Kerala classic 14 day tour

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala classic 14 day tour

Environment

We put a lot of effort into working with local providers who are as committed as us to share advice on how to best leave a lighter footprint on your trip. Our excursions maintain small-group sizes to limit the negative environmental impact in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site.

We are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible. Also in our UK and local offices we re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. We also concentrate on providing information online via our website and electronically rather then producing a glossy brochure, hence reducing the use of paper and inks.

Environment & Food
With your visit to Kerala, you encourage a state that has taken important steps in increasing locally produced and organic foods in the last years. Kerala is now meeting over 70% of its demand for vegetables on its own compared with just 20% a few years ago. Large tracts of land are now being converted for organic cultivation. Initiatives by government agencies, social organisations and farmers are all participating in what is becoming an organic farming revolution in Kerala, that will not only benefit the environment and our planet, but also your health.

Accommodation
You will stay in resorts that are in the midst of nature and that take great care of it. Treetop in Thekkady for example has granite stone exteriors and steep gabled tiled roofs which is reminiscent of the colonial bungalow. In stark contrast to typical high rise buildings, where the occupants are cut off from the natural environment, rooms at Treetop are set in a cascading verdant landscape, embraced by the lush greenery of its abundant trees - fruit bearing and others, lawns and gardens. In keeping with this vision, no building at the hotel goes above 2 floors. The gardens provide home to playful giant squirrels, rheses macaques, Nilgiri langurs and many birds.

Wildlife
The greenest state of India offers shelter to some of the best and rarest plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. Naturally there are many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala that have been developed to look after and preserve the wide variety of birds and animals.

You will also stay on boats that used to be rice ships in Kumarakom, on the bountiful lake Vembanad. Vembanad is the largest fresh water lake in Asia located in the vast Kottayam network of several rivers and canals. The lake supports a large variety of flora and fauna, from mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves to white lillies. Kumarakom has launched a Responsible Tourism model, linking the local community to the hospitality industry and has won the national award for the best rural tourism project. Kerala Tourism’s “Responsible Tourism” model at Kumarakom also got the biggest international recognition when it was conferred the top United Nations Award, UNWTO Ulysses Award, for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance.

The trip also includes some precious time in Thekkady, within the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Zealously guarded and managed, the 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 Pamba. People oriented and park centered community based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Programmes are conducted by local people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the reserve. By taking tourists along, they are involved in the conservation of the forests of Periyar and some valuable revenue is generated for community welfare. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through these programmes. As you are participating in the rafting programme as a visitor, you are even more directly contributing towards forest conservation and community welfare.

Our local partner is part of TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers), a pioneering international collective action campaign to advocate, plan, support and fund the protection, conservation and rewilding of natural wilderness and their wild inhabitants, especially tiger habitat, through the clever and wise use of nature tourism, using better visitor guidance, more community involvement, targeted green investment and enhanced governance and monitoring.

Overall, on our trekking tours our guides are trained and actively promoting practices such us not disturbing wildlife, keeping a safe distance to wildlife, reducing production of disturbing sounds, prohibiting feeding, avoiding litter at all times, using water sparingly and not polluting with harmful detergents, avoid being intrusive when taking photographs, dressing appropriately and in subdued colours when wildlife watching, etc. We encourage guests to respect and follow the lead.

Transport
Wherever possible we will give preference to transport by train. If motorized forms are unavoidable, we make sure that vehicle sizes are as small as appropriate and proper licensing on vehicles and certifying to national emission standards are maintained.

Community

We make sure we only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, giving back to their families and communities. While many operators pay per day or per tour, our guides receive an hourly rate which allows a fair and fruitful reward for their expertise. We provide staff with written employment contracts and fair working conditions (e.g. overtime payment, national wage requirements, no discrimination, grievance mechanisms in place and no child labour).

Furthermore we ensure that our drivers do not more than 9 hours of driving per day and are provided adequate accommodation and do not drive at night (with the exception of airport pick-ups/drop-offs). After a driving period of 4.5 h the driver must take a break of at least 45 min.

In Kochi, our experienced local guide will take you on a very special and personal tour in Fort Cochin, providing you with rare and researched insights about culture, heritage and spiritual history of the city and its diverse buildings. We will take you for example to the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations, the Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568. It is run by the last and only Jewish woman in India.

We will take you to the local fishermen suspended on Chinese fishing nets, introduced by Chinese explorers. It is a very unique and unusual method of fishing operated from the shore. Set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms lowering them into the sea, they look like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.

You also have the possibility to witness a sacred Kathakali dance, performed by the local dancers, which tells stories from the ancient Hindu epic – Ramayana and Mahabharata, and a Kalari spectacle, demonstrating parts of the origin of Martial Arts. Your participation will help sustain local employment, ancient culture and precious traditions.

On your boat ride or house boat visit on the serene lake Vembanad, you might be able to celebrate Onam (August-September), the most ancient Hindu festival, with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing. All boats used for the races are home-made out of indigenous materials.

In Marari, you can learn local & sustainable traditions by watching the fisherwomen using palm fronds to prepare sapling protectors, or the fascinating process of coir making, a wonder fibre that forms the basis of numerous items, from handbags to ropes to sandals to mattresses.

If you do want to shop, then we will take you to local collectives where local women of that very region craft there products and help keep the money earned in that very community.

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