9 - 16 MARCH 2017
Join our conference to understand why Kerala is known as “God’s own country”. Experience Cochin, a wonderful melting pot of medieval Portugal, Holland and English village transplanted to the tropical Malabar Coast. There is nowhere on earth like it! Then enjoy the languid network of glistening backwaters – a lushly overgrown labyrinth of lakes, rivers and canals where life continues unchanged.
Thursday 9 March 2017 - Australia to Singapore to Cochin
CONTINUE ON FROM THE PRE-CONFERENCE TOUR OR DEPART FROM AUSTRALIA
Depart Australia, flying via Singapore and arrive in Cochin around midnight. Transfer to our gorgeous waterfront hotel. The cosmopolitan “Queen of the Arabian Sea” Cochin has a fine natural harbour—where mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, and elsewhere have left their mark among inimitable South Indian tradition and style.
Friday 10 March 2017 - Cochin
This morning explore Mattancherry—a section of Cochin that was once the centre of the spice trade, as you’ll realise from the heady aromas wafting through the streets. This area is the home of one of the oldest Jewish populations. Visit Paradesi Synagogue, which was founded in 1568.
Be reminded of Cochin’s complex culture as you view floor tiles from China, chandeliers from Belgium, and several Dutch renovations. Admire the elegant Cheena vala, or Chinese fishing nets. These traditional, massive nets—which typically require the strength of four men to operate—are said to have come to southern India via traders from Kublai Khan’s court. Discover St Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, dating from 1510. It is the burial place of Vasco da Gama. Return to the hotel for lunch.
Afternoon conference session (4 hours)
This evening enjoy the Welcome Cocktail Party
Saturday 11 March 2017 - Mattancherry
After lunch, explore the Fort Cochin. Wander the old streets filled with signs of the strategic importance of the city and imagine the intrigue. See the imposing Portugese Fort and visit the Dutch cemetery. Admire Thakur House, once the home of the head of the British Bank of India. Then visit a 17th century building once owned by the Dutch East India Company. The Parade grounds were once used by the British, Dutch and Portugese – a show of colonial strength. St Francis church is the burial place of Vasco da Gama . Look at the handsome Indo-European style of Bastion House and then relax at Vasco da Gama square lined with stall selling delicious seafood and soft coconuts.
Sunday 12 March 2017 - Alleppey
Travel to Alleppey, the gateway to the Kerala backwaters. Take part in a surprise event here before boarding a houseboat made of local products, formerly used to carry rice and spices to Cochin harbour. Enjoy a mesmerisingly beautiful and relaxing day as you travel through palm- fringed channels, floating past fertile green rice paddies, watching people punt their wooden canoes to fish or go shopping, see villages where daily life revolves around the waterways, just as it has here forever.
Arrive at your lake front hotel by boat.
Monday 13 March 2017
Today join the locals in celebrating Holi – the Festival of colours The most boisterous of Hindu festivals, Holi waves goodbye to winter and welcomes in spring in a rainbow of colours. In India it is predominantly celebrated in the north of the country, so our experience in southern India won’t be as chaotic. Children and adults take to the streets throwing colourful gulal (powder) over each other. Dyed water is shot from syringes, thrown from buckets and poured into balloons, which are then tossed at people. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter: a celebration for a good harvest. For many, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forgive and forget past wrongs, and to repair broken relationships,
Afternoon conference session.
Tuesday 14 March 2017 -
Morning conference session and clinical visit.
The rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax.
This evening join fellow delegates for a wonderful Farewell Dinner
Wednesday 15 March 2017- India to Australia
This afternoon drive to Cochin for a late evening flight heading for home arriving in Australia on Thursday 16 March or join our optional post conference tour.
End of arrangements or Join optional post conference tour
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.