South India – Western Ghats Ride is an epic cycling tour connecting the highlight destinations across one of the oldest mountain ranges in the World. This scenic mountain range with its tropical evergreen forest, a wide variety of flora and fauna and perennial rivers leverage monsoons and the overall climate of the region. The area is home to ethnic tribes like Badaga, Toda, Kota, Kurumba, Irula, Nayaka & Kani tribes. These tribes live in perfect harmony with nature and forests. However, the ever-growing human activity, requirement of housing and industrial land is detrimental to the fragile ecosystem of the Ghats. The government of India and forest departments has implemented key policies to effectively protect the region’s natural diversity. Undoubtedly, the best way to explore this immensely biodiverse and ecologically sensitive mountain range is on bikes.
We will commence our ride from the sunny beach of Goa and ride along the coastal fishermen villages through Gokarna and Shiroor. Then we cut across the Agumbe forest to reach the rural Koppa. Further, we ride toward the scenic Chickamagaluru and reach the vast expanse of coffee plantations at Balur. Here on, we will ride to Hassan and see the 13th-century Chennakesava temple, an epitome of Hoysala Architecture. We will ride through villages and suburbs to the palace city of Mysore to spent an additional break day to recharge ourselves.
We will drive through the Bandipur and Mudumalai National Park which are prime tiger hotspots of South India. We will join for a jeep safari in the National park where Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Boar, Malabar Parakeet, and the Grey-headed Bulbul are common sightings. Further, we ride up the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) towards Ooty and spend overnight at the enchanting Coonoor. After a heritage train ride through stretches of Tea Plantations and valleys, we will reach the agrarian village of Pollachi for authentic village experiences. Next days, we ride through the misty tea hills of Valparai, the breathtaking waterfalls of Athirapally and further along the river Chalakkudy towards the colonial town of Fort Kochi for a history tour.
PS: If you have a couple of days left, our beach and backwater add-on tour program (3 days) offers cycling to the fishermen’s village of Marari, relax by the pristine beach here and witness the traditional martial arts. Another day will be spent exploring the backwaters village on a kayak through the meandering narrow canals and have lunch on banana leaf at a traditional family homestay.