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Tamil Nadu

Culture & history

Our most recommended Tamil Nadu Culture & History

From Kochi: 2-Day Alappuzha Backwaters Houseboat Cruise

1. From Kochi: 2-Day Alappuzha Backwaters Houseboat Cruise

Alappuzha, also known as the "Venice of the East", is an important tourist destination in India and the backwaters of Alappuzha are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise on these backwaters is a delightful experience. Alappuzha is a landmark between the broad Arabian Sea and the web of rivers flowing into it. It is a town in the Alappuzha District in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of the Indian Empire, made a visit to Alappuzha in the early 20th century. Fascinated by the scenic beauty of the place he said “here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties”. Detailed itinerary: Day 1: After the pick-up from Cochin Port or at your hotel at 10:15, you will transfer to Alappuzha to board the houseboat around 12:00. Once aboard the houseboat you will slowly cruise through the backwaters and village area of Alappuzha, passing paddy fields and coconut palm. Main meals will be served on board before staying overnight on the houseboat. Day 2: The cruise will finish around 9:00. You will then transfer back to Cochin Port or your hotel, arriving by 11:00.

Cochin: Alleppey Backwater Private Day Cruise by Houseboat

2. Cochin: Alleppey Backwater Private Day Cruise by Houseboat

Explore the famous Kerala backwaters of Alleppey on board a traditional houseboat. Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is located between the Arabian Sea and a web of rivers flowing into it. In the early 20th century, the then Viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon was so mesmerized by the scenic beauty he declared that Alleppey was “The Venice of the East.” Following a pickup from Cochin Cruise Port or from Cochin Hotels, transfer to Aleppey to board your houseboat. Cruise slowly through the backwaters and village areas to marvel at the lush vegetation, paddy fields, coconut palms, and more. There’s no guide on board but there will be 3 staff members to look after you and make sure your experience is as relaxed as you could wish for. Enjoy a lunch of Keralan cusine as you gently cruise, before later transferring back to Cochin Port or your hotel.

Cochin: Half-Day Backwater Village Boat Cruise with Lunch

3. Cochin: Half-Day Backwater Village Boat Cruise with Lunch

Discover the famous backwater canals of Kerala on a half-day tour from Fort Cochin, and immerse yourself in a quiet way of life, far from the pressures of big city life. The tour starts with a pickup from a meeting point in Fort Cochin at 8:30 AM. Drive to a village just outside Cochin City to board a traditional covered country boat. The boats have a capacity for about 20 people, allowing for an intimate experience while enjoying the serenity of the landscape. Your guide will paddle you through the sumptuous vegetation, stopping at a village to see coconut palm weaving and coir making. Then, savor a vegetarian lunch and later, a transfer to Fort Cochin. Arrive back at the meeting point at around 3:00 PM.

Kerala Full-Day Tour from Kochi with Lunch

4. Kerala Full-Day Tour from Kochi with Lunch

Head out from Kochi on a tour of Kerala that will cover many of the must-see sights in this beautiful region of South West India. Start by visiting the first Christian church in India, St. Thomas, home to many important relics. Then continue on to see the Pariyanempatta Bhagavathi Temple and the first mosque in India, followed by a trip to an excavation site. Next up, head to the Shiva Temple and the Guruvayoor Temple. The former is more than 2,000 years old, and the latter is a place where Hindu marriages are regularly performed. Your next stop of the day will be at an elephant sanctuary, home to more than 68 elephants. Then board a country boat for a village backwater tour. This will be followed up by a visit to a fishing harbor and market, a stop at the Mahadeva Temple, and a stroll along Cherai Beach. At some point during the day, you will also get to enjoy a lovely seafood lunch at Vedic Village Resort.

Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

5. Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

Your experience will begin as you are collected from your accommodation at 7:30AM, at which point you will make your way to Mahabalipuram. Once having arrived, Panch Rathas is your first destination. These are rock-cut monolith structures which are dedicated to the lead cast of the Mahabharata epic. They are dedicated to Draupadi, Arjuna, Nakul-Sahadeva, Bhima and Yudhister. There is also a sculpture of an elephant next to the ratha of Nakul-Sahadeva. Next in the itinerary is Arjuna’s Penance, a 100-foot by 45-foot open-air rock relief where an entire masterpiece from the Mahabharata epic has been carved. The River Ganga is at the center of the panel, and is surrounded by divine beings, hunters, animals, birds, and trees belonging to the Himalayan ranges. The next stop is to Krishna’s Butterball, a 5-meter ball-shaped boulder which is perched precariously on a slope and seems to defy Newton’s laws of gravity. Next up, the magnificent Shore Temple beckons you. This 8th-century structural temple is made of granite, and served as a beacon for seafarers of the time. Legend says that this was a part of a complex of 7 temples dotted along the sea, and the legendary traveler Marco Polo also mentioned Mahabalipuram in his memoirs, referring to it as the "City of 7 Pagodas". Following this final stop, you will travel back to Chennai where you will be dropped off back to your hotel by 3:30PM.

Alleppey / Alappuzha Backwater Canoe (Shikara) Cruise

6. Alleppey / Alappuzha Backwater Canoe (Shikara) Cruise

Alleppey also called " Venice of the East" is an important tourist destination in India. The Backwaters of Alleppey are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience. Alappuzha is a landmark between the broad Arabian sea and a web of rivers flowing into it. It is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. In the early first decade of the 20th century the then Viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon made a visit in the State to Alleppey, now Alappuzha. Fascinated by the scenic beauty of the place, in joy and amazement, he said, here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties. In his exhilaration, he exclaimed, Alleppey, the Venice of the East. Itinerary : Pick-from Cochin Port or your hotel is at 9.00 am before the transfer to Aleppey (approximately 1.30 hours) to board the boat at 10:30 am. The boat will cruise slowly through the backwaters and village area of Aleppey with the main attraction during the cruise being the view of backwaters, paddy fields, coconut palms, and the villager's daily life. The cruise will finish around 1.30 pm and you get back to Cochin Port between 3.00 and 3.15 pm. 

House Boat Kerala: Vembanad Lake

7. House Boat Kerala: Vembanad Lake

The sounds of birds and monkeys echo around you. As you gaze out across the vast Vembanad Lake, you feel at one with nature and slowly relax into your day out here cruising around the lake on your house or motor boat. Your day trip begins as your guide picks you up from your hotel and you set sail through the canals that connect the lake together. You will arrive in Alleppey, about 43 miles (70 km) south of the city, where we begin our sail. Here you can relax on one of our exquisite house boats, which move along the banks of Vembanad to give you a real sense of the style and luxury that has dated back centuries. Imagine yourself a maharaja or English royal sailing through these canals 100 years ago as you enjoy lunch on board. The trip returns to Cochin approximately 4 hours after setting sail.

Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

8. Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Starting in Chennai, you'll be transported to Mahabalipuram, famous for its splendid 7th and 8th-century art and architecture, especially its stone carvings. You will start your tour by visiting the magnificent 7th-century Shore Temple which is surrounded by lush gardens. In addition, you’ll also visit the 7th-century Five Rathas shrine, also known as Pancha Rathas. After visiting Mahabalipuram you'll stop to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is known as the "golden city of a thousand temples" and is also one of the 7 sacred cities of India. The city has some grand and majestic buildings that reflect the architectural experiments undertaken by different dynasties ruling the city over the centuries. Visit historic spots like the Kailasanatha Temple, Vaikunda Perumal Temple, Kamaskhi Amman Temple and Ekambareswara Temple. All of these are excellent specimens of the architectural splendor of the medieval period.   

Kochi: Kathalki Theatre and Dinner Experience

9. Kochi: Kathalki Theatre and Dinner Experience

After being collected from your hotel lobby at around 5:30PM, you will be taken to the Cochin Cultural Center to watch the enchanting dance form of Kerala, Kathakali. The duration of this dance ballet will be approximately 1 hour (6:30PM-7:30PM). The performing artists will be decked out in heavy costumes of myriad colors and resplendent makeup, capped by a huge crown. The artist display an amazing array of expressions on their faces to narrate the tale along with nifty footwork. The dance drama is mostly inspired by ancient Hindu epics such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharat and the Purana, punctuated by rhythmic music in the background. The colors on the faces of the artists help in understanding the nature of the character. For example, Red (Tati) symbolizes an evil character such as Ravana or Dushasana, whereas green (pacca) is reserved for the protagonists or fighters, with red color dots and lines on their cheeks portraying the evil present inside them. The color black is basically for hunters or dwellers, and yellow is for monks. Shiny yellow, orange and saffron stand for the purity of woman’s spirit. At the end of the dance, the musicians give a thrilling musical experience in the concluding segment. After the Kathakali, you are bound to come out from the theater having been thoroughly entertained, and with your heart in your mouth. Following the riveting dance performance, you will be taken to a hotel or a restaurant for an enjoyable dinner to complete a memorable evening.

Cochin: Full-Day Private Shore Excursion

10. Cochin: Full-Day Private Shore Excursion

Explore the historic city of Cochin and the backwaters of Kerala on a full-day private tour, customized to your preferences. Following a pick-up at your city center hotel, or from the cruise ship terminal, relax in your chauffeur-driven transport as you investigate the heritage of one of India’s most enchanting areas. Drive to a local vegetable and spice market to immerse yourself in the everyday life of the city and see locals going about their business. Marvel at the scents of the spices and the bustle of the market. Enjoy a backwater cruise of Kerala’s canals, gliding along a narrow waterway surrounded by tropical vegetation and traditional fishing nets. After lunch at a Vedic village resort, climb aboard a tuk tuk for a short 3 mile (5 kilometer) tour to the Bhadra Kali Temple. Then, it’s time for a tour of Cochin city center. See heritage monuments, such as the small church of St. Francis. Originally built in 1503, it is the oldest European church in India and once contained the remains of the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama before they were removed to Lisbon. You will also wander the first Jewish settlement of India, visiting the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. If there are any Hindu temple village festivals at the time of your visit, arrangements can be made to see caparisoned elephants and tours can be further customized to accommodate.

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What people are saying about Tamil Nadu

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 20 reviews

My wife and I were in Kochi for only a few days and we are so glad that we were able to do this tour! A taxi picked us up from our hotel in Fort Kochi and brought us south to where the boat launched from. During the boat cruise we learned about the local economy, life in the villages, and how the boats work. We even got to try our hand at rowing the boat with a huge bamboo stick. The team also cut down two coconuts, chopped them open, and gave us straws to drink the fresh juice. The morning finished off with a very good and authentic meal in a village home and then the driver took us back to our hotel. Can't recommend this tour enough!

The moment I stepped into the boat, I could feel my heart rate slow down. It was the most peaceful experience I’ve had. I had the boat all to myself with three staff - a driver, a server and a cook. I was a woman, traveling alone from the US and I felt safe and protected. The food was amazing and the crew wonderful. I would highly recommend this trip down the serene backwaters of Alleppey.

It was an amazing experience, I had the opportunity to visit several temples from the Chola's empire. The staff did a great job explaining Chola's history and culture, they even went beyond that and make me feel comfortable all the time. I really recommend this trip

This was an incredible way of exploring the backwaters of Karela In a slow, relaxing and authentic way. Great guides and people running this, had a great experience!

The tour was well organized and full of interesting sights. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu and India. Can highly recommend this tour!