The wonder that was Meghamalai & the camps at Rhodo Valley

The wonder that was Meghamalai & the camps at Rhodo Valley – 14 days/13 nights

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Day 01: Arrive at Cochin
After arriving at Cochin Airport, you will meet our representative, who will escort you to the hotel at Fort Cochin.
In the evening, you will witness a cultural performance at a local theatre in Cochin.
Overnight stay will be at Munnar.

Day 02: Walking tour of Cochin
In the morning, you will meet your local guide and will set on foot to explore Fort Cochin. The St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India, where Vasco de Gama, the first European traveler to India, was originally buried. You will also visit the Chinese fishing nets believed to be brought to Kochi by the Chinese traders.
After Fort Cochin, you will take a TUK TUK for a short ride to Mattancherry Dutch Palace (Friday closed) at Mattancherry, renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Jewish Synagogue (Saturday closed) at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. A walk through the Jew Street is a pleasing experience.
In the evening, you will have sea food dining experience with Mr. Francis and his wife Mrs. Rosy at their residence and experience the traditional flavors and preparations of Kerala cuisine. They serve closely guarded secret recipes sourced from the old families of Cochin, flavorful dishes generously spiced with fresh cinnamon, pepper, red chili, coriander, green chili, curry leaves, vanilla, and ginger. Freshly caught fish and crustaceans will be grilled or cooked the way you fancy with a fusion of Indian condiments. Mrs. Rosy will also teach you a favorite sea food dish of Fort Cochin.
Overnight stay will be at Cochin.

Day 03: Cochin/Munnar
The morning drive will be to Munnar (140 km, 4 hrs).
Munnar is a beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600 m above sea level. It is essentially a tea town with its sprawling tea plantations. Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. It offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists.
Later in the afternoon, your will visit the Tea Museum.
The Tata Tea Museum diligently portrays the growth of Munnar tea estates, veritably conveyed through some of the displays like the rudimentary tea roller to the modern fully automated tea factory. Visitors to the museum can satiate their curiosity on various stages of tea processing and also learn a thing or two about the production of black tea.
Overnight stay will be at Munnar.

Day 04: Munnar/Camp
You will be picked up from your resort by a jeep in the morning. After a drive of 1.5 hours, you will reach the base camp, where you will meet the team, and the naturalist cum guide will explain you the two-day camping program.
A gradual ascent trek is of 4 hours through tea plantations and micro carps. Enjoying a delicious packed lunch en route, you will camp at Silent Valley base camp at an altitude of 2000 m.
Then you will experience camp fire dinner and sleep in comfortable tents.

Day 05: Camp
The trek will start by 8.30 am after breakfast, heading through the valley of rhododendrons and pines. It will then wind through streams and shola forests of tropical grasslands. The views are spectacular, and you will reach the second highest peak of South India, Meesapulimala, at an altitude of 2635 m. Delicious packed lunch will be served en route. Descending the peak, you will reach the camp at Rhodovalley, at an altitude of 2300 m.
After a camp fire dinner, you will sleep in tents.

Day 06: Camp/Meghamalai
After breakfast, you will begin a 4-hour trek that will end at Yellapatty. You will board your vehicle from Yellappatty and proceed to Meghamalai (140 km, 6.5 hrs).
Meghamalai is the kingdom where the clouds meet the mountains. The word “Meghamalai” means cloud-clad mountain. The British planters named them the Highwavys because of the wave-like patterns these mountains create. Early mornings provide magical moments as snow-white ribbons of cloud wrap these majestic mountains with just their peaks towering above those clouds. The serene lake and the beckoning mountain ranges are perhaps the best “real” description of paradise.
You will cover the last 40 km to Meghamalai in a jeep.
This bungalow is strategically placed within the Woodbriar plantation in a way that extracts the essence of the location. The view is splendid from any part of the bungalow’s compound. The entire surrounding plantation is spontaneously formed in a bowl-like shape, engulfed on all sides by tall mountains. The scenic lake system adds magic to the landscape in the foreground.
Overnight stay will be at Meghamalai.

Day 07: Meghamalai
In the morning, you will proceed for bird watching with a naturalist. Meghamalai is home to numerous native and migratory birds. Over 100 species of birds have been identified here.
Afternoon visit will be to the tea factory, where you will participate in tea tasting.
Overnight stay will be at Meghamalai

Day 08: Meghamalai
After early breakfast, you will proceed for a 4-hour forest trek with a naturalist in Meghamalai rain forest bordering Periyar Tiger Reserve. Here, packed lunch will be served.
In the afternoon, you will be at ease, or if interested, you may engage in fishing at the nearby water bodies.
Overnight stay will be at Meghamalai.

Day 09: Meghamalai/Periyar
The morning drive will be to Periyar (85 km, 3.5 hrs).
Periyar is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary, encompassing an area of 777 sq. km. Set on the attractive man-made Periyar Lake, it attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. Though the sanctuary was made a part of Project Tiger in 1973, it is better known for its elephants.
In the evening, you will witness Kalaripyattu (martial arts) performance at a local theatre.
Overnight stay will be at Periyar.

Day 10: Periyar
The entire day will involve border hiking.
The Programme
This is a conservation-oriented hard trek that takes up a complete day. The trekking begins at 8 o’ clock in the morning and ends in the evening. The route passes through undulating terrains. Altitudinal ranges of 900 to 1300 m will be covered, and the trekkers can get a glimpse of the lofty escarpments bordering the park watershed and the vast plains down below. Gaurs, sloth bears, elephants are often sighted along this route apart from birds and butterflies. The trekkers will be accompanied with two guides and an armed forest guard. Vegetarian refreshments will be provided en route.
Overnight stay will be at Periyar.

Day 11: Periyar/Puthenangady
After early breakfast, you will leave from Periyar at 0800 hrs to Puthenangady Jetty in the backwaters. On arrival, you will board a houseboat for an overnight cruise around the backwaters.
Houseboats, popularly known as “Kettuvalam,” are converted from a traditional rice barge. While cruising to Alleppey, you will see glimpses of village life of the people living around the backwater area. You may get to watch palm-lined bank and narrow strips of land that separate the waterways, and the constant quiet traffic of vallom (small boats) is typical. Lunch will be served on the houseboat.
Dinner and overnight stay will be on the houseboat.

Day 12: Puthenangady/Marari
At 0930 hrs, after disembarking houseboat, you will drive to Marari Beach (45 minutes).
The little-known Marari Beach is the perfect beach destination not too far from Cochin. The beach is quiet and not crowded, and thus has maintained its beauty and charm. The name Marari is shortened from Mararikulam, a small and sleepy fisherman’s village.
Overnight stay will be at Marari.

Day 13: Marari
You will relax the entire day at the beach.
Overnight stay will be at Marari.

Day 14: Departure Cochin
You will in time be dropped to Cochin Airport (2.5 hrs) to get a flight back home.