumarakom, set in the backdrop of the serene Vembanad lake. Kumarakom is also known for the traditional toddy shops. Kottayam district is popular for Syrian Christian Cuisine. Overnight stay at Kumarakom.
Shap food is the authentic food served in the toddy shops in Kerala. Toddy or palm wine is a mild alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm and coconut trees. Toddy is served in clay pots and the well-flavoured curries served are known for their tanginess and spiciness. Appams, mashed Tapioca, Fish curry, Crab curry, Mussels fry, Pearl Spot baked in banana leaf, Frog leg curry, Duck roast, spicy pickles and various delicious meat preparations are available in most of the toddy shops. The Shap food served in toddy shop is distinct from the food served in restaurants.
Syrian Christian Cuisine: Kerala Chicken stew or Nadan Kozhi curry is a traditional and popular dish of Syrian Christian community of Kerala. Other main dishes include Piralen (chicken stir-fries), Beef thoran (dry dish with shredded coconut), Sardine fish fry (Netholi), Duck roast, and Fish Molee (spicy stewed fish). This is eaten with Appam. Appams, 'Kallappams', or 'Vellayappams' are rice flour pancakes which have soft, thick white spongy centres and crisp, lace-like edges. "Meen Mulakittathu" or "Meen vevichathu" (fish in fiery red chilly sauce) is another favourite item. Njandu roast (crab roast) is also popular with the Nazrani Christians.
Day 15: To Houseboat
Transfer to Houseboat at Alappuzha where you can enjoy the scenic backwaters and Kerala rural life from close corners, while relishing on the most delightful cuisine from the Kuttanad region. The specialities are Kuttanadu duck roast and Karimeen. Overnight stay in Houseboat.
Houseboat Cuisine: The traditional food is served in Banana Leaf in the Houseboat. The Banana Leaf experience has been redefined by the traditional 'Sadya' or banquet in Kerala. All the food items are part of the local cuisine of Kuttanad region and carry a lot of significance.
The rice is grown in Kuttanad, popularly known as the 'Rice bowl of Kerala', noted for its farming below sea level. Pure coconut oil is used for cooking which enhances the taste of Kerala cuisine. A number of large water bodies and vast stretches of paddy growing in wet lands make it ideal for rearing fish and ducks other than the paddy. The Kuttanad ducks are released on paddy fields after harvest and they feed on paddy grains, wild rice, snails and small fishes and in the process enhance soil fertility through their droppings. The land owners receive duck eggs in remuneration. Similarly, the culture of fish in paddy fields which remains flooded after paddy harvest also serves as an off-season occupation and additional income to the farmers. Kuttanad region is also considered the 'tharavad' (family home) of 'Karimeen' or Pearl spot, named as the official state fish of Kerala in 2010. The natural dwelling place of Karimeen is ponds, rivers, backwaters, lagoons, reservoirs, paddy fields and low lying wet lands of Kerala.
Other food items served in houseboat - Varal fish (Banded snakehead), Kaari (Stinging Catfish), Vala fish (Belt or Ribbon fish), 'Chakka Varuthathu' (Jackfruit chips), 'Ethakka Upperi' (Banana chips), Cashew nuts, 'Manga Achar' (Mango pickle), 'Naranga Achar' (Sweet and sour Lime pickle) all come from the local cuisine of Kuttanad region.
Day 16: To Kollam
Check-out from houseboat at Alappuzha and drive down to Kollam (earlier name "Quilon") through the coastal road. Kollam, one of the leading trade capitals of the old world, is also the centre of India's cashew trading and processing industry. If you love seafood, Kollam is just the right place for you. Transfer to resort. Evening food tour at Kollam. Overnight stay at Kollam.
Day 17: To Varkala
Today we will drive down to your beach resort at Varkala, a popular destination in Kerala with a beautiful beach surrounded by red laterite cliffs, mineral water springs and the 2000 year old Janardanaswamy temple. Day at leisure to relax at the resort. Overnight stay at Varkala.
Day 18: In Varkala
Day at leisure. Overnight stay at Varkala.
Day 19: Departure
Time to say goodbye after a wonderful experience with the exotic culture and food of Kerala. Transfer to Trivandrum airport.