If you are tired of the stereotypical image of Kerala – read swinging palms and kettuvallams (houseboats), then north Kerala is the region for you. Far from prying-eyes, it comprises of the five districts - Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram. The terrain ranges from white beaches to lush forests. Through the journey you get to explore diverse culture around the banks of the River Nila. One of the highlights of the trip is the visit to the town of Beypore, which is one of the few places in India where the art of traditional wooden shipbuilding still survives.
Route: Cochin - River Nila - Nilambur - Beypore - Wayanad - Neeleswar - Calicut
Activities: Pottery workshop, art & music school visit, weaving workshop, shipbuilding, waterfall visit, caves visit, wild life safari, beach stays.
Duration: 14 Days
Meaningful connection between travelers and local communities. How about learning few dance steps?
Cochin - River Nila: Land at Cochin and drive up to the scenic River Nila (3 hours) with our representative. Get your hands dirty learning pottery with local artisans, and watch them weave magic on clay. Be blown away by creating intricate designs such as tea pots and door locks at the bell metal workshop, which is a craft confined to a few families in the region. It is also your chance to order for a souvenir to take back home. The day ends with time spent with young folk artists who showcase the folk heritage of River Nila.
River Nila: Spend the first half of the day in interactive sessions with the masters of classical arts at Kalamandalam. Check into a rural farm stay for the evening.
River Nila: We take you on a leisurely cruise down the Nila on a thoni (traditional boat). After a traditional Kerala lunch at the farmstay, we visit the Traveller's Forest to plant a sapling. Traveller's Forest was set up in August 2009 as many villages in Kerala were facing severe challenges because of the loss of green cover and biodiversity. As deforestation in catchment areas is one of the main causes of river depletion, Travellers Forest aims to motivate local communities, as well as travellers, to restore and preserve valuable ecosystems.
Musical trail – unique initiative that gives opportunity to show case local talent.
River Nila – Nilambur: Spend time with a family of musicians. The musical trail is a journey to show case the percussion culture of River Nila. A lecture demonstration on various kinds of musical instruments is concluded by an amazing performance by the group. After a simple homely lunch, we proceed to a home stay in Nilambur to relax and spend an evening discussing Kerala's history, art and culture with the host.
Nilambur: Spend the day relaxing at the homestay. (Optional visits to the pottery making center or teak forest can be arranged)
Nilambur – Beypore: We visit an initiative set up to provide jobs for local weavers and preserve their rich traditional knowledge. The NGO gives opportunities for travelers to participate in the weaver's workshops. The cloth produced at the workshop can be taken back home by the guest as a souvenir.
Beypore: Continue with the activities.
Beypore – Wayanad: We drive up to Wayanad (two and a half hours) and check into a beautiful hill-side property.
Checkout after breakfast and transfer to Wayanad (2and half hours). Check in at the hill side resort on arrival. Relaxation till evening. We visit Edakkal caves to see the pictorial remnants of civilisation dating back to 5,000 BC.
Wayanad: We spend the morning at lush green spice plantations as part of the spice tour. The takes you through various farms owned by local communities. After lunch at a local home, we vist Meenmutty waterfalls, which tucked into rainforest and can be approached only by a two-hour trek.
Wayanad: By noon we check into another cute farm stay in the north of Wayanad. In the evening we take you on a beautiful safari inside the Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary, which is a biodiversity hotspot. The safari is a chance to spot the Asian elephants, bears, wild gaurs (bison), spotted and sambar deers or even a leopard.
500 years of healing tradition, now opened for discerning travelers
Wayand – Neeleswar: We go on another two-hour safari in the morning into the wildlife sactuary. We then drive down to hit the beach at Neeleswar (2 hours).
Neeleswar: Full day relaxation at the beach hotel. Option visit can be arranged to see the forts(Bekal Fort) and many temples of this region that showcase the rich heritage of this land.
Neeleswar: Spend the relaxing at the beach.
Neeleswar – Calicut (or Mangalore)
Transfer to Calicut (or Mangalore) Airport (2 hours).
How your travel makes a difference to the local community & environment:
- The day with the musicians helps them promote their art forms to all corners of the world. The visit provides with them an additional source of income which is valuable given the seasonal nature of festivals in Kerala. These people are also lower caste members of the communities who otherwise, wouldn’t get an opportunity to perform in an esteemed musical gathering.
- The visit to the potter and weaver community is an appreciation of the efforts to rehabilitate the local artisans. Our visits expand the knowledge about the program and provide them financial support.
- Spice tours were started to support small farmers and spice planters in and around Wayanad to find an alternative, supplementary source of income. The tour provides a glimpse into the issues surrounding the struggles of spice farmers against fluctuating prices and globalisation.
- Trek guides are from the local communities and the programs are operated by them. These are people who live on the fringes of the wildlife areas. All parts of our trek routes and campsites follow zero waste management. During and after every trek, we collect and dispose plastic waste that might have been left behind by other tourists and local people.
Today it has no geographical bound but its identity binds the people who inhabit the region together
Be prepared to be amazed by stunning cultural diversity in a small state
Tiger By The River
Kerala is home to among the most stunning bio-diversity on the planet