Kerala walking holiday in India
Optional single supplement from £310 - £320.
Minimum age 16.
Description of Kerala walking holiday in India
A two week walking holiday in India which takes you along spice trails, into backwaters, through the Western Ghat Mountains and through the hill stations not only of Kerala but also parts of Tamil Nadu. Starting in Cochin, we transfer up to the region’s magnificent mountain range and hike in and around Munar where the coffee and spice plantations have been thriving for generations. We gain superb views over this region summiting to 1900m in the Seven Malai Hills. Other such elevated, exquisite landscapes include Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), and we are able to hike through this rich, luscious terrain for a few days, camping along the way. In fact, we do this point to point trekking for five days, with full porterage throughout, traversing other beauty points such the fecund forests of the Silent Valley, the streams of the Rhodo Valley and the Kolukumalai Tea Plantation. Camping is fully serviced, with mattresses, twin sleeping tents, dining, kitchen and toilet tents all part of the service provided.
Our next hotel stop after all that wild camping is in the state of Tamil Nadu, where we spend some city time exploring the state’s wonderful cultural hub of Madurai. Located on the banks of the River Vaigai, this is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities and nowhere demonstrates this heritage better than Sri Meenakshi Temple at the heart of the city. Before heading back to Kerala’s Cochin for another city must visit, we take a few more days out in the wilder and more tranquil areas of this stunning state. First of all, Periyar National Park which is home to elephants, monkeys and a few elusive tigers, and then to the famous backwaters, starting at Alleppey and spending a night cruising on a traditional houseboat through its myriad waterways. Finishing on the coast, first at a Malabar homestay and then finally in the vibrant fort and port city Cochin, this is the perfect place not only to absorb the state’s multi cultural and coastal ambiance, but also one to do some gift shopping, as this is one of the world hubs of spice and many other trades going back centuries.
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6 Reviews of Kerala walking holiday in India
Reviewed on 26 Nov 2018 by Muriel MooreI loved the trekking. My experience was that I could trust the guide implicitly - so go with the flow! Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Mar 2018 by Lisa BrolloFrom the moment we arrived in Cochin to the moment we left every second was memorable. Five stars all the way. Read full review
Reviewed on 29 Jan 2018 by Erika BühlerThe trekking and the temple in Madurai was the most memorable. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Jan 2018 by MiteThe trek and camping experience particularly wonderful. Visiting a school in Silent Valley. The houseboat excursion. Staying in Munnar. Wandering the tea plantations. A tour of Abraham's beautiful Spice Garden... Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Feb 2017 by Linda BlanchardThe trek, climbing Meesapulima mountain especially memorable. Beautiful walks through tea plantations, forests and grasslands with knowledgeable, courteous and attentive guides.... We learnt so much about the wildlife, landscape, agriculture and the local people. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Jan 2017 by Leila SuwwanReaching the top of the Meesapuli Mountain, after days of trekking, was an amazing feeling of accomplishment! The whole camping half of the trip allowed for complete de-stress, with great staff, food and equipment to support long hours of hiking during the day in beautiful and extremely varied scenery. Waterboat and warm waters of Marari Beach were also amazing! Read full review
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although we hope to have a positive effect by engaging with locals, using their businesses and visiting cultural sites. Also by taking guided tours, we support employment levels in the areas we visit, whilst enriching our experience and understanding of Kerala.
Water is a really important issue with walking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Lack of recycling is already a massive problem in India so we suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Water is safe to drink at the accommodation, which facilitates re-using one bottle.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleAccommodation and Meals:
You will spend 8 nights in hotels with en suite facilities, 5 nights in full service camps and 1 night on a houseboat. By using locally owned and run accommodation in the Western Ghats and staying in a local fisherman’s houseboat, we can ensure that the people in the community benefit from our business. By camping for a large portion of the trip, we also drastically reduce our carbon footprint by saving on energy. Where meals are included, fresh and local produce is used to make delicious and plentiful food. Free meal times are a valuable opportunity to explore Keralan cuisine and to support local vendors, restaurants and cafes in the area. Keralan specialties include biriyani made with Khaima rice, fish and chicken curries and Sadya – a vegetarian spread of side dishes served on a large banana leaf.
Local Craft and Culture:
Much of our time is spent walking through cardamom, coconut, mango and tea plantations. These large areas are not just a source of beauty and interest for our clients, but they provide an insight into rural life, agriculture and cuisine in the area. The Periyar area is a centre for spice growing, and here there will be opportunities to visit the local bazaar, where there are numerous shops selling cardamoms, vanilla, peppercorns, chillies, turmeric and other locally grown ingredients. There are cottage industries and souvenir opportunities in Cochin, Periyar and Madurai. At Madurai, the great Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple, most of which was built during the Nayak period between the 16th and 18th centuries, is at the heart of the city and the life of the town revolves around it. It is a hive of activity and religious celebration, so this is a great place for Hindu culture.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.