Visitors welcome to an enchanting corner of India
Inntravel has introduced two new projects in Southern India to its ‘An Indian Adventure’ programme for 2013/14.
From December, the secluded fishing village of Pavinakurva on Karnataka’s coast and the plantation village of Mothakkara in Kerala’s Wayanad hills will welcome visitors to their enchanting corner of India.
The India holidays, run in association with responsible tourism specialists Village Ways, provide the resources for struggling rural communities to build a sustainable tourism business of their own. Not only will guests discover beautiful scenery, immerse themselves in the local life and enjoy authentic hospitality but, most importantly, they will help to bring a much-needed source of income into the communities.
Travelling south from the melting pot that is Mumbai, the pace of life winds down as the warmth of the south envelopes its visitors. Exotic Karnataka with its spice plantations, vibrant green scenery and palm-fringed beaches is India in slow motion. As a privileged guest at the Spice House in the village of Hulgol, you can enjoy a tour of the spice plantations which include vanilla pods, cinnamon and nutmeg to name a few;
(Wayanad image courtesy Val Corbett)
cycle to see the rock carvings at River Shalmala; learn to make the perfect curry during a cookery demonstration; and visit the spice auction in the colourful market town of Sirsi.
Wayanad image: Val Corbett
Moving on to the secluded fishing village of Pavinakurva, stay in the new guesthouse among the friendly community of farmers and fisherman. Set quietly amid coconut palms and acacia trees by the Tarabligi estuary, this is the ideal base for exploring the quiet beaches of coastal Karnataka on foot and by boat. Witness the fisherman as they land their daily catch; observe the cashew harvest; encounter a local game of cricket; watch boats being made using traditional crafts; and melt into the rhythms of village life.
Prices start from £1,625pp sharing, including 9 nights’ accommodation (3 at the Spice House, 3 at the Pavinakurva guesthouse, 1 in Mumbai, 2 overnight rail journeys), most meals, guiding, all transfers and return flights (Heathrow-Mumbai).
Laid-back Kerala, with its myriad spice plantations, labyrinthine backwaters, historical coast and abundant wildlife, is the perfect spot to experience the magic of India at a beguilingly slow pace. After a day in Mumbai, the adventure begins in the Wayanad region, amid the sub-tropical savannahs, the picturesque hill stations and sprawling spice plantations at the hillside village of Mothakkara. Here, the new guesthouse sits with other pretty houses in the pepper plantation. Discover the secrets of banana, rubber and pepper growing; enjoy walks in the shadow of Banasura Mountain; and take a day trip to the nearby Thrikkappatta to watch bamboo handicrafts being made.
Continue to the tranquil backwaters to join the Goodearth houseboat, specially constructed by the local communities, to venture along the little-visited backwaters, far away from the well-ploughed tourist stream. Spending two days lazily floating from one village to the next, guests will step ashore to meet coir weavers and coconut harvesters, learn about prawn cultivation, and taste delicious curries. The finale is a stay on the Malabar Coast in Fort Cochin.
Prices start from £1,915pp sharing, including 9 nights’ accommodation (1 night in Mumbai, 3 at the Mothakkara guesthouse, 3 on the Goodearth houseboat, 2 in Fort Cochin), most meals, guiding, all transfers and return flights (Heathrow-Mumbai).
Travellers can combine the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Kerala on the 16-night ‘India’s Intoxicating South’, which includes the villages of Pavinakurva, Hulgol and Mothakkara and the Goodearth houseboat, as well as Mysore and Fort Cochin.
For further information on Inntravel’s ‘An Indian Adventure’ with Village Ways 2013/14 contact Inntravel on 01653 617000, www.inntravel.co.uk