|Athirapally Falls: A dream destination for travellers visiting Kerala
26 Apr 2018
Heading Kerala-side? Overwhelmed by the sheer number of places to choose from? We'll help you get started.
Prepare to be amazed
Step aside Niagara, because India has its own water giant. Meet Athirapally - a breath-taking creation of nature that continues to mesmerise the tens of thousands of travellers and tourists who set their sights on it. Irrespective of whether you're traveling solo, or have carefully planned a romantic honeymoon or booked a tour package with your family, Athirapally truly has something for travellers of all ages.
The fact that this place served as a backdrop for the Indian magnum opus Baahubali, is testament to its sheer beauty and undeniable presence.
Athirapally waterfall is situated 60km away from Thrissur district of Kerala. Perhaps the most popular waterfalls in Kerala and fondly referred to as the Niagara of India, Athirapally features a massive flow of water gushing over boulders and rocks, to drop over eighty feet in three spectacular plumes.
From good to better
During monsoons, the spectacle takes a form of its own when the water rages furiously shaking the very ground that you're watching it from.
If you think you'll be the only person brave enough to venture close, think again. The sheer beauty of the place has attracted quite a few developers to construct luxury resorts and restaurants around the area.
Taking birth in the upper reaches of the Western Ghat Mountains, the Chalakudy River flows for about a hundred miles before it reaches the dense Vazhachal forest. It has a unique ecosystem filled with vibrant biodiversity. The teak and bamboo forests are home to Asiatic elephants, tigers, leopards, bison, sambar, lions, tailed Macaques and numerous species of fresh water fish.
Teeming with life
Four species of Hornbills endemic to South India, the Great Hornbill, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, and Indian Grey Hornbill co-exist beside the Kadars, the Malayars, the Muthuvars and Mannars - the forest dwelling tribes who have made the forests of Athirapally their home.
The perfect balance
Athirapally is almost a dream-like confluence of land, air and water. While the mighty waterfall takes the spotlight, the fresh air surrounding the area is filled with stimulating aromas of herbs and trees that should keep you recharged for days on end, long after your journey has ended. The lush greenery enclosing the waterfall hides within it several tiny trails that make for a refreshing trek through nature's best offering. For the truly adventurous, there is also an option to wander off the beaten path through the thick jungles with the help of a guide.
Come night time, the place takes on a different dimension. Gone are the bustling crowds and the chatter of birds. A spine-tingling roar of crickets floods the surroundings as the creatures of the dark come alive. This, coupled with the ever-present rumble of the waterfall, makes for an ethereal experience.
The surprises never stop
Just when you thought you've seen it all, Athirapally holds within it some more memorable places and sights. Places like the Ezhattumugham rope way, Vazhachal falls, Charpa falls and Marayoor forest make for a fulfilling travel destination for families planning a trip to Kerala.
Ezhattumugham ropeway is a hanging suspension bridge which provides a spectacular view of the water swirling below and into the distance between Forest Mountains.
Vazhachal Falls, administered by the Vazhachal Forest Department, is located 5 km downstream from the falls at Athirappally.
Charpa falls is a relatively small waterfall and is a popular stopover for tourists.
Marayoor is a natural sandalwood reserve that will embrace you with its soothing fragrances as you pass through it. Here you will also get to see ancient dolmens (burial chambers) and cave paintings that can be dated to the Stone Age.
The scenic drive to Marayoor is a feast for the eyes, featuring imposing mountains, dense forests, quaint hamlets, untouched brooks, tiny patches of waterfalls, luminous paddy fields and grasslands.
Athirapally: A trip to remember
Athirapally should be on the list of must-visit places for people planning a trip to Kerala as the space evokes a perfect mixture of peace, excitement, calmness and rejuvenation in every individual, quiet and away from all hustle and bustle of city life.
06 January 2018
Munnar’s resplendent beauty lies in its many hills, tea plantations, coffee estates and just the overall magnificence of the mighty Western Ghats. At a chilly yet comfortable altitude of 1600 m above sea level, Munnar sees flocks of travellers throughout the year, swarming in to the hilltops for that perfect photograph or just laying on the slopes for the sun and the moon. The colours of Munnar are primarily Green except for a certain few months of this year. It is when these aforementioned slopes are garlanded with composites of Blue and graces the grasslands of the Munnar like an artist on a canvas.
An occurrence of once every twelve years, the blooming of the Neelakurunji or Strobilanthes Kunthiana , as botanists would say, is a natural phenomenon that can be witnessed during the months of July to October 2018. The event happened many years ago in 2006 and it can be said, in good reason, that Neelakurunji in 2018 will be a sight to behold. The Purple Blue haze that will be engulfing the hilltops have always evoked poetic emotions in many. While some wrote on how the blooming of the flower is similar to womanhood, others simply referred to the classic and undying togetherness of two souls.
Some of the best ways on how to see Neelakurunji flowers would be to get assistance from local guides through our Munnar tour packages. The Neelakurunji in Munnar, Kerala is widely regarded as the one of the most remarkable occurrences in the history of the state. The state has been blessed to have been able to parent this phenomenon of every twelve years, one that is both captivating and unmissable, one which paints the Kerala’s boon in full splendour.
|10 reasons why you shouldn't miss visiting India for anything else in the world
04 November 2016
India is a land of diversities. In fact, it is a nation which celebrates its innumerable diversities. Everybody has a place in this wonderous nation; it accommodates everything and everyone with the same spirit within - ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ (Guest is God).
Here’s presenting you, 10 reasons why you mustn’t never, ever postpone or cancel your trip to India for anything else in the world.
1. The People
The people of India are as varied as it can get in terms of language, culture, religion, ethnicity and all. But when it comes to hospitality, nothing can beat their unity. In rural India, you’ll find people who would gladly share their food and shelter with you (for free) even though you don’t speak their language at all.
2. The 29 states
There are 29 states and 7 union territories in India, each with its own unique attributes, ways of living and cultural practices (note the plural). From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, you experience places and locales that are unique and appealing, everywhere in the country.
3. The food
No matter what kind of food choices you follow in life, you have plenty to choose from in India. Even though there is a generic motion that most Indians are vegetarians, there is a healthy mix actually. The number of choices will itself leave you flabbergasted. Once you tasted the best, there’s no going back, unless you are looking for a second helping!
4. The Mountains
From the mighty Himalayas to the Western Ghats, there are many mountain ranges across the nation. From snow-capped giants to evergreen forests, these forests are home to thousands of species of flaura and fauna, some of them, very rare even. A serene mountain hike through one of the peaks or hills will give you an exhilarating, most calming experience.
Kerala is a tiny State in the southern-most part of the Indian peninsula. This place is a true touristic paradise and is known around the world as ‘God’s own country’. From beaches to hill-stations, from forts to religious sites, from evergreen forests to lush paddy fields, Kerala is a land of wonders. The living quality of people is also much higher than the rest of India. The locale is known for its tourist friendly spaces and extremely pleasant people.
6. The rivers/lakes
Some of the oldest, historically important and mightiest water bodies of the world are in India. From Sindhu, Ganga, and Brahmaputra in the north to Krishna, Godavari, and Kaveri in the south, there are plenty of rivers, lakes, backwaters, lagoons etc in India. Some of the backwaters are absolute tourist pleasures with great facilities, activities and water rides. The houseboat cruises available in the backwaters of Kerala and lakes of Kashmir are experiences that one shouldn’t miss at all!
7. The history
The story of modern human settlements begins with the Indus Valley Civilization in India, which was around 3,000-4,000 BC. From then on India has seen great empires, invasions, colonial rule and more. Relics of all these are still found in the nation and for people who love history, India offers a lot. India is a nation which takes pride in its rich history and a visit to the region will make you feel so as well.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest medicinal practices of the world. Founded on the principles of cure with nature, it is said to be the safest treatment style available. Combined with yoga, which is gaining lot of prominence all over the world, Ayurveda ensures a complete healthy lifestyle. There are many ayurvedic wellness centres and spas all across India, providing wholesome body wellness packages and leisure.
9. The spirituality
India is home to numerous religions and spiritual practices. The birth of some of the most influential religions of the world happened here, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The influence of all these religions and the ones which came from other nations (Islam, Christianity etc) is evident in the society. Spiritual and religious shrines are abundant and tourists can experience the glory of all of it while visiting India.
10. The sense of adventure/chaos
India is a place which will give you a lot of adventurous experiences. No, it is not just the numerous adventure activities at various tourist spots. India itself is an adventurous, chaotic experience. The country will be like none other you have visited so far in your life. India is indeed, the ultimate tourist destination. Do not miss the experience for anything else in your life.
|Kerala Tour Packages launches a unique Kerala -Tamil Nadu travel experience
26 February 2016
Kerala Tour Packages, a leading tour operator based in Kerala, launches a 28-day tailor made holiday spanning most tourism destinations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Starting from Chennai and finishing in Cochin, this package is touted to be one of the most extensive and exclusive tour programs in South Indian tourism industry. The package includes hotels, homestays, travel arrangements and all necessary assitance across the destinations.
The tour commences with the guests’ arrival at Chennai where personnel from Kerala Tour Packages recieves them and briefs them the itinerary and other necessay details regarding the destinations and travel arrangements. The guides also provide an overview of the culture and practices that govern the locale so that the guests familiarize themselves and understand the major cultural differences within Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The package is designed in such a way that the guests feel as close to the beautiful landscapes as the local folk do – a feeling of home away from home.
“For people who consider travelling as a tool for building bridges between people and communities, this tour becomes a great, inspiring experience with the right kind of bonds being formed as you travel through Tamil Nadu and Kerala, day by day,” says Mr.Anish Kumar, CEO of The Travel Planners
Destinations and More
The first major destination in the package is Mahabalipura, a stellar location which is famous for its edifices of Dravidian art and architecture. The guided tour of the rock cut temples built by the Kings of Pallava Dynasty and other attractions of the region over two days will be a fresh start, claims the company.
The next leg of the tour takes guests to the beach destination Pondicherry, the erstwhile French Colony of the region, which is a prime example of mixing cultures and great architecture. Tourists get to savour the colonial ambience combined with the rich Tamil culture while being engaged in Katamaran (fishing-raft) rides, fishing, swimming, and sightseeing, before heading off to Tanjaore and Chettinadu, both heritage towns, the next destinations.
Tanjaore, once the capital of the majestic Chola Empire, is a heritage city echoing the might of Chola architechural styles and culture. The guests are given a full cultural experience of the city through its famous Brihadishwara temple, Fort, Palace, and other prominent spaces. Chettinadu, the next destination, gives a warm welcome to visitors with its hertage houses and exotic cuisine. The famed Chettinadu Home, Chettinadu Palace and the many temples of the place, proud symbols of Dravidian architecture promises to become a visual treat for tourists in the two days of their stay in the heritage town.
Madurai, the next major stop, is one of the most famous pilgrimage centers in India. The best thing about Madurai is its Meenakshi Amman Temple, which not only becomes a holy experience for visitors, but also proves itself to be an architectural marvel with its thousands of statues and carvings. The city of Madurai has a lot to offer to tourists, as it is evident by its nickname ‘Thoonga Nagaram’, which means ‘the city that never sleeps’. The Madurai experience is followed up by a grand entry to ‘God’s Own Country’, the State of Kerala, via Kovalam, its most famous beach destination.
Kovalam is famous for its pristine beaches and apart from engaging in normal beach actvities such as swimming, surfing etc., guests can also experience ayurvedic massages, rejuvenation treatments, and yoga. The capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, lies close to Kovalam and there are many tourist attractions (museums, zoo, temples, art galleries etc.) and shopping spots in this bustling city which will fill the tourist’s days with excitement and joy.
The backwater destination Alleppey is next on the list, for the guests to complete their amazing South Indian experience. Alleppey, also known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is adorned with canals, lagoons, the huge Vembanad Lake, and the presence of the Arabian Sea on one side. The lush, green locales and slices of village life so close to nature will make guests feel like never going back. The ‘Kettuvallam’ (houseboat) rides through the vast lake and canals, enjoying the culinary gems of Kerala is an experience no one forgets, as the many guests who visited the location through Kerala Tour Packages say.
This brief outline of the package is only a tiny glimpse at the tour, claims Mr. Anish. “Prepare to be overwhelmed and have perhaps the greatest time of your life,” says he.
The Passion Behind
Kerala Tour Packages is a company with 16 years of experience in the industry and boasts of impressive local connections. “It is these connections and associations which gives our tours the best local flavour and builds our reputation,” explains Mr. Anish. “We take great pride in providing the best arrangements for guests and ensures that each one of them gets a great holiday experience which will make them want to come back for more. That is the secret of our success. That is our passion. That is our way forward as well,” concludes he. Tourists out there looking for a unique South India experience, this might be your chance! More details available on http://www.keralatourpackages.com/south_india_tour/
|Hassle free travel....? Choose a reliable tour operator.....
10 December 2015
We know what you are thinking. Maybe you are very much interested in traveling to a specific place, but don’t know how to go there. This might be either because the destination of your desire is located in a remote area, and there is not much information available on it to make you feel easier.
Worry not, as we are here to serve you in the best manner.
When you don't know a place, you will find it difficult to communicate with the local community once you land at the airport. When you don't know anyone in the city and aren't fully aware of the average tariffs involved in transportation and different hotel packages, it would be a challenge for any common person.
We understand that, and therefore, we are here with all the solutions under one roof.
The Right Tour Operator- Do They Exist?
You may see all those Instagram photos and wish you too, could have resided in a luxury hotel. But at the same time, you might not want to spend too many bucks for getting hold of such a deal. Such a combined desire often seems impossible to achieve. Well, when you want such deals, there’s a way out.
Stop looking at the wrong places and instead, invest your time and attention to our blog. Here, you would get access to all the information related to your next tour package. Getting ripped off is considered to be the most common threats existing ahead of many travelers. This not only happened with you in the past but has already been experienced by many. Nevertheless, such incidents don’t happen when you choose a reliable travel agency.
The right travel agencies know how to serve their customers with the best regards. And guess what, the best tour agencies are highly reliable when it comes to taking care of your security. You wouldn’t want to end up hiring someone that won’t care if your luggage gets lost while traveling.
We understand what it feels to be a tourist. All of a sudden, your entire happiness ends up fading in the dark smoke of anxiety and frustration, especially when you misplace a bag during your tour.
Always ensure that your travel agency has the minimum decency required to run a sustainable service-oriented business. The best way to do that is to ask everything well ahead of booking your tour package. You would want all the questions correctly answered.
We recommend that you call up your travel agent and ask whether they take care of you in case of a natural disaster. And what if your trains are canceled all of a sudden due to some emergency; would your agency provide you maximum support to get hold of reliable transportation back home?
These factors matter when you choose a travel agency. After all, you all want to enjoy some quality trip.
How Can a Tour Operator help?
Which tour package would suit you? At what time do tigers come out in which specific forest section of the wildlife sanctuaries, and at which season can you get to see seasonal flowers and birds, are some of the common questions that people have in mind.
Curiosity reaches its peak when you are coming to Kerala; the land of rich resources. Here, you can see everything that is awe-inspiring. From the magnificent sea beach to the majestic jungle, from the hills to temples, from lakes to the dams, you get everything on your plate, as per your desire. There is a big reason why Kerala is regarded as the king of clean natural resources. Pollution is rare to see, and beauty is more than enough to be imagined.
Therefore, you should start packing your bags. And before you do that, find yourself a reliable travel agency or tour operator. And book your dates at the earliest. Who knows you might end up booking an ordinary agency that only eyes on gold-digging and lacks in giving service.
We understand that the tourism sector is highly demanding effective tour agencies that respect customers. You may have seen instances when you order for something, and your travel deal provider provides you something different altogether. With us, you better don't expect such a practice of making fools out of customers.
When you book everything online through a reliable travel agency, all your requirements and necessities are taken care of. Be it the booking of your traveling tickets, or rooms at your favorite hotels, arranging everything your airport transfer or booking any specific safaris, all you need is reaching out to our team, and we would take over from there.
Happy traveling, and welcome with queries if any.
|7 Reasons to Why You Must Choose a Tour Operator for Your Trip to India
28 July 2015
Let us give you seven reasons why it is preferable to choose a tour operator for your trip to Kerala, India:
- The absolute scale of the nation - India is a vast nation with a plethora of diversity in everything- locales, language, culture, cuisine, religion, traditions and many more. You might be able to manage for a while alone, but then you will get exhausted with the due process of several things. The experienced hand of a tour operator could save you from a lot of hassle and anguish, making things several times easier for you
- Your tour itinerary - To make a good itinerary and book hotels and travel accordingly is a very time consuming affair. A reputed tour operator will have good knowledge about the whole region and have worked out several ways to make the guest enjoy the best during the time of the guests’ travel and stay. You could also be getting better deals than when you do things on your own because of the contacts and business relations the operator has with various establishments.
- Experience Matters - A good tour operator would know the in’s and out’s of all places in your tour itinerary. They would know what would be the best and most comfortable options for the guests. They would know local places and spaces which otherwise you wouldn’t come to know- for example, in Fort Kochi, there is a place where Kathakali, a renowned traditional dance-drama form of Kerala, happens daily; it is not known very much otherwise, but a good tour operator would definitely know and will make necessary arrangements for you. Here is an example which proves you this http://www.keralatourpackages.com/kerala_cultural_tour/
- Being Updated - As mentioned earlier, a good tour operator would know the destinations he offers his guests in and out. They would also keep themselves updated with the various happenings around, the latest trends in tourism (to keep up with competition), the ways in which to handle a problem in case something arises etc. For example, recently a Women Empowerment Centre started near Kochi and is running successfully in their activities- there are a lot of interesting things that a tourist can engage in the centre- only a good tour operator, who is updated in the happenings of the locale, would know and include this in their itinerary.
- Nature Tourism - Kerala is a land of many forests, hills, mountains etc. A lot of these places are open for tourism, some are not, and in some there are many restrictions in place. A tour operator can give you the best trekking places, best yoga and ayurvedic rejuvenation places etc within the blink of an eye, with good monetary savings, while it would take a lot of time and energy to find these on your own.
- Knowing the pulse of the local - A tour operator would know the local pulse and flavor. They would also know the bad side of the local community, if any. For example, autorikshaws are a common mode of transport in Kerala. Many a times, it so happens that tourists are exploited in terms of fares and all buy some people. A tour operator would have good associations and wouldn’t allow such exploitation to happen, in case you choose to travel like that. It is good to have someone reliable who knows the locality with you.
- Recommendations from guests and past experiences - Let’s start with an example: There are hundreds of houseboat operators in Alleppey. An experienced tour operator would have tried and tested most of the good houseboats and will know which ones are the best according to the operator’s own experience and client feedbacks. In an industry like tourism, client feedback is very important, and they would make sure that they go according to client preferences.
Picking the right tour operator is also important- as said earlier, there are hundreds of tour operators in Kerala. To select the best one is easy if you look at the ones with the best recognitions and good customer reviews- go through many profiles like this (http://www.keralatourpackages.com/about-us/) and pick the best suited tour operator for your trip to Kerala. God’s Own Country beckons you to have a great time!
|Recommended places to visit in Kerala
11 July 2015
Poovar is a small coastal village in the Trivandrum district of Kerala state, South India. This village has a beautiful beach and backwater which attracts tourists. There you can enjoying best motor boat cruise and covers 13.5 km through Beautiful Sceneries, Mangrove forest, forest area, Golden sand Beach ½ hour, Mother Mary Statue, sea. Floating cottage stay available at Poovar Island Resort
Kovalam is a beach town by the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala, India, located around 16 km from the city centre. Kovalam is extremely popular among westerners due to shallow waters and low tidal waves. Kovalam has 3 major beaches in its 17 km coastline, known as Light House Beach, Hawa Beach & Samudra Beach. Dinner at the beach restaurant of Vivanta by Taj or seaface restaurant is advisable. Excursion to Kanakumari from Kovalam is possible in a day.
Varkala is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district situated in the Indian state of Kerala. There have enjoying beach. Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasam beach.
Kollam town, the headquarters of Kollam district and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi lake. There are also some good tourist resorts.
Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. A city with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, Alleppey, Known as the Venice of the East. There have lot of traditional houseboats of Kerala Style and cruise through the backwaters is the fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of backwaters.
Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam, in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake. Visit to Bird sanctuary and village visits are interesting activities.
Mararikulam is a beach village in the district of Alappuzha. Mararikulam is the fertile land of communism and it has a very beautiful beach which is known by the name Marari Beach or Mararikulam beach. There are also some good tourist resorts.
Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a major port city on the south west coast of India by the Laccadive Sea and is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. Here you can see the St Francis Church; the oldest Church in India, 500 year old Portuguese Houses, Chinese fishing nets, 16th century Synagogue, Jew Town and Mattancherry Palace built by Portuguese. This Palace contains some of India’s most beautiful murals. Also you can do shopping at Lulu Mall, the biggest mall in cochin.
Athirapally Waterfalls is located at the entrance of Sholayar ranges, the major host town is Chalakkudy, this waterfall is one of the major picnic spots of Kerala. Affording to the onlookers, one of the most bewitching sights, Athirapally water Falls is 80 feet high and located exactly in the forest area. Combined with the natural greenery. Beautiful waterfalls of Athirappally another one is Vazhachal located just five km apart.
Guruvayur, also written as Guruvayoor or Gurupavanapuri, is a municipal town in Thrissur District, of Kerala State in India. It houses the famous Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, the fourth biggest temple in India in terms of the number of devotees per day. Punnathoor fort with more than 50 temple elephants is a sightseeing point.
Munnar is a town and hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. On the way to Munnar you can see tea gardens spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometers, lush green hills, a place so difficult to describe, very low population too far from pollution, most of the area covered by Tata tea, Mattupetty, Eco-Point, Tea Museum, Pothamedu etc.also you can visit small waterfalls, known as Cheyyappara. enjoy boating in the Lake also.
Thekkady is the location of Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in Kerala. Thekkady, is South India’s most popular wild life sanctuary, its home to bison, wild elephant, boar, languor, the great Indian tiger and more. There have boat cruise in the Lake to watch wild animals are an option. Go to see the rare species of plants and animals. Visit spice plantations like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates. You can experience Elephant ride, Bamboo Rafting and Trekking at Thekkady.
The University of Calicut is an affiliating university located at Thenjipalam in Malappuram district of Kerala state in India. It was in Calicut that the great voyager Vasco Da Gama landed in the 14th century in his quest for spices thus putting it on the world map. Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit fish markets or venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street and the many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary sea men. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You could also visit century old tile factory.
Wayanad District is a district in the north-east of Kerala state, India with headquarters at the town of Kalpetta. Wayanad, set in the picturesque Western Ghats and mountains at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level. Littered with tropical rain forests, dense hills, rolling paddy fields, spice plantations and valleys, Wayanad is a hitherto undiscovered location offering breathtaking views. There visit Edakkal , visit Soojippara Waterfall, Visit Banasuram Dam, Muthanga wild Life sanctuary. it is a rain forest reserve connected to two other major sanctuaries: Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
Kettuvallam is a house boat widely used in the Indian state of Kerala. These have thatched roof covers over wooden hulls. The traditional kettuvallam is mainly used for promoting Kerala tourism. Cruise through the back waters is the fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of backwaters.
|Amazing Experiences in Kerala
13 January 2014, 0:47
One of the Indian students, James Thomas at ERAU recommended the Travel Planners for me because I wanted to go on the famous houseboat in Alleppey and see Kerala in South India. I want to thank James Thomas for the wonderful recommendation. I had an amazing experience and so much fun with the Travel Planners Tour Company in Kerala, India! The cost of having a personal driver, clean hotels, and all sightseeing activities is well worth it. Thanks to Ashok Mahajan, the USA representative in California. He was able to put a 5-day package together for me during the busy Christmas season in December. This was my first time that I went on a private tour with a personal driver. I needed a change from taking hot crowded buses and tut tut drivers through India. I was pleasantly surprised with the friendliness and professionalism from my wonderful drivers, Nandu Radeesh Kumar and Pradeep. Nandu offered to teach me some local phrases in his native Indian language since I enjoy learning new languages as an English teacher for international students at an aviation university, ERAU in Daytona Beach, Florida. Both drivers had excellent English skills to answer all my questions and share interesting conversations during my trip. They took time to explain the history of each place and gave me suggestions for fun tours. After taking so many crowded and uncomfortable buses around India, I looked forward to relaxing and enjoying the private clean air-conditioned car through Kerala. All the hotels were wonderful for my budget. The Pattom Royal Hotel in Trivandrum was very clean and the staff was friendly. Everyone spoke English, the rooms were clean, and the staff was helpful. I began my journey in Trivandrum. Nandu, my driver suggested taking me on a small boat tour to the Golden Island since I already saw the beautiful Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. We had a great time drinking fresh coconut juice, walking on the beach, and enjoying the sunny boat ride. I enjoyed a nice relaxing day tour at the beach and island for the first part of my trip in Trivandrum.
The Travel Planners help me change one itinerary at the last minute. I had already explored Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, so I wanted to go to Varkala Beach, which was one hour north on the way to Alleppey for my houseboat tour. Mr. Dhanish was able to find a nice homestay in Varkala right away. Varkala is a popular beach destination along the high cliffs. My Indian friends call it Little Goa. I got a wonderful Ayurveda herbal massage there. My driver, Nandu was kind to invite me to his family to have Christmas Eve dinner since I had no one to spend the holiday with. His family cooked a delicious traditional Indian meal for me and made me feel at home. Nandu and his are part of my extended family and friends now.
Nandu was always reliable and ready to pick me up for the next part of my journey to Alleppey. We got there on time, but the houseboat was around two hours late. We were a bit worried at first, but the boat finally came. I know that they were busy due to the high season with thousands of tourists. Once I got on the boat, the cook made me a delicious lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. The boat tour is a must see through the calm backwaters of Kerala. It was fun to meet other tourists on their boats when we docked for the evening. My next adventure continued to Thekkady in the beautiful hills and tea plantations. Nandu, my driver was worried about a possible strike and problems of missing the anticipated elephant rides, jeep rides, and a boat tour on the lake in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. He called his friends at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to make sure that they could help me buy tickets for the early boat tour and elephant ride. Nandu helped me get tickets to see the amazing Kerala cultural dances, Kathakali theater, water fountain light show, and Kalari martial arts during my first evening. I had a chance to show my Chinese Wushu martial arts with the talented martial artists after their show ended. All the shows were extremely professional and the performers were amazingly talented. The next day, I went on the early morning boat tour in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Although I did not see any tigers, I saw lots of birds and monkeys. I enjoyed an elephant ride after the boat tour. I got a chance to wash one large elephant. The elephant ended up giving me a shower from throwing water from his trunk. Elephant Hills was a nice family run hotel. The electrical power went off at night for a few hours and the staff helped us create an outdoor fire to stay warm. The power finally came on. Nandu was able to help me get a fun four-hour jeep ride through the vegetable and fruit farms, and the tea plantations in Thekkady. It was so much fun. We enjoyed eating fresh grapes at the grape farm and dipping our feet in the fresh waterfall on top of the mountain overlooking Thekkady and Tamil Nadu. We ended the fun-filled day with a nice aerial view of Thekkday at the highest peak.
I was sad when there was a sudden change of plans to change my driver for the last day to Cochin. Nandu had to drive a Swedish family for three more days in Thekkady, while Pradeep, my new driver drove me to Cochin. I will keep in touch with both drivers on Facebook. Pradeep was very friendly and he showed me around Cochin on my last day. We saw St.Francis Church, the oldest Church in India, 500 year old Portuguese houses, Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, 16th century Synagogue, Jew Town and the Dutch Mattancherry Palace. Pradeep took me to a hotel that seemed hidden in Cochin. The Villa Romantica is a perfect little hotel for newlyweds and married couples. I wish I could find an Indian prince to enjoy the romantic hotel together. It was a five-star hotel with a nice pool, cable television, hot water, and very beautiful rooms. The staff were very friendly and attentive to my needs. I highly suggest staying there if you need to go to the airport. They were only ten minutes from the airport. I had to pay for a taxi to the airport even though my airport ride was supposed to be covered in my itinerary. Pradeep needed to take the train home to Trivandrum to see his family for New Years. I understood the need to see family since the drivers are away from home for long periods of time. Overall, I give a high recommendation to the Travel Planners for anyone who wants to see India. Everyone was very helpful, friendly, and professional. They put the tourist first on their agenda and they made my trip through Kerala, South India an unforgettable journey. Thank you for the amazing experiences, warm memories, and new friendships! I will miss my personal drivers! Good luck and keep up the great work!
Best Wishes and Happy New Year,
Kim Hardiman from Daytona Beach, Florida USA