February 01, 2020
You can head inland to enjoy the tranquil backwaters dotted with traditional houseboats, or venture towards the Western Ghats and soak in the fragrance of spices in carpeted tea estates and hill stations- some of which are Kerala’s best-kept secrets
You can head inland to enjoy the tranquil backwaters dotted with traditional houseboats, or venture towards the Western Ghats and soak in the fragrance of spices in carpeted tea estates and hill stations- some of which are Kerala’s best-kept secrets.
Kerala can only be truly explored by taking time out to discover the centuries-old Ayurveda practices, indulge in the delectable cuisine, chill out on the pristine beaches, discover exotic wildlife and experience this beautiful state's unique culture.
An itinerary-based, wildlife holiday amidst nature's wonders is the best way to cherish every moment and take home a piece of every experience. We chose an itinerary offered by Club Mahindra and experienced a unique wildlife holiday in the lush landscape of Kerala. Here’s an account of our trip that's going to make you want to book your tickets right away!
We landed at the Cochin International Airport and drove for just 40 kms (1.5 hours) to reach the beautiful Club Mahindra Cherai Beach resort.
Spread over 6 acres amidst a glistening pond, you can get picturesque views of the Arabian Ocean on one side and the lapping backwaters on the other side from the resort, making this the perfect entry into Kerala!
We relaxed for a while after checking in and by afternoon had already begun to explore the cultural heritage of Cochin. We went on a guided sightseeing tour to visit Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Quarter and the Santa Cruz Basilica.
For those who wish to laze around, hit the scenic Cherai Beach and bask in the golden sand and calm waters.
On returning to the resort, we retired to the comfort of our luxury cottage and watched the golden sunset perform.
In the evening, as the ambience of green lushness set in, our guide regaled us with stories of Chinese fishing nets and the tales recited in the Kathakali dance performances at the local theatre.
After a day of relaxation, we set out to explore Muziris, an ancient seaport and cultural hub of the Malabar Coast, dating back to the 1st century. From a heritage home to an ancient church, from a history museum to an excavation site, Muziris is rich in culture.
We had a lot of ‘did you know’ moments that piqued our interest. For instance, did you know about….
The church in Kerala that was established in the 13th century by one of Christ’s apostles?
The traditional homesteads that are called ‘tharavads’ locally?
The ancient fort constructed by Portuguese in the mid-16th century?
Or the deep-seated connection Jews have with Kerala?
I bet you didn’t! Dive into the rich culture of Kerala by visiting the Kottakavu Church, Paliam Nalukettu (heritage homes), the Kottapuram Fort and the Kerala Jews History Museum.
The kids were thrilled to experience this first-hand, live history lesson and were curious to know more. What better way to make learning fun!
After a scrumptious breakfast at the Club Mahindra Cherai Beach resort, we packed our bags to head to Munnar.
At a distance of around 165 kms, the 5-hour journey from Cherai was through a scenic route of tea plantations. The carpeted landscape was mesmeric, interrupted pleasantly with the fragrance of coffee, pepper and other spices.
We took a break to stretch our legs and visited one of the vast estates of rubber trees, coffee and pepper plantations. An aromatic indulgence you must experience!
Arriving at the Club Mahindra Munnar resort, we retired to our cottage to enjoy the view and admire the ornate architecture. Built almost 2 decades ago, this property is one of Club Mahindra’s first and finest resorts. We escaped into the serenity of its ambience, a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
After a crisp cup of locally grown tea, we had breakfast and headed out for a safari at the Eravikulam National Park.
On our safari, we were lucky to spot the rare Nilgiri Tahr, one of the few places in India where you can see them. We spent half a day here, simply connecting with nature and exploring hundreds of wildlife species the park is home to.
After the safari, we drove down to a beautiful lake near the park. Devikulam Lake, also called Sita Devi Lake was the perfect place to set up a picnic. We lazed around under the warm sun and reflected on the unending beauty of nature till it was time to head back to the resort.
Once back at the resort, an Ayurvedic massage at the Svaastha spa was an irresistible end to a perfect day.
From Munnar, we drove for 100km to another stunning hill station, Thekkady. Here the spice-scented plantations added an aromatic flavour to our trip.
On arriving at the Club Mahindra Thekkady resort, the kids were totally fascinated with the ‘machan’ style of architecture of the cottages. Built in traditional Indian style, the cottages in the resort are tranquilly set amidst thickly wooded plantations.
Venturing out, we visited the nearby Periyar National Park where we took an elephant ride for a unique perspective of the surrounding scenery and wildlife. To add to the thrill, we spotted sambar deer, lion-tailed macaques and the Indian bison, as the kids hoped to catch a glimpse of the majestic tiger. It was an experience that we will cherish for a long time to come.
Brimming with excitement, we returned to the resort and revelled in the luxury of the cottages, as the whiffs of the exotic aroma of coffee, cardamom, pepper and teak soothed us to sleep.
For a change of scenery, we drove for around 120 kms down to Ashtamudi Lake, which is located in the breath-taking Kollam district of Kerala.
We drove past quaint villages and towns huddled together on the shores of the eight sprawling branches of the Ashtamudi Lake. With interconnected networks of canals and lagoons, it was one of the best backwater experiences we have ever had.
On arriving at the Club Mahindra Ashtamudi resort, we checked in to our floating cottage which had magnificent views from the room. Too mesmerised to visit the elephant training centre at Konni or go fishing at the lake, we settled into the buoyant rhythm of the backwaters.
After a delightful breakfast, we took an early morning walk along the Kollam Beach and watched the fishermen set up their nets and prepare for the day ahead.
We grabbed a bite before visiting the 2,000-year-old Janardanaswami Temple, one of Kerala’s most revered places of worship. As the kids demanded, we spent more beach time at the renowned Varkala Beach and even tried to surf!
The energy here is lively yet laid back and lazy, so it is best not to make any plans and simply go with the flow.
We woke up and drove for 3 hours towards Thiruvananthapuram to reach the Club Mahindra Poovar resort. Named after the red flowers that blossom along the Neyyar River, Poovar is one of the Indian traveller's best-kept secrets.
The Neyyar River flows through this hamlet and we were thrilled to witness the intermingling of the river with the sea on the backwater cruise.
After indulging in a sumptuous South Indian lunch, we floated in the tranquillity and let the urban chaos slip away as we watched the world go by.
To make the most of our last day in heaven on Earth, we got some special treatment at the in-house Ayurveda centre in the resort. The Abhyangam, a full-body, synchronised body massage followed by a steam bath was exactly what was required.
We left early in the morning from the resort and took 30 minutes from Poovar to reach Thiruvananthapuram. From there we boarded a flight back to reality with our suitcases heavy with memories, our hearts refreshed, and our souls alive with the aromas and beauty of Kerala!
Indulge in several activities and experiences on your next stay at our Munnar resort, Thekkady or any of the other Club Mahindra resorts in Kerala. With several things to do at our resorts, and nearby places to visit in Munnar, Thekkady, and other destinations in Kerala, a magical family holiday is assured.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.