Reasons to Visit
India's central parks are home to a vast range of species - on any game drive you might see spotted and barking deer, sloth bears, Indian gazelle, numerous bird species and of course the majestic tiger. But India can boast a lot more than this - visitors to the Chambal Sanctuary might spot the rare Gangetic dolphin and the elusive Asiatic lion can be found at Sasan Gir.
Whether it's the bright saris and traditional jewellery worn by Indian women, the colourful mounds of spices adorning market stalls, or the soft, pastel pink of a sunset over Agra, every way you turn in India you are confronted by vivid and beautiful colours.
As Brits we are famously fond of a curry, but anyone who has been to India will tell you that traditional Indian food is in many ways very different. The subtle and expertly blended herbs and spices create an incredibly tasty meal and the variation of flavours and ingredients between each region is remarkable.
India has perhaps the greatest diversity of landscape of any country; from the mighty Himalaya range to arid lunar landscapes in Ladakh, forested foothills, tea and spice plantations, deserts, mangrove forests, vast plains, tropical backwaters and remote islands. You won't have to travel far to feel like you are in a completely different world.
From the Mughal forts of Jodhpur and Gwalior to the palaces of Jaipur and Udaipur, there are majestic buildings in every major city. There are also numerous smaller forts and palaces which have been carefully restored, providing an excellent place to stay and experience regal Indian life as it once was.
India is the meeting place of several different world religions. We can suggest the most important places to visit to enjoy the beauty of ancient Buddhist sculptures or marvel at Hindu temples adorned with the pantheon of colourful gods. Our guides will point out the intricacies of mosque design or explain the meaning of a ceremony in a Sikh gurdwara.
Any trip to India should include at least one journey by train. Rail travellers will experience a glimpse of a bygone era, and an overnight journey offers the excitement of waking in your private car to a new and vibrant landscape beyond the window.
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Serenity offers simple comfort to the traveller who wants to get away from the crowds or to use as a base to explore the surrounding estates and villages.
Set on a small hilltop among 25 acres of coffee, fruit and spice plantations, Serenity is a 1920's former planter's house on the Kanam Estate about midway between Thekkady and Cochin. The six airy fan-cooled boutique style rooms are decorated in bright colours and feature modern sculptures, wood and cane furniture, locally made coir mats and heavy linen fabrics. There are plenty of verandas to sit out on and a large comfortable sitting room to relax in as well as a small pool and yoga pavillion. Meals (limited choice/set menu) are taken in the upstairs dining room or outside in the courtyard. The spa will help you to truly relax and unwind in the heart of Kerala.
During your stay at Serenity you will have the chance to get close to an elephant, most probably having the chance to wash and feed one. Bicycles are also available to explore the local villages, while guided walks of the estate to see how rubber is produced and other tropical plants are grown. There are also excursion options to local places of interest, such as the Aranmula cultural centre on the River Pamba for performances of classical and Kathakali dances, courses on astrology and natural medicine. All can be arranged whilst staying at Serenity.
NB The elephant is a working elephant so may not be around the house at the time of your stay; however you can 'hire' him and his mahout for the day. Feed him a bunch of bananas, go for a ride on him and visit some of the surrounding plantations, watch him at work, pulling and carrying large logs of wood, and finally share in his delightful bath time at the end of the day. This can be booked with the hotel during your stay subject to availability if we have not already included this in your itinerary.
A large part of Kerala’s considerable charm lies in the Backwaters, a network of canals that lead off Lake Vembanad.
Our rating: Medium
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