Kerala
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Kerala Culture & History

Cochin: Alleppey Backwater Private Day Cruise by Houseboat

1. 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.

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Cochin: Private Heritage and Backwaters Houseboat Tour

2. Cochin: Private Heritage and Backwaters Houseboat Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel in Cochin or Cochin Cruise Port ships berth before beginning a 1.5-hour transfer to Alleppey to board your houseboat. You will then begin your journey, cruising slowly through the backwaters and village areas to marvel at the lush vegetation, paddy fields, coconut palms, and more. There will be 3 staff members to look after you and make sure your experience is as relaxed as you could wish for. Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is located between the Arabian Sea and the web of rivers flowing into it. In the early 20th century, the Viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon, was so mesmerized by the scenic beauty that he declared that Alleppey was the “Venice of the East.” You can enjoy a lunch of Keralan cuisine on the houseboat, before later transferring to Fort Kochi to visit the famous Chinese nets, St. Francis Church and Dhobi Khana. Your tour will then conclude as you are driven back to your hotel in Cochin, or to the Cochin Port.

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Alleppey / Alappuzha Backwater Canoe (Shikara) Cruise

3. 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. 

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From Kochi: 2-Day Alappuzha Backwaters Houseboat Cruise

4. 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.

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Kerala Full-Day Tour from Kochi with Lunch

5. 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.

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House Boat Kerala: Vembanadu Lake

6. House Boat Kerala: Vembanadu Lake

The sounds of birds and monkeys echo around you. As you gaze out across the vast Vembandau 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 Vembanadu 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.

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Backwater Houseboat and Fort Kochi Tour from Cochin Port

7. Backwater Houseboat and Fort Kochi Tour from Cochin Port

Benefit from pickup at the cruise ship docks at Cochin Port, and journey on the road to board a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala (approx 1 hour and 45 minutes). Cruise slowly through the hidden backwaters of Alappuzha (also known as "Alleppey"), considered the hub of the state's backwaters and home to a vast network of waterways and boats. Venture through village areas and the landscape of the Laccadive Sea to marvel at the lush vegetation, paddy fields, coconut palms, and much more. There will be 3 staff members along with your guide to look after you and make sure your experience is as relaxed as possible. Enjoy a lunch of Keralan cuisine as you gently navigate the waterways, which includes rice, vegetable dishes, fish, chicken, and more. End your houseboat cruise and later journey to the serene Fort Kochi area. Marvel at the Cheena vala (Chinese fishing nets) in the Arabian Sea, and see other attractions of the region. Then, benefit from drop-off back at your cruise ship in Cochin Port.

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Kochi: Kathalki Theatre and Dinner Experience

8. 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.

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Cochin: Full-Day Private Shore Excursion

9. 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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Kochi: Full-Day Christian Heritage Tour

10. Kochi: Full-Day Christian Heritage Tour

Discover the Indian roots of Christianity on this full-day Christian heritage tour of Kochi. Dating back to the 1st century, Christianity in India predates the religions official recognition in Europe by 300 years. The Apostle St Thomas is said to have arrived at the ancient seaport of Muzris in 42 A.D. During his stay he founded seven churches along the Kerala coast, some of which are included in this tour. Visit the first Church of St Thomas, and the oldest Christian Church in India, the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Palayoor. Explore the Indian Christian Historical Museum. See two more St. Thomas churches; The Marthoma Church and the Kottakavu Church, both dating to 53 A.D. Also included on the tour are visits to the Kottapuram Cathedral, the Jewish-Christian Ancestor Tower, Our Lady of Snow Church, and the Vypeekotta Seminary.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kerala

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What people are saying about Kerala

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 28 reviews

We were in a group of 12. This is a good size. Chance to meet fellow travellers and manageable for guide. Our guide's name was Jude and he was excellent. He had great english, was very knowledgeable and had a good sense of humour. I would be delighted to use same tour company when i visit Cochin again.

Punctual guide! We were expected with a sign. He was attentive and attentive. 2 bottles of water were at our disposal. The vehicle was clean and we had an excellent driver Thanks to our guide Tomy for this excellent day.

Enjoyed this houseboat tour. Be prepared for a 2 hour ride each way. Interesting to see the communities. It is a long ride but worth it

Very knowledgable guide, Jude who lived locally. Lots of history explained in humourous banter. Very enjoyable, educational day.

From booking to meeting Chris and the team dockside just excellent.