Join us for a journey to see astounding varieties of cultural and natural aspects along the west coast of India. Accompany us from untouched islands to historical and religious sites influenced by various cultures of the East and the West. Be surprised by Asia’s second largest and the world’s second most populous country and its many faces.
• Explore the underwater world of the Lakshadweep Islands
• Take a local boat through Kerala’s famous Backwater
• See UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka
• Enjoy different Indian cuisine prepared by renowned chefs
Day 1 — Male, Maldives
Embark Silver Discoverer this afternoon and depart on your exciting 12-day Silversea Expedition –“From the Untouched Lakshadweep Islands to Colourful Sri Lanka”. After a mandatory safety drill head out onto the Pool Deck for a ‘Sail Away’ party. Later during the afternoon, the Expedition Team and important crew members will be introduced.
In the evening enjoy the first of many fine dining experiences in The Restaurant and relax in the Discoverer Lounge or on the open decks.
Day 2 — Uligamu, Maldives
The Maldives are made up of 1190 islands, of which 200 are inhabited, and during the morning Silver Discoverer will head for Uligamu, one of the northernmost inhabited islands of Haa Alif Atoll and the Maldives. Based on its location the island is visited by many yachts on their way into or out of the Arabian Sea.
Our Expedition Staff will start the lecture series during the morning, preparing you for the underwater world we will encounter during the next few days in the Maldives and Lakshadweep Islands.
We will disembark after lunch, and while you might want to have a look at the small community of some 300 inhabitants, our Marine Biologist will be looking for the perfect snorkelling spot southwest of the village.
South of the village is a nice beach and offshore are some good snorkelling sites where damselfish, rabbitfish, surgeonfish, angelfish, butterfly fish and chromis can easily be seen. Hawksbill turtles and even manta rays were present during earlier visits.
Day 3 — Minicoy, Lakshadweep Islands, India
Largely unexplored and unknown, both above and below the water, the Lakshadweep Sea is home to 36 little islands, one of the most spectacular tropical island systems. Most of the islands are inhabited only by birds and hermit crabs.
The southernmost island of the group in the Lakshadweep, Minicoy, is geographically isolated from other islands. The culture here is a mix of Maldivian and South Indian. Minicoy is about 10.6 km long and is the second largest island in the Lakshadweep Group and is almost completely covered with coconut palms.
The island itself is the southern part of a tear-shaped atoll. In the unspoiled waters of the lagoon, living coral reefs of vibrant blue, green, and yellow ring the island and are home to many colourful reef fish, from lionfish to angelfish to butterfly fish. In the clear blue water, you will see a spectacular display of ocean life, including squid, octopi, sea cucumbers, rays, crabs, and even green or hawksbill turtles. Several shipwrecks in the area initiated construction of a lighthouse in 1885. These wrecks are virtual underwater museums and fish species found here are said to be larger than average normal size found elsewhere.
Day 4 — Suheli Island, Lakshadweep Islands, India
Today Silver Discoverer will reach another of the rarely visited atolls of the Lakshadweep Islands. The atoll has three little islands at the northern, eastern and southwestern corner of the reef.
Our Marine Biologists will be looking for the perfect snorkelling site and our other experts will be there to help you ashore, conditions permitting. Ashore we hope to offer activities such as walks along the beach, beachcombing, looking for birds or explaining the local botany.
Day 5 — Thinnakara Island, Lakshadweep Islands, India
North of Suheli are Thinnakara Island and Bangaram Island -both share a vast lagoon and coralline banks. The actual lagoon area amounts to 125 square kms.
Thinnakara is a tiny almond shaped island within the magnificent lagoon. The sun-drenched beaches and the swaying palms form a perfect backdrop to the spectacular marine flora and fauna. The shallow lagoon with crystal clear water, the coral reef and blue lagoon invite to spend the morning in the water, swimming or snorkelling, discovering graceful schools of fish in the water, or looking ashore for hermit crabs on the beach and seabirds in the lush coconut groves.
Days 6-7 — Cochin India
Have a leisurely breakfast and attend a pertinent lecture presentation about one of the many facets of India while we approach the state of Kerala and southern India’s port of Cochin. Because of the location between China and Europe and the spice trade the port and town with the easy access to the sea used to be called “Queen of the Arabian Sea”.
We will use the afternoon and the following day to get a better insight into this port and the surrounding area and will drive through one of India’s most beautiful and tranquil landscapes to visit Alleppey, the “City of Canals” or “Venice of the East”, located south of Cochin between the Arabian Sea and Lake Vembanad, India’s longest lake.
We will board a houseboat and cruise the river, lake and canals, collectively known as “the Backwaters”, and have a look at old colonial warehouses and typical thatched local homes. Brilliant green paddy fields where farming is done below sea level, will give way to views of village life and glimpses of churches, mosques and temples.
While we cruise the “Backwaters”, a typical Keralan snack with tea, south Indian coffee and fruit juices will be served.
After the cruise we will reach a special location, for an exclusive Mohiniyattam performance that will be done by Keralan women in traditional attire. After this exceptional presentation, you will be treated to a special Syrian Christian dinner, mixing Indian and European influences.
The following morning we will board local cruise boats to reach Fort Cochin. In Cochin we will walk through the Heritage city to see the wonderful array of architectural styles dating back to the Portuguese, British and Dutch periods, before the East India Company took over in 1814. During the walk we visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum and finally the David Hall Gallery. Here a prominent historian will talk about the history of Cochin and the spice trade, followed by a Kalaripayattu (martial arts) performance.
Following the performance you will be treated to a special Mopilah lunch catered by celebrity chef Mrs. Faiza Moosa. The Mopilah are Muslims from the Malabar region and known for their food. While we are there, Mrs. Moosa will present autographed copies of her cookbooks.
From the gallery you will take local Tuk-Tuks (open 2-seater taxis) to reach the Mattancherry Palace built by the Raja of Kochi. We will visit the Palace, walk to the Jewish Synagogue and Dutch Palace and will have some spare time to wander around Jew Town, looking at souvenir and antique shops before being taken back to Silver Discoverer by local boats.
Day 8 — Vilanjam, India
Today we visit Padmanabhapuram, the largest wooden palace in India dating back to the 16th century. The palace is a fine specimen of Keralan architecture with antique interiors, intricate rosewood carvings and sculpted décor. The sheer size, style and materials are overwhelming –the palace used to feed 2000 people on a daily basis with a hall able to accommodate everyone. Later we have a traditional welcome and will have a special vegetarian sadhya lunch served on banana leafs, and will watch a Kathakali dance performance.
During the afternoon, Silver Discoverer will leave and head for Sri Lanka and Galle.
Day 9 — At Sea and Galle, Sri Lanka
During the morning, Silver Discoverer will sail on a southeasterly course, giving you time to attend a seminar or talk, relax on the outer decks, make use of The Gym or let yourself be pampered in The Spa. Our experts will want to share information regarding Sri Lanka and our upcoming port and its Portuguese heritage.
As soon as we have been cleared into Sri Lanka, we intend to visit Galle and its magnificent fort. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 as the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions, it is surrounded by the sea on three sides. Some of the colonial Dutch architecture has survived and the National Museum of Galle uses a building going back to 1656, the oldest remaining Dutch building in the fort. The Rampart Hotel then will have high tea waiting for us and those interested to see more of Galle can do so in local tuk-tuks.
Day 10 — Galle, Sri Lanka
Today we intend to visit a working tea plantation near the small village of Akuressa. This privately owned property is the only organic tea factory in southern Sri Lanka. The head planter will introduce you to the fascinating process of tea production. You will walk the fields, see the picking of the tea leafs by the local women and partake in a tea tasting session.
During the afternoon, Silver Discoverer will sail along the eastern coast of Sri Lanka and our experts would like you to attend a lecture or seminar or help our naturalists looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds on the way to Trincomalee.
Day 11 — Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Embark on a full-day excursion to Anuradhapura, the greatest monastic city of ancient Sri Lanka and the island’s first capital. It was royal capital for more than 100 Sri Lankan Kings and at its heights was home to thousands of monks from dozens of monasteries. One other choice would be to travel to Sigiriya, Asia’s best-preserved city centre dating back to the first millennium known as the Rock Fortress. The third option would be a visit to the former capital of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, dating back to the 12th century. All three sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Day 12 — At Sea
Our final day at sea will give you a chance to attend last presentations or seminars, taste some culinary specialties –perhaps comparing Sri Lankan and Indian food- and edit your many photos before the onboard Photographer/Videographer presents the official Voyage-DVD, highlighting the many interesting objects, animals and sights seen and activities done.
Day 13 — Chennai, India
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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