Elephant Safari in South India
Duration : 12 nights / 13 days
Places to See : Cochin - Parambikolam - Munnar - Thekkady - Kumarakom - Alleppey - Kovalam - Trivandrum - Cochin
Day 01 : HomeCountry to Cochin
On board flight to Cochin.
Day 02 : Cochin
Arrive Cochin by morning. Garland welcome, assistance and transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of "Queen of Arabian Sea" - Cochin, a major port of call on the ancient trade route from China to Rome. The mixture of influences here is a heady brew. Chinese fishing nets dot the coast, Roman coins are dug up as treasure trove, the Mattancheri Palace was built by the Portuguese, and Willingdon Island was created by the British. Here you will find Hindu Temples, Christian Churches, mosques, and a synagogue (the Jewish settlement dates from at least as far back as AD 400). Cochin is a melting pot of races and cultures, charmingly emphasizing that variety is indeed the spice of life. Visit famous monuments & churches. Evening we make a short drive to watch the dance-drama of Kerala - The Kathakali in a local theatre. O/n Hotel.
Day 03 : Cochin to Parambikolam
Morning after breakfast drive to Annamalai/Parambikolam (about 210kms/07hrs) via visiting Athirapilly waterfalls. The road winds you through Sholayar forests and Valparai hills tea estates. Upon arrival short visit to Top Slip and also visit the center at Anapatty. O/n Camping at Jungle House.
Day 04 : Parambikolam
Lying adjacent to the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the 285 sq km stretch of forest known as the Parambikolam Sanctuary is one of Kerala's premier wildlife reserves. Parambikolam lies in the Annamalai Hills, south of the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats. The area's hilly and rocky, drained by several rivers, including the Parambikolam, the Sholayar and the Thekkedy.
Thickly forested with stands of bamboo, sandalwood, rosewood and teak, the sanctuary has some marshy land and scattered patches of grassland. Parambikolam was once home to some of south India's finest stands of teak; most of these, however, have now been replaced by teak plantations.
Parambikolam's animal species include many of India's most prominent mammals: leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, elephants, wild boar, barking deer, spotted deer, langurs and macaques. Parambikolam is also home to Kerala's largest population of gaur. Besides these, civet, chevrotain, pangolin, crocodile, jungle cat, porcupine and some 140 species of birds are found in the sanctuary. Although the larger cats are few and far between, gaur, monkeys and deer are fairly common in the sanctuary.
Full day walk at Parambikolam Wildlife Reserve. This can be either tough Jungle trek through dense rain forest OR smooth walk along the river valley including visit tribal village. O/n Camping at Jungle House.
Day 05 : Parambikolam to Munnar
Morning after breakfast drive to Munnar (about 157kms/04hrs) through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary - a throny scrub jungle presents no where else make this sanctuary unique. There is a wide range of animals and a good number of birds in this sanctuary. Animals include elephant, gaur, sambar, porcupine, lion tailed macaque etc. Birds like jungle fowl, spotted dove, Kerala laughing thrush etc are seen here. Proceed to Munnar via Marayoor - the only place in Kerala that has a natural abundance of sandalwood trees. Check into the hotel. Rest of the day free to relax in our beautiful hotel set amidst among the tall trees.
Day 06 : Munnar
Morning after breakfast we make a short drive to Eravikulam National Park. You will find yourself wondering through the tea plantations, as you soak in the neat arrays of verdant green, dotted with the red and blues and violets of the women who are plucking tea leaves.
Eravikulam National Park - this is the home of the Niligiri Tahr (locally called Varayadu, meaning rock goat), the rare mountain goat that is fast becoming extinct. Most of the remaining Nilgiri Tahr are found in this park. We explore the park by 02 - 03hrs walk, the views are stunning from the top.Afternoon free to relax or just stroll around the tea estates.
Day 07 : Munnar to Thekkady
Morning after breakfast we start our drive to Thekkady (about 110kms/03hrs) through the cardamom hills of Idukki. Check into the hotel. Evening we explore the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which spreads over 777 sq km, roughly half of which is dense evergreen forest, savannah grassland and moist deciduous forest. The forest was declared a tiger reserve in 1978 under Project Tiger, and so the name Periyar Tiger Reserve is sometimes used to denote the place as well.
We will do a 02 hr boat ride in an artificial lake formed during the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam in 1895 - that explains the dead tree branches sticking out of the water. These trees were submerged in the waters of the dam. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the few places where the chances are pretty high that you will spot an elephant in the wild at close quarters and from the safe confines of a boat. Not just elephant, but if it's your lucky day, gaur, masher, otter and other wildlife. Rest of the day free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 08 : Thekkady
Morning after breakfast we will go for a full day trekking & rafting at Periyar wildlife sanctuary. The adventure starts at 0800 hrs from the Lake Periyar boat landing. Maximum of 05 persons are allowed per raft and 02 rafts are functioning. It involves a 2-hour trek in to the core area, 3-hours rafting and 2-hours return trek. There will be one-armed guard and 2 tribal trackers along with each raft. A simple vegetarian lunch will be served as well as snacks and tea or coffee. Rest of the day free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 09 : Thekkady to Kumarakom
Morning after breakfast drive to Kumarakom (about 140kms/03hrs). Much of its beauty is laid out in all its glory along the road, which winds from Periyar to Kottayam through Cardamom, Coffee, pepper and rubber plantations. Check into the hotel. Afternoon visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary known for local varieties like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl and the water duck. Rest of the day free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 10 : Kumarakom to Alleppey Morning after breakfast transfer to Alleppey to board our houseboat and sail through scenic backwaters, passing through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. The houseboat will cruise through the Chambakulam area and anchor to explore the boat yard which displays the traditional long snake boats used in races. Visit St. Mary's Church, established by St. Thomas in 1721.
Also catch a glimpse of village life along the backwaters and experience a way of life unique to this region. The boat will pass through picturesque stretches of the backwaters of Alleppey. In the evening we anchor our houseboat. O/n Houseboat.
Day 11 : Alleppey to Kovalam
Morning after breakfast disembark from the houseboat and drive towards the southward direction to Kovalam (about 160kms/04hrs), a beach paradise with boundless blue o the Arabian Sea and unwinding miles of fine sand washed by a surf which roars and hisses at the feet of coconut palms. A sheet of silvery sand curves into a arch water and on the other by a never ending spread of green palm groves.
Upon arrival, check into the hotel. Rest of the day free to relax. O/n Hotel.
Day 12 : Kovalam The day at leisure. O/n Hotel.
Day 13 : Kovalam to Trivandrum to your Home Country
Morning transfer to Trivandrum International airport to board flight to your home country.
Endemic Birds of Kerala
1. Nilgiri Wood Pigeon
2. Malabar Parakeet
3. Malabar Grey Hornbill
4. Rufous Babbler
5. Whitebellied Treepie
6. Greyheaded Bulbul
7. Wynad Laughing Thrush
8. Black & Orange Flycatcher
9. Nilgiri Flycatcher
10. Whitebellied Blue Flycatcher
11. Nilgiri Pipit
12. Crimsonbacked Sunbird
13. Nilgiri Laughing Thrush
14. Whitebellied Shortwing
15. Broadtailed Grassbird
16. Greybreasted Laughing Thrush
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