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Painting holiday in Kerala, India

India • Kerala • BACKWATERS AND HIGHLANDS Painting holiday

Your tutor on this painting holiday ~ Susanna Bailey.Rich, warm colour palettes created by tutor Susie BaileyQuick sketches in the marketYou'll find lovely reflections on this painting holiday in Kerala, IndiaPost office Munnar, Kerala - one of our stops on our painting holidayTea pickers Munnar, KeralaBackwater reflections and colour on our painting holiday in Kerala, IndiaWaterside shop in the Backwaters, Kerala, IndiaLaundry service by Christine RussellInk and wash by Christine Russell
Slide show with 10 images

Colours, canoes, rivers and reflections 
Kerala will invite you to use every tube of colour you possess. Greens will be prominent but be prepared for flashes of pink, gold and blue in kingfishers and saris. We have deliberately scheduled opportunities for you to discover a little of the culture of Kerala on your painting holiday and perhaps, sometimes, take a moment to just sit in the shade and drift. Visit four very distinct regions on your journey with many authentic experiences along the way.

Arrival day

Transfer from Cochin airport to our first hotel in The Backwaters region. Cocobay Hotel sits right on the edge of the lagoon and provides a deep sense of calm ~ a wonderful place to relax after a long flight. Settle in and find your feet. By early evening we will be ready to come together for an informal introduction, short tutorial and tips and tricks for making the most of this painting holiday in India.

The Backwaters – four nights

The best way to see The Backwaters is from the water, so we soak it all up on a boat trip along local canals. Houseboats, fishing boats, ferry canoes, women washing clothes and cooking pots, birds and a tangle of tropical plants. We take photographs and make quick sketches on the move – don’t forget to make colour notes. Experiment with small-scale painting on the canal side, focusing on reflections, movement and colour. We have lunch with a local family - a traditional meal served on banana leaves, fingers only! Learn how to include people in your paintings, and how to capture the sunset – be quick, dusk comes very quickly.

In the early evenings, your tutor will offer demonstrations on technique and there is always an informal critique of the days events. We have scheduled in time to relax, have a massage, take a swim and absorb!

Transfer - drive to Periyar.

Periyar Tiger Reserve - three nights

The five hour drive to Thekkady in Periyar is spectacular as our minibus climbs high into the green hills. After settling in at the luxury Elephant Route Hotel, we take a walk to absorb local life and colour. We head off early next morning to Chellar Kovil region, and a plantation with a high view point. We paint ‘the big picture’ birds eye views, before looking at subjects close up; exotic plants and spices. Paint amidst cardamom, pepper, fenugreek and cinnamon in the spice gardens. As an optional extra, we visit a local school of Keralan cuisine to watch a cooking demonstration before dining on the delicious results!

On your free day, choose from various options including a boat cruise on the lake, visiting the most fantastic bookshop or a visit to an elephant sanctuary - a wonderful opportunity to capture these majestic beasts in our sketch books.

In the evening we are treated to a thrilling display of Keralan Martial Arts at a Kalaripayattu show (minimal extra charge.)

Transfer - drive to Munnar.

The Western Ghats - three nights

Next stop: the tea plantations surrounding the hill station of Munnar in The Western Ghats. At 1,500 metres, this vibrant small town is set amidst lush, green tea gardens that contour the landscape. We can walk into Munnar from our hotel, Silvertips. We move around with our sketchbooks capturing varied subjects, a temple, Churchill bridge, Main street and the busy vegetable market - learn the art of quick sketching.

Our painting locations reflect the fresh greens of this tea-growing region. We take on the challenge of painting all that green, and looking more closely at rhythm and pattern. At Seven Malai, a pretty village with a river running through it, we spend a few hours painting the plantation workers colourful cottages, in the shade of large trees.

Silvertips Hotel has an upper restaurant from where we can paint the magnificent views from the panoramic windows. There is time to rest and recuperate between excursions.

Transfer - drive to Fort Cochin.

Fort Cochin - three nights

We set off early on the last leg of our adventure, through varied landscapes of mountains, waterfalls, towns and villages and stop at aptly named ‘Cloud 9’ restaurant for lunch with panoramic views. It’s a perfect spot for photographs.

We are staying in the stylish, colonial No.18 Hotel in the heart of Fort Cochin. This old European settlement and the many wonderful buildings remind us of its rich colonial past. After restoring ourselves, we take a walk to see the glorious Chinese fishing nets, stalls and shops on the sea front, before watching the sun dip into the Arabian Sea, once more.

Early next morning, we join the ferry queue departing for Vypin Island, with distant views of Fort Cochin on the opposite side of the estuary. Varied subjects include fishing huts, fishermen mending their nets and their colourful boats.

Back in Fort Cochin, there is a wonderful old synagogue and the burial place of Vasco da Gama. For those who need a break, there are lovely shops for artefacts, antiques, jewellery or saris, cafes and waterside restaurants. In the evening, we watch a traditional Kathakali dance (optional) - keep an eye on the artists who apply the very distinctive and colourful makeup!

On our last day we enjoy a walking tour of Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, synagogue and Jew Street. Plenty to sketch. We enjoy lunch at Hotel Abad Fort before returning to the hotel (by tuk tuk!) to finish off any pieces, and present them at the informal ‘exhibition’ in the evening. It’s fun to appreciate the journey we have been on, and the portfolio of work you have amassed. Fond farewells!

Departure day

We depart early for Cochin airport.

Note: This is a selection of the many options available on this painting holiday in Kerala, India. Weather conditions, group interests and the tutor will influence the final itinerary.

Where we stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India

We stay in four different hotels in the four different regions. Not all the hotels are of exactly the same standard and inevitably those at the coast are of a higher standard than those inland. We make great efforts to choose hotels that offer authenticity, quality, service, and proximity to our locations. However, we would ask guests to recognise that these holidays are magical because of the places we visit and occasionally, on such adventures, the accommodation will not come up to the standards of Northern Europe.

Cocobay Hotel, Kumarakom - The Backwaters

Cocobay hotel sits right on the edge of the lagoon. It is accessed only by water and provides a wonderful sense of calm. The rooms are large, the food is good; there is a lovely swimming pool and the staff all very kind. Behind the hotel lies a labyrinth of canals and the exciting village and busy temple of Kumarakom. You can sit on the water's edge in an evening and watch the canoes come home with their catch. I delightful and peaceful start to this painting holiday in Kerala, India

Bedroom at Cocobay Hotel, our charming first stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India Swimming pool at Cocobay Hotel, our charming first stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India

Cardomon County, Periyar

Cardamom County, a Nature retreat is set in beautifully landscaped gardens against the green mountains of the Periyar Forests. The cottages are built on various levels , following the natural contours of the hills within the resort. Each cottage with its spacious bedroom and private verandah is simple and stylish with all mod cons necessary. There is a luxurious swimming pool and spa on site.

Cardamom County, nature retreat Cardamom County, nature retreat
Cardamom County, bedroom Cardamom County, bedroom

The Silvertips Hotel, Western Ghats

The Silvertips Hotel is a harmonious and serene retreat in the Western Ghats, a much sought-after hill station in Kerala. 

Nestled in these Hills is a unique, one-of-a-kind, movie-theme based hotel. Silvertips is a sixty room, uniquely designed and conceptualised hotel celebrating the world of pictures, cinemas, movies, its directors and actors. It’s a little bit different, and the perfect place to rest on your painting holiday journey through Kerala.

Twin bedroom at the Silvertops Hotel, our charming third stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India Double bedroom at the Silvertops Hotel, our charming third stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India

No. 18 Hotel, Fort Cochin

No. 18 is located in the heart of Fort Cochin, a modern and comfortable hotel with twenty eight rooms over three floors. A stone’s throw away from the winding, cobbled streets of colonial Cochin, famous fishing nets, and nearby white sandy beaches. The hotel offers a library lounge, seafood market, café, Rain Tree restaurant, Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee maker in every room.

Bedroom at No. 18, our charming final stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India Bathroom at No. 18, our charming final stay on this painting holiday in Kerala, India

Longest transfer time: 4 ½ hours
Dates and prices
11 Nov 2017
Without flights 13 nights £2,595
With flights 14 nights £2,995
Grade: All levels Single supp £405
£400
This holiday is confirmed!
What's included
8 full days and 3 half-days of painting tuition
Return flights from Heathrow
13 nights full board en suite accommodation in charming, high-quality hotels
All air-conditioned transport
Professional tutor throughout
Full-time services of professional, English-speaking tour manager
Half-day boat trip on the Backwaters
Visit to spice garden
Where we stay
Getting there
Underfoot
Mostly gently sloping locations within 300 metres of transport. Some steep towns.

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